Hello, homeschooling families!
Growing Writers is a perfect fit for you because the lessons are so clear in design. Even if you have never taught writing before, you can have great success.
Here are some keys to having that success:
1. Don’t skip the “Group Lesson” even if you don’t have a group.
The workbooks are meant for practice after instruction, not as something to buy and hand to your child to do independently. Follow the Group Lesson directions carefully.
2. Do only one lesson per day and don’t let your child get ahead in the workbook.
Growing Writers is about quality, not quantity. Each lesson should be done neatly and carefully. If it isn’t, then it gets erased and done again until it is your child’s best work. You wouldn’t hesitate to have a child re-do a math problem if it’s not correct. The same is true in writing, except that you, as the teacher, decide what “finished” looks like. See number 3.
3. Hold a high standard for what “finished” means.
It is usually clear when math work is finished. It’s not so clear with writing, because that can be subjective. Don’t let your child determine what “finished” is. Follow the instructions in the Teacher’s Guide for how long independent writing should be each day. Then set a timer or make a time for each book you are on (15-30 minutes) and writing time isn’t over until the clock says it is. Children need to learn to keep adding more to a page.
Not only that, “finished” is defined by the quality produced at the end of the writing time. The conventions lessons need to be completed to a high standard. In the very beginning stages of writing, having to erase and do something over is a first exposure to editing and revising. It will set the stage for your child’s entire writing career. Children will learn to live up to a high standard, even if they resist it at first. If you stay firm in your expectations, you will see a lot of growth in each workbook.
The creative page will be subject to your discretion. On that side, you will expect the best that your child is capable of. You will come to know what that is for the children in your family.
4. Do find a partner for partner activities.
Partner activities really do need a partner! There is important learning built into these lessons. Have a sibling or a friend be the partner, or if no other kids are available, a parent can step into the role. It would be fabulous to have a little network of families teaching Growing Writers.
See number 5.
5. Sharing writing is very important.
Writing is a form of communication and is always more meaningful when shared. Do you have a group of homeschoolers that you get together with regularly? Have a Writer’s Circle where children bring a piece of writing to share with the group! In addition, bring writing to family gatherings or share over Skype with grandma, etc. You get my point.
I hope you enjoy using the program and please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns, or feedback. I also love seeing actual writing samples of stories or pictures!
P.S. I would also advise you to make copies of the blank workbooks before you begin. Save the master copies to have on hand to make a copy for your next growing writer, or in case the workbook gets lost or damaged. If you do need more master copies, they can be ordered as a package from this website.