Welcome to our monthly Spotlight on Five! ~ Writing

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Welcome to our monthly Spotlight on Five


How I Rescued our Homeschool Writing Class

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

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

Analytical Grammar

Brave Writer

Writing with the Masters

Write with WORLD


Institute for Excellence in Writing 


Institute for Excellence in Writing

The Old Schoolhouse® 2013 Excellence in Education Award Recipient! 
Whether you are teaching a kindergartener or a high school student, IEW’s enjoyable, effective, and simple-to-use method for teaching writing is guaranteed to work!
Why do families love IEW?
  • 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.
  • It’s guaranteed! We offer a no-time-limit, 100% money-back guarantee on everything we sell!
Where should you start? Click here:


Analytical Grammar


Analytical Grammar

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.

You’ve heard of Analytical Grammar. It’s one of Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschoolers. It’s a systematic, easy-to-teach, mastery-level grammar, punctuation, and usage program.

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.

Use code TOS2013 to save 10% on any of our products through December 10th.

Teaching language arts doesn’t have to be time-consuming or frustrating. Let Analytical Grammar and Beyond the Book Report make your middle school language arts meaningful, rich, and doable! See more at


Brave Writer

Brave Writer

Do you need to rescue a reluctant writer? Inspire a resilient one? Learn to become the best writing coach and ally to your child that you can be without ruining your relationship! Brave Writer offers unique products and writing programs that enhance the parent-child editor-writer relationship and produce quality writing–the sort that not only sounds like your child but meets academic standards too!
The majority of writing curricula focus on teaching writing formats and the structure of writing. Brave Writer starts with you and your child–giving you specific writing practices and tools to use to draw out the language and insight that lives inside your child. Then you will be guided in how to shape and enhance that writing so that both you and your child enjoy the revision process.
Brave Writer offers online classes for students 8-18, writing manuals (one for parents learning to teach writing and one for teens learning high school writing formats), and language arts programs that feature living literature, copywork, dictation, and the study of literary elements!
Save your writing program and your relationship with your child. Find out why Brave Writer works!


Writing with the Masters 


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 . . . 


the writing book that elevates writing to a new level! 


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.

Coming soon: 

Writing with the Masters Lesson Plans for Grades 6-8

HEP Publishing Company


Write with WORLD


Write with WORLD
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 stands out . . . because it is ‘mission minded.’ It has a very clear goal of training young men and women to be excellent communicators who can think and write from within a Christian worldview . . . I expect that the purposeful nature of this course will be a very positive motivational force for both eager and struggling writers.”

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 . . .


“This is the best middle school writing curriculum that I’ve been able to find and I’ve searched high and low for one. I love that they actually teach the kids to think before writing.”
Jennifer W. – 800-951-5437



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