The “Perfect” Writing Curriculum

 

writing amour quoteWhile writing this post on “writing,” I was painfully reminded of the number one reason students have trouble writing (or in some cases hate to write)!  It’s Writer’s Block!  Sometimes, it is extremely hard to get the writing process started.

Type A personalities like myself insist on perfection from the beginning of a project.  With that kind of pressure, it is hard to even begin because we are struggling to find the best way to start!  We want to “hook” the audience right away!  Additionally, Perfectionists stall along the way as they obsess over every misspelled word or incorrect punctuation in their first draft.

For older students, they may not know what to write about or how to organize their thoughts.  Younger students simply haven’t lived long enough to have much to write about.  Struggling students may have a limited vocabulary, writer’s fatigue with the act of physically writing, and/or dysgraphia (a form of dyslexia).  Let’s face it!  It is hard to find the perfect curriculum that fits your child’s learning style and meets your family’s learning needs.

1 peterFirst, let’s back up a bit and discuss WHY we want our children to be excellent (or at least proficient) writers and good communicators.  The most important reason to teach reading, writing, and language arts is to help our students share their faith, express their beliefs, and explain the Gospel. 

Especially in the age of texting and tweets, Facebook and Instagram,  blogs and vlogs, and news and fake news, this generation more than any other generation in the past, need the ability to express themselves and defend their faith in a powerful and effective manner.  Is our aim to raise the next C.S. Lewis or Charles Spurgeon?  Probably Not.  But do we want our children to be able to express themselves in spoken and written language to impact their friends, family, and strangers for the kingdom of God?  Oh Yes!  So if our primary goal is NOT to raise the next Mark Twain or to earn a perfect score on the SAT, then your writing instruction can be simple, stress-free and still very fruitful.

Is there a perfect writing curriculum?  I humbly say “No”!  Just like there is not one perfect math curriculum or reading curriculum, there is no such thing as the perfect writing curriculum.  It is easier to use the same curriculum for all students if you have a large family, however like math, your students will probably be at different writing levels and have different writing and spelling abilities.  Writing is one of those subjects that may need to be individualized.  So let’s talk about making your writing instruction easier so you don’t go crazy trying. You CAN teach writing, punctuation, and grammar without a boxed curriculum, and you can do it without breaking your budget!

writing voltaire quoteAfter teaching 25 plus years, writing books and devotionals for homeschooling moms, and homeschooling my own, I have found there are basically SIX essentials to teaching writing and instilling a love of writing in any student:  (1) Read and discuss great books, (2) copy great writers, (3) write something every day, (4) integrate writing, grammar and spelling, (5) practice editing, and (6) play with words!

Check out our PODCAST “Writing Lessons:  You Can Do It.”  CLICK HERE.

In this podcast, we unpack and explain the six basics of  teaching your child to write.  We also explain the method Ben Franklin used to teach himself how to write.

ben-franklin-quotes writingFrom the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:

“About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator – I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it.

With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try’d to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come hand. 

Then I compared my Spectator with the original.  By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method or the language.”

In a nutshell, Franklin did the following: (This is also what IEW uses in Key Word Outlines)

  1. Read an article or passage from a book.
  2. Wrote short hints about each sentence (or a keyword outline) and then set it aside for a while.
  3. Using these short hints, he recalled what the article was about and then rewrote the article in his own words.
  4. Compared his work with the original.
  5. Revised and improved his writing.

 

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The most important thing to remember is if you can read, understand, and evaluate this article on the “perfect” writing curriculum, then you are capable and qualified to teach your child how to write and how to write well!

 

May God richly bless your teaching and writing for His glory,

Carrie

 

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST:

 

 

 

Check out our PODCAST “Writing Lessons:  You Can Do It.”  CLICK HERE.

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