Finding the right program to teach writing in our homeschool has been one of the toughest challenges I have faced over the years.
Some writing programs are completely overwhelming with rules and assignments. While other homeschool writing programs are completely overwhelming for me to implement.
(I was offered a copy of WriteShop I this year in exchange for my opinions. All of the opinions and tips below are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
Middle School Writing
Once your homeschool child reaches middle school, most parents want their children to prepare for high school writing. It’s time for middle school children to learn various purposes for writing as well as writing tips and techniques.
At that same time, your middle school child still needs plenty of freedom to explore and discover their own writing voice. They also need lots of different opportunities to practice new writing techniques.
Ideally, a useful homeschool writing program should also provide the homeschool parent with plenty of support to teach, edit, and help improve their child’s writing.
Sound too good to be true?
Thankfully, it’s not!
WriteShop I includes everything you need to teach homeschool writing and all the things your child needs to improve their writing. And after a fantastic year with WriteShop last year, we were ready to dive into the next level this year.
Varied Writing Opportunities
WriteShop I provides students with 16 writing opportunities separated into three types of writing:
Descriptive Writing contains 7 lessons
Informative Writing contains 4 lessons
Narrative Writing contains 5 lessons
Because my son is in 7th grade, we have decided to complete WriteShop I over the course of two years. He will complete 8 lessons this year and 8 the following year. This means that he completes one lesson a month, which is perfect pacing for our family. The writing lessons usually take us two weeks and then we have a two-week break.
Writing Skill Builders
Every lesson in WriteShop I includes writing skill builders with three days of practice. We always complete these during the first week of a writing project.
These skill builders provide direct instruction on specific writing techniques and tools. With practice, these tools become a natural part of your child’s written work.
So far this year, my son practiced using the thesaurus to find strong words, writing creative topic sentences, playing with pair adjectives, and using smilies as comparisons in writing. The skill builder practice gave him the knowledge and confidence to include these skills in his writing.
He recently included this line in a paragraph about winter:
I pull my blanket closer because the chilly air is as cold as an iced coffee.
This delightful simile made me smile and was the result of the skill builder lesson that month.
Learning to Brainstorm
This year my son has definitely learned that effective brainstorming makes writing so much easier. One of the brainstorming techniques he learned with WriteShop I was creating a mind map.
He created his first one to describe a pet (his dog). When it was time to write his sloppy copy, he realized that it was so much easier with so many great words and phrases at his disposal. This is exactly what I wanted him to learn – proper brainstorming makes the writing much easier.
When it was time to start our next writing project, he immediately asked to make a mind map to organize his thoughts.
Learning to Revise and Edit
Let’s face it, most kids are resistant when it comes to revising and editing their work. Once their paragraph is written and complete, kids aren’t interested in re-writing it.
But as parents, we know how valuable it is to look back and improve your writing. Sometimes ideas need to be reorganized or stronger words need to be chosen. Sometimes the work sounds too repetitive and the sentence structure needs to be varied.
But knowing what to look for and how to do it can be confusing and frustrating for kids. Often kids just have no idea what to change or how to improve their writing.
That’s why the writing checklists included in WriteShop have been such a valuable tool as I teach my child to revise and edit his ideas. The student writing checklists provide him with very specific ideas for improvement as he rereads his sloppy copy.
Instead of staring at his writing without any ideas of how to improve it, he can start with a checklist and have specific suggestions for making changes.
Best of all, the WriteShop I writing checklists remind him of the writing tools he has learned so far this year so that he can remember to include them in his writing.
Our WriteShop Experience
I feel equipped to partner with my child as he learns to write and that is such a gift. I highly recommend WriteShop for homeschool families who are looking for a homeschool writing program.
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