Since I have worked myself out of a job by graduating all my kids, I have to look for things to write about on Thursdays. Fortunately, my baby sister still has young children that she is homeschooling, so I asked her if there was anything I could research for her regarding homeschooling. Her answer . . . writing, paragraphs and such, and the elements of a story.
My best recommendation for writing help for kids is from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. It is their very first program entitled, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS). I have a fellow homeschooling friend that purchased the videos of this ‘course’ which is a basically a seminar for teaching the teacher how to use these methods to teach writing. I went two separate days for about 6-8 hours. (It’s been so long ago I can hardly remember how long it was.) We only paid $40, watched and participated with the video seminar, received our own syllabus with all the reference material, and a couple of snacks. It was an awesome deal!!!
While going through this seminar, I learned that the idea was to take the principles and apply them to the current writing the children already had to do, not creating yet another subject for the children to complete. Most people couldn’t do that and so IEW created various curricula, some with videos and some without, to fill this need. The problem is that most are expensive (or at least they were to me).
This program sounds so much more difficult than it really is. I highly recommend finding someone that already owns TWSS, borrow their videos and purchase your own syllabus to keep as a reference for incorporating into your own lessons. Other than that, I recommend their Theme-Based Writing courses. But remember, curricula are tools not slaves. If a curriculum becomes overwhelming back off by either slowing down the pace or putting it away entirely. I’ve done both and did not harm my children or their education.
One thing I liked about IEW is that the child used something that was already written as a base for their writing. In this manner the child doesn’t have to do all of the creative process alone, it is just a matter of embellishing and rewording the original. This is not plagiarism or copying, it is learning.
One last thing on IEW, their website is iew.com. I have in no way given their wonderful curricula any justice in my writing here, so please, go to their site and read about them. There are even very helpful yahoo groups with lots of information available.
For lighter or easier or more basic introduction, I found this interesting analogy. It is the Paragraph Hamburger, in which the top bun is the introduction, the supporting information is the filling, and the conclusion is the bottom bun. This could be used for a story as well. This webpage will give you some templates to download, as well as some powerpoints. Here’s another webpage I think I like even better, sharing the paragraph hamburger; it’s by a homeschooler.
Here’s one more lesson plan on teaching paragraphs. It uses a traffic light analogy.
Finally, here is a blog that has some fun sentence writing games to get kids playing with words a bit more.
I hope this helps any of you looking for some help with teaching your kids about writing (not the formation of letters and words).
Until next time, God bless,