The beginning of a new year always seems to put homeschool parents in the mood to try new things. You’re fully aware of what’s not working, and you’re ready to take a different approach. When it comes to homeschool writing, this may mean doing additional research to find the best homeschool writing curriculum for your child’s needs, or simply discovering new types of writing assignments that will get your student more engaged.
“I’ll tell you one thing. I refuse to give my son one more writing prompt. He’s started dreading seeing them because he doesn’t yet have the skills to know how to respond to them.” ~Reneé, homeschool mom of a third grader.
Knowing what homeschool writing assignments are appropriate for specific grade levels is half the battle. Asking a child to complete an essay when he or she still hasn’t mastered paragraphs, for example, is a formula for writing reluctance. Let’s look at what a writing assignment might consist of for your child’s grade and skill level.
Homeschool Writing Assignments by Grade Level
When you first begin researching the types of homeschool writing that will be most appropriate for your student, it’s not a bad idea to become aware of grade level writing standards. They certainly don’t have to be a guidebook to how you teach writing, but they can help you identify specific gaps in your child’s skills so you’re able to address those as soon as possible. They also can be a starting point for determining what grammar and writing concepts to cover in a given homeschool year. With those standards in mind, appropriate grade level writing assignments might include the following.
Elementary Homeschool Writing Assignments
- Have your child record a short conversation between siblings or parents (just a few sentences is fine.) Then have him/her transcribe the conversation into a written dialogue, using appropriate quotation marks and paragraph breaks.
- Ask your student to write a persuasive paragraph that attempts to convince a friend to read the student’s favorite book. Don’t forget the supporting details!
- Provide a graphic organizer for your homeschooler to use when preparing research for a topic they will write about. Make sure the organizer gives them room to list their sources, too.
Middle School Homeschool Writing Assignments
- Have your middle schooler pick out two short stories to read. Once they are finished, they can compare the two authors’ use of descriptive language when writing.
- Middle schoolers are usually able to memorize the main Greek and Latin root words that form much of English vocabulary. They can practice their skills with these root word games.
- Provide your homeschooler a choice of recent current events to write a short narrative essay about. Your student can pretend to be one of the principals in the story and write their essay in first person.
High School Homeschool Writing Assignments
- Using common writing rubrics, have your high schooler revise a recent composition he/she has written into an improved draft.
- Ask your homeschooler to get creative by creating an infographic using image design software. The infographic should outline the appropriate manuscript requirements for formal papers, such as margins, spacing, how to use citations, and creating title pages.
- Whether or not they will complete a formal research paper about it, request your student to pick a topic they might like to write about and practice their research skills by noting at least five different types of source information on the topic such as books, magazines, electronic sources, studies, charts, etc.
Grading Homeschool Writing Assignments
For the most part, grading your own child’s writing is fraught with dangers. Because writing comes from our personal experiences, it’s difficult for any of us to take criticism on something we’ve put our heart into. Unless you are using a formal writing curriculum that handles the grading for you, though, it’s likely that you’ll be assessing your homeschooler’s writing assignments. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to keep these tips in mind.
- For every negative, find a positive. Before correcting an error you find, be sure to note something in the composition that your student has excelled at.
- Emphasize drafting and revision. From the very beginning of your homeschool writing instruction, let your young writer know that a written piece is never really finished. There are always things that can be changed and improved. Whenever you assign a writing piece, call it a “first draft” so that your student expects to receive feedback on it and to make revisions in the future.
- Teach self-editing. The more that students understand how to spot writing errors, the less you will need to correct. Begin by having them edit other writers’ works, then have them use those same techniques to objectively review their own compositions.
One of the ways to evaluate your homeschooler’s writing skills with a minimum amount of power struggle is by incorporating some writing worksheets into your curriculum. Time4Writing offers homeschoolers free writing worksheets at the elementary, middle, and high school level. Pick one that you need or download them all!