This week on HSHSP Ep 185: Helping Teens Write Myth Fantasy, Interview with Will Hahn. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
At 7SistersHomeschool.com there are six of us: Sabrina, Vicki, Kym, Allison, Sara, Marilyn. So WHO’S the 7th Sister? YOU are!
But did you know we have *7th Brothers, too*? We do! In fact, any homeschool dad is a 7th brother when he reads, teaches or listens to 7Sisters podcasts, blogs or curriculum.
We are so excited to be joined by one of our 7th Brothers: Will Hahn. Will is a popular local homeschool dad and teacher, Will Hahn. Many of our local teens will tell you that his writing, literature and history courses are their favorites!
Will is an author also of popular several fantasy series, including The Lands of Hope (and narrator of audio versions of his books and the books of several other authors). The Lands of Hope are written in the legendary Tolkien-esque style.
One of the most popular courses that Will teaches to local homeschool high schoolers is Myth Fantasy Writing. He uses 7Sisters Homeschool Myth-Fantasy Writing Guide which is based on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic myth-fantasy genres. This is a five-week short story writing guide which guides any teen (those who love writing and those who don’t) through a step-by-step process that produces a five-page myth-fantasy short story.
BTW- For co-ops and moms who are training their teens to use a syllabus, we have a suggested syllabus for Myth Fantasy Writing that you can adapt for your needs.
Lewis and Tolkien have a pattern of writing with the plot and specific types of characters:
- Their stories include extensive backstory called the *subcreation*
- Idyllic openings
- Other steps that teens will find in the 7Sisters Myth Fantasy Writing Guide
- Specific characters such as the wise guide and friends from what should be incompatible people groups
- And most important: the return to old truths. Myth Fantasy share a thought-provoking truth in some way.
Will writes a short story each year right along with his eager (or intimidated) students. (He highly recommends this *learning right alongside our students* style of teaching…very homeschool!) Most of what he did was to tell the class how well he was doing and that the *teacher was thinking it was fantastic*!
Will’s students have written fairy tales, allegory fantasy, Greek-myth style or classic myth fantasy using the steps in the 7Sisters Myth Fantasy Writing Guides. He encourages his students to inspire their stories by thinking about life, about things that concern them, things that they want to wrestle with.
Will finds that homeschool high schoolers who use the Frankenstein model of writing: You wait and wait until suddenly one night at midnight, lightning strikes and a fully created writer emerges. Will reminds them that as soon as the monster opens his eyes, his creator hates him.
Advice from Will Hahn about teaching 7Sisters Myth Fantasy Writing Guide:
- Follow the weekly format and daily lessons in the guide. (This is a five-week curriculum that produces a five-page myth fantasy short story.)
- Don’t overdo this first five-page story. You can add to it later…hey, turn it into a book.
- The five-page format is SO achievable to most homeschool high schoolers. Most kids are not going to be writers, but they will grow up with a story to tell: maybe they will carve wood or work in an office. Teens who have written a truth story, a myth-fantasy story gain some skills in telling the stories of life.
- Don’t skip drawing the map.
- One student who was very down to earth wanted a far-north story. She used Google Earth to find the most northern village in America. She used this for her map and the inspiration for her story.
- If teaching in a class setting, have the students each week read an excerpt, for instance: the first sentence of the story. Then share the completed story at the end.
Like all 7Sisters curriculum, the Myth Fantasy Short Story Writing Guide is adaptable:
- Honors-level credit by following instructions for a longer paper
- Tips for adapting the assignments with *average* or more struggling learners
- Help homeschool high schoolers find their own stories to tell. 7Sisters Guides are intentionally adaptable but remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool.
The writing guides also include a rubric for grading.
Did you know that 7Sisters offers other short story writing guides? While the guides can be completed in any order, here is the traditional order:
- Family Narrative (for novice short story writers)
- Tall Tales (for intermediate short story writers)
- Myth Fantasy (for more experienced short story writers) (Here’s an excerpt.)
- There is also a Holiday Family Narrative that is loads of fun and a Creative Chronicling guide that will amaze you and your teens.
Join Sabrina, Vicki and Will Hahn for a delightful story of teaching Myth Fantasy writing to your homeschool high schoolers! Check out Will and his writings at:
- At Will’s website there is a delightful series on *Classic Books You’ve Never Read*, you should check it out. (7Sisters also shares one of our favorite of Will’s classics series about *A Christmas Carol*.)
- There’s a delightful two and one-half minute video at top of the page
- Sign up for his newsletter, he will send his *Gentle Reminders* newsletter with a few short stories and other news.
- Check out his Lands of Hopes fantasy novels (on Kindle, audio or print at Amazon).
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