I’ve used some of the best homeschool writing curriculum; I hope you’ll benefit from my experience. Also, I’m going to help you hone your goals. Your goals are key to choosing a homeschool writing course which works for your family.
Then, I’ll share some quick comparisons between the best homeschool writing curriculum. Besides, what is the best homeschool writing program during the elementary years is not always the best writing course in high school.
First, look at how I honed my writing goals and standards for my children. This is your beginning point. Isolate your goals with clarity.
4 Ways to Identify the Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum
- Identify what type of writing curriculum your family needs now. A curriculum can include the physical act of learning how to write which is penmanship. In addition, it may only be the mental part of writing which is composition. Penmanship is learned in the early grades; a good rule of thumb for beginning composition is fourth grade.
- Narrow down the choices to either a complete language arts course or just the writing component. I prefer to keep language arts separated components because my children were at different levels. From my experience, my children learned better by not heaping grammar, reading, and spelling into one lump. Isolating just to composition or writing courses helped my children to learn the art of writing.
- Understand that learning how to write is an interactive skill but that doesn’t mean it should always be learned online. Although I didn’t have experience teaching composition when I started, I chose detailed teaching manuals so I could understand the writing process. I’ve learned that most children just need a caring adult to guide them even if they choose an online course. So, even if you choose an online writing course, your writer, no matter the age still needs you.
- Be sure these vital components can be identified in a writing curriculum: brainstorming tips, prewriting, drafting, editing/rewriting, and publishing.
Homeschool Writing Courses for Elementary Students
Next, look at these writing courses I used for varying purposes and times through my journey.
In my children’s early years, I used curriculum which encouraged copywork, but equally important was what was being copied.
I hail to the mindset the great writers need to see excellent writing, hear beautiful words, and copy them.
We used part of Aesop for Children: Story and D’Nealian Copybook Volume I and Writing Strands.
However, I started by using the older version of Writing Strands; a newer one has come out. I have mixed feelings about Writing Strands.
While it sometimes did not give an abundance of clear direction for me, it was a lightweight and fun curriculum.
At the time when I was struggling with an outline of what to teach in each grade, it eased the burden I had put on myself.
It gave me a glimpse of how easy it can be teaching writing logically.
Another curriculum I loved and used in the early years was Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer.
As an artist when it comes to writing, you’ll love her methods for teaching writing.
Did I mention Susan Wise Bauer is a homeschool mom whose career was based on writing?
Not only is her passion for writing contagious, but she understands that as parents we want comprehensive teaching tips.
It’s true that Writing with Ease is a classical approach which means a heavier focus on writing, but it’s a solid writing program for the younger years.
Then, WriteShop is another favorite written by two homeschool moms. We loved the crafts and hands-on way to bring writing to life and reduce the struggling writer syndrome.
WriteShop worked for me when I needed step-by-step instructions of the writing process. In addition, I’ve learned to toggle between a gentle and rigorous approach in the early years. This means mixing curriculum.
Writing Reference and Supplement Tools for Young Children
Besides, mixing curriculum with different approaches is based on my child’s development.
Some years we did more writing. Other years my children focused more on brainstorming and organizing thoughts. It’s all part of the whole writing process.
So you need a variety of tools and references for your child to get the whole picture of writing.
Don’t feel like you need to stick to just one curriculum.
For example, I love Daily Paragraph Editing.
Besides, essays at the higher grades are really just bigger paragraphs. If a child struggles with writing, typically it can be traced to the basics — a lack of variety of sentences and how to write a paragraph.
Next, I’ve always used these books by Emma Serl because they use a gentle Charlotte Mason approach..
Moving on to the older grades there are just as many solid choices for writing curriculum as they are for the early grades.
Middle School and High School Writing Curriculum
We have loved Institute for Excellence in Writing for middle school and high school.
Institute for Excellence helped to foster independence in my kids for writing. Having a fun writing teacher to teach my kids was one of the best parts.
I didn’t completely abdicate all teaching to Mr. Pudewa but it was hard to contend with him. He is funny and teaches writing to be something that my children looked forward to.
And although it’s more structured writing curriculum it still maintains a Charlotte Mason flare.
The next one I used with my middle son was Jump In: Middle School Composition.
It’s a great example of how a curriculum should take a student from brainstorming to prewriting and end with a final version.
Jump In: Middle School Composition takes a traditional approach to teaching writing.
I found it quite easy to implement with my teen and it presented the writing steps in a coherent way. We loved the step-by-step help.
Finally, like any conscientious parent, I worried about finding the perfect homeschool essay writing curriculum.
Little did I realize that Jump In: Middle School Composition had already given my sons a great start in how to write essays.
Once I learned that all essays follow the same format — introduction, body, and conclusion, I encouraged my sons to write on a variety of topics.
Homeschool Essay Writing Curriculum
Similarly, The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School is written by the same author as .Jump In: Middle School Composition. It’s another winner for us during the high school years.
One year I felt one of my sons needed more of a challenge and the curriculum touted to be a college-prep course.
He absolutely soaked up the challenge. Look at my post Review of The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School.
Another one we used in high school was Essentials in Writing.
Although it is a complete language arts curriculum by the time your teen gets to high school, he needs those teens.
One of my sons loved using Institute for Excellence in Writing for his essays and preferred their structure. At this age, I do think your teen should have a voice in how he learns best.
My vote is for Essentials in Writing and The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School for essays because I love things that are detailed and simple.
Both programs have visuals to help my teen organize his writing and evaluate his work.
Also, another resource which has helped me through the years is Write Source 2000.
Beyond writing, it helps your middle school and high school students learn how to think. All the parts of learning how to write are connected.
It’s not just about putting pen to paper. Why? Because a teen needs to learn how to learn, how to organize his thoughts, understand his audience, and know the difference between formal and informal writing. Write Source 2000 has served as guide to me and a reference.
Did this help you to identify a few writing courses which can help you this year?
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