TheHomeSchoolMom is offering a set of printable prompts for each month of the academic year with ideas to start kids off if they need it. Continue reading »
Journaling is a great writing activity because it’s very adaptable. Journal prompts are only limited by your imagination. A great extension of journaling is writing a day in the life story. Homeschooling families make excellent and interesting subjects--there’s always something going on... Continue reading »
Children's minds are bubbling over with stories -- funny stories, anecdotes about life going on around them, recaps of play dates with friends, and tall tales that grow taller by the minute. As a long-time homeschool mom, it was my job to tap into those bubbles of creativity and help my children put words to those amazing stories. That's not as easy as it sounds. Continue reading »
Your child can't hold a pencil very well? Your child thinks faster than she can write? Your child's handwriting is illegible? Your child can't compose in writing even though he can tell you a great story?
Your child might benefit from having a scribe. Continue reading »
"Bring me bad writing," I told my two homeschool co-op classes of middle school and elementary age writers. "Incorrect writing, wrong apostrophes, sentence fragments, typos, passive voice. Horrible stuff. Bring it."
The next week, they marched in with an array of bad writing they'd found on websites, on convenience store signs, on gas pumps, in a letter from a college administrator, in text books, in novels, and in their own journals.
They had snapped photos, hand copied passages, bookmarked pages, and printed screen shots. Continue reading »
Part I of Homeschool High School Composition gives an overview of how to approach teaching homeschool composition. It is important to read it before using the assignments below, since it is a different perspective for teaching composition. Below are the assignments for composition using this part-to-whole process. The assignments use the UNC Writing Center's free online resources. Continue reading »
The Writing Center at UNC has put together a large collection of writing resources for college writing that are excellent tools for teaching homeschool high school composition. The center's printables and videos offer detailed explanations about research, sourcing, organization, editing and proofreading, voice, fallacies, thesis statements, and dozens of other writing topics. The resources are arranged alphabetically, making them easy to find by topic but not offering much in the way of an orderly progression for teaching. The following is a suggested order of study for using the resources for composition for a homeschooled high school student. In our case, we used this for a literature composition, but literature compositions can be the most difficult type to write. It might be more effective to initially use the process with a topic of choice instead of an essay on a particular book. Continue reading »
Sometimes in homeschooling, it just takes the right tool to make the biggest impact. Well, I’ve found one that has completely transformed writing for our family.
Writing is often a skill that challenges many students, because even if they have a strong command of grammar, it can be challenging to put words together in a way that is persuasive, interesting, and impactful. Even worse – many students struggle to summarize from sources when they are doing research, without plagiarizing the original source. Simply understanding source documents can also be daunting for many children, when they are introduced to research writing. Continue reading »
Some of my favorite children’s books are also wonderful learning resources you can use instead of curriculum. Among these are the oversize children’s classics about mythology by the d’Aulaires. The D'Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and the D'Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths delighted all my kids when they were pre-readers through their late elementary years, and I found that the understanding of mythology they learned from these books persisted through their middle school and high school years, when they needed to spot and comprehend literary allusions to mythology. Continue reading »
A new year has arrived for our homeschool co-op, and I'm delighted to have a new bunch of kids to write with. Last year, I led ongoing weekly writing workshops for our high schoolers and middle schoolers. This quarter, I get to work with our elementary age writers. This gave me a chance to get started with my unorthodox approach to helping kids with their writing. Continue reading »
A great project for the New Year is making a calendar with your little ones. I'm talking about making a calendar the old fashioned way, using fresh heavy art paper and your favorite combination of markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or other media. I first got this idea from the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum which I loosely followed from time to time and adapted for other ages as my family grew. Continue reading »
My co-op kids have had fun with the warm-up we often do for our homeschool writers group. Before we begin writing and critiquing, we warm up with oral word games. In our writers group, by the time we've finished with the word warm-ups, the ice is broken, and the linguistic gears are well-oiled. We're ready to settle down to read our poetry and short stories and practice offering precise and supportive critiques of what each of us has written. Continue reading »
I have always said that excellent writing is the key to success in almost any subject. With a 9th grader in the house this year, we are focusing on writing, writing, and more writing. Initially, we are working on putting together all of the things we've studied up to this point: grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, organization, and concision. Putting it all together into a written assignment can be overwhelming, so I came up with a self-editing writing checklist for my daughter to use. I was looking for a little more practice in writing mechanics when Time4Writing offered us a chance to try out their High School Writing Mechanics course. Continue reading »
For high school English, we have been working on refining the proper use of grammar, punctuation, and the elements of composition. In order to make sure that my daughter is thoroughly proof-reading her work before she turns it in, I came up with this Self-Editing Checklist. Continue reading »
Challenge your 4th-8th graders to write 100-word stories! Not only will this activity appeal to more reluctant writers, it helps drive home the importance of writing descriptive, concise sentences. Continue reading »
Spring has sprung... along with a serious bout of spring fever! How can you help your children stay on task while allowing them to revel in the joy of an April morning? For a welcome break, why not take writing outdoors now and then as the weather beckons?
Continue reading »
Writing a composition doesn't necessarily mean starting from scratch. As your children practice writing different kinds of paragraphs, stories, articles, and short reports, you can help them expand their skills by tweaking a piece of writing they completed in the past. What a great way to get more mileage out of a writing assignment! Let me share six tips for taking a former piece of writing to a whole new level. Continue reading »
Pre-writing activities disguised as games make it so much more fun to learn and practice skills. Depending on the activity, you can teach or reinforce spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. One of my family's new favorites, Speed Scrabble (also known as Boardless Scrabble), would be a terrific way to address both spelling and vocabulary. Continue reading »
Because writing is a process of discovery, it's doubtful that your student’s first draft will be his best work. Mind you, he will beg to differ. Why, he already likes it the way it is! But whether or not he agrees that his composition should be edited, the truth is that every paper benefits from a second opinion. No matter how many times your child reads and re-reads his own writing, it’s easy for him to miss typos, grammar goofs, or awkward sentences. He knows what he meant to say, so that’s what he sees. Continue reading »
As homeschool parents often discover, there is no one right way for a child to learn to write. We often try various methods, curricula, tools, and motivations. What might work beautifully for one child may, for another, bring tears—our child’s and our own! Continue reading »