Entries from June 2011 ↓

Bright Ideas Press Facebook Party!


It’s a Party . . . and You’re Invited!

Maggie Hogan and Bright Ideas Press are hosting a HUGE party—and you’re invited! Have you attended a FaceBook party yet? I’ll be one of the guest “speakers” sharing tips for teaching reluctant writers.

Here’s the scoop: Go to Facebook and *like* Bright Ideas Press (BIP). Then, come to the party this afternoon at the BIP page and get ready to share, learn, and win prizes—literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of prizes!

Plus, there will be “speakers” available to answer your questions on different topics. Meet Kim Kautzer of WriteShop (that’s me!), Felice Gerwitz of Media Angels, Sharra Badgley of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and Dari Mullins from Illuminations.

What: Bright Ideas Press Facebook Party
Date: Mon. June 27
Time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. EDT
Place: Bright Ideas Press Facebook page

Throughout the evening you’ll have opportunities to win great products from Heart of the Matter Online, WriteShop, Media Angels, Raising Real Men, The Old Schoolhouse, My Audio School, Trivium Pursuit, Knowledge Box Central, and of course Bright Ideas Press! (And everyone who stops by gets a FREE Literature Study Guide and a free Family Bible Study on Ruth!) The two grand prizes include TWO free copies of WonderMaps and Illuminations!

Introducing Tip Talk Time

One of the cool things about this FB Party is a chance to learn, connect, and get your questions answered! Each of the three scheduled speakers has a specific 15-minute time slot, and you get a chance to “ask the experts” your questions! This is how “Tip Talks” will work:

1. The speaker will post a tip.
2. She’ll then allow for comments and questions under her post.
3. She’ll answer as many questions as she can, and then . . .
4. She’ll move on to post a brand-new tip.
5. Rinse and Repeat. :)

TIP TALKS Schedule

5:30 PM EDT
Speaker: Kim Kautzer (WriteShop) – www.writeshop.com
Title: Tips for Teaching a Reluctant Writer

Kim will share some practical ideas to help your struggling student find more joy and success in writing. Learn how to inspire confidence, strengthen skills, and add a bit of fun to writing time!

6:15 PM EDT
Speaker: Felice Gerwitz – www.mediaangels.com
Title: Parent-Child Relationships with Your Homeschoolers

Most homeschoolers wear many hats…mommy, teacher, and disciplinarian. We love our kids, and they love us, but sometimes relationships in such close proximity can cause havoc within our homes! Felice is a long-time homeschool mom to five very different children. Join her for a session of Q and A about kids, how to engage them, and how to have lasting relationships.

7:00 PM EDT
Speaker: Dari Mullins – http://illuminations.brightideaspress.com
Title: Answering Your Questions about Illuminations

If you use (or are considering using) The Mystery of History or All American History, you might be interested in Illuminations. Illuminations includes dozens of fabulous literature study guides and much, much more to go with these two history series–including WriteShop!

FYI – even if a particular TIP TALK is not for you, there will be plenty of other partying going on simultaneously! Buckle up – this will be FAST!

To attend the party, simply “like” the Bright Ideas Press FB page. See you there!

Awsome decorating

Unfortunately, your spelling is not! Thanks!

[And perhaps it’s just me, but $1.00 off  just isn’t going to cut it. As a matter of fact, you may not be able to GIVE this baby away.]

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Stop by every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesday for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!

Photo used by permission of Jen at CakeWrecks

Quotation marks at the end of a sentence

Learn where to place a period, question mark, or exclamation point when using quotation marks

Quotation marks. You know—those pesky little punctuation marks your kid carefully positions smack-dab above the period, hoping you won’t notice his indecision.

Fret no more! Here’s a helpful little tutorial on how to use quotation marks at the end of a sentence. While this definitely isn’t meant to be the final word on quotation marks, I hope it helps you shore up your own understanding of how to end a sentence correctly when quotation marks are involved.

(And, for the record, I’m speaking of American grammar rules here, so if you still flub up on where to stick the period, blame it on the British.)

Keep It Inside

Generally speaking, the end punctuation goes INSIDE the quotation marks.

Correct: “Don’t be silly,” said the clown.
Incorrect: “Don’t be silly”, said the clown.

Correct: My favorite poem is “Mr. Grumpledump’s Song.”
Incorrect: My favorite poem is “Mr. Grumpledump’s Song”.

Correct: Mom asked, “Did you feed the aardvark?”
Incorrect: Mom asked, “Did you feed the aardvark”?

The Question of Question Marks

When the entire sentence—not just the quoted word or phrase—is a question, you’ll follow a different rule  In this case, the question mark is set OUTSIDE the quotation marks.

Correct: Do you consider her note “noteworthy”?
Incorrect: Do you consider her note “noteworthy?”

Correct: Should we sing “The Hairbrush Song”?
Incorrect: Should we sing “The Hairbrush Song?”

Double Trouble

Finally, what do you do when faced with two end punctuation marks? Can you use both? In a word, no. See, there’s a hierarchy of sorts in punctuation. The exclamation mark trumps the question mark, and both trump the period.

Use just one ending punctuation mark with quotation marks. If a question ends with a quotation containing an exclamation mark, the exclamation mark will override the question. Got that?

I didn’t think so.

OK, here’s an example:

Correct: Mom said, “Don’t eat the cookies!”
Correct: Did Mom really say, “Don’t eat the cookies!”
Incorrect: Did Mom really say, “Don’t eat the cookies!”?

But if you don’t want an exclamation point, the question mark wins, and no period after cookies is used:

Correct: Mom said, “Don’t eat the cookies.”
Correct: Did Mom really say, “Don’t eat the cookies”?
Incorrect: Did Mom really say, “Don’t eat the cookies?”

Want to Practice?

Copy and paste these sentences. Add commas, ending punctuation, and quotation marks.

Dad said Did you know it’s illegal to hunt camels in Arizona

Grandpa said I used to be a shoe salesman, till they gave me the boot

My dog asked Does the name Pavlov ring a bell

What’s another word for thesaurus

Why did Horace shout Don’t touch the stove

Old owls never die Fernie said They just don’t give a hoot

Feel free to try your hand at these in the Comments. Then check out the answers below.

Dad said, “Did you know it’s illegal to hunt camels in Arizona?”

Grandpa said, “I used to be a shoe salesman, till they gave me the boot.”

My dog asked, “Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?”

What’s another word for thesaurus“?

Why did Horace shout, “Don’t touch the stove!” or
Why did Horace shout, “Don’t touch the stove“?

Old owls never die,” Fernie said. They just don’t give a hoot.”

Copyright 2011 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


WHO Convention 2011 – Puyallup, Washington

I love homeschool conventions! I love meeting homeschooling families all around the country. And I love encouraging parents with my own experiences and stories.

Next week will bring us to the beautiful state of Washington, where Debbie and I will be exhibitors at the annual WHO Convention at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.

If you live in northwestern Washington, this is a great opportunity to hear some inspiring speakers, check out new curriculum, and enjoy a weekend of refreshment and recharging.

And as you begin looking toward the next school year, it’s also the perfect time to stop by our booth to ask questions, see what’s new, or browse through WriteShop books in person.

At the convention you can:

Visit the WHO Convention site for workshop schedule, exhibit hall hours, and directions to the conventions. See you there!

And check WriteShop’s convention schedule to see where we’ll be next!

Modeling and teaching writing

Regardless of skill or background, you can model and teach writing with confidence.

Are you uncomfortable with the idea of teaching your kids to write? Maybe you think you can’t teach writing because you never really learned yourself. Or maybe you’re a confident writer, but you don’t have a clue how to pass that on to your kids.

One thing I do know: Regardless of skill or background, you can model and teach writing with confidence. Even though you may not believe it—you really do know more than your children.

Why Model and Teach Writing?

Simply, it’s unfair to expect our children to do something that hasn’t first been demonstrated.

Modeling writing in front of your children matters, but be encouraged that you don’t have to be perfect or have all the right answers. As homeschool parents, like it or not, our job is to teach and model the process until our children get it. They need to see and hear us thinking through our ideas. It’s good for them watch us struggle to come up with a topic sentence or find the words to make up the lines of a poem. Why? Because they struggle too!

But let’s step out of writing mode for a moment.

Students learn geometry because you show them over and over how to do it, right? They rarely get it the first time. Or the second time. Or even third.

mathhttpwww.flickr.comphotosacidwashphotography2967752733Imagine saying, “OK, Ryan, find the hypotenuse of this triangle. I’m not going to teach you different strategies to solve the problem. Just get started . . . and good luck!”

We’d never dream of throwing our kids to the math lion, yet when it comes to writing, we want to assign a topic and say “Go!”

For whatever reason, we just expect them to write intuitively. It’s pretty silly, really, because there are many strategies and skills involved with writing a good paragraph or story.

K-2nd Grade

Model and teach through Guided Writing Practice to provide your young child with a daily, predictable, shared writing experience. Together, write several short sentences about simple, familiar topics such as animals, friends, the weather, or upcoming events.

During this time, you’re modeling important writing skills such as:

  • Left-to-right progression
  • Letter formation
  • Correct spacing
  • Punctuation and capitalization

Most importantly, Guided Writing gives your child the freedom to put together ideas without the limitations and fear of having to write them down himself.

A simple way to introduce writing skills is through predictable sentence starters. Young children thrive on repetition, so they’ll enjoy the consistency and routine of using the same sentence starter all week. Just draw out a different response each day.

Hello, _________.(Mommy, Jamie, Mittens)
Today is _________. (Tuesday, Friday, my birthday)
It is _________. (sunny, cloudy, foggy)
We are going to _________. (bake with Grandma, play Legos)
I think _________. (we will have fun, I will build a tower)

As your child’s writing skills increase, use your Guided Writing times to gradually introduce new concepts such as beginning, middle, and end; writing a friendly letter; or thinking of a problem and solution for a story.

3rd-5th Grade

This is often the point where moms drop off the grid: You go from nurturing the writing process to feeling guilty that you’re getting in the way of your child’s progress or creativity. Ironically, this is when most kids come to hate writing!

Instead, recognize that this is the phase of writing where you and your child can work together to produce the final project. Model and teach writing skills through examples and prompts. Keep things moving by continuing to do most or all of the writing, but share in the process. Because some of the work is yours and some is your child’s, it’s a collaborative effort. Let this free you instead of tether you to your guilt!

Middle and High School

Even if your teen is now working quite independently, you should still be modeling new writing skills and methods. As you work together, modeling helps familiarize her with the lesson’s expectations.

Modeling and Teaching Writing | In Our Write MindsOn a white board, demonstrate and teach writing skills through dialogues, prompts, and questions, but also show examples of the targeted writing. You and student should both contribute to the paragraph.

Again, you’re not modeling a polished final draft, you’re modeling the thinking process. When your teen heads off to write her own paper, your time together will have set the stage.

Stay Connected

At every age, your child needs your involvement in the writing process, not just to give editing feedback, but to instruct and model. Like teaching your child to make a bed, knit a scarf, or build a birdhouse, you remain involved until she is confidently and successfully progressing.

Collaborative writing takes time, too—to coax, encourage, ask questions, and discuss possibilities. Together, you and your child will grow comfortable with these writing sessions, and before you know it, you’ll watch her begin to apply the same thinking process when she works by herself.

So stay connected and involved. It’s crucial to your child’s writing success!

Copyright 2011 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

 Photos: Woodley Wonderworks and Cindy Bateman, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Waiting for fruit

Waiting for Fruit | Writing Encouragement for Homeschool Moms

My kids have come such a long way in their skills using WriteShop, but they still don’t enjoy writing. It’s still “work” to them, and they’d rather be doing something else. ~Marisa, SD

Fun vs. Fruit

As parents, we toggle between wanting to use a curriculum our kids like (even if it’s less effective) and using something that’s more “work,” yet clearly produces results. For two of my own kids, math was our bugaboo. The “fun” program I used one time set them back a year, so it was back to Saxon for us, even though they didn’t especially like it.

Moment of Clarity

I love when homeschooling moms have an epiphany, that “Aha!” moment when they realize—and accept—that writing does need to be taught, and how this often means sitting with our kids and coaxing the writing out of them.

The wise parent makes the commitment to brainstorm one-on-one with her children as needed, asking leading questions and encouraging them in what they write down. She knows that their efforts would be half-hearted if she left them to work on their own.

Later, when it’s time to write the rough draft, she sometimes needs to go through the process with each one individually as well.

She sticks with her curriculum and holds her kids’ hands—not just for the sake of commitment, but because she sees fruit! Marisa adds:

 Again, I worked with each of the kids individually to get their [brainstorming] done… Though it takes a little more time than I like, the end result is far more satisfying for all of us!

I too have walked in Marisa’s—and your—shoes. When my son finally began working independently in high school, all those hours and hours of side-by-side efforts paid off. I pray they will for you too.




Photo: Danielle Buma, courtesy of Creative Commons.

On being a “women”

If they think being a “women” is expensive, wait till they have to have 5000 new licence-plate frames printed!

(Thanks to my friend Courtney for snapping a photo of this gem.)

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Stop by every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesday for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!

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