An enjoyable and effective way to teach middle school students how to write.

When I first started homeschooling back in March of 2020, I wasn’t very worried about teaching language arts. Both of my sons are strong readers, and my oldest son is down right veracious. While we’ve been quarantined, my oldest son has easily spent 6-8 hours reading every single day. Pretty much all he does is eat, sleep, read, and argue with his brother.

English and Language Arts (normally abbreviated to ELA) is more than just reading though. I tried using a grammar curriculum with my son last spring, but he found it super boring. Still, I know not teaching my veracious reader how to also write effectively would be a huge disservice. He may have gotten A’s on all of his seventh grade ELA writing assignments back when he was in public school, but seventh grade is not the end of a students writing journey. In many ways it’s just the beginning. I needed a homeschool writing program that could set my young bibliophile up for success.

After lots of online research, I found the perfect program for my son – WriteShop. WriteShop does make an elementary school program that I’ve never used. Their middle/high school program is 32 writing lessons broken up into two books WriteShop I and WriteShop II (16 lessons per book). The program can be done in a single year, one lesson per week (recommended for high school students), or spread out over two or three years for middle school students.

Each lesson consists of pre-writing activities, skill building worksheets, and a writing assignment. There are self-check checklists with every writing assignment and instructions for how the student can edit their own work. The assumption when following this program is that every assignment will entail multiple drafts as the student improves their writing skills.

My eighth grader really enjoys this program and I can tell he’s learning a lot at the same time. My sixth grader needs another year of more basic grammar and vocabulary before he’s ready to start this program, but it could be used for an advanced sixth grader. I would definitely recommend it for any student in seventh or eighth grade that enjoys writing.

What writing programs have you used?

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