“But When Will I Use This in Real Life?”: Why Writing Matters After Homeschool
Summertime (when the living is easy) is an excellent span in which to reflect on the past year of schooling and the coming year as well. What subjects were successfully learned? Which topics caused troubles and struggles?
If your homeschool student is anything like I was (in middle and high school especially), they might be questioning yet another year of [insert hated subject here]. “I already learned that! Why do I need to take it again? Shouldn’t I be learning something new?”
And so on.
One question in particular is favored fodder for these arguments, the one that every teacher and homeschool parent dreads hearing: “When will I use this in real life?”
English and writing are frequent victims of this question. True, a five-paragraph essay may not seem particularly applicable to most parts of life, but as I emphasized in my last post about writing over the summer, there’s so much more to writing than paragraphs and essays in an academic setting. Once a homeschool student realizes this, their attitude toward writing will (hopefully) improve.
Whether that earlier question is asked sincerely or snarkily, here are some examples of how writing is part (a big part!) of life for everyone. As a result, when your homeschool student tries to give you grief, you can give it right back as good as you’ve got.
Strong communication requires strong writing.
At its most basic, writing is talking that just happens to be written down. Emails, texts, stories, social media posts, applications, business documents—the list (hey, there’s another one!) of mediums that require writing is almost endless. And guess what? If you’re not able to write well, you won’t be able to communicate well through any of these mediums, regardless of the career or life plan you choose. You could be the most eloquent public speaker the world has ever seen, but if you’re unable to communicate through writing, you’re in for hard times, especially since face-to-face communication is far less common among all our technology.
Almost all jobs involve some kind of writing.
A family member of mine recently quit his job as a police officer, not because the physical work was too strenuous, but because the job involved far more paperwork than he had expected. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying he was incapable of that job. However, he wasn’t expecting writing to be such an integral part. It’s not an exaggeration to say that pretty much every job in every field requires some kind of writing. This writing then has to make sense to others in order for work to be accomplished. The sooner you’re prepared for writing to be part of your environment, the more capable you will be.
Which leads me to my next point…
Businesses prefer to hire good writers.
Logically, this just makes sense. If writing is such a huge part of the workplace (and it is), then businesses will want people who are able to fulfill this portion of work with ease and skill. Even if writing doesn’t seem to be a prominent feature of a certain job, it’s going to be involved in some capacity. As a result, those in charge of hiring are going to look for applicants who can write—communicate—clearly and effectively in order to keep the business running smoothly. Plus, you can then be utilized to aid others within the business who don’t write as well as you.
Good writing makes you look good.
The way in which someone writes is often the first impression they give someone, such as college and job applications or emails. As a result, if your writing is strong, you make a strong impression—and the opposite is also true. Now, the way in which someone writes is not always indicative of their intelligence or skill. Some people (and students) have trouble processing their thoughts through writing, and that’s okay—that’s why our homeschool writing curriculum focuses on basic, repetitive steps instead of fancier elements. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that impressions are made through writing.
Writing often becomes a bogeyman to homeschool students because it’s restrained to an academic setting with intimidating assignments. In reality, however, writing extends far beyond school and reaches out to almost every sector of life. I can’t speak for every subject dreaded by your student, but as for writing, it is most definitely used in “real life.”
Essentials in Writing