MARCH 26, 2020

Simplify Your Lessons: How to Combine Writing with Other Subjects

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Running to the store for essentials, cleaning everything, keeping your family fed and happy, getting work done, trying to stay on top of life in general, and just maintaining your sanity on any given day…Is it any wonder that you dread adding a ton of lessons to your schedule? Teaching your kids can, at times, be overwhelming for even the most experienced homeschoolers. A great tip to keep in mind is that you can often include lessons that span multiple subjects. Writing is a great example of how you can get the most out of your lessons; it can be included in nearly every subject you can think of! Let’s take a look at some ways you can add writing to some of the foundational subjects, as well as common electives.

Infusing Writing into Social Studies/History 

Because social studies and history include so much information, from basic timelines to in-depth cultural research, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate writing. Here are some ideas:

Argument/Opinion Papers: Social studies and history are wonderful subjects for inviting student opinions. History is full of controversial decisions and events, and there are plenty of opportunities for students to debate current issues as well. To challenge students, ask them to consider another perspective; and write the opposing viewpoint with supporting evidence.

Research Papers: Social studies and history provide opportunities to let students learn to research on their own and practice explanatory/informative writing. Given a geographic area or time period, students can research things like biographies, issues, movements, or events. Once their research is complete, they can write a paper summarizing what they’ve learned.

Infusing Writing into Science and Health

Science and health are also subject areas that work well for argument/opinion and research papers, and they’re great for other kinds of writing too. Here are two examples:

Lab Reports/Observations: Lab reports need to be written clearly and logically and are a great way to practice objective and formal writing. Older students can learn the scientific method and the proper format for writing lab reports. Younger students can practice writing about what they see or hear. The variety of observations and experiences can keep the writing interesting for all ages!

Process Descriptions: Both science and health contain processes that can be described through writing. Students can adapt graphic organizers (like Venn Diagrams of plant versus animal cells) into compare/contrast essays, or they can convert diagrams of systems (like the digestive system) or processes (like a water cycle) into informative process papers.

Infusing Writing into Math 

Most people don’t often think of writing when they think of math, right? The good news is that homeschool parents can help students gain a better grasp of math concepts through writing. Here are two ways to do so:

Explanations: Tests often require students to write brief explanations of how they solve certain problems. This can be frustrating for students with writing challenges and those who “do math in their heads.” Adding the explanations to everyday lessons can help students develop math vocabulary, fine-tune their word choices, and strengthen their understanding of procedures.

Math Stories and Word Problems: Students can practice narrative writing by composing math stories to capture math processes or explain situations where math is used. Shorter narratives can also be composed as word problems that the students also solve. Having students write their own word problems lets them include creative writing in their math lessons.

Infusing Writing into Electives/Extracurriculars

Electives/extracurriculars can be great opportunities for many types of writing. Below are some ideas:

Art: Writing reflective pieces of their own work, interpretations of the work of others, or informative pieces about types of art or famous artists, are great ways to add writing to art lessons. Students can also add art to writing by illustrating something they’ve written. Writing is also an art in itself, and students can learn and discuss the creative process.

Gym: Students may be reluctant to write about physical education, which is understandable, but gym journals are another source of potential writing. Students can reflect on certain sports, games played, or their own performance. They can also set goals for themselves or write about progress toward their goals.

Music: Putting a poem they wrote to music, or writing lyrics to an existing piece of music, are fun ways to include writing in music lessons. Like art, students interpret a musical composition or the meaning of lyrics, research the history of music genres or singers/composers, or reflect on music heard or experienced through video.

Technology: Students can use their writing to become proficient with word processing. They can write creatively using book creation apps or supplement existing writing with multimedia. They can use technology to find sources for research papers, or they can write about new technologies or applications.

There are so many ways to make sure your kids are learning and building writing skills without taking away from other subjects. Keeping up with lessons while handling an already busy schedule doesn’t need to be a source of anxiety. Just look for ways to combine lessons when possible and you’ll save time, stress less, and still provide a well-rounded education at home.


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