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.


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.



  • Affordable
  • Great for struggling writers


  • 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.



  • Video instruction.
  • Clear grading checklist for teachers.


  • 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.


  1. I don’t know if anyone has high school aged children, but for High school, we have been so happy with Epi Kardia for essay writing. It is written to the student and has step by step instructions on writing the four basic essay styles. They also have an excellent course on writing the research essay (MLA format.). It is simple, thorough and covers areas such as voice, when to edit, etc. it still allows for your child’s particular style to shine.

  2. Having been a new homeschooler last fall, I went a little overboard in this area with my first grader. Using the Random House Big Book of Children’s poetry and rhymes, I would write small selections on the board for him to copy. God Bless him he was doing way too much for his age level 6-8 sentences per day. But you know now he can sit down and write out a 1.5 to 2 page story without stopping. I also used Evan Moor Daily Trait 6 with him, it was ok and gave him the general ideas of how to write, but I worry I didn’t teach it very well. I believe he gained much more from the copywork and it was fun to do funny poems and stories. He always asked to illustrate them and we need to bind them all in a book this month. I also have him summarizing small science books from the library (currently working thru various bug books). He reads them them 3 days in a row, then on the fourth day he writes a summary of it. I put the more difficult vocab words on the board for him. He asks to do this everyday. I’ve looked into both Write Shop a bit and IEW since I’ve kind of been doing WWE type of tasks myself this past year. I will have a 1st and 2nd grader to teach come fall. Are these materials ok for those grade levels? I want to buy something I will definitely USE instead of listing it on eBay when it doesn’t quite workout lol. Thanks for any advise of those who have used these on what grade to start them. I’ll be watching these posts and will check out the other resources shared with enthusiasm! Thanks ladies!

  3. I bought Writeshop for my 4th and 1st grader. I do not like either of them. I do not feel they are grade level for NJ or for my kids. I dropped Writeshop for my 4th grader in October and bought BJU Press language arts for 4th grade and I like that a lot. There is some spiral learning but not enough in my opinion and they do not give you ANY guidance on how to grade the writing assignments.

    Though I like BJU language and do not feel there is enough repetition of concepts so I am going to try Saxon Language 5 when my 4th grader advances to 5th grade. The constant repetition in math has worked well for my 4th grader so I think the spiral concept will work well for Saxon Language.

    I am finishing Writeshop with my 1st grader but will not buy it again. I will by BJU language when he starts 2nd grade. If Saxon comes out with a 3rd grade language program I will by that one otherwise will stick with BJU until my 1st grader advances into 4th grade.

  4. This past year was my first experience in homeschooling. I have a excelled first grader and dyslexic extremely wonderful third grader. It has been such an exciting time fine tuning their education to meet their individual needs. The kids and I have gone through many different types of curriculum before I came upon Write Source. I love this curriculum! Both writing and grammar are taught together in one program. It meets the needs for both children and can be taught side by side most days. I loved the breakdown of different writing styles and techniques. My children loved the color and examples of writing to give inspiration. This curriculum teaches the same styles of writing to both grade levels but goes more in debt as the grade level permits. Now that I found Write Source I have already bought their books for next year.

    Jenny Keown
    1. I was looking into Write Source for my first grader. I am curious though if I need to add in a grammar/phonics/reading type of program with it? This is the subject that is confusing me so much on what is needed. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My son is good with sounding out words but hates reading. I plan to take him this year to get his own library card and let him pick out books on his level that he is interested in hoping this will take care of the not wanting to read problem. He always says reading is boring, so hopefully, the library with him getting to choose will help.

      1. Amanda have you tried All About Reading? My first grader hated reading while in public school. We started AAR level 1 this year and now he loves to read. The lessons are completely planned out, no work on your part. And you can do as much or as little has he is comfortable with. It has been my saving grace. Still looking for a writing curriculum though. Good luck!

  5. For writing, I’m just using a workshop approach. I bought “Workshops Work!” by Patricia Zaballos and read her blog for even more ideas and instruction. My kids will be entering 5th, 4th and 2nd grade next year, so they’re still on the younger end of schooling. The older two write daily (what they write is up to them – and I don’t read it unless they want me to). I let the youngest one dictate to me weekly, and she also makes picture books and tells stories with shadow puppets on her own. A couple times a month we go to a coffee shop and they share a work-in-progress. We all give positive feedback, then I give them a writing exercise to stretch their abilities or introduce them to a new technique or method. They don’t share the exercise unless they want to (that would be like publishing an unedited rough draft). We also started a blog so they could publish their works for family and friends.

    I’m hoping to develop writers, and as I introduce them to different genres I’m hoping they pick up the styles more organically. At some point we’ll do a formal curriculum for the 5-paragraph essay and other common forms of writing – just not yet!

    We’ll probably use a more formal approach in late middle school or (at the latest) in high school. I personally don’t see a need for younger kids to use a structured writing curriculum – although I realize I may be in the minority on that view 🙂 That said, I’m glad to read the reviews because I have a daughter who will probably be asking for a curriculum before I would add it in on my own. There seem to be some great options!

  6. I have never used a textbook for writing. The best way to teach writing is to show them good writing through reading. I have used 6+1 traits of Writing as a resource. It has suggested books at times and guides you to focus in on 1 of the 6 traits of writing at a time. That way they are writing either way but honing in on one specific trait of writing at a time. Other good resources Craft Lessons and Writing Workshop both by Fletcher.

    1. I was thinking that my ideal writing program would be to practice different aspects of good writing, one at a time, using good writing as a model. Thanks for the tip about 6+1 Traits of Writing, I’m checking it out! If anyone knows of any other programs with this premise, let me know!

  7. I am planning on using the Institute for Excellence in Writing program this year with my 3rd grader. Specifically, I would be purchasing Student Writing Intensive Level A which contains:
    • Structure & Style Overview DVD for parents and teachers
    • Four instructional DVDs for the student
    • Three-ring binder with dividers
    • Student packet containing scope & sequence, teacher’s notes, and student handouts for one student instructional DVD’s and workbook
    How necessary is it to purchase the “Structure & Style DVD Seminar with Seminar Workbook” that IEW highly recommends for training homeschool teachers how to teach writing?

    1. I purchased both and started watching the Structure and Style Dvds, but never actually finished them. I am a person who is comfortable with writing ( I’m strong in Language Arts, just don’t ask me for help with math!!) and I found that it was enough to just watch the Dvd’s with my kids, then let them outline, write and help them edit from that point. If you are nervous about the writing component, purchasing the Structure and Style piece might be helpful.

      Kristen Rendall
      1. Thanks, Kristen! That’s what I’m afraid would happen with me if I purchased the teacher training materials–I would start it but never complete it and what a waste of money that would be!

    2. I didn’t get he videos the first year. We got Student Writing Intensive C for my high schoolers. I was able to pick up the basic concepts without the Teachers Instruction.
      I also did the Rockets, Radars and Robots lessons with my 8th grader and he enjoyed that. They follow the same basic lesson plans for all of the theme books and they are a lot less expensive that the DVD programs. I didn’t have as good of results using the All things Fun and Fascinating with my 3rd and 5th graders this year. They did fine until after Christmas and then they didn’t want to do it at all. Writing is my nemesis when it comes to homeschooling.

  8. Writing with Ease! This is our second year using it, and I cannot say enough great things about it! As a former high school English teacher, I saw a lot of bad writing, and the conclusion I came to was that good readers make good writers and this is the philosophy on which WWE is based. My boys are not naturally given to writing, but I love that they are being exposed to good writing through good literature, dictation, and narration. Since writing is not just a one-step process, children need to learn how to organize their words and sentences before they have the ability to write them down (with good grammar, mechanics, skill, etc.). WWE does just that! Next year we will transition into the Essentials program of Classical Conversations which uses IEW, and I believe that transition will be so much easier having used WWE for two years. I have also seen many IEW students’ writing pieces and was blown away comparing these 4th- 6th graders to the high school seniors I used to teach!

    Angela O
    1. Angela,
      Where would you recommend I start WWE with my 7 yo? We are finishing up 1st grade right now and I did not love the writing program we used. I did use First Lang. Lessons for grammar and we just finished our 2nd year of CC Foundations.

      Karen M.
      1. Karen, I began WWE 1 with my 2nd grader. We are finishing WWE 2 this year and he will begin Essentials next year. I think he could have used one more year of WWE, but I think Essentials will quickly cover any gaps. WWE 1 is really easy and you could even do it this summer and plan to cover 2 days’ worth of lessons in one (day 1 and 3 is copy work, day 2 is listening and narration, and day 4 is listening, narration, and copy work). It would take about 20 minutes/day tops!


        Angela O
  9. I am going to try Essentials in Writing this year. It looks like a GREAT video program, and it is VERY affordable. The cost is $40, and you have the option to print the work sheets for free, or you can purchase it for $20.


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