Welcome to our monthly Spotlight on Five! ~ Writing
Welcome to our monthly Spotlight on Five!
Resistance to writing cropped up about six years into our homeschooling odyssey. At first, I thought it was a minor glitch. My oldest son had just finished an impressive report on Mexico and loved to write inventive stories as well, but now he perceived his writing course to be busy work with boring assignments. Essays were becoming a chore. My second son, who had never liked to write, was picking up on his older brother’s attitude, and I didn’t want that feeling to trickle down to their little sister.
What could I do to inspire their writing life?
I did three things that turned our writing classes from drudgery to joy (or at least something less painful).
First, we met at the same time each day. Instead of avoiding the subject, our writing class met the first thing after lunch. This turned out to be tremendously helpful because it adjusted expectations and gave a disciplined rhythm that my children appreciated.
Second, for a whole year, we scrapped the official composition curriculum. Month by month, I wrote out daily writing prompts that I thought would interest my children, and for ten minutes they would write about that day’s prompt. The prompt might be about the latest movie they’d watched, a visit from a relative, what Spider-Man might do in Peter Pan’s world, sticking their hand in a paper bag filled with rubber bands and writing a poem about how it felt, or describing how freshly baked cookies smell (and then eating them!).
Third, I wrote with them. Their writing took on significance and became legitimate when I wrote with them. It became a family activity, not just an assignment.
What do I wish I had done? My oldest son was very clever and creative in his story writing, and I wish I had understood his need to write those stories. One year, we concentrated on nonfiction writing to the detriment of his fiction writing. Although some children write stories all day long and refuse to write essays, this was not my son. He was quite capable of doing both well. Nurturing his God-given talent of writing stories while teaching him essays would have improved that year for both of us.
Do they write as adults? Some do. Some don’t. But, by far, their most treasured form of writing today, from my perspective, is cards, letters, and emails to me!
Sharon Watson and her husband Terry homeschooled for 18 years, way back before “homeschool” was in the dictionary. She has two granddaughters and lives in Indiana where she teaches composition and literature to homeschool teens. Copious writing prompts can be found in the teacher’s guides to Jump In, her middle school writing curriculum published by Apologia Press, and The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School. Sharon is also the author of Writing Fiction [in High School]. Visit her website for fun weekly writing prompts.
Take a look below at this month’s resources for additional ideas. Be sure to let us know how you teach writing in your homeschool. Email Paul and Gena Suarez and share your story. We’d love to hear about it!
November’s Spotlight on WRITING!
Institute for Excellence in Writing
- It’s enjoyable. Through video instruction with Andrew Pudewa as your teacher, both you and your children will laugh as you learn.
- It breaks down the complex process of writing. Using modeling and imitation, your student can stop worrying about what to write while he learns how to write.
- It teaches concepts incrementally. As your student progresses through the program, concepts and stylistic techniques are introduced gradually after previous concepts are mastered.
- It’s simple to evaluate. With clear parameters and expectations, your children use a checklist to complete each assignment. You learn along with your children and enjoy specific teacher instruction that prepares you to evaluate their progress.
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Middle school is a special time for language arts instruction. There is so much to cover that it seems impossible to schedule in a way that doesn’t take hours to complete. Analytical Grammar and its new companion middle school language arts program, Beyond the Book Report, are the answer.
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Beyond the Book Report is new. It is a middle school literature and writing curriculum that covers EVERYTHING your child needs to learn during these important years. Each season teaches two or three different book reports that are used as the catalyst for teaching literary analysis, newspaper writing, poetry, drama, public speaking, essays, and research papers. The curriculum comes with everything you need . . . video lectures, rubrics, activities and assignments, all scheduled and ready to go.
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Writing with the Masters
Joanne E. Juren and Karen J. Freeman, Master Teachers who passionately inspire excellence in writing, both teach Honors English and History at Home Education Partnership of Texas, Inc. Known as disciplined instructors of writing, they demand students use an Active Voice and elevated language when writing. Many of their students receive writing awards, earn AP and/or CLEP credit, and excel in college writing courses. After a decade of teaching together, Joanne E. Juren and Karen J. Freeman share with you the secrets of their great success in teaching students to write in their book . . .
Writing with the Masters . . .
What does the book include?
- Essay Maps that visually lay out the pattern for essays of various lengths.
- Tips on how to write college-level essays with step-by-step instructions.
- Tips for timed writing, test performance, and manuscript development.
- Sample writing for comparison learning.
- MLA format requirements for research papers.
- Tips for using Active and Elevated Language.
- Ideas for using collegiate rules and techniques to create powerful essays.
Writing with the Masters Lesson Plans for Grades 6-8
HEP Publishing Company
Write with WORLD is the middle school writing curriculum to help students think clearly, write powerfully, and stand out in the real world of college and career. After analyzing the poor writing that’s typical among incoming college students, we developed a practical approach based on the experience of award-winning educators and the editorial staff at God’s World News and WORLD magazine.
Cathy Duffy says…
Write with WORLD encourages students with:
- reading and critical thinking for discernment
- fascinating subjects and professional tips
- flexible exercises to build interest and confidence
- a thoughtful Christian worldview
One homeschool mom says . . .