Preparing for a Homeschool Writing Curriculum
Writing is best learned when children are developmentally ready. Most students are not ready for formal writing until about age 12 or 13, when they are usually maturing from concrete thinking into more abstract thinking. So what do you do with your younger ones under 11 for writing for Language Arts? For very eager writers only, you might want to look into writing curriculum such as Write Shop, Writing Strands or IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) or just encourage eager writers to journal. But, choose a curriculum that keeps writing simple and fun for your eager writer.
Creating Sentences: Pre-paragraph Writing Level
The Write Foundation introduced Creating Sentences, a beginning writing level, launched summer 2013. Creating Sentences prepares students for formal paragraph writing by teaching students how to develop better sentences with basic grammar and figures of speech, while dealing with common writing errors such as when is a noun proper, misused homonyms and apostrophe confusion. Each lesson uses engaging writing activities and entertaining games geared for 9 – 11 year old students, which develop and advance students’ creative writing abilities and other writing skills. When taught how to write with structure and style most students find that instead of being the dreaded subject, writing becomes an enjoyable creative outlet.
When it comes to writing curriculum for the majority of students, wait until they are 11, 12 or even 13 and are mature enough to tackle a writing assignment fairly independent of you. So, wait on using a writing curriculum, which also means avoid making non-eager writers write book reports, journal or other forms of writing.
I recommend you postpone using The Write Foundation curriculum until your children are at least 11, even if they are brilliant homeschoolers and even with previous writing experience. There is plenty of time to cultivate their formal writing skills when they are 11, 12 or 13 and older. When attempting any writing curriculum before your children are ready, you and your kids will probably feel overwhelmed by the curriculum and toss it aside.
Focus on preparation by nurturing other Language Arts skills:
- Reading: The best writers are always the best readers. Everyday read out loud to them on and above their reading level and encourage them to read books on their own at their reading level and below. Give them a love for reading books by introducing them to quality literature.
- Memorization: The brain is a muscle and should be exercised. Memorization exercises the brain, causing neurons to connect creating brain pathways, which improves the ability to think abstractly as students mature. Memorize Bible verses, phonics, spelling patterns, Latin and Greek roots, grammar, math facts, poetry, geography, history dates, and more.
- Basic grammar: Develop basic grammar skills. In The Write Foundation writing lessons, students work on how to word sentences and how to easily write essays. Prepare them with basic sentence structure and grammar so they learn how to write complete sentences and avoid run-ons. When my children were about 8 – 12, I used Daily Grams and Easy Grammar, which were easy to use and thorough.
- Typing: While waiting, get a program to teach them how to learn how to type such as Zoom Type. Prepare for junior high, high school and college level writing courses investing time now to learn how to touch type correctly. Take advantage of schooling at home and supervise them as they improve their computer skills offline and online. In level 1 Sentence to Paragraph Writing, level 2 Paragraph Writing and level 3 Essay Writing, students type their writing assignments.
When students are equipped with basic skills, and as their mental capabilities mature as they begin to move into abstract thinking, they are more likely to grasp the foundational writing skills they need for their writing abilities to flourish. Even college level essays become easy when the student is mature and prepared.