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 Post subject: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:40 am 
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Okay, before I say anything else, I understand some of you will want to say 5 is still young to be pushing handwriting, but I think he is mature enough to start. Also, I know this is a long post, so bear with me.

Raygold has been reading chapter books (Horrible History/Science-type stuff and some adult books on Cosmology) for over a year and can do simple arithmetic in his head really well, but he does not like to write. I think part of it is that he is a perfectionist and forming letters and numbers is challenging for him and frustrates him when they come out backwards or wonky. I don't think this is a fine motor skills issue, but I try to get him to do dot-to-dots (he doesn't like colouring*) and he can make loom band bracelets and I've been trying to teach him to use chopsticks (I have learner ones for the kids), so I am working on his fine motor skills just in case.

We've gone through a few workbooks and worksheets together and I've tried to get him tracing letters and numbers (he hates that), but I have to stand there constantly and he is always trying to give me your regular kid-type stalling/diversionary tactics. I've asked why he doesn't want to write and he says stuff like that I am annoying him or he doesn't do work on even days of the month, or that he will start tomorrow (and never does), etc.

Rewards don't work. Hovering doesn't work. Praise doesn't work. Doing work in short spurts doesn't work. Letting him choose worksheets or workbooks doesn't work. This is not 'just a phase' which I am willing to wait for him to outgrow -- he has always been stubborn with regards to writing and I have been trying to motivate him since we started working on his handwriting last fall and did a lot of waiting-it-out last year.

Beetroot was like this at first, but at least I could nag and bribe him into doing it and he liked writing snail mail letters, which was our breakthrough. I haven't found a breakthrough or way to motivate my 5 year old, though.

Can anyone offer advice or ideas? A few people on a home ed forum recommended tracing letters in a tray of flour, but I already do enough cleaning in the kitchen! ;D I was also told to use various apps, but we don't have a tablet or smartphone. I'm basically looking for ways to motivate him to put pen to paper. He will type on the computer, although he won't type anything he can't spell (perfectionist!). He is a brilliant and fun little kid, but my goodness, he is SO stubborn.

* I never liked colouring either.

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:05 am 
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I don't think 5 is to young to be pushing handwriting. 5 year olds here go to Kindergarten and learn handwriting. Its also not going to hurt him if you hold off a bit until he is ready especially if you are homeschooling.

If you aren't willing to wait for him to outgrow his unwillingness then you have to make him do it and set up specific times and rules about doing it. If he won't choose anything then make the choices for him. Some kids need to have things chosen for them and need to be told when and what to do.

Look on Pinterest for ideas! Here is a link for non worksheet handwriting ideas for kids who hate handwriting: http://creeksidelearning.com/handwritin ... -for-kids/

good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:29 am 
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I think one of the things that helps, esp if you are homeschooling, is having him hang out with other kids who like writing and are doing writing projects. Leela never really was interested in letters until she and her cousin were sitting down and writing cards to their Granddad. Because she wanted to be able to do what other kids could do, if that makes sense. I think that is one advantage of public schooling - kids really do challenge one another, sometimes

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:41 am 
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My sister has a reluctant reader. She found a fun game was to write out little paragraphs about a simple activity and have her daughter read them. Once she read it then they would go do the activity together. Simple things like jump on the trampoline for 3 minutes or make a mug of cocoa, play wheelbarrow in the front yard. She would add "Rules" too to make the paragraphs a little longer. Maybe you could do something similar with Raygold where he wrote out the activity (either copy or dictation)?


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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:54 am 
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I have a 5 year old too, and while I would not say he is particularly stubborn, he is a bit of a perfectionist. He also just doesn't like doing things that are hard and would rather do things that come easily to him. He loves science and wants to be an astrophysicist and absolutely gobbles up everything that has to do with space, or time, or spacetime.

So one night we were lying in bed at snuggle time and he said he wished that he could travel in time. And I said, "Well, there is one way to be a time traveler." He was amazed and asked how, so I said, "Books allow us to travel through space and time and talk to people we have never met. Right now I am reading a book that was written over 200 years ago in England. That author's words traveled through space and time, and now when I read them she is speaking to me across the miles. I have read words that traveled in time through thousands of years, and from all across the world. Books let us all be time travelers. And when I write, I become a time traveler in a different way, sending my words out into the world and allowing them to travel there forever."

He thought this was seriously amazing, and has been more motivated to read ever since. I have no idea if that would work for you kiddo, and I think one of the keys was that the discussion was had outside of his reading time. It wasn't viewed as me trying to get him to do his work already. Maybe you can have your kiddo write letters to his future self so that he can travel in time to talk to himself.

I also use science to get him to chill out about mistakes. We talk a lot about how mistakes often lead to the best discoveries, and about how if we already knew what would happen we wouldn't have to do the experiment.

I don't know if the science stuff resonates with everyone, but it works wonders for my kiddo.


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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:59 am 
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Semen Strong
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I love the science explanation! That is great!

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:53 pm 
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Dude, you guys are SO helpful, thank you -- all of you have some fine ideas! And thanks for saying 5 isn't too young -- I posted this on a home ed forum and almost everyone said 5 was too young and not push it until he was motivated to do it himself. Which is fine for some people, but not for us.

DEG, I wish our kids could hang out! Raygold is like a little Carl Sagan, the way he is always talking to me about space.

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:54 pm 
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Also I would recommend thinking about handwriting and writing as two different objectives. Worrying about handwriting can inhibit a child from getting excited about writing content (making up a story, all about book, etc.). For a kid who hates writing, I would give him a pack of crayons and staple some blank pages together and say you can write a book about something you know all about or a story about something you did. Let him draw the content and read it to you. After he can write books (by drawing) without stress, you could encourage him to label the pictures. Again, I wouldn't worry if he makes the letters wrong or has inventive spelling. Anyway, it is my opinion that kids who are excited to communicate ideas on paper become more willing to learn how to write so others can read it.

As a completely different activity you could try letter making exercises. Less messy than the flour but also great is using a little chalkboard (google handwriting without tears program: wet, dry, try). I have a set of wooden straight lines and curves that we use to make letters and you could also do that with pieces of yarn.


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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:07 pm 
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Oh, if he hates drawing than maybe just practice telling stories aloud at first? Does he like comics? Some kids love to draw comics.


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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:55 pm 
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DEG wrote:
So one night we were lying in bed at snuggle time and he said he wished that he could travel in time. And I said, "Well, there is one way to be a time traveler." He was amazed and asked how, so I said, "Books allow us to travel through space and time and talk to people we have never met. Right now I am reading a book that was written over 200 years ago in England. That author's words traveled through space and time, and now when I read them she is speaking to me across the miles. I have read words that traveled in time through thousands of years, and from all across the world. Books let us all be time travelers. And when I write, I become a time traveler in a different way, sending my words out into the world and allowing them to travel there forever."


This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Makes me want to get back into reading. I could hug you.


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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:22 am 
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Butternut wrote:
Oh, if he hates drawing than maybe just practice telling stories aloud at first? Does he like comics? Some kids love to draw comics.

He does and he did a really great collaboration with his brother (Captain Port-o-Potty or something like that, Beet did all the text) and I've tried to get them to do it again and they won't. ;p I'm not giving up, though!

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:51 pm 
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I can totally relate, TheCrabbyCrafter. My 6 year does not like writing either, although he's not as stubborn at your Raygold! Some ways I've encouraged my son to write:
I would write a simple sentence (sometimes a bit silly or funny, but always about something he's interested in) and then he would copy it into his writing book.
Encourage projects that could include a bit of writing - even if it just involves writing his name. We've made plant identification sticks for our garden (we wrote the names of the plants on paddle pop sticks and stuck them where we planted the seeds), cardboard box cubbyhouses which my son wrote on (actually, he wrote "No Zeb" - Zeb is my younger son).

Raygold sounds very intelligent, already typing and reading, so I wouldn't be too worried if he doesn't want to write yet. Try not to push it too hard...if he is still stubborn about writing, just leave it for a few weeks/months. He may start writing himself, or you could reintroduce it. Just try to make it fun :)

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 Post subject: Re: Motivating 5 year olds to write
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:11 pm 
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So I was just coming to find this thread to post something about comics, and lo and behold, look at what everyone is talking about. My husband drew a comic for my daughter with speech baloons and had her fill them in. Then my son was jealous and wanted one for himself. Then he drew a comic for my husband to fill in. They have been going back and forth like this for three days now and having a blast.


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