Writing instruction does not have to occur during a single isolated time in your homeschool day. It can occur throughout your day by embedding writing instruction into your other lessons. This helps children to apply their writing skills in practical contexts while reinforcing what they have learned about writing.
Here are five ways you can embed writing into other content areas.
Include writing assignments before, during, and after you teach new material. This could be done as you start a new chapter or unit in a textbook. Have your child write what they already know about the topic or what they hope to learn about it. During the unit, have your child write answers to specific open-ended questions to demonstrate what they have learned. Have them write a summary sentence, paragraph, or essay (depending on the age and skills of the child) about the unit.
Teach children how to use writing prompts. Have them circle the verbs and underline specific details that must be included. After writing, they should review what they have circled and underlined to ensure that they have included all of the required information.
Model the skills you are teaching. If you’re working on writing complete sentences, write in complete sentences. Narrate your thought process as you do so. For example, you might write a dependent clause and then reread it. As you do this aloud, you’ll recognize your “mistake” and rewrite it.
Scaffold your instruction. This means that you start where the child is not where the curriculum says you should. It might be the same place, but it also might be different. Scaffolding is an individualization tool where you start at the student’s current instructional point and then go up one step (rung) at a time. This can mean going faster or slower than your curriculum guide may suggest.
Use writing centers. Schools use centers all the time. Most commonly, these are used to provide tasks for students while teachers work with individual students or small groups. But they also have a place in homeschools. Writing centers are essentially a group of writing activities that children can select and complete independently to practice and reinforce skills they’ve learned already. Writing centers can be as simple as a collection of pens, pencils, markers, and paper or complex with writing games, file folder games, or other activities. The tasks they are asked to write about may include topics related to social studies (e.g., writing about an historical event), science (e.g., documenting an experiment), or even math (e.g., writing their own math problems).