Learning to Write – Why Your Student May be Uncooperative and How to Fix it
Tell me if either of these scenarios seems familiar. It’s only an hour into your homeschool day. No sooner do you pull out your lesson plans for paragraph writing and your student’s notebook than your normally happy, eager child turns grumpy; uncooperative even? Or, you have set a summer goal for your student to do journaling for 15 minutes a day and the response to your daily reminder makes you want to forget the idea. The power struggle begins.
In this situation, a parent often feels helpless. After all, you can’t “make” a child learn; can you? You may rationalize that it must somehow be your fault. If you were a better homeschool teacher, a better parent, a better (fill in the blank), your child would surely come around and be eager to learn how to write paragraphs (or sentences, or essays).
What’s Really Going on with Your Uncooperative Student
Instead of waving the white flag, it helps to take a step back and look at what might really be triggering your student’s unwillingness to participate in his or her writing lessons. What looks like obstinance from your angle might actually be any of the following:
- being instructed in a teaching style that doesn’t match his or her learning style
- being asked to sit still and learn when his or her brain is actually powered by movement
- his or her attention span may be shorter than you expect, meaning that writing tasks and focused time should be broken up into small segments
- although you write better in the morning, your child’s rhythms are more suited to writing in the afternoons or evenings
- needing more choice in their day such as where writing instruction takes place
Those are just a sampling of some of the many, many reasons a student might be resistant. By evaluating the possible reasons behind your child’s behavior, you may stumble across an amazingly simple solution to your power struggles.
The Uncooperative Student May Just Be a Reluctant Writer
If the trend seems to be that your student only shows resistance when it comes time for writing instruction, and not with other subjects, you simply may have a reluctant writer on your hands. There are effective strategies for motivating the reluctant writers at your house.
If you or your child identify with any of the items noted in the above list and you’ve made the needed adjustments, but it’s still not working, it may be worth giving a program like Time4Writing a try. It includes brief instruction in an engaging format. Since it’s online, it lets students complete writing assignments when it best suits them.
One of the chief conflicts that parents and students have about writing is grading and feedback. Because writing is such a personal endeavor, many students are reluctant to hear criticism and instruction from their parent on their efforts. Time4Writing’s courses solve this dilemma by placing your child or teen under the tutelage of one of our compassionate and talented writing teachers. Every writing assignment your student submits will be evaluated by their course instructor. The encouraging and helpful feedback they share can inspire even the most reluctant writers to improve!
The biggest thing to remember is that having a student who becomes uncooperative during writing lessons does not mean that you have not succeeded. It usually just means that there is an underlying reason behind your child’s behavior. Once you discover the true crux of the problem, you can then focus less on blame and more on finding the best solution for bringing some peace back to your home.