Teaching Writing – Is It Always a Challenge?
June 7, 2023
Writing Can Be Enjoyable
You say you need more time? You say you need two (or ten) of you, cloned, so you get it all done? You say you’re just a hamster running on a wheel? Don’t fall for that lie.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, ESV).
Look around. Because you put your trust in Him, the important stuff is actually happening. You’re so good at prioritizing! And even though you eventually DO get it all done, at the top of your list are those little eyes, those precious hearts you minister to, first.
You’re the one who taught them to read. You taught them to write those first letters, then words, then sentences. Now you may be working on paragraphs and essays. It doesn’t have to be a challenge. With the right materials, teaching writing can be downright enjoyable. Your elementary school students might like Adventures in Writing. For middle and high school students, both Benjamin Franklin Writing Method and Classics-Based Writing are great options, and you can find them all at SchoolhouseTeachers.com, so make sure you have a family membership. And these articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine have some great suggestions, too:
So explore some different ways to teach writing, and see what works best for your students. Then you can rest. Slow down. Take joy in those quiet moments when your kids are sweetly working or doing what they’ve been asked to do. Think for a moment about the God who saved all of you. Has He not been merciful? He loves you even more than you love your own children. He is the Author of love, and what a privilege that we are His.
Walk confidently, Mama, knowing that the Lord and Savior of this world, Jesus Christ, is your Rock. Your Strength. Your Refuge. And He will give you the wisdom to teach your kids in a way that they best learn. It’s about discipleship; education falls under that umbrella and please do not forget that. Your perspective will change for the better.
See? His hand is on your head today. Daughter of the King, Mama the Discipler. Yes, that is you, the one learning more each day the importance of discipling these kiddos to His glory. You’re doing it well.
“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62:7).
GRAMMAR—DON’T LEAVE SCHOOL WITHOUT IT!
Are your 7th–12th graders Grammar Literate? In other words, do they possess the WRITING SKILLS that will ensure they are meeting the expected writing requirements of most colleges and universities and the GRAMMAR KNOWLEDGE necessary for them to ace the grammar-related questions on the ACT, SAT, and other standardized tests? If the answer is “NO,” then making your 7th–12th graders GRAMMAR LITERATE should be your NUMBER ONE GRAMMAR GOAL!
Here are FIVE REASONS why your 7th–12th graders need to become GRAMMAR LITERATE:
1. They will write complete sentences consistently and not write fragments or run-on sentences.
2. They will write clearer and more concise sentences because they will be able to identify and delete unnecessary words and rewrite wordy elements in sentences.
3. They will avoid usage and punctuation errors because they will possess the grammatical terminology necessary to apply usage, mechanics, and punctuation rules to sentences correctly.
4. They will improve their oral communication skills by having a greater understanding of the usage rules of standard English.
5. They will earn higher grades not only in their writing classes but also in other classes. (Studies show that all grades across the board are indexed to English grammar proficiency.)
SO HOW CAN YOU ENSURE THAT YOUR 7th–12th GRADERS BECOME GRAMMAR LITERATE?
The answer is EGUMPP! English Grammar Usage Mechanics Punctuation Program is a proven online grammar program that will make your 7th–12th graders GRAMMAR LITERATE. EGUMPP has four self-study modules. Each module includes interactive exercises and repetitious drills that result in students acquiring a complete understanding of SENTENCE STRUCTURE and the GRAMMAR TERMINOLOGY necessary to interpret and apply the rules of usage, mechanics, and punctuation to their sentences correctly. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND TRY EGUMPP.
Teaching Writing: Challenging? Yes.
Worth it? Always
“I don’t like to write, but I love having written” has been quoted by so many famous authors dating back to the early 1900s that investigators can’t ascribe the sentiment to one author alone.
The feeling is a shared experience. Let’s recognize the short attention span and unorganized thoughts we humans naturally have by default. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that the struggle to put pen to paper leads to negative feelings and procrastination. It happens in adults and especially in children. It’s no wonder that when it comes to teaching our young ones how to compose, we sometimes shelve the subject of writing.
Writing is thinking, and the brain does not like to struggle. However, of all the academic skills your children will take with them into the future, the skill of writing will open more opportunities than just about any other academic subject. Most modern job interviews begin with demonstrating whether or not you can write an effective email. Every career depends on clear, organized thoughts, spoken and written.
Teaching writing is challenging. If I teach math, there is only one answer to the problem. If I teach reading, the word has a specific pronunciation, spelling, and definition. Not so in writing; one can craft a sentence or structure a composition differently and still be correct.
This is sophisticated stuff.
Here’s an extra challenge: looming over society is the dark shadow of an AI world. I can already hear the children of the next generation saying, “Why do I need to learn to write? An AI app can do that.” AI writing apps are just one more layer to dumbing down the human race, and those who learn to write well will be the clear thinkers of tomorrow.
More than ever, writing instruction must take top priority in your homeschool!
Honor the growth and development of your young writer by normalizing every step and emotion of the writing process and becoming your child’s favorite editor.
There’s growth in the struggle and joy in “. . . but I love having written.”
I wouldn’t want to deprive my students of that!
About the author
Beth Mora is creator/teacher-on-camera for Here to Help Learning’s Homeschool Writing Program (grades 1–6) and homeschool conference and women’s events speaker. She loves to blog at Home to Home. She serves up HTHL’s Writing Tip of the Week for those teaching their kiddos to write. Everything she does, whether laughable or heart-gripping, is done to honor One. God’s grace is the salve that has healed her own life and is what she offers liberally to others.
The Reluctant Writer
Most of us have at least one or two reluctant writers . . . kids who take to writing like fish take to pudding. I know we’ve run the whole gamut at our house. I have one daughter who has written several books* and some who can barely write a sentence.
My simple advice to encourage your reluctant writer is to let him write without fear of failure or correction. Have your kids self-correct their own spelling tests, and when you have them write in elementary, don’t correct their work, just let them write . . . and write . . . without fear. They can learn about grammar when the time comes, but just getting them to write is the important part. Do not let yourself tear it apart with corrections. Leave the misspellings. It’s okay.
I believe some of “our” kids are afraid to write a single sentence because we as parents swoop in to correct their many mistakes. “You forgot to put the period at the end of the sentence. You forgot to start with a capital letter. You don’t need a comma there. You do need one here. I can barely read your handwriting. You write like a two-year-old,” etc.
I’m telling you, I’d be afraid to write if I were treated like that. Just let your kids write without fear of being wrong. And by the way, YOU don’t need to be afraid either. I think one of the reasons we drive our kids and kill the love of writing (or school for that matter) is because we don’t want them to embarrass us or not be able to get a job because we didn’t make them write enough.
I hear story after story of kids who didn’t write until they needed to write. And guess what? Then THEY WROTE . . . and did fine (some of them even became writers). I saw it happen with one of our kids as well. And if your kids never enjoy writing, that’s okay, too.
Just relax, and . . .
*You can get my daughter’s books here. Your pre-teen, early-teen daughters are going to love them!
About the author
Todd Wilson is a husband, dad, grandpa, writer, homeschool conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and down to earth realness have made him a favorite speaker all across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. As founder of The Familyman and The Smiling Homeschooler, his passion and mission are to remind moms and dads of what’s most important through weekly emails, podcasts, seminars, and books that encourage parents. Todd, and his wife Debbie, homeschool four of their eight children (the other four are homeschool graduates) in northern Indiana and travel America in the Familyman Mobile. You can read more at www.familymanweb.com.
Pillar of Faith
Enticing Your Child to Write
With three children each having reading and information processing issues, I’ve found that coaxing them to write something . . . anything . . . can be a challenge. With summer upon us, we want to keep those skills sharp. Here are some things that were winners for our family:
- Pen pals: a friendly way to have accountability (and collect stamps!)
- Email: create a monitored email account for emailing friends and family
- Sermon notes and prayer lists: get students an attractive blank book expressly for this purpose
- Word games: crosswords, cryptograms, and word searches are fun to do together and encourage good spelling
- Blogging: help students set up their own blog as a place that is all their own
- Journaling: get a nice journal they love and some quality pens
- Writing prompts: find silly, intriguing, or historical images to inspire your children to write a paragraph or story
- Set up a family post box in the house: supply the kids with note cards/stationery/stickers to leave notes for one another. Don’t forget to write some yourself!
- For the littles: writing on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or fun tablet can feel special. My kids loved using dry erase markers and writing spelling words on our glass table, the back door, a window . . .
About the author
Diane Heeney is a graduate of Bob Jones University, where she served on faculty for ten years. She has been Assistant to the Director of Advertising Sales at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine since 2016. She’s homeschooled her three children over the course of the past eighteen years, having graduated their two oldest. Diane, her husband Patrick, and their youngest child, Katie, reside in eastern Wyoming.
Look What’s Happening in Virginia:
June 8–10, 2023
40th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention
Meet Heather Vogler of The Old Schoolhouse®. Heather will be at the HEAV table to answer SchoolhouseTeachers.com questions.
You have kept them home, taught them well, and prepared them for life. The time is coming when your high schooler will graduate, spread their wings, and fly. The team that has walked beside you through the homeschooling years is ready to illuminate the path into post-secondary education. The Old Schoolhouse® is pleased to offer Homeschool College Directory & Resources, filled with colleges vying for the attention of homeschoolers. Plus, discover invaluable articles specific to this stage of life and other helpful resources to keep your grad on the right path.
Did you know?
Every class is INCLUDED for ultimate members!
Shouldn’t writing be fun? What makes some children hate to write? What causes writer’s block? The Help Me Teach My Student to Write course just for parents shares insight into practical ways to conquer some of the problems reluctant writers face, implement fresh teaching strategies, and help students gain confidence as writers. Get help today at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Hey, Mama! Wouldn’t you like to pause from your busy day and listen in to experts and homeschool parents like you about the beautiful world of homeschooling? This new podcast is designed for you. Each episode connects you to the best conversations that will give you courage and fill your cup so you can keep pouring into your family every single day. Introducing, the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Show—brought to you by The Old Schoolhouse®—your trusted homeschool partner for over twenty years.
Do you like teaching writing in your homeschool? Even if putting thoughts on paper comes naturally to you, teaching writing can be tricky. Deborah Wuehler, the senior editor of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, shares ideas and tips as she talks rewriting, polishing, moving words around, and more in “Teaching Writing—Is It Always a Challenge?” It’s Episode Nineteen of the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Show. Find the show notes, filled with resources on today’s topic, at HomeschoolShow.com.
Warning: if you read this article, you may be compelled to venture away on a field trip, so be prepared. Four inviting field trip destinations included. Which place would your family pick? (More for your homeschool on TOSApps.com.)
The Mama of all homeschool planners is here. Capture your wildest ideas for 2023–2024 with the Schoolhouse SmartMama Planner brought to you by The Old Schoolhouse®. Customizable for any size family, this planner is unique, and smart—like you. Yours to download or print for $29 (US) through June 9.
Looking for smart curriculum choices too? SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership provides over 400 courses for all of your students. And, your membership comes with a free Schoolhouse SmartMama Planner.
Fresh homeschool helps are waiting for you inside the Summer issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Take your pick of articles on fun and educational field trips, special needs homeschooling, celebrating music, choosing books, and all the topics you care about. Limited quantities available so grab your copy now before they’re gone. GrabIssue.com. Then plan on a little extra sunshine and a little extra time for reading. And mama? Nice job on another year of homeschooling.
Congratulations to our April winner, Rochelle Burgess of Covina, California!
for the month of June
Growing the Fruit of the Spirit
Kris M. Cox Educational Services
This is a 326-page spiral-bound book. There are ten chapters in the book, and each chapter has five lessons. The first chapter of the book is an introduction to the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23). The remaining nine chapters cover each of the fruits listed in the Bible verse.
I used this book as our Bible study time during our homeschool day. This book could be used in homeschool, as a family devotional, in a church group, or by anyone wanting to learn more about the fruits of the Spirit. Each lesson has a devotional or study to read and discuss. At the end of each lesson, there are activities to choose from to further understand and remember the Bible verse. These activities include options for all ages.
We usually read through the lesson and work on the memory verse during lunch then complete the activity after lunch. I have found an activity with each lesson that is great for my kids’ ages and abilities. Some examples of the activities are making an “I am thankful” jar, making a gratitude collage, making thank you notes, playing the gratitude game, or coloring the following picture. These examples are from chapter three, lesson two, about the fruit of the Spirit that is Joy. My sons especially enjoyed the Gratitude Game, which involved sharing something they were thankful for based on the color of M&M they picked from a jar.
Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN the book Growing the Fruit of the Spirit.
4th of July: A Nation Built on Freedom
Discover patriotic quotations from great men and women in this 160-page eBook. As your child reads and copies these quotations, his grammar, handwriting, and punctuation skills will improve, and he will be exposed to important thoughts about liberty.
Presidential Word Search
Click on the image for the full free printable pdf.
Share this newsletter with a friend, and be sure to let those CONSIDERING homeschooling know about the enormous FREE info-pack which awaits them here: www.TryHomeschooling.com.
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