Someone hit my blog the other day by searching for: teaching a creative writing homeschool coop. Since I’ve done that, and am gearing up to start up again, I thought I’d shed a little light on the topic. If anyone else has any helpful advice for beginning a creative writing class or another class for homeschoolers, feel free to weigh in!
First of all, since I am already a part of a large homeschooling community, it has been pretty easy to find participants. If you need ideas for finding homeschoolers to fill your classes, or venues in which to hold them, check my post about starting a homeschool choir. Many homeschooling families are constantly on the lookout for fun classes in which their kids can get to know other people, all while learning something valuable. Creative writing is a good choice, because some parents just don’t feel creative, and may look for outside help. The subject matter also lends itself to fun and fellowship.
Depending on what you want to offer, and how large a response you have, you may decide to give classes to a narrow age range, or a wide one. I have found that many creative writing prompts can work with school children of all ages; the only thing that really needs to change is the length of the assignment. The last time I taught a creative writing class, I allowed the parents to decide how much each child would write.
Next, you need to decide how long you want your classes to run. You may want to provide time in each class for a short icebreaker (hopefully involving writing or some other creative activity), review of last week’s homework, a lesson of some sort, a longer period of in-class writing, and a short period at the end of each class for assigning homework. I think an hour would probably be sufficient if you are going with a wide age range. Much more than that, and you will start to lose the interest of your little ones. I would follow a time-table something like this:
10 minute ice breaker,
10 minute homework review,
10 minute lesson,
25 minute write, and
5 minute assignment.
On the very first day of class, you could use your homework review period for getting to know everyone a little and acquainting them with the structure and scope of the class. If you need help figuring out what to teach, you can check here or here for ideas.
You could also choose a theme for your classes so people will know what to expect. Last time I taught a session, I decided to base all of my classes for that session on multi-sensory creative writing. This was something I had been interested in for a while. I had Googled it, but didn’t come up with anything, so I made up my own lessons. This is what I used for my first lesson.