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Writing Lessons for Home-Ed

Whatever else is on the homeschool schedule for the day, daily reading and writing practice is a non-negotiable. Reading and writing are the keys to literacy, and no matter which home education philosophy your family follows (or not!), being able to read and write are the cornerstones of education. Including daily writing and reading exercises in a home-ed classroom helps ensure homeschoolers become confident, happy writers, excited, engaged readers and provides the base skills to become independent learners.

How to Teach Writing at Home


Write their stories for them! Ask young learners to tell you a story – write down their words. Seeing you write their words and hearing their words read back to them, demonstrates to young learners the connection between writing and expressing themselves.

If your child is not confident verbally expressing a story, ask them to describe what’s happening in a picture they’ve drawn and write it down in story form. You can even give it back to them written out as a story and ask them to work backwards, re-illustrating their own story.

Encourage Mark-Making

Mark-making is just the official term for encouraging pre-writing scribbles. In schools it’s referred to as emergent writing and is the learning stage where toddlers and younger learners experiment using their hands to ‘make a mark’ as a way of expressing themselves.

Offer emergent writers

  • exciting pens and pencils,
  • different mark-making materials – paints, chalk, water-soaked paintbrushes on coloured paper…
  • lines to draw around, words, letters and numbers to trace

Make spelling and words into games, and approach writing as a fun, no pressure activity.

Read Often

Letter recognition is the first step in learning to write. Regular reading is a great way to help young learners recognise the shape of letters on the page and the corresponding sounds they make.

Making reading time a fun daily activity encourages children to read alone by themselves outside of lessons.

Choose books that have fun stories, sounds to play with as they read, rhymes to remember, and great pictures – pictures are important for littles!

Introduce a Keyboard

Let pre-writers experiment using writing implements held in their hands and on the keyboard!

Handwriting is a difficult skill to learn and takes time to master. Young learners can easily get frustrated and disheartened when the speed their fingers move doesn’t match the speed their brain thinks of words they want to express. Some children find typing an easier way of writing and one that is faster to pick up, and as more and more of the world goes online, typing is a skill that’s going to be vital to homeschoolers.

Emergent Writers

Use reading and writing apps

Reading and writing go hand in hand and the more confident children are with the shape of letters on the page, the easier forming those shapes will be.

Integrating an app-based reading programme into home-ed days when teaching a child to read is an easy, fun way to help new writers improve their typing speed and letter recognition.

Reading Eggs and the Night Zookeeper are great options to support a homeschool reading and writing curriculum.

Play letter-matching games

Letter-matching games are a useful tool to teach writing to preschoolers. It can be as simple as using Scrabble tiles to copy words or write names, matching objects to letters, or using letter tiles to make words (with numbered syllables, beginning with a specific letter or ending in ‘ed’, ‘t’ etc). Anything that plays with letters and words is a lesson.

Young Writers

Some children won’t stop writing once they start; for others, writing – even once they’ve sussed the how – can be tricky. For young writers, writing big chunks of text with a pen/pencil can be uncomfortable/overwhelming/boring. Short-burst handwriting exercises allow home educators to add lots of handwriting practice into a homeschool day, spread out over separate activities instead of as one big lesson.

Short-burst writing activities

  • Lists

Writing lists is the easiest quick writing exercise there is. Put homeschoolers in charge of all things lists – shopping lists, to-be-read lists, weekly meal plan lists, lists of to-be-watched documentaries etc. Because each item on a list is in itself a short writing task, writing one item won’t phase them; because the aim of writing a list is to write a list, writing more than one item won’t phase them either.

Lists are of course very short-burst writing activities but don’t underestimate the power of really quick short exercises: Concentrated efforts to write one or two words using their best handwriting, multiple times a week is excellent no-pressure handwriting practice.

  • Silly Sentences

Give students a list of words and ask them to make the silliest sentence they can, using only words on those lists – use that week’s spelling and vocabulary lists for a two-skills-one-game English lesson.

  • Lyrics

If your homeschooler loves music, ask them to write out the lyrics to a favourite song (from memory or as a copy work exercise – Spotify is a good resource for copy work lyrics)

  • Quotes

Quotes are a fantastic way to expand a child’s horizons and are an easy-to-set-up short-burst handwriting exercise. Use quotes

  • from a book they’re reading or a book that’s too advanced for them to actually read yet or as an introduction to a character/story
  • from a movie with positive messages/ a documentary quote that will make them think
  • an inspirational quote from a historical/relevant person (linked or not to a unit study)
  • quotes from scientists and philosophers to get students thinking about big questions

Combine quote writing lessons with art and ask students to illustrate the quotes – again, this shifts the focus of the lesson from being purely handwriting focused and takes the pressure off.


Answering questions on worksheets is often a method of learning that young learners respond well to. They can see tangible results from the effort they’ve put in to learn whatever the worksheet is asking of them, and can identify where they need to study more. There are thousands of ready-made worksheets available online to link to any subject or topic, or alternatively, use Adobe Express, Canva, the worksheet generator on or an AI teaching assistant site like Magic School to create customised worksheets for your home-ed classroom.

Copy Work

Copying passages of text is an effective way to improve handwriting. The length of the copy work can be tailored to meet the student’s enthusiasm and ability levels. Easy to prep copy work activities include:

  • a chapter/page from a book read and enjoyed,
  • a context-relevant passage from a book that’s on the ‘to be read/studied pile’,
  • a snippet from a book that’s too old (content-wise) for the homeschooler to read in its entirety yet
  • an interesting section of a magazine article
  • the script of a favourite TV show episode

Tip: Don’t Over-Mark

Do you remember getting a piece of work back from a teacher covered in red pen markings? Remember how disheartening that was? When marking a homeschooler’s writing, focus on one element that needs correcting at a time – spelling OR grammar, letter formation OR paragraph structure. Next time, focus on something else. Marking homeschool work like this makes it easier for the home learner to understand what they need to prioritise improvement with, reduces how much they feel you – their parent – are correcting them, and gives them small achievable goals to work towards.

With time, encouragement and practice, home learners will soon be confident writers.

N.B: Penmanship is often more difficult for left-handed students. Use these tips to help left-handed learners find confidence handwriting.