You know the joke. Every school year, the teacher asks the class to write an essay about what they did on summer break. Ugh, right? Most kids groan and do as little as possible. And it turns into a boring rhetoric:
I went to my grandparents. They live in Wisconsin. They took me to get ice cream and we saw a movie. I caught fireflies outside.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t exactly call that inspirational writing. If the kids aren’t enjoying it and aren’t trying to write in any interesting way, what’s the point? They aren’t really improving their writing skills and surely aren’t loving the writing.
How about we change that? Instead of what they did on summer break., what’s a superhero story they could come up with that takes place at the same spot they went to vacation? Maybe it was at their grandparents in Wisconsin, but what if they couldn’t get ice cream because a villain gathered up all the ice cream so they could dump it on the town and freeze everyone?! And it just so happens, our hero (the kid writing the story) found an ancient necklace at the town’s antique shop that gave them heat ray powers! Now they can fight the bad guy, melt the ice cream and save the day in time to see the movie.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be superhero’s. It could be a lost dog in town that the local kids investigate that leads them to a puppy stealing guy. Or a local war hero that needs help building a special float for the 4th of July parade, and the kids go on a Goonies like adventure to find a tree for the wood.
Let them use the real place with real stores and people and other items, but make up a story that takes place over the summer. More kids will be excited to come up with a story and enjoy thinking of the wonderful events that COULD happen if they use their imagination.
Homeschool parents, I encourage you to take advantage of this at the time it’s happening. If you take the kids to the beach, that night or the next day have them write a story. I’m sure you incorporate many daily tasks and events into their education, so here’s another. If they write several short stories over the summer, they’ll have a small book when fall arrives.
Having kids reflect on their summer and write an essay about it isn’t a bad idea, but many kids may find it much more interesting to come up with their own story. This pushes their imagination. You’ll see more excitement with a writing exercise like this.
As always, I would love to read any stories that kids come up with. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.