For the last few years, I have spent each November scribbling away as I try to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. Sounds crazy? Maybe it is, but each year thousands throw out their sanity alongside me as we all participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This year, since it's our first year homeschooling, I assumed I wouldn't participate. No sense adding more stress, right?
Then I received one of their pep talk emails which also reminded me about their Young Writers Program. I took a quick look at what I had planned for the next month or two and thought, "SWEET!!!"
All we've been doing for writing so far has been copywork, and I'd been thinking about doing a little more with her now that we're getting settled with the basics. And my girl does love to write, so this will be right up her alley.
If you're interested, let me assure you it is very simple to do this with your own children. You can do as much or as little as you want. The site offers lesson plans for different grade levels and printable workbooks to help create characters and plot. You can even let your children sign up on the site to keep track of their word counts, visit forums (kids only forums, not linked to the main site), receive pep talks throughout the month, and even receive a free proof copy of their novel at the end of the month if they reach their word-count goal. Even if you decide not to follow the program or sign up, all the materials are free to download and you can use the word-count goal chart to help narrow down a goal for your child to reach during the month. Of course, you could choose any month to do this, but trust me there is a certain rush to knowing that so many others (grown-ups AND kids) are struggling through their own novels right along with you. It's a great way to teach character and plot development, plus it would be a great co-op type activity in which the kids can share their stories at the end of the month.
We're actually starting this week, with discussions about what makes a good novel and what makes a good main character. We'll work on a plot outline and a cast of characters throughout the rest of the month, write the novel in November, and work on editing in December. We already have a completion party scheduled. :)
And maybe, just maybe, mama and daughter can write stories together next month.