When I was in high school, I seriously struggled writing essays.
My strength was in math class. Numbers just made sense to me. There is only one right answer in a math equation, but there could be many different right answers in essay writing based on what you feel. Which was part of the reason why I struggled in English class.
My struggles started in 9th grade. The school I attended was not able to find an English 9 teacher, so I had different substitute teachers while they tried to find a good English teacher. They never found a teacher, and I went an ENTIRE YEAR without an English teacher.
Needless to say, by the time I entered 10th grade, my writing skills were almost non existent. I seriously struggled with every English class and every writing assignment in other classes.
That is, until I entered my senior year of high school.
In my last year of high school, I had a teacher, Mr. Fickley, who knew how poorly my writing skills were. That year, he decided to push me to expand my writing skills so that I would be ready to take on college level papers the following year.
This English teacher was difficult because he assigned 3 to 4 papers PER WEEK. I was writing 5 page papers almost every night. I had never written so much in my life!
Even a 1 page paper would cause me anxiety. A one page paper would take me 5 hours to write, so how was I supposed to write 5 pages every night!?!
I struggled so much with writing good essays, and keeping up with the workload, that mid semester my father went in to see him. Mr. Fickley told my father that I he was going to push me to do my best because I had the potential to do more, and because I needed to be prepared for a higher level when I started college the following year.
I worked hard and wrote every single day! I learned new tricks on how to structure an essay and how to brainstorm new ideas for a better paper.
Ultimately, I passed his class with an A, and went on to CLEP out of English 101 towards my college degree.
If I saw Mr. Fickley today, I think he would laugh to learn that I write for a living! :D
Writing is the most important academic skill for life long success.
- It is a skill you need in every class, since every class has written essays and papers.
- It is a skill you need in college, since there is A LOT of papers in college.
- It is a skill you need for the rest of your professional life. Even into adulthood, you will need to have good writing skills for almost any professional job.
So the best way to become a better writer, is simple just to write more. If practice makes perfect, then your teen or child needs to be writing ALL. THE. TIME.
So how can you get your child to write more?
I recommend getting your child a notebook, and giving them daily or weekly writing questions for them to brainstorm and write about. These questions should be fun and intriguing for them. The questions should be so fun that they WANT to write about it. (For example, if you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?).
Just having them write a little bit each day gets them more comfortable with writing their thoughts down in a logical order and explaining why they think or believe something.
If you need help with getting your teen to write, I have a Summer Writing Program for weekly writing for your teen or child. This writing program comes with a Writing workbook with weekly writing prompts for the entire summer, plus twice weekly encouragement, inspiration, and motivation. Click the button to find out more!
My name is Rachael and I have been a private tutor for over 10 years. I earned my undergraduate degree in 2 and a half years and earned my graduate degree by age 22. I have tutored dozens of high school students, college students, and graduate students. I offer my resources and experience to help parents learn how to best help their teen or child that is struggling in school.