Entries from May 2008 ↓
May 14th, 2008 — Grammar & Spelling
Jane Straus, author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, is back as a guest at our blog. Today, Jane has stopped in to give us some practical writing tips. Jane says:
“Let’s see if we can help you become a more effective writer by learning some tricks of the trade. These are stylistic ideas that can turn a dull letter or report into an intriguing one.” Continue reading →
May 13th, 2008 — WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
If the Gathering of Adjectives game seems too advanced for your K-2nd graders, you may enjoy using this simplified adjective-building activity with them from WriteShop Primary Book C.
Make a Willy Worm Word Wall
First, cut out about a dozen 3-inch circles from construction paper to make a Willy Worm Word Wall. Tape the circles together in a row to form a worm. Mount the worm on a wall or place it on a countertop. Draw a smiley face on the first circle to represent the worm’s face. On the first three blank circles, write various describing words (adjectives), one word per circle. Use words such as small, fast, yellow, soft, or bumpy. Continue reading →
May 12th, 2008 — Writing & Journal Prompts, Writing Across the Curriculum
When we were homeschooling, I absolutely loved writing across the curriculum with my kiddos. It was such a natural way for them to write about the very things we were studying for history, geography, or science.
I’m excited to share one of our family’s favorite writing exercises—journaling with a twist—where kids write first-person diary entries as if they were someone (or something!) else. This is a great activity for kids of all ages—kindergarten through high school, pre-writers or prolific, reluctant or motivated. Continue reading →
May 9th, 2008 — Word Banks, Writing Games & Activities
A couple of days ago I talked about the importance of helping your children develop their writing vocabularies through the use of writing games and word banks. Here’s an activity that serves both purposes: It’s a vocabulary-building game that helps your kids create word lists of their own—specifically, a gathering of adjectives. You can play this game with students of all ages. Continue reading →
May 8th, 2008 — Announcements
May 7th, 2008 — Word Banks, Writing Games & Activities
A student who writes from a rich supply of words learns to express herself exactly as she intends. At the same time, she makes way for her reader to understand subtle shades of meaning.
Word banks are such great tools for helping kids expand their writing vocabulary. When a student is tempted to reuse a familiar word because she can’t think of any others, a word bank can prove helpful by reminding her of alternative words she already knows but can’t quite pluck from the edges of her mind. Continue reading →
May 6th, 2008 — Editing & Revising, Encouragement, Homeschooling
If you’re stopping by during today’s Carnival of Homeschooling, welcome! I’ll be talking about everyone’s favorite task—editing. What? It’s not your favorite homeschooling activity EVER? Then read on . . .
To most parents, the new and often unfamiliar process of editing and evaluating your student’s writing seems like an overwhelming, subjective effort. Apart from plucking a B+ out of the sky “because it’s not quite an A,” what can a non-English major homeschooling mom do to make editing and grading more objective? Continue reading →
May 5th, 2008 — WriteShop
In Part 1 of our story, Debbie and I discovered that our plans for teaching our first writing class were very nearly doomed. Now for Part 2 . . .
Taking a Detour
It wasn’t just our own boys whose efforts cried out for help—every student in the group struggled at some level. So we canceled class for two weeks, scrapped the lesson plans we had so carefully crafted over the summer, and started from scratch. We had made a commitment to these parents, but clearly we needed to take a detour. Continue reading →
May 2nd, 2008 — Reviews, WriteShop, WriteShop Primary
I’ve been storing a mountain of emails in one of my Outlook folders—comments and testimonials from happy WriteShop users. Our brochures and website only have so much room for snippets like these, so I thought I’d give a voice to these dear moms and co-op teachers who took the time to brighten our day. Hope they encourage you, too!
“I am reallllly mad at you! These StoryBuilders have proven to be tooooo fun and my kids don’t wanna do anything else. Looks like math and science will be flying out the window today as we have already spent the morning writing from the cards and they are still at it!” —Wendy
“I used the WriteShop 1 curriculum with a co-op group last fall and it was fabulous. Thank you for all the work you all have put into it.” —Anita
“We had a fabulous year in our co-op! It is so rewarding to teach writing and witness the drastic improvement in their skills. Many moms told me writing had become their child’s favorite subject, and they had always hated writing. I know I could not have had the success I did without this great program.” —Debbie
WriteShop I & II
“Thanks so much for all your hard work! I just LOVE working with this program, and believe that it has really taught my children to write well. I’m using it this year already with my son and he is doing extremely well for a student who could barely write a sentence by himself last year! The other thing that I like about the program is the marking scheme. It really helps to have such an objective checklist for marking the student’s writing.” —Cindy
My son and I have really enjoyed using this writing program so much more than others. He is in 10th so we will be moving on to WriteShop II as soon as we receive it. His writing has improved tremendously since we started. —Holli
Thanks so much Kim. Our youngest son is 16 now, and in a Christian/missionary kid school, but we’re homeschooling while we’re in the States—and WriteShop was my favorite writing program in our 8 years of homeschooling in the past! —Mary
“I can not believe how quickly my kids’ writing has improved using your curriculum for just a month and a half! After three years of searching, we have finally found a writing curriculum that we all enjoy doing. No more tears!”—Sherri
“You did a great job with WriteShop. I have taught in the public schools and am now home with my teenage kids and have never seen a better writing program. Thanks!” —Laura
“I want to thank you for developing such a teacher and student-friendly program. This is the first program I have found in nine years of home school that is incremental enough to take the teacher by the hand and tell her what to do day by day. Plus I much prefer your Composition Evaluation forms over other grading rubrics with squares, which left me with questions as to how to add up the grade. Your form explains exactly what value to assign every item that is graded.” —Linda
“My son is 13 and we just started using Write Shop and I am very pleased with it. One of the homeschool moms in my group referred it to a friend of mine, and she referred me to it. They both think very highly of the curriculum and we are all highly recommending it to other moms in our group. Thank you so much for writing this valuable, much needed and fantastic curriculum!!” —Susan
“WriteShop I and II taught my son a plethora of composition skills and, also, provided me with an effective method to hold him accountable to use what he learned. By (both of us) following this well-designed curriculum, he gained the tools to write confidently and effectively! We are pleased with the results!” —Lorna
WriteShop Primary – Beta Edition
“It’s very exciting about this whole WriteShop Primary program!! You all have a great product. I love, LOVE your editing and revising section in Lesson 3 (Book C), and I drew big hearts around #1 to remember to tell you I think this is great!” —Wendy (test mom)
“I am impressed with the thought and planning that has gone into WriteShop Primary . . . there doesn’t seem to be a detail missed! Jack & I are enjoying being part of testing the program.” —Candy (test mom)
“We really enjoy this program and I am definitely seeing growth in my two students. We are thrilled that we have had the chance to test out WriteShop Primary.” —Jennifer (test mom)
To learn more about WriteShop I or II, please visit our website at writeshop.com. WriteShop Primary is now available. Learn more here.
May 1st, 2008 — Interviews, Reluctant Writers, Resources & Links
Big Things Come in Small Packages
You will LOVE meeting Molly Fox! This young entrepreneur created a fantastic website, HomeschoolWriters.com, featuring a one-stop shop for dozens of writing contests for homeschool students.
I’m so glad you joined me today for this very special interview with Molly (pictured right). And once you’ve seen her thoughtful and articulate answers and visited her website, you’ll find it hard to believe she’s just eleven years old!
So pull up a comfy chair, grab a cup of cocoa, and come along with me to meet this extraordinary young lady!
Kim: Welcome, Molly! I’m looking forward to our interview today. First, I’d love to hear how you decided to launch a website centered on writing contests. Continue reading →