5 Homeschool Writing Tips from TeachersOctober 27, 2021
Do you ever wonder what writing instructors teach their students? You’re in luck! Teachers have shared some of their top writing tips. These tips don’t cover everything, but they can certainly provide a good start. We hope that applying these tips can help your child (and maybe even you) to become a better writer!
Read the Directions
One of the first steps to good writing is understanding the directions of the writing task. That means not only reading the instructions but also trying to grasp the purpose of the assignment. Why are you being asked to write this piece? If there are multiple directions, make a checklist of the steps. Pre-plan an outline or graphic organizer based on what is required. Students who follow directions can get higher grades and better scores on tests and even college entrance exams. Professionals who follow directions can ensure that they keep their jobs and get paid.
Know Your Audience
Besides knowing the purpose behind the writing task, you also want to understand your target audience. To whom are you writing this piece? Try to empathize with the perspective of the readers. What are their needs, opinions, and motivations? What should the tone and complexity of the writing be? Imagine the audience as you write. Students and professionals who write to an audience can connect with readers and make their writing more clear and powerful.
Make Your Writing Interesting
Creating a clear and powerful message is useless if your readers are asleep by the third sentence! Make your writing interesting by varying your vocabulary and adding engaging components, like dialogue and detailed description. Avoid repeating certain words or phrases. After you’ve written a draft, highlight repeated words and then use an online thesaurus to spice up your writing. Be careful, though, to avoid changing the intent of the words into something different. Before adding dialogue, brainstorm synonyms for the word “said,” and don’t forget to start a new paragraph whenever a speaker changes! Students and professionals who use the range of their vocabulary and add interest to their writing can more easily get the attention of teachers, employers, and anyone else reading their work.
Follow the Rules
Make sure to follow grammatical rules! For example, when telling a story about your family, don’t capitalize “Mom” or “Dad” when they follow possessive pronouns such as “my.” You can write that “Mom” went to the store, but you will go shopping with “your dad.” You also want to make sure that you put yourself last when using the pronouns “I” and “me.” For example, you can write, “My cousins and I went to the park” or “Our aunt gave my sister and me five dollars for the movies.” Knowing rules like these can ensure that errors do not detract from your message. Students who know the rules can get higher grades, and professionals can seem more competent and fluent to their readers.
Give Yourself Time to Revise
Once you’ve written a draft, let it sit and rest. Go back to it after several hours or even the next day or next week. You will bring a new perspective and perhaps discover new ideas after stepping back from the writing for a little while. You can also gain a new perspective when editing by reading the piece backward, sentence by sentence, to catch errors. Then, give yourself time to enjoy your accomplishment!
It’s no secret. Writing is difficult for many people, and teaching writing can be even more challenging. Writing is a process, and while there are some definite rules, there are also subtle aspects of writing that require skill and finesse. One of our teachers offers some sage advice for all of us who teach writers: “Let the students know that we, including ourselves as teachers, are all learners, so it’s okay to make mistakes. These mistakes are part of the learning process.”