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In my Directed Writing Approach, every detail of every project is laid out for your student. None of my writing projects are “writing ideas” or “writing prompts.” Every writing assignment contains step-by-step instructions with much hand-holding along the way. The student is “directed” in how to write and what to write at all times—from brainstorming to research to outlining to rough draft and finally to revising.
My Meaningful Composition co-author (my oldest child Joshua) and I have been writing a novel for, um, four years now. Well, truth be told, he has been writing it for nearly twenty years as he started outlining it when he was eighteen years old. It is finished actually, but Joshua is a perfectionist (at teaching, instructional writing, lesson plan preparation, and novel writing), so it isn’t finished in his eyes. We recently got it back out, dusted it off, and dug in to find his perfect spot again (and add in more technology…do you know how much things change in our world in four years?).
I have written seventy-five books in the past fifteen years—averaging 800 pages a book. The first forty were completely new books, and the next thirty-five have been re-writes and new books taken out of the original forty (i.e. half of the MC lessons came out of Character Quality Language Arts, for instance). But it has been a long journey nonetheless.
I have loved teaching writing and language arts to nearly a hundred students a year for the past fifteen years (started out with eight students!). Through that process, as well as through writing fifty thousand pages of curricula, books, blog posts, and more over the past fifteen years, I have learned so much about teaching writing—and also about the expectations and goals that we have for students at various levels. Sometimes these expectations are extreme, but sometimes they are not adequate. In this series, I hope to give you an *encouraging* writing tip for each grade level. Keep in mind that I am talking here about the act of writing/creating/composing, not the act of penmanship (or even spelling). Here we go…