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. Here is my question. I will have 5th grade and 6th grade boys next fall. We have never done any formal grammar or writing at all. Where to start with older children who now have the capacity to learn the basics quickly but hate to even pick up a pencil and write, let alone form a coherent sentence or even know what one looks like. I don’t know grammar very well as I was never taught it well in school and missed it due to changing schools many times. I feel so lost as to where to begin! Any thoughts?

    1. I am not sure what to suggest specifically for grammar, however we have been using Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers from Apologia. We have used this curriculum for grades 3-8. Apologia suggests this curriculum to be used for the middle grades however we have found the curriculum to be very beneficial for the grade 3 student. I try to teach to the masses when I can! The grade 8 student finished the curriculum this year. The teacher’s guide gives evaluation forms for marking, it covers persuasion, exposition, narration and some poetry. It covers proof-reading and referencing. The teachers manual does make some grammar resource suggestions to accompany the workbook, so they may help you on the grammar side of writing. This is an affordable curriculum and we have found it to be a great way to get your students writing!

    2. Look into how My Father’s World introduces grammar. I haven’t done it, but they wait until the students are older intentionally and use a couple affordable methods…Writing Strands for writing and a grammar book that escapes me. I’ve heard good reviews.

      Alicia MacRae
    3. My daughter is the same way. She knows HOW to write, but won’t. She acts like just writing a word will kill her. She’ll be in 4th grade next year and she has yet to write a single sentence on her own.

      1. Hi Jenny, We homeschool – two boys. (It’s my daughter and I – their father passed). What we did was just have them copy different types of work. They got to choose once a week (could be from the Lego book they love or Captain Underpants). After a while they just wrote on their own – because they’d become comfortable with writing. They also learn proper spelling that way. Good Luck.

  2. Bekki4, you should check out Michael Clay Thompson’s Language Art’s Curriculum. I am not very good at grammar and have learned right along with my daughter. These books explain and teach it like I have never seen before. It all makes better sense to me now. We started this year with Level 1, so we don’t get any gaps in our language/grammar. Take some time to read the downloadable curriculum guide that helps tell when you start each item. Your boys could both do the same level too.


  3. My favorite writing program is Wordsmith. It is inexpensive and the best I have found. I also have IEW and Writeshop and I think they are very good, but they can be very time intensive. Wordsmith is concise and to the point with short lessons that review how to use different grammar concepts to build better sentences.
    Also, we have always required our children to keep a daily journal from the beginning. This is for writing development and their enjoyment. They now look back at journals from years past and enjoy seeing what they were doing at the time. We never used the journals to correct grammar. They were merely for the joy of writing and expressing.

    1. Ann, I started my second grader on shurley English level 2 last fall at the beginning of the school year. We had not used a formal curriculum before and I wanted something thorough and structured. However, we did not like it. It way way too much work for his level/age. I’m either going to completely change curriculums, or try it at third grade. The 20-45 minutes they say it takes daily almost never happened with us. It usually took that much time just to teach it, plus he still had work to do after the lesson. Specifically, the Question & Answer Flow was ineffective (he could answer, but didn’t really understand), the jingles were somewhat fun, but he had a hard time actually applying the song to the concepts on paper, the dictionary work was way too advanced for my 7-yr old (alphabetizing beyond the second or third letter). I found it to be too time-consuming, and too overwhelming for my little one. I think it could be good for some students, but it wasn’t for us. I hope this helps!

      1. Ann, I know that this is a very tardy response, but perhaps my answer might be helpful still to you, or at least to someone else.

        Shurley Language was great for my boys! It did take a little investment of my time to get onto it; some teachers just laugh and walk away before really understanding the program. I loved that it was systematic and thorough and repetitive. The jingles are great for auditory learners – or any kid that loves rhythm and rhyme. My grown boys still run through the preposition jingle if they are wondering, “Is this word a preposition?” I did dispense with some jingles introduced in the later grades (maybe 6th and 7th?), which were more difficult to learn than the grammatical elements being introduced. Nothing was lost to my boys by omitting those particular jingles. They just didn’t need them in order to learn the new elements. Although they probably made B’s or C’s in Shurley (due to their failure to attend the worksheets with the necessary care), Shurley Language definitely helped my boys, who are not exactly naturals when it comes to editing and attention to detail, find their way into AP English classes and very substantial college scholarships.

        I would recommend, however, that while you are teaching Shurley language or any other grammar program you should also be helping the students to apply it in all of their writing. You may or may not choose to require grammatically correct writing in science or social studies, for example; but at least you could point out a sentence now and then and ask, “Does this sentence follow the rules of Shurley Language?” And especially if you see an error on a menu or in a book or newspaper, you should assist your student in the application of Shurley Language techniques to analyze the writing and pinpoint the error. Grammar is not a stand-alone science, and sometimes students seem to see it that way. They may need help learning to integrate this learning into everyday reading and writing.

  4. My name is Melissa and I have a 10 year old and a 4 year old. I started homeschooling my 10 year old last year. He started with an online Christian school. This year we are doing it without a structured program. He is a little mature for his age, and has add. He also seems like he has dyslexia. Anyway I am trying to find a program for writing. I have tried Writing Strands in the past with other kids but I did not like it. Can you recommend a writing program? We are using Winston Grammar.

  5. I am looking for a new writing curriculum for my upcoming 5th grader, so I don’t have a curriculum to suggest. However, for those of you that have students that simply hate to write, it may not be the curriculum. My oldest son struggled with dysgraphia, and once I stopped having him doing the physical writing, he grew into an amazing writer. I would suggest having your children dictate to you or do their writing on the computer, and see if writing goes a little smoother. I apologize if this is considered “off topic”, but hope it is helpful.


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