Saturday, July 13, 2013

8 Simple Tips For Selecting The Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum

by Jason Castellucci

When I was an English teacher, curriculum planning was a breeze. The curriculum committee at the school district decided what learning materials were appropriate for the students in my classroom. At the beginning of the semester, everything I needed was delivered to me in a large, heavy box.

With the help of the dense-packed teacher's manual and numerous ancillary materials, I was able to create daily lesson plans with little difficulty. But for most homeschool parents, the curriculum planning process is seldom so straightforward.

Because writing is a foundational academic skill, many homeschool parents place special emphasis on selecting an appropriate homeschool writing curriculum for their children. But with so many options, finding the best homeschool writing curriculum can seem like a formidable task.

As a foster parent, I've investigated a variety of homeschool writing curriculum options for the child currently in my care. Here are some guidelines to make the decision-making process a little easier for you and your family:

1. Build your homeschool writing curriculum from any item or opportunity to help you teach writing. This includes activities as simple as writing poems or song lyrics. Young children especially are natural poets. Inspiration to write poetry can be found anywhere. Reading some children's poetry books can help stimulate the creative process.

2. Since writing is a fundamental skill, buy your homeschool writing curriculum first. To keep from being overwhelmed by all of the options in the marketplace, read reviews online and talk with other homeschoolers about their experiences with the curriculum.

3. Because writing covers a broad range of topics, some families buy more curriculum than they actually need. This problem can contribute to impulse spending, as some parents fear they won't do a good job unless they have all their bases covered.

4. Not all homeschool writing curriculum needs to be purchased. Library books can be used for teaching literature, and you can share books with other homeschoolers.

5. Keep your own personality and needs in mind when considering a purchase. Some writing programs, such as those published by Bob Jones University Press, require active planning and participation by parents while other programs, such as Houghton Mifflin English Curriculum, tend to be self-directed and require less parental involvement.

6. Keep your child's personality and needs in mind as well. A child lacking motivation to write would not be engaged by a traditional homeschool writing curriculum emphasizing grammatical rules and formal language structure. A better option might be a workbook that's fun and breaks the writing process down into manageable sections.

Many students enjoy the sense of accomplishment they feel when they complete a writing workbook. These positive feelings can carry over into their next writing workbook. You can also supplement any written work with oral assignments.

7. If you don't like writing, or if you prefer to have everything organized and planned out, consider using a traditional textbook and teacher's manual. Although this option is more expensive, you'll benefit from having expert guidance to take you step-by step through each concept.

Teacher's manuals also assist parents with evaluating their children's written work. Some include extra printable worksheets and other instructional materials on CDs.

8. Above all else, remember that teachers teach, books don't. The actual amount of learning that occurs depends largely on the quality of interaction between you and your child.

Need help selecting a homeschool writing curriculum? Get accurate feedback and reviews from homeschool parents here!

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