Picking a writing curriculum can be overwhelming. There are a lot of great options for writing programs available.
So many that I couldn’t decide which to pick. I thought I could teach writing, being a writer myself. Teaching writing was MUCH harder than I thought. It took almost an entire year but we’ve finally found a rhythm that works for us.
The three most popular options that I’ve seen are Institute for Excellence, BraveWriter and WriteShop. The cost was a deterrent for us. I didn’t want to spend $80+ on a program that my son wouldn’t like. I also needed time to figure out what level B was at. We’ve been using the free writing prompts from
We’ve been using the free writing prompts from WriteShop and B seems to like them. And I find their Facebook group really supportive. They have tips on teaching writing that are super helpful as well. That said, I’ve heard really good things about BraveWriter and it seems to fit our homeschool style. So I’m still deciding whether or not to purchase a writing curriculum but if I do it’s between BraveWriter and WriteShop.
Harder than it Looks:
Writing and grammar were a huge struggle for us this year. B was in French Immersion from kindergarten to grade two. He had no instruction in or about English. In Canada, schools don’t teach English in the French Immersion program until grade three. So B was in this weird situation where he was supposed to be in grade three, could read at a grade five level but could only write in English at a grade one level. Still, I thought, “I’m a writer, this should be easy.” But oh the tears! I’d put a pencil in his hand and he’d immediately start crying.
To stop the crying I let B type his writing assignments. At first, it was three sentences about his day. Sort of a journal style. Then we moved to writing prompts. He would often dislike the writing prompts because he said they were illogical so I allowed him to adapt them to suit him better. For example, one prompt was, “If you could be a TV character which would you be?” He said none because his friends wouldn’t be with him. So we changed it so his friends could be with him and he had to write what characters his friends would be as well.
Then one day we had an amazing breakthrough. B was unusually hyper. He’s a high energy kid but this day he was over the top silly and a bit out of control. Rather than get upset I turned to him and said he should channel that silliness into his writing. And he did! He wrote the funniest, silly story ever and it was awesome. He went from struggling to write a few sentences to writing a full paragraph.
Our writing rhythm:
We now break down our writing process into four steps over four days.
Brainstorm – on the first day we sit down and look at the writing prompt and answer who, what, where, when and why. We come up with as many ideas as possible for our story. They can be completely outrageous or very logical. There are no wrong answers here. Everything is written on our whiteboard. When we run out of ideas, we stop.
Draft – on the second day B dictates his story and I type it out. He’s learning to type right now and once he’s finished his typing course he’ll have to type out his first draft. We don’t worry about punctuation. This stage is just getting the story from B’s brain onto the paper.
Edit – on the third day we put in the punctuation and B makes any changes to the story he wants.
Finalize – on the fourth day we take one final look at the story from start to finish. B makes any last changes that he wants to make. Once he’s happy with the story we call it done.
This process can be used for a variety of styles of writing. We have done poetry and research projects. Whether you choose to go with a writing curriculum or decide to create your own, make sure you have fun with it. The best moments have come when we let loose and decided to be super silly.