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Selecting or Modifying Your Writing Program

December 13, 2017

Some children are born writers. They enjoy it. They’re good at it. They are creative and imaginative. Other children are good writers and storytellers but they don’t enjoy the process. Still others struggle to write at all. 


There is no shortage of writing curricula available for homeschooling parents. Knowing which to select is no small task. Each curriculum is based on a philosophy about how children best learn to write. But all high quality writing curricula are based on several key writing strategies. Professional teachers call these evidence-based practices. 


Evidence-based practices are those that are deemed effective based on research. As a former special education teacher and university researcher, it only seemed logical to me that I should look up what the evidence-based practices are for teaching writing in homeschool settings. I was surprised to find that there is no research on the subject. Now I not only am not surprised by that, but I also recognize the extreme difficulty that researchers would encounter if they attempted such an endeavor. 


Traditional methods of evaluating the effectiveness of a writing curriculum don’t work in homeschool settings. Each homeschool is unique and individualized in a manner that precludes those traditional methods. So how do we go about selecting a high quality writing curriculum? 


One of the most valuable tools that homeschooling parents have is each other. We socialize and network with each other in a unique fashion. We seem to talk constantly about what we are doing in our homeschools, how it’s working, and searching for new ideas. This provides the venue for selecting high quality writing curricula. 


When you’re looking for a new writing curriculum or ways to modify the one you already use, keep these points in mind. 

  1. What are other people saying about the curriculum? If you can’t find anyone else using it, think twice about trying it out first. You might still choose it, and that’s okay. 

  2. When you find someone who likes it, find out about how their children learn? How does that fit with how your children learn? 

  3. What teaching style does the curriculum require? Make sure that the teaching and learning process fits the style that you and your family use. 

  4. What are the demands of the curriculum on you and your child? Will you and your child be able to meet these demands? 

  5. Do you find it interesting? Our first grammar curriculum came highly recommended, but my boys and I found it incredibly boring. A curriculum is only good for your family if you and your children are invested in it.

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