Writing is one of those subjects that can be difficult to teach in our homeschools. That is especially true if we are encountering resistance from our kids. You can lead a child to a piece of paper, but you can’t make him write!
As the years go by, our kids who struggle to write can develop quite an aversion to putting anything on paper. My sons have both been reluctant writers. One of my sons required surgery on his hand when he was preschool age, and he had to do physical therapy on the thumb of his dominant hand for several months. And even years later, he had a hard time bending his thumb normally.
Because of this physical limitation, I found myself taking it easy on him when it came to writing things down. I would have my son dictate his answers to me, and I would act as his scribe. My son LOVED this method of learning. He didn’t have to struggle to write anything down. And his lessons were finished more quickly than they otherwise might have been. That was a win as far as he was concerned.
Over time, I started to realize what was happening, and I began to try to get my son to do more writing on his own. But unfortunately, the damage was done. This son became a reluctant writer. It had started with the physical act of writing, but it very quickly progressed to the subject of writing. No matter what curriculum we tried, this son struggled to write even one sentence, let alone paragraphs.
Writing became an extremely frustrating subject for me to teach!
I knew that sometimes it helped to let time pass and allow your child to mature before you continue trying to push forward. And other times, our kids benefit from us pushing them to do their very best. So, as a result, our writing lessons became a strange mixture of my pushing my son to write for a while and then backing off and falling into our old patterns.
This went on for a while. As my son approached the middle school years, I realized I needed to get him some help. First, I was fortunate enough to discover Dianne Craft and her brain training techniques, which help kids to develop the proper connections in their brains to make writing less of an effort.
Once my son felt more comfortable with the physical act of writing, we moved on to actually writing sentences and paragraphs. We tried just about every writing program out there, with varying degrees of success. My son steadily progressed with his writing ability. This past fall, we were fortunate to discover a writing program that has made a huge difference for my son. This program is called WriteShop I/II.
I am being compensated for my time, but I purchased this product myself and I chose to write about this product because it has had a positive impact on my own sons.
WriteShop I/II has made my job of teaching writing much more simple. The teacher’s manual doesn’t leave you guessing. It gives detailed information not only for planning out your year but also for organizing your weeks and your individual lessons.
WriteShop I/II Lesson Format
The WriteShop I/II program does not assume that homeschool moms know how to teach their kids how to write. And it doesn’t assume that your students have any prior writing ability. Each lesson contains the following:
- Pre-writing Activities – This includes games, definitions, explanations, and teaches the necessary skills for that lesson.
- Practice Paragraph – The practice paragraph, a group activity you do together on a large whiteboard, will help to remove any anxiety your child may have about completing the lesson. Once they have been through the process once, it is much easier for them to repeat the process on their own.
- Brainstorming – There are several methods of brainstorming that are taught to the students so that they won’t be as likely to stare at their blank paper and experience writer’s block.
- Sloppy Copy – Students are trained to write without focusing on spelling, punctuation, or grammar.
- First Revision – Students are given checklists and are led through this process.
- Parent Editing Day – WriteShop also gives us checklists to help with the editing process.
- Final Draft – After you give your child feedback on their work, the students create a final draft of their writing.
- Grading – WriteShop also provides evaluation forms with which to grade our child’s writing. These are immensely valuable in knowing how to give proper grades.
The WriteShop I/II program is also laid out in such a way that you can complete all the lessons in one, two, or three years. This is a wonderful feature because it allows you to move at the best pace for your child.
Teaching Writing to Older Kids
There are some benefits to teaching writing to older kids:
- They are more mature and are able to move at a faster pace
- They better understand the need for writing
- They have more life experience, which helps them in the brainstorming process
Older students need to start preparing for tests, for college, and for life after high school. WriteShop I/II is an excellent tool to use with older kids as it teaches advanced writing topics that are beneficial to our teens, such as:
- Various Types of Essays
- Letters to the Editor
- Letters to the Editor
- Timed Essays
If you are attempting to teach writing to older kids, and you’re looking for a program that spells everything out for you, check out WriteShop I/II. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to teach writing with these materials.
Do you feel confident teaching writing in your homeschool? Do you feel comfortable grading your kids’ writing? If you have any tips you can share with us, please leave a comment below.
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Blog Hop.