Both of my kids enjoy writing their own creative stories. And I am often amazed by what they come up with and with how much they actually write.
Sometimes they take stories they have written and change an event half way through that then results in a totally different outcome, sometimes they extend the ending of stories, sometimes they take a character out of a story and create a totally new story but often it is something completely original. I have often wondered what it is that has made both of them so fond of creative writing (I never wrote like they do when I was younger).
I tried to think if it could be a result of anything that we have done and I came up with a few thoughts.
- We have books everywhere and we read a lot, a mix of all kinds of books so the kids are constantly exposed to all sorts of stories.
- The kid’s time is not over-scheduled so they actually have time to write their stories and I will admit that I have often delayed a planned academic activity if I can see one of them is absorbed by a story that they are writing.
- When they do share their stories we do not go crazy correcting mistakes – I will point out a couple of spelling or grammar errors but I don’t point out everything. We try and focus on the positives and make a big deal of the writing process.
- If they do not finish their story I don’t force them to. My daughter often writes really long stories (mini-books really). She will sometimes write about 20/ 30 pages and then have a break. We leave it and she always comes back to the story (sometimes a month later) but once she has figured out what she wants to happen she does come back in her own time and wraps it up. (She has also decided a few times to completely scrap a story so she can change a character or an event and then she does restart it and finish it with the changed character of event in it).
There is one other thing that I think has helped – a game /activity that we have done with the kids for years (I actually cannot remember how it started but it started at least 5 years ago and has developed time). We have a game where we start a verbal story, and everyone joins in. Sometimes it is totally random (like dinosaurs in castles) and sometimes one of the kids sets a scene for example, the rainforest or Africa.
Someone starts by creating a character or an event and then someone else joins in and adds a different character or event to the mix. And the stories builds and builds. Sometimes over days or sometimes just over a single meal-time. But it is a creative process where they practice building a story. They create characters, events, scenes but they do it verbally. I think this helps. It is much easier to practice creating a story verbally, it builds their confidence up and then when it does come to writing they tend to have lots of ideas that they can use.
I cannot be certain why both the kids enjoy creative their own stories as much as they do but I do love the fact that I get to listen to their stories. It is by far one of the highlights of this home education journey that we are on.