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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


February 20, 2013 


Helping Your Reluctant Writer



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


I am reluctantly sitting down to write this because it is a beautiful spring day, and I am watching my children enjoy nature through my back window. Right now, I am a reluctant writer, although I love writing. Now, think about your children who don't really enjoy writing and everything else is calling their name that is more exciting--that would be anything but writing! How do we make the craft of writing more exciting? Well, one way is that we can explain that it is a craft, just like any other craft. One of my children is into wood carving now, so we can explain that it takes practice and time and sometimes starting over to make the end product beautiful. There are many ways to make writing fun, too. Here is an article: Fun Writing Projects for Reluctant Writers.


When my oldest son was eleven, he was not only a reluctant writer, but also a reluctant reader and I thought I had failed him. However, that changed when we met Lee Roddy at a homeschool convention. We learned about his exciting adventure novels and my son took off on the adventure of reading. Then, we discovered his How to Write a Story guide book, and my son began crafting his first story--with joy instead of tears.


From an article written by Mr. Roddy here, he says through his years of writing and teaching about writing, he has discovered this: ". . . reluctance to writing in children seems to have two parts: (1) an attitude that views writing as hard work instead of creative fun, and (2) a failure to have a clear understanding of what constitutes a story."


Not only has Mr. Roddy's book helped my first son, but his fictional books (especially the Ladd Family Adventures) are what moved my son from a reluctant reader to an avid reader. You can find all those resources at Lee Roddy's website here and at Mott Media here.


So, somehow, you need to turn the writing process from mere duty to an exciting adventure. It can be done with much prayer, a positive outlook yourself, and some great resources. There are myriads of great resources to review here.


DON'T FORGET! Thursday (tomorrow), we have our FREE webinar. I will speak on loving that homeschooling dad even though he's not perfect, and Todd Wilson will speak on being married to a homeschooling mom. In between, we will hear from Jason Lindsey from Hooked on Science! Sure to be a super webinar! Sign up here: See you tomorrow!



TOS Senior Editor  




Experience the convenience of online writing classes from the comfort of your own home.  Write For Success provides online writing instruction for students in grades four through twelve.  Visit to see what Write For Success can do for you. 


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Reluctant to write. Is that something like being reluctant to eat chocolate? For anyone out there who is allergic to chocolate, you have my sympathy. Missing out on chocolate is missing out on one of life's greatest foods.


And missing out on writing is missing out on one of life's greatest skills. But how do you help a child who cringes at the mere mention of writing?


For starters, you could take a look at all the benefits of writing. Focusing on the benefits has done wonders for the eat-dark-chocolate-because-it's-good-for-you argument! Janice Campbell shares many of these benefits through her Classics-Based Writing class each month on She has taught us the power of a letter of comfort, the impact of persuasive argument, the cadence of a recitative, the humor and hidden power of a limerick, the uses of description, and the value of iambic pentameter.

You can also look at all the many ways there are to write. Just like a box of holiday chocolates, no two pieces of writing are ever exactly the same. Each has its own taste and style. Sometimes you have to take a bite of several different kinds before you find the one just right for you. Kim Kautzer's monthly Writing class showcases some of the many types of writing available to each of us. She has taught us forms such as the diamante poem, cinquains, and journals as well as techniques such as first-person point of view, limited omniscience, and metaphors. Plus you can get used to small bite-sized pieces of writing with Kim's Daily Writing promts. 


And you'll find lots of ways to mix writing in with other assignments scattered throughout the site including some of our Dailies such as Everyday Explorers, Ditch the Desk, and even Schoolhouse Spelling!


No matter what the size of your student's appetite for writing, has a serving just waiting for him. Join during our membership special and receive all these classes plus dozens more for just $55. That's a price as tasty as a nice piece of chocolate.


Bonnie Rose Hudson

Editorial Assistant



Join Today  

The Familyman

Most all of us have reluctant writers . . . kids who take to writing like fish take to pudding. I know we've run the whole gamut at our house. I have one daughter who has written several books (you can see her first one here) and some who can barely write a sentence.

My simple advice to encourage your reluctant writer is to let him write without fear of failure or correction. Have your kids self-correct their own spelling tests, and when you have them write in elementary, don't correct their work, just let them write and write--without fear. They can learn about grammar when the time comes, but just getting them to write is the important part. Do not let yourself tear it apart with corrections. Leave the misspellings. It's okay.
I believe some of "our" kids are afraid to write a single sentence because we as parents swoop in to correct their many mistakes: "You forgot to put the period at the end of the sentence. . . . You forgot to start with a capital letter. . . . You don't need a comma there; you do need one here. . . . I can barely read your handwriting. . . . You  write like a two-year-old," etc.
I'm telling you, I'd be afraid to write if I was treated like that. Just let your kids write without fear of being wrong. And by the way, you don't need to be afraid either. I think one of the reasons we drive our kids and kill the love of writing, or even school for that matter, is because we don't want them to embarrass us, or not be able to get a job because we didn't make them write enough.
I've heard story after story of kids who didn't write until they needed to write. And guess what? THEY WROTE and did fine (some of them even became writers). I saw it happen with one of our kids.

And even if your kids never enjoy writing, that's okay, too.  Just relax, and . . .

Be real,



"It's too hard!"; "I don't know what to write about!" . . . Sound familiar?


Whether you are teaching a kindergartener or a high schooler, IEW's enjoyable, effective, and simple-to-use method for teaching writing is guaranteed to work!

Enjoy a free download from Andrew Pudewa: "Reaching the Reluctant Writer." Click here




 Be encouraged, enlightened, and 

educated with the all new 

2013 Annual Print Book
published by 

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


2013 Print Book

You'll get a year's worth of homeschool support in 

over 275 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. 

This is a magazine you'll refer to again and again. 


Click here to learn more!




Two Great Homeschool Conventions! Don't Miss the SouthEast Homeschool Convention, March 14-16, 2013, Greenville, SC; and the MidWest Homeschool Convention, April 4-6, 2013, Cincinnati, OH. Encouraging and informative workshops! Huge exhibit hall! Amazing featured speakers! Comedian--Tim Hawkins! Abortion Survivor--Gianna Jessen! MidWest Only--Dr. Ron Paul!   


Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 



Diana is taking a break this week. You can visit her website, Diana Waring Presents! at to see what's new.



Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is Research and Report--Andrew 'Rube' Foster. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


Raising Real Men

Hal & Melanie Young


Can you imagine your reluctant writer winning a statewide essay contest? It happens! It happened to one of ours, much to our (and his) amazement. We all had to learn a few things about writing first, though.


Handwriting and writing are not the same thing! Our son was convinced he couldn't write because handwriting and spelling were such a battle for him. We had to explain (again and again) that we are professional writers, but we almost never write anything by hand. We told him about Winston Churchill who wrote enough volumes to fill a big bookshelf and dictated every bit of it while he paced around.


So, let them dictate! Isn't that cheating? No! Read that last paragraph again. All those G.A. Henty novels were dictated, too. The art of communicating through the written word is about ideas and words, not about handwriting.  


Don't count spelling. Agatha Christie is one of the best-selling novelists ever, but her editor said she was an atrocious speller and had horrible handwriting due to her dyslexia. Teach spelling when you are teaching spelling, but writing is hard work and we don't need to make it any harder.


Find something they love for them to write about. Honestly, could you happily write a paragraph in response to those lame prompts in most textbooks? No one likes writing about things they care nothing about. So, if he is interested in dinosaurs, let him write about dinosaurs!


Use gadgets. One of our sons had such a difficult time with handwriting, I had trouble getting a few sentences out of him even as he entered high school. Then his uncle passed his laptop down to him. He was easily able to learn to type and soon wrote 17,000 words on a novel in one month!


Give them a vision. Boys particularly really want to know why they have to learn something. Most people impact the people they know. If you learn to speak in public, though, you influence folks you don't personally know. If you take up the challenge of writing, you can influence generations not even born yet. That's worth a lot of work!


Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie


Want to hear about Surviving Struggling to Read from a mother and son who've been there? Hear the debut speaking engagement of our own reluctant reader and writer, as he encourages you to persevere and shares ideas on helping your child persevere, too. Click here. 





Schoolhouse Expo presents . . .


Being Married to a Homeschool Mom 

with Todd Wilson


Wilson Family


Todd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom, and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd's humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family.


As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what's most important through a weekly email for dads, seminars, and books that encourage parents. You can visit Familyman Ministries at


Also, you won't want to miss . . .


The Death of Love with Deborah Wuehler

Deborah's talk is titled, "The Death of Love." How do you 
love someone you don't agree with, or you think needs 
better standards, or someone who doesn't lead in family devotions or help with the homeschooling? How do you 
love someone you might not even like anymore? Don't 
miss this encouraging talk by Deborah Wuehler, the 
Senior Editor and Director of Production here at 
Plus . . . are you looking for a way to do affordable science at home? 
 If so, our featured speaker, Jason Lindsey will show you how to use items you already have around the house to get your kids Hooked on Science. He'll also talk about ways you can help your kids better understand science and the lessons you may see at 
Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Thursday, February 21, at 7 p.m. EST! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1,000 available! 





Creation Revolution      


Read the fascinating truth about how delicate turtle eggs are, and how they survive, in this informative article  Did God Design Turtle Goo?

You will also enjoy the article Earliest Mammal Ancestor?


Read this article


in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of February, 2013  


Andi's Pony Trouble and Andi's Indian Summer (Plus Paper Dolls!)


Andi's Pony Trouble and Andi's Indian Summer are two new chapter books for your young horse-loving children from published author, Susan K. Marlow. You may remember her from the Circle C Adventures series where Andi is a growing teen. Here we find her as a little thing, only six years old, in books perfect for your readers, ages 6-8.


In Andi's Pony Trouble we meet Andi at the dinner table. She is absolutely certain that she is old enough for her very own horse. She is tired of riding her "slowpoke" pony Coco. She is certainly frustrated when her mother and her older siblings (her brothers run the ranch) tell her that she is just too little. Andi makes it her goal to prove that she is grown-up enough, but her abilities are not quite what she thinks they are and she finds herself in a bit of trouble. She learns a valuable lesson about being thankful for what you have and a little about prayer too.


In Andi's Indian Summer we find Andi facing a different challenge--discerning fact from fiction when she meets real Indians! Andi and her eight-year-old friend Riley head out for a ride on the open landscape of California, 1874, and get lost. Andi learns that things are not always what she thinks they are. This was my favorite of the two books in the series so far. (. . .)


Read the rest of this review here.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Circle C" for a chance to win* the books and paper dolls for your homeschool!
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


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