The Benefits of Taking a Break– How about a FALL Creative Writing Break? (NaNovWriMo)

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Outside it's windy here, and a little rainy....Fall is here, with a feeling that the beginnings of winter are coming soon.  At this time of year, my daughter and I often wanted a little break, to try something new, something a little different from our usual homeschool routine.

There is something about November and having just gotten through all the busyness of early fall, with new curricula for the year, new activities, etc, that led us to want a break from our homeschool routine.

Why Take a Homeschool Creative Writing Break

My daughter, not being the crafty type, did not want to do seasonal crafts and activities, so we looked for something else.

So for us, our break became a creative writing break.  When my daughter was in 8th grade, we discovered the National Novel Writing Month. Has your family ever joined in the fun of that, in November? 

What is the National Novel Writing Month - NaNovWriMo?

It's a guilt-free way of taking a break from your homeschool routine in November!

My young teen had an interest in story writing, and had written a few short stories during her middle school years.  So when I asked her if she wanted to do more of that, we found the NaNoWriMo site, and decided to join in for our first year.

We dropped our other homeschool courses, and just did creative writing for the month!..

How We Did Our Creative Writing Break

Sometimes my teen went to our local coffee shop, and wrote there. Other times, she gathered our favorite blankets, and wrote on the couch. 

My daughter wrote a 2-4 short stories each year.  One time it was a science fiction story.  Another year, it was an adventure story/novella about a road trip and favorite pets.  We made time for editing/revisions only after her drafts were done.  Less is more!

But one doesn't have to have the goal of writing a novel...How about a short story, or trying poetry? Or writing about a favorite hobby? 

My daughter loved it!  So we made it a tradition, and did NaNoWriMo for two more years...ah, November.....cozy and warm, at home, with pen in hand.   Here's one of our favorite resources for that, from NaNovWriMo and more options for doing it as well.

Resources for a Creative Writing Break

1.  "No Plot, No Problem" Book 

No Plot? No Problem NaNoWriMo Review at The Curriculum Choice

To get started, my daughter and I ordered No Plot? No Problem! "It is a low-stress, guide to writing a novel in 30 days, and it helped a lot to encourage my creative writer.  This book coorelates to the NaNovWriMo program.

"This book is full of helpful ways to get past the fear of putting words on the page, and "leaving your Inner Editor behind.  While doing NaNoWriMo, we did not stop to rewrite, edit, or critique my daughter's work."  

Click here for the rest of my review of this book.

2.  Resources on The NaNoWriMo site

The NaNoWriMo site includes LOTS of info for writers of all ages. To join in the fun, you can register for their Young Writer's Program here They offer resources for young writers' here, which includes workbooks.  To join in with other writers, there is also an online community here, made up of young writers, who are all trying to get some words on the page.  It includes games and encouragement.  And another great resource is How to Write a Novel in a Month.

NaNovWriMo gives the student guidance and some instruction, but it is a loosely structured program, perfect for my teen who already had written some short stories.  

For students who would like a more structured program, the One Year Adventure Novel program might be a better fit. 

This course gives your teen much more structure.  BUT it could still be used as a way to take a break from the routine.  

This course follows a step by step program, teaching your teen all about story writing, using video instruction.  They also offer a community online, and extensive support resources.  

More information on it is here, or click here  to read the rest of my review of this course.

It could be done, just like the NaNovWriMo, by dropping the regular homeschool routine.  Or the course can be spread out and done as one of your teen’s regular homeschool courses.

Whatever way you go, we found many benefits from taking a creative writing break each year.

Benefits of Taking a Creative Writing Break

Here's 5 ways that a creative writing break can benefit your teens:

1.  Creative writing is fun, and it is a great way to learn how to express oneself in writing.  

That is so important to later essay writing endevours.  Doing NaNovWriMo was a more relaxed way for my daughter to find her own voice. 

2.  Writing a story is a great way to learn the components of good literature! 

Putting together a fiction story teaches your teen all about character development, setting, plot, etc.  My teen learned the parts of a story, in a hands-on way, by writing one.   

3.  Story writing builds critical thinking skills, important for high schoolers, especially if they are college bound.

4.  Creative writing builds up the confidence needed for essay writing.

It can be made into a homemade course in writing.  Keeping track of the hours spent in writing, you can give your student a creative writing credit.  We did that, and it was accepted as a high school credit by all of our colleges.

5.  Taking a break brought all of us many benefits as well.  

We slowed down, built in more nature study (on the less rainy days), and when we got back to our routine, we were ready for it.  And we could face winter with a feeling of renewal.

Do you feel a need to take a bit of a break from your fall homeschool routine?  Do you have a budding writer in your midst?  Or one that hates essay writing, and wants to try a different approach?  

Have you seen my book on college for homeschooled teens yet?  

Homeschooling High School with College in Mind 

 Kindle - Amazon 
Also in print - Amazon  
PDF on Educents  

No worry about forgetting anything! 

Here are the chapters:

Researching College Entrance Requirements
Planning High School with College in Mind 
Choosing High School Curriculum
Assigning High School Credit
Making Your Transcripts (Calculating the GPA, etc)
Electives and College
Writing the College Essay
Course Descriptions and Reference Letters
Preparing your Teen for College Writing
Don't Forget the FUN!

Have you seen Tricia Hodges's video courses in art yet?

Taught by a master artist, and offered by Tricia Hodges, mom of 5 blessings who are all homeschooled.  This is a full one year course, ideal for your teen who is interested in art.   Get your fine arts requirement done (for college bound teens) with this easy to use video course!  

Perfect for independent study! No need for a long list of supplies. Just get some paper and some chalk art pastels and you are ready!

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now rising college senior, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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