How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick. How to build your teen's confidence for writing.

How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick

Some teens are born writers. Many are not. Today our friend, Kat Patrick of Dreaming Spires Home Learning shares tips for building confidence and getting unstuck for teens who do not like writing.

Kat, who was born in Texas but married an Oxford professor and lived in England for twenty-five years, has been with us for three episodes already:

And Kat’s daughter, Lauren Patrick joined us right before she headed off to her freshman year at Mt. Holyoke University

Some of Kat’s teens have been enthusiastic writers but some were reluctant writers. Kat has used Charlotte Mason’s phases of developing a happy writer in helping her reluctant writers. Here are the phases as Kat teaches them in seminars and in her Dreaming Spires courses:

Got a reluctant writer? Build confidence by learning in phases. - Kat Patrick

What do I mean by writing?

  • Handwriting is the first stage.
    • Believe it or not, this is so important. It helps develop the brain and skills in capturing words.
      • As Vicki points out that when she is working with her counseling clients, she tells them that handwriting a gratitude list actually helps some of the calm-down parts of the brain.
      • Kat points out that this skill also helps develop attention and memorization along with picturing words in their heads
      • It also helps develop vocabulary and sentence-creation skills
    • You can use copywork to develop this skill.
      • Copy quotes by hand
      • Copy Scripture by hand
      • Copy poetry by hand

Reading and telling back what you are reading is important to good writing

  • Kat recommends a book Know and Tell by Karen Glass that helps explain this skills
  • Teens can read and explain their reading to their mom.
  • This will help them build comprehension and inferential skills.
  • It also helps teens learn to capture their thoughts in a non-threatening way.

Then begin to write these ideas on in a jotting sort of way

  • Just jot ideas from on paper with no stress, no rules
  • Eventually, mom can ask for 150 words, then 200, etc
  • Then use this as the basis for a composition

Eventually, teens will learn to use these skills for composition

  • Ask teens to identify their audience
  • Ask teens to understand the format or genre of their composition
  • A good composition to start with is letter writing
  • Then write a journalistic/newspaper style article
    • You write a who-what-when-where-why type paragraph to start
    • Fill in interesting details afterwards
    • Try out a news feature followed by a lifestyle feature
    • You can use a pro-forma/template to simply plug in the details to get your teens started
  • Move onto the five-paragraph essay
    • Check out’s Introductory Guide to Essay Writing to get your teens started with these essays.
      • 7Sisters Writing guides take reluctant writers step-by-step through their first essays. Teens tell us the guides really help them learn the skills and gain confidence in their ability to write.
    • If a teen gets excited about essays, have them write about something they are passionate about.
      • Ask them to write an essay that is as long as they wish (much more than five paragraphs)
      • Kat explains that her formerly reluctant writer son has written long essays about:
        • Japanese jazz
        • Characters that he is impressed with in the books he is reading

Kat invites everyone to check out Dreaming Spires Home Learning. Dreaming Spires uses a college-model for education, with live classes once per week and assignments that last the rest of the week. Kat has students from around the world using the Charlotte Mason method for homeschooling high school. Classes this year include:

  • Literature
  • Composition
  • World Languages
  • Advanced Algebra and Probability
  • Sciences
  • History
  • Art History and Appreciation
  • Bible

Check out thisHomeschool Highschool Podcast interview with Carol Anne Swett about credits for reluctant learners

Join Vicki and Kat for some practical tips for developing writing skills in reluctant writers!


  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!


  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*

7Sisters email subscribers receive periodic practical encouragement, special offers and NO SPAM EVER.

Sign Up for Emails
Click the image above to periodically receive real homeschool value in your inbox.

How to Help Reluctant Writers, Interview with Kat Patrick

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *