Have you ever wondered how to help your young teens progress with their writing skills? And how to evaluate how they were doing?
We did, when my daughter was 13 years old or so. We looked through a number of great homeschool writing curricula and then chose one that writes to the student: SPECTRUM WRITING grade 8. We love their writing exercises and how well they describe the steps of the Writing Process, in clear, simple language. Each chapter includes a section which helped me to evaluate my daughter’s work, right along side her.
SPECTRUM WRITING grade 8 – offers a variety of essays and fiction activities to chose from. I followed my daughter’s interests, and had her pick which she would like to do. She decided to try short stories first and later take on essay writing. By the time she was ready to tackle the essay writing, the story writing practice made her writing confidence strong.
As a published writer myself, secondary to being a homeschooler, I recommend starting with whatever writing is the most comfortable and familiar. For example, a child who loves science might like to try Chapter 6, as it is the most like science experiment write-ups. The young cook might like Informational Essays, as they are step-by-step similar to recipes. It’s all a matter of putting pen to the page!
Pick and choose what works for your young writers. In our homeschool, we started with Chapter 4, then went on to Persuasive Writing much later.
SPECTRUM WRITING grade 8 – Chapters:
- Writing Basics
- Expressive Writing (includes personal narrative)
- Descriptive Writing (includes sensory)
- To entertain (story writing)
- Persuasive Writing (debate kids would love this chapter)
- Explanatory Writing (such as science experiment write-ups)
- Informational (includes recipes, how to’s)
After each activity or assignment there is a section called “Revise” which includes questions to help the teacher evaluate the student’s work. Each question guided me as to what to expect from the work.
Benefits of SPECTRUM WRITING grade 8:
- Written directly to the student.
- Each chapter has sequential writing activities, which are straight forward and easy to follow.
- Writing terms, such as “voice” are defined clearly.
- Reviews writing basics, and includes fiction writing and a variety of essays .
- Includes many clearly written forms which help the student to put her thoughts down on paper.
When my daughter finished, her story writing was ready for essays. Next, we chose persuasive writing. First there was a web form, to help generate ideas. Then to build the essay, another form was used to list each of her points, see photo.
Once the first draft was written, she worked on editing and then publishing her writing in its final form. My daughter enjoyed printing it out from her computer.
We always waited to discuss any grammar, spelling or mechanics issues until after the first draft. That helped the words find their place on the page! My suggestion is whatever helps the creativity and work to flow out. Whatever the student writes, follow his or her interests, and the writing skills will follow, too.
For more information, please visit www.FrankSchaffer.com
Watch for more SPECTRUM WRITING reviews in the future, from K to 12.
Betsy’s most important role is mom to her college student whom she homeschooled from day one. She blogs at BJ’s Homeschool about the early years, high school and college, and is the author of “Homeschooling High School with College in Mind“. She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ’s Consulting.
Dawn @ Guiding Light says
Thank you for this! We are continually looking for different things to help with writing…off to check it out further. (I really like the way you shared about this too…helps to understand exactly how to use it / it might help our family.)