Homeschooling Teen

- A monthly online magazine BY Homeschool Teens... FOR Homeschool Teens!

Writing in the New Year

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better person.” ~Benjamin Franklin

The new year is an excellent time to reflect and make resolutions. A resolution is a serious vow to do something better or to accomplish a goal by taking a firm course of action. If this year is really going to be any different, it means that you have to actually do something, not just make empty promises or wishful thinking.

Do you wish you were a better writer? Well, how about making a New Year’s resolution to write more! Send your stories, poems, articles, reviews, etc. to mail@homeschoolingteen.com and we will publish them! Below are a couple of articles to inspire you.

Writing Can Be Fun!

I am a homeschooling Mom that is always on the hunt for exciting curriculum and neat sites for my teenage daughter. I stumbled across your site the other day. It is a neat site for teens and parents alike. I noticed you have an anime review page. My daughter LOVES anime. She reads tons of anime books, watches AMV’s, makes her own anime movies for YouTube, listens to Japanese anime music, writes fan fiction, and has lots of cosplay outfits.

This short article is mostly directed at the teens who enjoy anime and the parents of those kids. Since my daughter is so involved with anime, I decided to incorporate it into her schooling. One of the ways we use anime is for writing practice. My daughter started her very own blog. She writes fan fiction. She tries to post a new chapter each week or two.

My daughter is responsible for writing each chapter on her own. I am available for help if she needs or wants it, but she is quite capable of creating her own stories. She rarely asks me for input. That’s a good thing since I don’t know all that much about the characters she writes about. Once she has completed a chapter, she sits with me as we co-edit the story. We discuss punctuation, spelling, grammar, adjective use, story flow… Fan fiction is written a bit different from regular story writing, but it serves well for teaching writing and grammar.

Since my daughter is writing for a real audience, she is more than willing to sit with me for editing. The ownership factor creates pride in her work. YEAH! My goal is for her to one day edit on her own with me only doing a quick check of her work.

There are free sites for hosting a blog. Blogger, WordPress, and TypePad are probably the top three. WordPress is what my daughter and I both use.

If your child is hesitant about writing, a blog just might be the answer. They can write about anything they choose. Some suggestions are:  poetry, animals, mysteries, politics, fashion, movie reviews, book reviews, food/cooking, sports, comic books, devotionals, astronomy … the possibilities are endless. If they have a special talent or hobby they love, that would be a good start.

If your child is interested in writing but needs some help, you might consider a writing class. Time4Writing offers classes for second graders up through high school. The classes are held for 8 weeks, and the student is assigned a real live teacher. There are several different types of classes from which to choose. The site also offers super writing resources for free. Another great option for your child is to take a blogging course so they are accustomed to what it takes to write a blog. They need to know blogging lingo, blog design, how to get the word out so others will read their blog, how to schedule a post, blogging safety, different blog platforms, and so forth. Blog Writing Course offers a free introductory course and a Blogging 101 Course. I have taken both courses and they are excellent. Both courses are self-paced. The site also features super articles loaded with tips and support to help you with your blogging. Who knows, your child may become a blogging aficionado in no time at all!

Joyfully, Jackie

My Attempt at Blogging

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Lets Talk About Writing

By Zeva Tayler, 16

Have you ever written a book report? How about a short story? Not super hard, right? How about a novel… now that takes some major time and effort. I’ve been working on my novel for a little over a year now and I’m SO close to being done, about ten to twelve more chapters.

My best friend is done with writing her novel, which is around four times as long as mine is at the moment, and I am her editor. My parents are always telling me to work on my own book, but hey, there’s this disturbing little thing called writer’s block.

I tell you what, writer’s block is a pain in the neck, literally and figuratively! You sit there for long hours and try and try and try to think of something to write. You type a few sentences, probably erase them, then stare at the screen some more. You eventually go insane and start searching for videos of cats chasing lasers, then go back to the document again. You possibly let out a little shriek of frustration and begin to randomly hit buttons on the keyboard, coming out with a mess of letters and numbers that makes no sense at all, but definitely makes you feel better.

You pound your head against the table and growl. There go your parents again, “Write your book! Write! Write! Write!” So you eventually just write and you think it’s going to be awful and make no sense and you’ll just have to erase it later, but then you read it and it actually works. You’re shocked into writing more and more and before you know it, BAM! You’ve written another chapter. That gives you this amazing satisfaction that is really wonderful, until you hit the good ole’ block again. Then you’re right back where you were, hunched over the keyboard, glaring at the screen like it’s the computer’s fault because, when it comes down to it, it’s just easier to blame it on a chunk of metal and plastic than on your own mind fizzling out.

You’ll go around and around this cycle, sometimes hitting a streak where you’ll write late into the night and wake up in the morning to realize that you just wrote three chapters. And someday, far in the future, you’ll finish. You’ll write the final words of your novel and it’ll be over (aside from the whole publishing process). For me, I completely ignored my outline and ended up with a novel waaaaay longer than I was expecting. I will end up with around 30 chapters and 400 to 500 pages. Really not that much to read, it would take me two or three days to read, but over a year to write.

But, despite feeling insane and borderline psychotic, it’s all worth it in those moments of triumph and, ultimately, in the finale. Bon voyage!

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