Why do we study writing?
- To learn. When we have to repeat what we know, in our own words, we internalize it better.
- To organize our thoughts. Writing requires taking many bits of information and organizing them into a logical format.
- To evaluate what we read, hear, and observe. We often have to explain things when we write, and as we explain to others, we understand it better ourselves.
- To communicate our beliefs clearly and persuasively to others. This is the most important reason we write. We write for an audience.
The ultimate reason we write is to share the good news of our Messiah with the world. In addition, we need to express ourselves with manners. In other words, we speak and write with correct form so that others won’t be distracted by our display of ignorance. The messenger gets out of the way, so that people can hear the message. (See Romans 10:14-15.)
Our writing curriculum is intended for the entire family to use together. Each lesson includes ideas for students at various levels, but everyone is working on a similar topic at the same time. It is excellent for first-time writers, as well as those who need practice.
Note: We assume that writing students are old enough to be able to read well on their own and to have an interest in books. We would delay formal “writing” class until a child has hit that level. Some students are ready by 8 or 9. Others aren’t ready until 11-12 or even older. There is no rush…
Some of the types of writing we’ll do include:
- Personal Writing (Journaling and Reminiscing)
- Subject Writing (Descriptions, Eyewitness Accounts, Summaries, Firsthand Experiences, Interviews, Character Profiles, Historical Profiles)
- Creative Writing (Poetry, Stories, Dialogues, Scripts, and Plays)
- Reflective Writing (Illustrations, Pet Peeves, Explanations, Opposing Ideas, Experiences, Personal Commentaries, Reflection)
- Essay Writing (Narrative, Descriptive, Expository, Persuasive)
- Academic Writing (Explanations, Comparisons, Cause and Effect, Definitions, Arguments, Problem Solving, and Lab Reports)
- Business Writing (Letters, Job Applications, Memos)
- Book Reports and Literary Analysis
- Research Paper (one project per year)
How to Use This Curriculum
Each “week” of lesson plans is set up so that 2-3 days will be spent learning and practicing new writing techniques, then 2-3 more days of writing will be assigned relatively independently, usually on a topic of the student’s choice. Our goal is to allow Mom several days a week of intense study with her children, yet also give Mom a few days to accomplish housework, errands, and other responsibilities. You are always welcome to spend more time together than the curriculum suggests.
One difficulty students often have is coming up with a topic to write about. We try to give suggestions, since we realize that children don’t have as many life experiences to draw from as seasoned writers.
LESSON PLAN FORMAT
The lessons include a “Teacher’s Manual” and “Student Book” that are designed to be printed and inserted into 3-ring binders.
Each day, the student will be able to read about the day’s assignment in his Student Book, so he can get started on writing during his own time. Later, Mom can review his writing by using the tips and checklists we give her in the Teacher’s Manual. We will then give suggestions for a 5-minute “Meeting Time” between Mom and Student, where they can review what was learned. (If Mom is teaching several students, she can have a Meeting Time with all of them together, but she should plan for the meeting to take a bit more than 5 minutes.)
The student will need:
- Student Book (download and print these assignments each week).
- Composition Book or plain notebook paper.
- 3″x5″ lined index cards.
- Pen or pencil (or access to computer, if typing is preferred). Pencils are nice for correcting, but pens are easier to write with before feeling fatigued.
- A small pad of paper, spiral notebook, journal, or even a section of student’s writing notebook for keeping track of new ideas.
The teacher will need:
- Teacher’s Manual with “Meeting Time” notes for Mom.
- A pen of a different color than student is using. (Maybe even a red pen… gasp…) We’ll help you learn to use this pen kindly.
SUGGESTED AGE AND READINESS FOR THIS CURRICULUM
We believe that it’s better to wait for a little maturity before beginning a formal writing program. It’s best for younger students to wait until they’ve had time to be “filled up” a bit, with lots of reading, being read to, and life experience. Also, if they are still “decoding” words for themselves or still learning handwriting, then writing will be tough. We would suggest waiting on writing until you start to see a child pick up a full-length chapter book *on his own* just for the fun of reading. That would be a good indicator that his mind is starting to fill up (like a sponge) and has some ideas that want to be squeezed out. Until then, we suggest Level 2 of our phonics, which includes plenty of dictation, plus daily copywork (of Scripture).
LESSONS BY WEEK
1 – Eyewitness Descriptions
2 – Writing to Your Audience
3 – Taking Notes
4 – Topic Sentences
5 – Writing Letters
6 – The Writing Process (Plan, Write, Rewrite, Edit)
7 – Responding to What You Read
8 – When You Don’t Know What to Write/Concise Writing
9 – Creative Writing: Poetry
10 – Creative Writing: Short Stories 1
11 – Creative Writing: Short Stories 2
12 – Proofreading
13 – Character Sketches
14 – Reflective Writing
15 – Paragraphs: Connector Words
16 – Paragraphs: Sequence, Cause/Effect, Comparison/Contrast
17 – Summary Writing
18 – Essay Questions 1
19 – Essay Questions 2
20 – Essay Questions 3
21 – Essay Questions 4
22 – Plagarism, Quotations, Notations
23 – Creative Writing: Testimonies
24 – Multiple Paragraphs, Notetaking/Outlining
25 – Writing Illustrations
26 – Introductions
27 – Conclusions
28 – Research Papers: Choosing a Subject
29 – Research Papers: Using the Library
30 – Research Papers: Bibliography
31 – Research Papers: Notes
32 – Research Papers: Outline
33 – Research Papers: First Draft
34 – Research Papers: Footnotes and Formatting
35 – Research Papers: Second Draft
36 – Using Writing in Life
Need Help Teaching Writing?
We’d love to help! Send us an email if you’re having trouble understanding or explaining a topic. We’ll make a video and show you how we teach it at our house. That’s what community is for!
About Foundations of Writing
Foundations of Writing is copyright 2013 by Anne Elliott.
All rights reserved. No part of this curriculum may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. You do have permission to photocopy the curriculum for your own personal use. You may select individual pages to copy, or you may copy the entire curriculum! It is up to you how much of the information you want to copy and for how many children in your family you want to use it. You can copy this curriculum for use in your immediate family only; redistributing the book to other families is strictly prohibited.
Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise noted.
Scripture taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
Published by Foundations Press.