Writing can be one of the hardest subjects to teach in your homeschool. We’ve tried a lot of different approaches–both from very laid-back to very stringent–and we have settled on something this year that is the perfect mix of both for us.
I recently noticed my kids needing more structure both in their writing practices and their grammar.
We picked up our tried-and-true Daily Grammar, that we have used from the beginning. But we needed something for my 6th grader to learn about different writing styles in a structured–but fun way. I also wanted her to start getting more comfortable writing her own stories and reports.
I got the opportunity to receive a copy of WriteShop Jr. Level F in exchange for a fair review. I was happy to look into it, but I wanted to do my research first…
Over my summer planning, I looked over lots of options and finally settled on WriteShop Jr. Level F for LOTS of reasons (see below.) There are lots of levels to WriteShop Jr., but we settled on Level F because her reading comprehension is really good, but I didn’t think she was quite ready for WriteShop I. All the levels are very flexible and use an incremental approach, so the skills continue to return to the lessons.
In this article, I’m going to share why I think it’s hard teaching writing in your homeschool, all about WriteShop Jr., and how we’re using it. If you’re looking for a hands-on, creative way to teach your child writing, this post is for you!
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What’s so hard about teaching writing in your homeschool?
We’re uncomfortable with writing.
Most of us don’t write on a regular basis and when we do, we’re unsure of ourselves.
Writing isn’t like math. There’s no exact answer. It’s so subjective and sometimes it’s hard to convey to your child what they actually need to do!
Because of this, I’ve always thought it was hard to teach writing in our homeschool.
WHY WE’RE USING WRITESHOP Jr. for Writing this Year
What I really wanted out of a writing curriculum for my 6th grader was something with variety, but also order. I didn’t want to just turn her loose and let her work alone but guide her through. My 8th grader was settling into his writing, my 12th grader has completed his writing courses and my 1st grader isn’t writing yet 😉 So, this left some open space for Sophia and me to do something together.
Also, I wanted something fun!
When I looked at WriteShop Jr., it had everything I was looking for.
The thing that really made me say YES to WriteShop Jr. was the Grammar Fold-and-Go part of the curriculum. It was exactly the added piece to our grammar studies that we’ve needed! (More on that in a minute.)
WriteShop Jr. at a Glance
Here’s a quick + easy look at what WriteShop Jr. includes and what drew me to it.
The lesson topics:
- Adventure stories
- Tall Tales
- Historical Fiction
- Persuasive Letter
- Personal Narrative
- Responding to Literature
- Nonfiction Report
Fold-and-Go Grammar Packs:
These are seriously the best! Each lesson focuses on a different area of grammar such as figures of speech, paragraphs, poetry, and point of view. The materials are included in the student worksheets and you cut them out and create a file folder booklet with them. By the end of the year, you will have ten Fold-and-Go grammar packs full of info to refer back to if your child is stumped.
Games + Prewriting Activities:
These are different each week and we’ve had so much fun with these. As we’re working through the activities, we’re actually drafting the first draft of the project, which is super cool to see evolve.
There are games that help push the child from their comfort level into better writing! One game we played had “WriteShop Dollars” and I could “pay” Sophia for every uncommon word she used in her practice work. It really helped her to stop using common words over and over again.
Each lesson provides a super creative way in which your child can publish their work. But if your child isn’t excited about that option, there are a ton of ideas in the appendix like:
- Mat Mounted paper
- Mini Book
- Accordion Book
- Report Folder
- Flap Book
- and so many more!
- Reading Log
- Journal Writing
A WEEK IN THE LIFE USING WRITESHOP Jr. COULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
It takes a few weeks to cover one full lesson. The teacher’s guide gives lots of options on how to structure your lessons and plan them out. Here’s what it’s looking like for us:
- Monday: Fold-N-Go grammar
- Wednesday: Pre-writing activities + Model and Teach
- Monday: Skill builders
- Wednesday: Brainstorming
- Friday: Writing
- Monday + Wednesday: Editing and revising
- Friday: Publishing the work
WHAT I REALLY LOVE ABOUT TEACHING WRITING WITH WRITESHOP Jr.
- Loads of options and parent support. There are so many ways to tweak this curriculum to fit your needs.
- The teacher’s guide gives tips on combining students, weekly schedules so you can figure out how to structure and plan, and so many tips in the margins–it’s like having an assistant helping you get ready.
- There are pre-writing activities that your child then uses to create her writing piece, so the rough drafts are more like games, which is really fun.
- The lessons are spread out over several weeks–your child will complete 10 in a school year, so it doesn’t feel rushed.
- Each lesson is based on a different form of writing, which helps kids get more familiar with areas they’re not familiar with AND excited about the areas they do feel familiar with.
- I do have to look over the lessons the night before so I am prepared, which some homeschool mamas might not like. But I love how the teacher’s guide is so thorough, it makes it super easy to get ready.
- I LOVE the ideas in the teacher’s guide about setting up a writing station--it makes writing feel so much less tedious.
- The publishing options are just the coolest ideas!
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN WRITESHOP CURRICULUM
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what level your child should be in. There is lots of useful info and their customer service is amazing to work with.
At the WriteShop Jr. level, you’ll want to get the Teacher’s Guide and the worksheets. You’ll want both of these to make it work well.
Inside the Teacher’s Guide, I found it most useful to just sit and read through the first section and get a good handle on what writing would look like for us this year. There was somewhat of a learning curve for me. This is not what I would consider open-and-go, but with writing, that is a good thing!
WRITESHOP SUGGESTED COURSE OF STUDY BY GRADE:
We’ve used WriteShop in all areas of our homeschool: elementary, middle school and high school. Knowing what to use each year is such an individual choice.
You could easily combine two grades if the children are close in age and skill level and that would really help you, mama, to stay saner instead of having two levels going at once.
YOU COULD EASILY USE WRITESHOP CURRICULUM for a large part of your child’s education. HERE’S AN IDEA OF HOW YOU COULD DO THAT:
- 1st Grade: WriteShop Primary Level A
- 2nd Grade: WriteShop Primary Level B
- 3rd Grade: WriteShop Primary Level C
- 4th Grade: WriteShop Jr. Level D
- 5th Grade: WriteShop Jr. Level E
- 6th Grade: WriteShop Jr. Level F
- 7th Grade: WriteShop Jr Level F (at a more in-depth level)
- 8th Grade: WriteShop I
- 9th Grade: WriteShop II
- 10th Grade: WriteShop II
CONNECTING WITH WRITESHOP
I love to follow my favorite homeschool companies on social media, especially Instagram. You can follow WriteShop there too. You can also go to their website for tons of ideas, articles, forums and more!
NEED TO GET ORGANIZED THIS SCHOOL YEAR? GRAB THIS FREE CALENDAR TO CREATE A FRAMEWORK FOR YOUR YEAR:
HERE are A FEW MORE REVIEWS YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- HOW TO MAKE HANDS-ON HISTORY SIMPLER THIS YEAR (Homeschool in the Woods)
- CURIOSITYSTREAM: THE BEST EDUCATIONAL VIDEO STREAMING EVER
- AROUND THE WORLD STORIES: STUDYING WORLD CULTURES IN YOUR HOMESCHOOL
- NICOLE THE MATH LADY: HIT THE EASY BUTTON
MORE PIECES OF OUR HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM:
- Learning Well Community Does Language Arts
- Top Ten Homeschool Curriculum Choices
- My Day in the Life with a Sophomore, 6th grader, 4th grader, and preschooler
- Our Homeschool Plans and Book Lists