The summer is well underway. Many of us have been out of the school mind-set for several weeks now, and several never really stopped. Others of us (hand raised!) do something resembling the in-between.
When it comes to writing, however, many homeschoolers decide to “take the summer off.” While I can appreciate the need for breaks (we can all use them), I like to think of writing as one of those things we should all do, as much as possible, until it’s a more integral part of how we communicate and express ourselves creatively. Unlike many areas of study, writing is both an art and a science, which often makes it so confounded difficult to master. There are many conventions we are expected to adhere to, and yet, writing in its many forms can be entirely subjective.
Instead of assigning an essay to your high schooler, or asking your elementary-aged child to write a report on his summer vacation, why not try to make writing a little more fun this summer?
1) Study this image and do one of three things:
1) Describe what you see in as much detail as possible
2) Write a poem inspired by the image
3) Begin a short story about the image
2) Go outside.
Take a blanket or chair with you and a timer (that’s it).
And then, do this:
Find a comfortable place — shady if it’s sunny.
Close your eyes for five minutes — don’t open them until the timer goes off.
Focus on three things (no more, although you can choose less):
What do you HEAR? Animals, people, machines, wind, water?
What do you FEEL? Heat, chill, rain, humidity, creepy-crawlies?
What do you SMELL? Grass, flowers, exhaust, nothing?
When the timer goes off, go back inside (no lingering right now). Set the timer for another five-minutes. Write down, using as much detail as possible, everything you heard, felt, and/or smelled. How can you convey these things so that we can “see” them–not just hear, feel, or smell them?
3) “These Three Words”
Take “These Three Words” and write a sentence, a poem, or a story. Any length is ok!
Crickets, Sandal, Music
4) “Take Three Objects”
“Take Three Objects” that you find around your house–unusual things that aren’t easily described. Set a timer for five-minutes for each object and have your writer describe these objects in as much detail as possible using sensory images (sight, touch, sound–if it makes a noise). And don’t eat it unless it’s edible.
Have your writer read the description aloud to a family member or friend. Can they guess what the object is just based on the writer’s description? You can modify this into a fun game with two or more players.
5) Invent a Character
Take someone you see on the street or in the supermarket. Imagine a life for this person, and you’ve got a fictional character. Now give your character an obstacle to overcome and you’ve got the basis for a great short story!
Don’t forget that you can write, too–right along with your children! If they see you having fun with the writing prompts, they will be much less likely to believe this is part of their summer curriculum (wink, wink!).
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