Writing Curriculums~

Highhill Education has began a lesson-planning link-up… the topic this week…



I will admit we have tried a wide array of choices in search for that “perfect” program.

Shall I list a few of them for you?

SRA Reading & Writing
Drawn into the Heart of Reading
Create Better Writers
Oak Meadow’s Writing for 100 Days


First I would like to draw attention to the art of copywork.  I originally thought it was busywork… and I was wrong.  I believe in the importance of it so strongly that I actually suggest it’s usage up til 6th grade (& beyond if necessary!)


It improves spelling, enhances vocabulary, reenforces proper grammar structure, and exposes the student to proper punctuation, not to mention it provides penmanship practice and improves attention to details.

So unless my child shows an interest, I do not push formal writing until the secondary years.


My top 3 favorites:

Advanced Writing Resources-
Don’t let “advanced” intimidate you.
This program is perfect for the audio/tactile learner.
Simply listen, and do.

I chose this for my independent student who needed the flexibility to work at his own pace.
Listen to audios, print out workbook, and go.

Program owner: Dr Fred Lybrand
-down to earth, easy to communicate with, answers questions promptly, raised all 5 of his homeschoolers w/ the same curriculum we utilize, RC.

Pros- reasonable priced.  Reusable year after year
Cons- none.  Students only improve over time.

great for the reluctant writer.

I chose this for my need.to.follow.the.rules student who needs to know not only the “what’s” of writing, but the “why” behind it all.

Program owner:  Andrew Pudewa
-do not know personally.  He is on the videos and seems personable.  Rumor has it that he is actually quite funny, and that the kids enjoy him (on the student CD’s).  However, I do know a IEW representative that helped me with all my questions and gave great feed back.  Cathy Flowers

Pros- very thorough, with step by step instructions
Cons- highly teacher intensive, expensive

VLA- Virtual Language Alive

I chose this for my over-zealous learner.  This is the girl, who in 2nd grade, asigned herself 100 word essays…for fun. *obviously she showed an interest in formal writing early on.

Owner:  Joanne Calderwood
-encouraging, personable, has homeschooled her own 8 kids w/ great results.  I have known her for some time now, and she is the one who encourages self-learners.  *plus her planners are perfect for us!

Pros- improves vocabulary, enhances grammar, prepares students for SAT’s.  AND she does all the correcting and feedback.
Cons- expensive, yet is flexible with payment plans.


With that all shared…

writing does not have to be complicated. 

Read good books.

Write daily.

Incorporate basic ideas into your writing such as;
Capitalization, end marks..
then move on to including adjectives, bold verbs, prepositional phrases, adverbs, and improve your nouns.

the dog jumped
The dog jumped.
The anxious dog jumped. (adjective)
The anxious dog leaped. (bold verb)
The anxious dog leaped over the creek. (prepositional phrase)
The anxious dog swiftly leaped over the creek. (adverb)
The anxious collie swiftly leaped over the rushing creek. (improved noun, added adjective)

I intro this concept as we learn about the individual grammar structures each month, and build up throughout the year.

For example in language arts:
Aug- adjectives
Sept- nouns
Oct- verbs
etc… adding more skills to our writing as we learn about it in our English lessons.

A final note:

I prefer to apply our writing assignments to our other subjects, such as history or science.  I feel it helps solidify what they are learning, and prepares them for essay writing for college.


Variety is sometimes pleasant.  My daughter (the over-zealous one, right?) enjoys journal writing, has 8 penpals from all over the world, attempts to write a novel every November for NaNoWriMo, enjoys writing poems, and will literally sit on the floor with a huge amount of encyclopedia’s sprawled out around her to pick a topic to write about… in her free time.  Not bragging, just giving out writing ideas.  None of the boys have any interest in writing for fun, cept for the comic strip style that they all seem to enjoy at some point or another.  Illustrations only add to the character of the plot, eh?

Did you enjoy writing as a child?

*next week’s topic… math.

4 thoughts on “Writing Curriculums~

  1. Oh wow you have tried a lot of different writing programs. I’ve heard good things about IEW and agree that writing does not to be complicated. Last year the majority of our writing assignments were connected with history and science, because as you said, I also believe it helps the kids to retain information. Unfortunately, for us, it took away a lot of the kids writing motivation and writing became a chore. I think there wasn’t enough variety as you also pointed out as being very important. I’m hoping to revive their motivation this year and maybe they will choose to write about history/science topics on their own? Thanks for linking with Highhill Education.

  2. Hey Sheri! Great post on writing curriculum. We enjoyed Lybrand’s course too. It was a great transitional program from copywork to more writing-writing without all the stress of grammar and rules. 🙂 We also did about a year of IEW. The kids like Mr. Pudewa, but not the work. lol! I plan to still use it, but only the TWSS to help me guide the kids into different types of writing. I still need a little hand holding there.

    That is so great about your daughter! My son does the comic thing. 🙂 I love them, but he is so shy about them. I love seeing his creative side. I tell him he has a gift for storytelling, but he just gives me the ‘look.’ My daughter wants to write stories, but she gets stuck or as she says, she never finishes them. Maybe I will encourage her to journal. It might help.

  3. Thanks for this post! I may try Virtual Language Alive. I never learned to write well in public school. Fortunately, I did not write many papers in college. I do not feel comfortable guiding my daughter in her writing. We have done Mr. Lybrand’s course and will continue it as well. My daughter seems to not have trouble writing, and in my opinion, writes fairly well. I do feel she needs to learn how to expand her thoughts more and could use a writer’s guidance to dig a little deeper.

    I like your idea of keeping the writing topics to what you are studying at the time. I need to get a set of encyclopedias! : )

    1. Book of Knowledge (NOT the New Book of Knowledge which are current encyclopedias) are SO much better to peruse. They are encyclopedia-like but instead of alphabetized it is more in order of a timeline with all kinds of fascinating things to learn along the way.
      ps… hoping to get the younger brother to write to his penpal this week end! *smile*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s