Tuesday, July 26, 2011

National Novel Writing Month




N: National Novel Writing Month


National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) occurs in November and is a time for everyone who's ever wanted to write a novel to do just that. You have a goal of 50,000 words and a deadline of 30 days. It's all about quantity over quality and getting the story out. It's an exercise in creativity and it's a lot of fun.

I've been participating for four or five years now but two years ago I decided to drag my kids into it as well. There is a great Young Writer's version where the kids (or parents) can set the word count goal. They provide excellent pre-writing worksheets that teach the elements of a story and help prepare the student for writing. And the best part? It's all FREE!*

We've set aside all but the basics for the past two Novembers and used our "school time" to concentrate on writing. This has been an excellent experience! The first year, my then 9 year old, Nicole, was the only one who completed her word count goal. This year, everyone but the high schooler (who was unable to put aside his coursework and was attempting the full 50,000) met their goal. Nicole's word count was the highest in the group, as she finished an 8,000+ word count story.









Everyone who completes their goal is considered a winner. The past couple of years (and I assume this will continue), winners were able to order a free proof copy of their book. We couldn't get our act together and edit her story the first year, so Nicole took priority this year and we managed to get the order in for her 2010 story, A Story to Sink Your Teeth Into. She is beyond thrilled to have a book in her hands that she wrote when she was ten. It's a great feeling of accomplishment and a great experience.









This year I've decided to work through The One Year Adventure Novel with everyone and so we will not be participating as a school assignment. However, my 11 and 12 year olds were horrified at the idea and asked if they could do it on their own time. I plan to join in on my own time and was thrilled that they still wanted to be a part!

I highly recommend NaNoWriMo for your homeschool, as well as you personally. It's been a wonderful part of my life and apparently my kids have felt the same. Check out the worksheets for use in September and October, spend November writing, then use February through April to edit and you have yourself a creative writing course. Fun, outside the box, and memorable. That's the kind of homeschooling I like best!


*I do donate every year and would encourage others to do the same. Even a $10 donation helps keep this program running!




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