Summer is a time for fun and a break from the rigors of the school year. However, as Laura pointed out in the previous blog post (check it out, it’s really sweet), summer can also be an opportunity to continue growing! She encouraged parents to guide their children’s reading through the vacation months, but parents can also guide their children’s writing during the summer.
“Excuse me, Athena. That sounds like a school activity, and the point of summer is that children are off school. Why would I want to inflict more compositions on my kids during their vacation?”
Thank you for that question! There are two main reasons homeschool parents may wish to require summer writing from their students.
1. Some homeschool students NEED the extra practice.
As Danielle pointed out in her “Summer Scaries” blog post, low-pressure, non-graded writing activities over the summer can help some students maintain their writing muscles. In some cases, these muscles atrophy over vacation, and students begin the next year having forgotten all they ever learned about composition.
Requiring summer writing not only provides homeschool students with practice, but it also demonstrates that writing is not exclusively an academic activity. Breaking that mental boundary may be the breakthrough your student needs to write well and freely.
(Check out Danielle’s blog post! Solid encouragement for homeschool parents entering the summer months.)
2. Some homeschool students WANT the extra practice.
Some of you may be blessed with a student who LOVES writing, and you should encourage that kind of expression and development! While these students may dive into writing on their own, a little guidance may benefit them—especially younger students.
With these two groups in mind, let’s dive into summer writing ideas! While I encourage you to develop your own ideas and prompts, here are some suggestions to get started.
(Check out the EIW textbooks for guidance about how to approach each of these compositions.)
Summer Writing Prompts
Think about topics the student will want to write about or things you want them to think about. Writing about these important topics will help them put thoughts and/or feelings into words, which benefits their personal development and not just their academic performance.
Try some of these prompts:
- What kind of person do you want to be? Write a paragraph explaining at least two positive traits you want to see in yourself and why you want them.
- A goal is an idea that someone puts into action. What is one of your goals? Write a paragraph explaining what your goal is and how you plan to accomplish that goal.
- What is one of your favorite memories? Describe the memory and explain why you like it.
Journaling is a way to record events, but it can also develop self-awareness. Writing journal entries will help students realize they can write for themselves, not just a teacher.
Here are some ideas for journal entries:
- Keep a daily journal of a trip you take this summer. Write 3-4 sentences about whatever you want to record about each day.
(Tip: When I was in elementary school, my mother purchased daily planners as “journals” for my sister and me. The planners provided a limited amount of space for each daily entry, which made the task seem less intimidating than endless empty pages.)
- Describe three things you want to do or be when you are a grown-up.
- Write a journal entry about ten of your favorite things, including items, activities, and foods.
Writing stories—original or reimagined—is a great way to foster imagination in homeschool students. Narrative writing can be entertaining and freeing, for there’s no right way to tell a story!
Let your student’s imagination run wild! But in case they need it, here are some suggested prompts:
- Is there a book, movie, or video game that has an ending you don’t like? How could the story have ended better? Rewrite the ending in the way you think is best.
- Write your own version of a fairy tale. Maybe Cinderella doesn’t want to go to the ball, but to the ball game! Maybe Puss in Boots isn’t just a clever cat, but a shapeshifter! Maybe St. George doesn’t want to kill the dragon, but learn to ride it! Rewrite a fairy tale in your own way.
- If you could go on a dream vacation this summer, where would you go? Write a narrative of your vacation—where you would go, who you would be with, and what you would do.
May these few writing ideas inspire you to come up with your own specialized prompts! Summer writing is a chance to shirk off the restrictions of academic prompts, which by necessity are general and impersonal. However, with summer writing, you can get personal with your kids!
For example, if I were coming up with summer prompts for my 13-year-old homeschooled brother, I would include:
- Write a paragraph explaining the best way to take care of the dozen baby chickens we just purchased.
- Journal about how you felt after seeing Avengers: Endgame on opening night.
- Imagine what it will be like to interview at the Lego Company when you are old enough. Write the story of that interview and how you get the job.
Happy summer, everyone! And happy writing 🙂
By Athena Lester
Head of Curriculum and Scoring