Teaching Writing Skills in your Homeschool

One part of Language Arts is teaching writing skills. Writing Curriculum can be broken down into a number of skill sets such as Handwriting and Composition, Spelling and Vocabulary and Formal Grammar.

When we teach writing, or when we practice writing, these writing skills work together. I mean, when a little one begins to write, they focus on holding a pencil, tracing letters and forming words. When they write a simple sentence, they formulate it in a grammatical way without thinking what a noun or verb is. However, they are employing grammar. They search for the best words to use - that's experimenting with vocabulary and view the shapes and structure within words - taking a mental copy of a word in their brain assists in spelling.

So, to create a homeschool writing curriculum, it is important to clearly think of how we develop and teach writing skills - and more importantly, what the writing skills actually are. That's what I've listed below. It's not exhaustive, but it is a list. Enjoy and use as you wish.

Teaching Writing Skills

  • Composition and Handwriting
    • To correctly form the lower, then upper case letters.
    • To copy words.
    • To copy sentences.
    • To copy paragraphs.
    • To orally narrate a story.
    • To copy own narrations.
    • To write own narrations.
    • To write narrations about literature - use these narration starters.
    • To write friendly letters, notes and cards.
    • To add descriptive writing.
    • To write journal entries.
    • To write creative stories, narratives and poems
    • To revise written work, checking for punctuation.
    • To write book reports
    • To write summaries from encyclopedia articles.
    • To write well-constructed paragraphs- formal teaching.
      • Write a  topic sentence
      • Support the topic in remaining sentences with examples, facts etc
      • Vary sentence structure (begin with prep phrase etc)
      • Add stylistic elements (add phrases, who/which clauses, interesting verbs, adverbs etc)
      • Incorporate transitions
      • Conclude by summarizing and returning to topic sentence
    • To write well-constructed essays- formal teaching.
      • Capture the attention of the audience in the first sentence
      • Develop the thesis statement
      • Build the introduction
      • Learn basic three point essay
      • Gather evidence to support thesis – facts, examples, experiences
      • Vary paragraph and sentence style
      • Cite authoritative sources
      • Quote from authoritative primary sources and support the use of the quote
      • Learn how to footnote
      • Create bibliography
    • To use a variety of forms of writing where appropriate and across subject areas.
    • Essay Writing- expository writing – essays of explanation.
    • Play writing
    • Persuasive essay writing.
    • Biographies
    • Short Stories
    • Multimedia presentations
    • Research papers
    • Speech writing
    • Debates
    • Historical fiction writing.
    • Literary response essays
    • Compare and contrast essays
    • Cause/Effect essays
  • Spelling and Vocabulary
    • To teach phonics as a base for spelling.
    • Teach the spelling rules.
    • Apply the spelling rules
    • Learn rules for adding endings.
    • Learn to spell vocabulary and content words according to subject areas- colours, days of the week, months, numbers
    • Learn spelling words in the context of own writing- develop own spelling list.
    • Apply syllabification rules to aid spelling of words.
    • Dictionary skills
    • Revise work, edit, identify incorrect spelling and re-write correctly.
    • Work with antonyms, synonyms,
    • Learn and identify prefixes, suffixes, roots
    • Increase vocabulary

Here's a printed copy of the Language Arts Skills and Strategies Chart. This gives you ideas on what language arts skills to develop as well as strategies you could use to develop them.

What do we want to develop in these areas in our homeschool writing curriculum? These writing skills can be incorporated into Individual Learning Programs. Find out more about Individual Learning Programs here.

Teaching Writing Skills Helpful Links:

Does your child love to write?  Encourage them to add a story, game review, a day in their homeschool life... to the Homeschool Writing Gallery - Don't tell them ,but this is also a great place to practice their writing skills.

Where to from here?