“Mother, I know how to write.”
That was the response I got from my 13-year-old when I said we needed to incorporate more writing into our homeschool.
He tried to argue that because he is able to physically write letters and form sentences that he doesn’t need writing practice.
I beg to differ.
I’ve never used a specific writing or grammar curriculum because I don’t want writing to be a chore. I want it to be something creative for them, a way to share ideas, something that they can come to enjoy as much as I do…. or at least not dread it.
I wanted to put together something that is easy for me as a teacher, got them going by themselves and was… dare I say… Fun!
“This is actually kind of cool… for school that is.” Was the response I got from Daniel (the 8 year-old)… I’ll take that.
The idea here is to have a jar full of writing prompts, the ones I’ve included have a big range. I tried to include thought-provoking, serious, funny and creative, so that each time they reach into the jar they’ll be challenged with a different kind of writing and style. It helps keep it from being boring and exposes them to lots of different ways of writing. Of course you can fill it with your own prompts… whatever works for your homeschool.
Here’s a few tips for using the jar & prompts
#1- “Why? is implied” – There are some prompts like, “What is your favorite song?” Or “Write about someone who inspires you.” Or “If you could only say 20 words for the rest of your life what would you pick?” They don’t all have “Why?” written after them. I told the boys that if there is one where “Why?” makes sense at the end of it that is part of the question.
#2- Set Standards- For Daniel who is in 2nd grade he is expected to write 5 sentences and make sure to use capital letters and punctuation. For Nathan, in 7th grade, I want to see a well thought out thesis statement or topic sentence, proper use of punctuation and more complex sentences. You can set the standards for whatever level your child is working on.
#3- There are a lot of ways to use this– Some kids need a little help getting started on a daily journal. These are great starting points for entries that only take 15 minutes or so. You can also use them as complete writing projects with a first draft, revisions and final draft. Or just use them as part of your Language Arts a couple of times a week. There’s no right or wrong way to use this idea!
#4- Offer a choice- With my boys I let them pick out 3 prompts and choose the one they like best. That way the one that sparks their interest the most is the one they write about. You don’t have to do this but I find they respond really well to it. YOu could also pick one and if they don’t like it give them the opportunity to draw again. Or let one child pick for everybody one day and another the next! Whatever will work with your kids. I know mine like that little bit of control in what they’re doing! (They don’t realize that I’m happy with all the prompts!)
#5- Use them once or many times– At first I planned to have them glue the prompt to the top of the page before starting. I decided though that it might be fun to have them write the same responses multiple times so back in the jar they go. The choice is yours. You could also just set the used ones aside until you’re running low and then refill the jar.
I started them each with a new notebook when we started using the jar so that as we go it will be easy to see their writing develop, and go back and read the responses to the prompts!
Onto the printables!
First here’s a happy little label for your jar- I printed it 3×5 size in my printer options and it fits quite well on a 1/2 gallon mason jar. You can print it bigger or smaller depending on your jar size
Click here to download & Print the Writing Jar Label PDF
I printed my prompts full sheet size. If you have a smaller jar or want to conserve paper & ink you can choose to print them as a 5×7 the words will still be big enough to see.
I’ve also included a blank page so that if you want to write in your own they can match all the others!
I’m including links to download & print each page separately or there’s a zip file with everything all together
I hope these are as useful for you and your homeschool as they have been for ours! Come back and let me know which ones your kids enjoy & how the writing jar is working for you!
Subscribe to my Newsletter!
Plus exclusive recipes & more each month!