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Imagine what would happen if you let your high schooler take the whole month of November to focus on writing.
November is National Novel Writing Month and the folks at NaNoWriMo offer compelling resources and community for your teen (and you!) to engage in the writing process.
Is it possible with my high schooler’s schedule?
What would happen to the rest of his schooling?
Can it be done?
Let’s explore the possibilities.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.
Writers all over the world will write their novel daily from November 1-November 30 reaching word count goals they set themselves.
Once you get an account, you’ll be able to enjoy many resources throughout the month (and all year long).
I won’t leave you hanging, the good stuff is listed below!
Benefits of Participating in NaNoWriMo
If your high schooler only focuses on his writing goals for the month of November, he’ll have to let go of other obligations during that time.
Things like Calculus, Physics, History, or Foreign Language.
What good could possibly come of this?
- Devotes more time to this lifelong skill than any other time of the year
- Teaches your writers to write even if they aren’t motivated to do so. How many writers “feel inspired” to write on a daily basis? Rain or shine? Busy or sick? Inspired or in the midst of writer’s block?
- Allows your writer to pursue his craft with abandon
- Participates in an annual ritual of a community of writers- and the folks at NaNoWriMo provide plenty of inspiration and resources along the way
- Be Encouraged– in a writing community where everyone is reaching for a common goal. Words in their novel.
Scheduling Time for NaNoWriMo
I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning. – Peter De Vries
Still not convinced you can make time for NaNoWriMo in November?
I encourage you to make it a priority and see what comes of it.
- Project Time– In the Charlotte Mason tradition, our kids have time for projects everyday. It is some of the most productive and self paced moments of our homeschool. For the month of November, choose to write during the time you set aside for projects. If this is not already a practice in your homeschool, I encourage you to try it.
- Carve out the Time– Rearrange your school routine to include writing time this month. Perhaps your writer needs this daily time anyway. Our creative girl learned this the hard way. Scheduling Time for Creative Pursuits addresses this issue.
- Writer Time– If you have a writer, then you know they have to write. As I learn about the personal habits of writers, many of them write early in the morning before the remainder of the day begins. We’ll call it “writer time”. Your teen can begin this practice. Surely, if teens can awaken before dawn to practice sports, they can manage to rise early and use those precious moments for the chance to put their novel on paper.
- English Credit– When all else fails, use the time put into NaNoWriMo as English credit. It can serve as a unit of your teen’s regular English class or you can name it a mini-course and give it a quarter credit of creative writing. The beauty of homeschooling is you get to decide!
Resources for NaNoWriMo
The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish. – Robert Louis Stevenson
Our high school senior has been working on a novel.
In the midst of his chronic illness, he still writes.
He has us waiting on each chapter as he writes them.
His novel is discussed at the dinner table like any other book our family reads together.
Only this time we get to talk with the author as he writes his story.
You can’t ask for a better experience?
Will you allow your teen to take the challenge and immerse herself in a story world?
- NaNo Prep– Prepare to get your novel up and running. There are virtual write ins and workshops related to writing that you are sure to enjoy.
- NaNo Prep Library– Past posts on getting started with prompt to methods on better writing
- Word Sprints– Like a word war to see how many words you can pound out in a certain amount of time
- Word Count Help– Set a goal and get help with reaching your word count goal
- Workshop Events– with encouragement and teaching on writing
In order to reach some of the resources, you need to have a NaNoWriMo acoount.
NaNoWriMo for Younger Writers
This experience sounds amazing, right?
What if our whole family wants to enter a story world of their own.
Can my younger children participate?
It turns out there are resources for young writers at the Young Writers Program. Resources include:
- Where and How to Write– a page on where to write daily and how to record, ideas for new writers. You’ll find information on note taking, writing, and editing.
- How to Set a Word Count Goal– This is probably a good item for anyone to gauge how much is reasonable based on your ability, desire, schedule, etc.
- Novelist Workbooks– for elementary, middle, and high school. These give less mature writers a starting place and a framework for writing daily on a novel.
- Pep Talks– from leading authors to encourage your student in their goals
- Social Shares– Graphics for your teens to use on social media to share that they are participating in NaNoWriMo
Creative Writing Credits with NaNoWriMo
One of the most common electives on our high schoolers’ transcripts is
The number of hours required to write 50,000 words is also a creative writing credit.
Here are some of the other pieces to the writing process for our 2017-2018 senior:
- Participated in Nano sponsored writing challenges along the way
- Completed daily check ins- to make sure she was on target with her writing goal
- Joined a writing group- within the Nano community
- Gathered regularly with other teens from Go Teen Writers
- Collaborated with other writers from her writing tribes
- Met a daily writing goal of over 1,600 words
- Developed a daily writing habit- which has lasted long beyond her days in NaNoWriMo
- Edited her 50,000 word novel- during Camp NaNoWriMo later on in the school year
- Made lasting writing friendships- that she will keeps today while in college
Rebecca finished her 50K word novel and continues to refine it as she has the time. She’s also started several other stories.
One of the perks of winning NaNoWriMo is getting a deep discount to Scrivener.
If you have a writer in your life, Scrivener is a must have!
I use it for my non-fiction writing as well.
It’s a professional tool for writers that allows you to work non-linearly while creating large writing assignments.
Our daughter poured into NaNoWriMo.
She rearranged her academic schedule to accommodate the writing challenge.
She still managed to complete her other requirements outside of the norm.
Today she is a freshman at an Ivy League school.
Don’t be afraid to allow your high schoolers the freedom to write.
Rebecca retains many of the writing relationships she fostered during NaNoWriMo.
She continues to write, learn, and collaborate with other writers.
It made her a more confident writer.
Encouraging her to participate fully with NaNoWriMo last year was a rockstar homeschool decision.
The benefits far outweighed the unconventional schedule.
Which is true of so many homeschool experiences.
Having a writer in the house and others who adore story worlds, means we have used inspirational resources from time to time. These would be fun for your teens as they work to reach their writing goals.
- Creating Other Worlds Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction– Lots of resources and ideas in this post for writing big worlds of characters and adventure.
- Go Teen Writers– A wonderful resource for budding novelists with activities and encouragement everyday
- Scrivener– Software that allows you to write in an editor and publish work in various digital formats. Usually, you can get a discount around NaNoWriMo time.
- The Writer’s Circle Facebook Page– An encouraging spot for writers if you are on Facebook, this one comes at my senior’s recommendation.
- The One Year Adventure Novel– I’ve posted on this before and I’m working on an update to it. This program change our senior’s life. More on this later!
- Storyworld First: Creating a Unique Fantasy World for Your Novel– A fantastic look at all the aspects of a fantasy world so that you can create a world that works for your story.
- Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book– Inspiring for the information it shares for how to get published.
Back to the original question:
What would happen if you allowed your teen to write for the month of November?
You might be whisked off to
lands unknown and have the opportunity to enter into conversation with your writers.
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You have PERMISSION to homeschool high school differently.
Let’s do this!