Homeschool Writing Curriculum Forum

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying the homeschool curriculum forums we’ve been sharing lately! I know I love to read everyone’s comments, pros, and cons for curriculum! Today we’re continuing on with our forum discussion with the subject of writing.

writing

 

Teaching writing is one of the harder things for me. From encouraging younger students, to grading upper levels, writing is just not my strong suit. Ironic considering I have a blog and all isn’t it? But writing, and teaching writing are two different things!

 

Previously we’ve used WriteShop and it remains one of my favorite programs around! I love the scripted conversations, and my children have benefited greatly from the teacher led brainstorming and step-by-step process. We are finishing up with WriteShop D this year and have enjoyed the program quite a bit. I would highly recommend it to anyone needing more help with teaching writing.

writeshop

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great for struggling writers

Cons:

  • For younger levels it isn’t as clear on how to grade writing assignments, I would like a little more instruction in this area.

 

Another great program for writing is the Institute for Excellence in Writing program. It is a video led course by instructor Andrew Pudewa. Students are given a lesson, then an assignment. Teachers have easy to read checklists which help immensely in the grading process.

iew

Pros:

  • Video instruction.
  • Clear grading checklist for teachers.

Cons:

  • Videos are a little out-dated
  • Curriculum is expensive unless you can find it used.

So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite Writing curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards WRITING, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Click here if you missed my previous Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.

59 Comments

  • Sandra May 8, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I’ve used more writing curricula than I care to admit but I do love to mix it up since different programmes all have different strengths and weaknessess. Being exposed to a mix lets my kids develop their voice rather than that of one particular curriculum author. My two favourites would be Bravewriter and Writing with Skill. Very different – one is very unstructured and free flowing, the other very structured but they were perfect for my kids at the time we used them. Some of the websites I’ve used for lessons and inspiration include Empowering Writers, Writing Fix, Read Write Think and Corbett Harrison’s Always Write.

    Reply
  • Cassie DiStefano May 8, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Erica,

    Do you feel you need the teacher’s guide with WriteShop? Also, are you using WriteShop Junior with all the kiddos? I will have a 4th and 2nd grader. Wondering if I could combine?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Krista Guerrero May 8, 2013 at 5:43 am

      Does anyone know more about the Progymnasmata model of writing? It sounds very interesting and I would love to know someone who is using it and how they are doing it. For my younger kids we use Writing With Ease. I love the Writing With Ease program. In all my homeschool years, it was my favorite. The Writing With Skill we did this last year. It was nice but I didn’t like it as well as Writing With Ease. I am currently looking for something for my soon to be 8th and 6th graders.

      Reply
    • Sarah May 8, 2013 at 7:38 am

      I second that. How are you using it? Is it an individual activity or a group(s)?

      Reply
    • Tiffany Hauser May 8, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Cassie, I think you definitely need the teachers manual with Write Shop! It is all teacher led…LOVE what I’ve read in my manual so far…can’t wait to get started.

      Reply
  • Kathi May 8, 2013 at 5:52 am

    I used Winning with Writing last year, which introduced concepts like creating a topic, and adding descriptive sentences. What I liked is that the pace was slow enough for my daughter who has learning challenges. I used it in combination with Growing with Grammar, and they blended nicely.

    Reply
  • Heidi May 8, 2013 at 6:13 am

    I still haven’t found a writing program that we like after all these years of homeschooling, and, believe me, we have tried a lot. Basically, kids need to write! I usually require one sentence per grade. So if a child is in fifth grade, they need to write 5 sentences a day or at least 3 times a week. Spelling, grammar, and sentence structure all get worked out during this process.

    Reply
    • Michelle July 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you! This looks perfect for my kids. I think this may be what I go with this year. I will probably try Soaring with Spelling, too. 🙂

      Reply
    • Momfor5 August 12, 2016 at 10:07 am

      This was the most helpful advice. I agree, I still have found a writing program that is good, but not overwhelming for those of us who don’t have aspiring writers at homes. Thank you!

      Reply
  • Lily May 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

    We will be using Writing With Ease for the first time this coming school year. It has children do copywork as well as read passages from great books and poetry to show them what complete sentences and good writing in general looks like. I think this is important because, like any other skill, good writing needs to be modeled before children are required to generate their own writing. I recommend going to the Peace Hill Press website, clicking on the Language Arts tab, find Writing With Ease, then click on the image. Below you will find the link “Writing With Ease Instructor Text Sample”. Here you can read about the theory behind how she teaches writing. It’s excellent. Even if you choose a different program it will give you a better idea of what to look for.

    Reply
    • Lynette May 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

      I also use Writing With Ease. This is my first year using it with my 2nd and 3rd grade-age children (we are on Level 2). I personally love that the program incorporates not only reading from mostly-classical literature, but also comprehension skills. The author designed the writing curriculum to work alongside First Language Lessons (the grammar curriculum), which reinforces grammatical concepts — another plus! Some may find the program a little “dry”, but I personally find the curriculum so easy to follow that the “dryness” doesn’t faze me. 🙂

      Another plus is the cost. If *you* want to choose the literature for copywork/dictation, then I highly suggest buying only the teacher’s guide. It’s less than $20 for Levels 1-4!! Can’t beat that! I only use the teacher’s guide and use writing paper I downloaded (for free) from donnayoung.org.

      If you want all of the work done for you, then I suggest buying the workbooks (one workbook for each level) which are around $35. The workbooks include instructions for teaching the concepts (just like the teacher’s guide) as well as the reading passages, comprehension questions, and writing paper. If you bought one workbook of each level and copied the coypwork/dictation pages (if you have more than one child who uses the program), you would save a great deal of money there, as well.

      Like *any* curriculum, there are going to be pros and cons and things you love and things you hate. I personally love this writing program because of its low price, ease in teaching, and simplicity. I tried a public school writing curriculum for a short time last year and about *died* when I saw all of the materials I supposedly needed to teach one simple lesson. And to top it all off, the confusing curriculum cost $50 — for a huge binder full of junk — in my opinion. 🙂

      Anyway, there’s my two cents! haha 🙂

      Reply
  • Lily May 8, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I forgot to mention that she, Susan Wise Bauer, also wrote a Grammar program called First Language Lessons which works well with Writing With Ease. My child will be going into the 3rd grade next year but I purchased levels 1 & 2 for her because writing and grammar, like math, reading and spelling, are foundational skills. You don’t want learning gaps to exist in these areas. It is recommended that you start from the beginning so that you lay a good foundation. I plan to advance her quickly through the lessons as needed.

    Reply
  • Lily May 8, 2013 at 6:58 am

    This You Tube video may be helpful.
    Peace Hill Press Question & Answer Series 1: Part 2

    Reply
  • Teri May 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Which program has anyone had success with for a first grader?

    Reply
    • Autumn May 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      We used Writing With Ease for first grade (and 2nd and will probably use it for 3rd next year) and we loved it. It does go along with First Language Lessons, but you don’t have to do them together if you already have a grammar curriculum you like. The classical literature excerpts are wonderful and introduced our family to books I had either forgotten about or had never heard of myself. We will be transitioning to Institute for Excellence in Writing in late 3rd to 4th grade. I am not familiar with it myself but I have heard such wonderful things about it and it’s what Classical Conversations uses. FYI WWE has 4 pages/week to do (1 per day), 2 of those pages are self directed which frees up some of your time if you have other children needing your attention.

      Reply
  • Rachel May 8, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I teach 3rd grade at a University Model school (homeschool 3 days, classroom 2 days), and we used the Excellence in Writing program this past year. There were only 5 students in the class. It was amazing how much the students’ writing improved throughout the year! The EIW Notebook is an excellent tool for them to refer to when they need a word to “dress up” their writing. We did not have them watch the videos. I watched them and then taught the lessons in a way that would connect with the students. Highly recommend!

    Reply
  • Carol S. May 8, 2013 at 8:47 am

    IEW! Yes, it’s a little pricey. It’s also worth every single penny. Andrew Pudewa is a master teacher for both students and homeschool teachers alike. Many amazing products on the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) website and magalog. My children have listened to so many of A. Pudewa’s seminar and teaching tapes (for the parents) while riding in the car with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if they use the IEW materials to teach their own kids with someday. Also, IEW has an amazing return policy and the products have a great resale value.

    Reply
    • erica June 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

      I actually found mine for $45 at a used curriculum fair. It looks a little older, but I’m hoping it will still be just as good!

      Reply
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