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  • What About Writing?

    writing-jpgOne of the things I see over and over in homeschool forums and in homeschool-related email groups is a fear of teaching writing. I don’t know if it is because we didn’t feel like we got adequate writing instruction ourselves, or we just put so much emphasis on the importance of strong writing skills. Truth is, though, that those of us with a B.A. in Writing aren’t immune to this fear. I find myself sort of hoping all that reading my kids do will simply “rub off” on them without me having to do much actual instruction in writing! But I am also a realist. So I’ve been doing some research lately on some very cool online helps for teaching writing to your homeschoolers of all ages.

    • I think I’ve mentioned before the great online writing classes at Time4Writing. Each of my boys has taken some of these courses and they are so well done! There are classes for every student level – - from elementary to high school and college prep!
    • For a quick writing refresher, there are some neat Writing Videos at neoK12.
    • GrammarGirl is a fun and easy way to get your teens excited about writing. She has terrific podcasts, a Facebook fan page, and even some actual paperback books with a quirky, fun style.
    • There is no better way to get young kids excited about writing than by letting them create their own picture book.
    • If you have boys, like I do, then you know how powerful graphic novels can be on motivation to write. Maybe you already have dozens and dozens of pages of cartoon-style writing sitting around on your coffee table. If so, one online tool you might want to check out is Lulu.com. Lulu helps you self publish anything you want – - even graphic novels – - and turn it into a nice hardcover book, if you like. (Talk about a great birthday idea!)
    • If your kids keep a journal, or you like the idea of having them journal as a daily writing assignment, you will appreciate the writing prompts at Writing Fix.
    • And some of my favorite all-time writing tools for students can be found at ReadWriteThink. Take your time and check them all out.

    I’m going to TRY to feel a little less daunted by homeschooling writing in the near future…how about you?? Do you have any favorite writing programs or tools that make teaching writing less intimidating?
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Stella M's Avatar
      Stella M -
      Write yourself. Blog, write poems, stories, funny notes, letters, anything! Model that writing is a rewarding challenge and something people do to communicate as a matter of course.

      Talk about writing - the great article you read in the paper, the book you just enjoyed, read aloud a poem, try your hand at an essay.

      Provide access to paper, pens, computer.
      Find out if anyone else you know wants to get together to talk about writing or share their own work.

      Go to writers festivals, bookshops, libraries. Listen to radio programs about books and writing.

      Write a family newspaper together. Write a book with friends, each taking turs with a chapter. Type up your little one's stories and get him to illustrate.

      Make poems or stories or articles to give as presents. Search out places that publish young people's creative work. Send your own work to a competition or a forum.

      Do it and they might want to do it to.
    1. Stella M's Avatar
      Stella M -
      Oh, and the GrammarGirl link looks great, thanks for posting it. All the links look good
      I just think modelling is the no 1 way to teach. It helps to have great tools like the ones you mentioned as well though.
    1. VocabSpellingCity-Mayor's Avatar
      VocabSpellingCity-Mayor -
      I'm writing as a parent. Writing is best when it's genuine. I have found with my kids that sometimes I'll write them a letter. When they go to their room, boom! There's a letter in an envelope on their bed addressed to them. To encourage a response, I put some questions in the letter and a blank page in the letter for them to respond. This gives them an authentic writing purpose. I've also tried to write family letters, where we each write a paragraph, to their grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles.

      Also, as mayor of VocabularySpellingCity, there are great writing practice exercises on our site which can be used starting in 3rd grade.
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