As we celebrate National Homeschool Month throughout September, I’d like to tell you about another special month that is right around the corner. November is National Novel Writing Month. You may wonder what that has to do with homeschool, but let me assure you that the corresponding Young Writers Program is a great way to encourage writing and creativity in any school setting.
The Young Writers Program began in 2005, as an extension of NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month). Both are operated by The Office of Letters and Light, a non-profit organization. NaNoWriMo challenges writers of all ages to write 50,000 words of a novel in just 30 days, and takes place each November. The Young Writers Program was formed as a response to educators who wanted to bring the program into the classroom. It allows writers 17 and younger to set their own word count goals, set up online user profiles, and access helpful forums, writing resources, and pep talks from staff and published authors. For educators, the program provides downloadable Common Core-aligned lesson plans, workbooks, and other resources.
Personally, I was unaware of these programs until last November, when my youngest son, then a high school senior, told me that one of his friends was participating in NaNoWriMo. “Na-no-what-o?” I asked. “National Novel Writing Month,” he explained, giving me a quick summary of the event. Intrigued, I checked out their website and was delighted with my findings. Busy with other projects at the time, my son declined my suggestion that he participate. However, I signed up for NaNoWriMo that very day and began writing. The experience was amazing. I enjoyed the opportunity to pursue creative writing on a daily basis. The word count goal provided the drive and “permission” for me to write. The forums and pep talks proved to be great resources. This year, I have participated in two more NaNoWriMo events (Camp NaNoWriMo was held in April and July). Through the online forums, I have met several teens and young adults who have participated in the Young Writers Program. They all share a love of writing and a desire to continue their writing endeavors into adulthood.
As a homeschool mom, I have always enjoyed finding a favorite new educational resource. Sadly, I didn’t discover the Young Writers Program in time to use it with my own sons, who have both graduated, but I would highly recommend it to any educator. I have found it to be an inspirational, informative program. I encourage you to check out the Young Writers Program – Resources for Educators. Then, as you plan your writing curriculum for the new school year, be sure to browse through our own Writing section for support materials.
Posted by Carol Welch, abcteach staff writer
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