Wednesday, February 20, 2013

W is for... Writing

...and also for "writer's block", which I have been experiencing lately.  Maybe more specifically, it would be "blogger's block" because I don't seem to be able to come up with much to put in these empty spaces.  I'm short on ideas, and I'm short on uninterrupted time to work on the ideas that I do have.  I know how my kids feel when they are supposed to write something and have a terrible time just getting started!  As I wracked my brain for something to contribute to Blogging Through The Alphabet this week, I thought that perhaps I could get something going here if I focused on the resources for teaching writing.  This is a subject I and many homeschool moms I know have talked about many times and struggle with - how do we teach our students to write well?  Especially when we don't feel like we'd fare much better if we had to do the writing assignments we give them!

There are lots of writing programs out there, and I won't pretend that we've tried a lot of them. For the most part, we've used Language Arts curriculum that includes writing as a component. In recent years I've seen the value of resources that are dedicated to developing the craft of written expression, and we've been able to try some things that are a bit different for us.

A few years ago, I found these fun workbooks that are basically writing prompts for late elementary or  early middle school age students.  Caution:Writing in This Book Might Be Fun is from Schoolhouse Publishing, and there are separate versions for girls and for boys. These books present writing prompts  that get kids started finding ideas and visualizing what they could say about the things that interest them.  Often the hardest part is figuring out what to write about! Getting those creative juices flowing and then getting those initial ideas on paper. If kids (and bloggers!) can do that, at least they've got a start.  And writing about something we care about is so much easier than writing about something random that we've been assigned.

At the very beginning of this school year, we reviewed Create Better Writers.  It was very helpful in breaking down the paragraph and essay writing process into something manageable, and my boys didn't mind doing it at all.  It didn't take long to get through an intense little "writer's workshop" with them and hopefully set them up to have an easier time with writing assignments this year.

Something we reviewed last year that I am now working through with Kennady is Write With World.  This is another program that breaks down the writing process into easy steps, and the lessons only take 15 to 30 minutes.  The lessons start with developing observation and critical thinking skills, and gradually work at putting good descriptions down on paper.

When my oldest son was in high school, we started using Bob Jones English & Grammar.  It was recommended as being a great writing program to prepare for college, and that's what we wanted, because at that time Harrison was thinking he would head into the journalism aspect of broadcasting.  I have to say that the curriculum covered all kinds of essays and creative writing thoroughly, but perhaps with some overkill on the minutiae of grammar.  Still, we liked it well enough that Spencer is using it this year.

Coming soon, I'll be posting a review of Excellence In Writing, a DVD-based writing program that Landon is helping me test.  So far we've been pleased overall, and we both love the fact that the lessons are taught on DVD.  Makes it clearer and more enjoyable for Landon, and takes pressure of me off me too!

And with any luck, I'll be learning a few new tricks and tips as I work through that with Landon.  Maybe having made myself sit down and write this blog post, I'll be better able to come up with something to write about tomorrow... and the day after that.

I have no idea what I will write for letter X next week.  I'll take suggestions, if you have a good one!

What are your favorite resources or tips for writing success? Leave a comment and let me know!

Please visit Ben and Me: W is for Winter to join in and to see what thoughts this week's letter has prompted for other bloggers.
Blogging Through the Alphabet
To find out more about the Blogging through the Alphabet link-up, and how to participate, visit Ben and Me: Blogging Through The Alphabet


Charlotte said...

I love the title of that first one you mentioned...Writing in This Book Might Be Fun. LOL!

Mary said...

We reviewed Writing With World and it was really cool!

Lexi said...

I'm keeping these in mind! We haven't gotten to writing quite yet. We're still trying to spell. Spell "frog" F-O-R-G........
We have a ways to go!

Post a Comment

I love comments! It's like visiting over a virtual cup of coffee.