Jul 102013

Are you looking for homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills?

Is your child struggling with writing sklls?
Does your child have symptoms of dysgraphia?

Writing is one of the most difficult skills for a child with learning disabilities to master. It was a significant challenge for us, but we overcame!

On this page I share information about the programs we used for improving writing skills in our boys. I also share information about programs other parents like for helping their struggling writers.

A Little About Homeschool Curriculum for Improving Writing Skills

When teaching your child writing skills, you need a homeschool curriculum for writing that focuses on helping your child develop content, thought organization into a readable essay or story, spelling, and punctuation.

We used the programs below to help our boys when we were improving writing skills. These programs worked in spite of our boys’ dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD.

For many children with dysgraphia, writing is an arduous task. If your child HATES writing, I would suggest starting out with simple expectations. Build on improving writing skills over time. I have one particular homeschool curriculum for writing recommendation for you as a starting point..

Homeschool Curriculum for Improving Writing Skills When Your Child Hates Writing

When we first started home schooling, tantrums ensued whenever I requested my child write something. So, I backed off trying to “teach” writing. My goal became just getting him over his hatred of writing.

If your child “hates” writing, you might want to consider starting with Brave Writer. Julie Bogart’s “The Writer’s Jungle” is also great. Click here to read my review of “The Writer’s Jungle”. A misprint copy of this product was sent to me for review. This program was great for helping my son get comfortable with free-flow writing. It made him “comfortable”, but he never did like writing–it was more a case of not being terrified of a blank page any more!

For a long time, my request was that my children write one paragraph EACH day. A paragraph was defined as “at least three sentences”. I did not specify what they had to write. Our goal was just to write “Anything you want to write about.” I did not check the work for any technical aspect–only to see they had written that day. This was the sum total of our program for improving writing skills for quite awhile.

Often I got things like “The sky is blue. The grass is green. I hate writing.” Or “I got a toy. I like it. It is fun.” Of course, the writing was without punctuation, capitals, and often very sloppy. However, I didn’t criticize or grade anything. I simply said, “GREAT job!” as long as my child fulfilled the requirement of one paragraph of at least three sentences. (Sometimes I had difficulty determining where one sentence ended and the next began. I defined it loosely for my son’s benefit).

After my child self-initiated writing the paragraph daily without complaining, I upped the requirement to two paragraphs (which brought a lot of complaining). Then I required two paragraphs on one subject (which brought copious amounts of complaining). After my child self-initiated and was comfortable writing at that level, we moved to three paragraphs on one subject. Slowly improving writing skills emerged over time.

This process took us two school years. After two years I had a child who could write three paragraphs fairly easily. At that point, my son didn’t think that writing was a dreadful task worthy of all avoidance tactics he could imagine. My son became use to putting his thoughts on paper. That is the foundation for writing anyway, so we moved forward from here. 

I highly recommend starting with getting over your child’s hatred of writing if he or she has an “end of the world” mindset towards writing. For some kids, writing is so difficult for them that it really is like a form of torture!

The third year we started using Write Source 2000. We began working on more structured writing. Write Source is very colorful. It uses a step-by-step type of approach. My child did exceptionally well using this incremental approach to writing. He learned each step in producing a good written essay– prewriting (without worrying about anything techical), revising, editing, and producing the final draft. I did add in graphic organizers to help him visualize how to lay out a paper. The program brought a certain level of ability, but writing remained a brain-intensive process.

Homeschool Curriculum For Improving Writing Skills That Helped My Guys Write Wonderful Essays

We used several different products during our days of homeschooling. I’ll share the programs that have worked for us and for other Learning Abled Kids. Hopefully one or more of the products on this page will help you teach your child to express himself in writing well.

You can find Write Source products at Houghton Mifflin, however the program has been modified to be Common Core based. The program is no longer primarily a homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills.

After Write Source, we discovered IEW’s Student Writing Intensive! This is an AWESOME homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills. WE LOVE IT! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

I found the **Institute for Excellence in Writing’s “Student Writing Intensive” – I ordered the first level of this product (Student Writing Intensive). However, the Institute for Excellence in Writing sent it to me without cost along with a selection of other products to review for this website. The program SWI course was so successful, we *purchased* the Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course too.

After years of working on improving writing skills with no love for writing in my boys, the Student Writing Intensive provided an unexpected relief in my life! Using the Student Writing Intensive (SWI) brought about an interest in writing for my reluctant writers that NO other program has inspired.

Reluctant writers relate to Andrew Pudewa because he hated writing as a boy. He expresses feelings reluctant writers have towards writing projects. Mr. Pudewa can put writing instruction in terms that make sense. He inspires an “I can do this” attitude. He has an engaging presentation style too. He keeps kids laughing while learning about writing.

Having the DVD program has allowed me to become “coach” rather than teacher. My reluctant writers are responding much better to Mr. Pudewa’s requests to write than they do my requests!

We finished the Student Writing Intensive (SWI) in a couple of months. We then used the **”Student Writing Continuation Course” to for improving my guys’ writing skills further.

With IEW, I have been inspired by having my reluctant writers greet their writing instruction with anticipation and a degree of eagerness. If you have a reluctant writer, and wish your child would embrace writing, Mr. Pudewa’s Student Writing Intensive (SWI) DVD instruction series may be your perfect homeschool curriculum for writing!   Truly, it is the first (only) writing program my kids have really LIKED.

Well-liked Homeschool Curriculum for Improving Writing Skills

The homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills recommended below are carefully selected for recommendation based upon their ability to take a child from a struggling, non-writer to a child who can readily put his thoughts onto paper in a logical manner. My favorites are those listed above, but those listed below are used by other learning abled kids’ moms. The programs are generally liked as homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills. Hopefully, one of the homeschool curriculum for writing listed on this page will be suited to you and your child.

There are two programs that are similar to the IEW homeschool curriculum for writing that we love. Those to highly recommended programs are: Essentials in Writing (EIW) and The Lost Tools of Writing. Both of these two programs are similar to IEW in their use of a teaching DVD. The program also uses an incremental, step-by-step writing process. Generally speaking, I’ve found that learning abled kids respond to one of these three choices of homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills (IEW, EIW, Lost Tools).

Essentials in Writing – As already stated, EIW uses a teaching DVD and small learning lessons that are not overwhelming. Engaging in the lessons each day let’s your child learn writing at his own speed. Some of the benefits of EIW are that it is not parent intensive, has a low prep time, students can work independently, complete grammar and writing curriculum. Plus, it’s affordable.

Lost Tools of Writing – Lost Tools focuses on three main areas for improving writing skills. These are universal skills for writing. Any writer has to come up with ideas, organize those ideas, then express himself well in writing. This program is designed to take your child through these essential skill steps so he’ll be able to write a well thought out and structured essay. Just like EIW and IEW, the Lost Tools of Writing has a teaching DVD along with daily lessons. It is a very affordable program, and is well-liked by many Learning Abled Kids.

From Talking to Writing: Strategies for Scaffolding Expository Expressionimproving writing skills is a program offered by the Landmark School Outreach Program. Landmark is a well known, perhaps the most famous, specialized school for kids with dyslexia. This program has been recommended by some Learning Abled Kids’ moms. It is designed for grades K-6 to get kids writing. It’s an excellent option for starting to teach your child written expression, particularly for kids with difficulty starting to write.

Four Square Writing MethodHomeschool Curriculum for Writing – Four Square is an innovative writing approach that can be used with all forms of writing. The program uses a step-by-step approach built around simple graphic organizers. The organizers show students how to collect ideas, then use those ideas to create clear and polished writings. This program is excellent for improving writing skills and helping a reluctant writer get his ideas down onto paper.

**Writing StrandsWriting Strands is a homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills designed to teach children how to use their language effectively in creative and expository modes. The upper levels of the series have creative, basic, research and report, argumentative, and explanatory training. The lower levels teach the skills needed by the students to be able to take advantage of the upper levels’ exercises. This program has a good amount of explanation about how to approach writing. It also explains why a child would want to write using good writing practices. This homeschool curriculum for improving writing skills is incremental in taking a child from the earliest stages of written thought to organized, comprehensive papers.

You might consider some comfy rubber pencil grips to make it easier on your child’s hand as he writes too. Often kids with dysgraphia get a death grip on the pencil because of all of their tension over the task. The kind we got for regular pencils are the ergonomic pencil gripsimproving writing skills. They fit over thin mechanical pencils. These grips help the child have the correct grip, provide comfort, and prevent blisters from writing. The grips also make it a little more ‘fun’ or novel. You can purchase grips to slide onto pencils and pens, or you can buy pencils or pens with the grips already built into them. We found the grips that you slide onto a standard width pencil or pen to be the most comfortable.

This page concentrates on the thought organization and content creation for improving writing skills, which is known as written expression. Other aspects of improving writing skills are addressed on our Supplementary Language Arts Programs page and on the Curricula for Homeschooing and Teaching Handwriting to a Child with Dysgraphia page.

If your child is struggling with handwriting, you’ll definitely want to check out the handwriting page before focusing too heavily on improving writing skills for compositions.