Category Archives: Writing

Creative Writing: A Tool of Self-Empowerment

creative writing

Allowing children to risk expression of their thoughts and feelings in an imaginative way is one of the best things that you can do for them. When expressed via the written word, you have creative writing. Be it fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, well-developed or hardly so, creative writing is a fundamental tool of self-empowerment.

As the legendary Dr. Seuss noted, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient of living.”

Through creative writing, your child will learn how to, or gain more practice in:

  • Brainstorming
  • Creating something from nothing
  • Revising
  • Publishing (should that be your choice)

Another beautiful facet of creative writing is that age isn’t much a factor. If your child can speak, then they can also express themselves through writing. How? Easy…

My four-year-old tells the story and I write it. Every now and then, I’ll toss in a prompt, asking her for the character’s name or “What happens next?” You should see her face when I read it back to her. And though my eight-year-old is a little more advanced, he requires more guidance. Given good questions, he gets the ball rolling in no time.

Be careful not to assume that pre-teens and older children will quickly grasp the skill, or be bored with it. Instead, give them an array of topics—always reserving the right to choose their own. Once they’ve latched to a story, have them zoom in on that piece. Refine it at least three times a week, according to a planned curve (e.g. lessons on depth, originality, vividness, and fearlessness) or a good old fashioned spontaneous one.

For teens—or anyone who’s ready, for that much—diversify the writing genre. Dabble in business, technical, journalism, marketing, script writing, or whichever s/he happens to want to try. For instance, they can rewrite the script of one of their favorite television episodes or create a flyer for an upcoming event (real or imagined).

The point is just to get them writing, and knowing that with time and practice, it gets easier. I’ve taught adults who were trying their hand at creative writing for the first time, learn it and love it. And by learning it, I mean finding their voice and owning it!

In turn, with consistent writing, all age ranges improved their overall communication skills and comprehension levels. Others have also experienced an upturn in their:

  • Love of reading
  • Curiosity of other arts
  • Elected solitude
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence

Have you tried creative writing? If so, how does it flow into your homeschooling environment?

Guest Author: Trelani D. (Homeschool Mom)

 

 

Randi’s Curriculum Choices

curriculum

Randi’s Curriculum Choices

There are way too many curriculum choices.  Some are excellent and a lot are not!  In creating this list, I didn’t want to add to all the noise and burden parents to just buy more stuff to put on their shelves. I wanted to keep my recommendations to only the books that are very, very special.  There are many more books, but most people don’t have very much time and their children don’t either.  So read and use the really good books first and then if time permits, read the rest.

Early Learners

 

Bible

  • Leading Little Ones to God/Marian Schooland (Best written beginning devotions)
  • Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers/Joey Allen Series of Books on Theology for Little Ones
  • Proverbs For Parenting/  (Must have book for training and disciplining children. Categories include: lying, fighting, honesty and many others)

Elementary

 

Georgia State History

  • This is Your Georgia by Bernice McCullar ISBN:0-932659-01-2

Middle/High School

 

Science and Geography

  • Exploring Our World by Tony Hare ISBN:0-7651-1027-x – This is an excellent book to use with all ages of children.  It can be used as a Geography or Environmental Science book from an ecological zone perspective.  Enhance study by using lapbooking techniques.  Its easy to use the unit study and Dina Zike’s dioramas to make the nine biomes come alive!
  • Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications for grades 8-12.  by Norman Herr ISBN: 0-87628-262-1 – Now this is the way to study Chemistry!  Your students will learn more about Chemistry by working through this book than any old textbook.  You may have to invest in a few things that you can get from Carolina Biological Supply or some other supply house, but you can do this book with the whole family.  Fun and educational! Start this book in 8th or 9th grade, go slow and do 3-5 pages at a time.  Leave enough time to do the Bob Jones Chemistry textbook and you will have a great science student!

History -

  • Quest of a Hemisphere by Donzella Cross Boyle published by Western Islands – Don’t miss this great history book! ” Written in an engaging narrative style, Quest of a Hemisphere is a factual American history written from documents, manuscripts, journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and rare books…  Illustrations feature the art of historical periods – reproductions of sketches and paintings, portraits of famous men by artists of their time, and copies of documents in the original style of printing.”  This is a great book for the Charlotte Mason approach or unit studies.

Government -

  • God and Government I and II by Gary DeMar – These books are great for read aloud and discussion.  Although there are many questions, the author follows up with the answers which are probably better for study than answering the questions for yourself.
  • Government by the People by David Magleby ISBN: 0-13-192159-2Generally used as a college textbook, this surprisingly well written government book is interesting and covers all the points that allows students to test out of their college government course.  Be sure to take the CLEP or SAT Subject Exam after completing this book!

Mathematics -

Don’t tell your child you were terrible at math!  The best way to teach math is to purchase a copy for yourself and a copy for your child and do the problems along with her.  I promise, it won’t be as hard as when you were in school. You will be so glad you did this!

  • College Outline Series – Pre Algebra ISBN , Introductory Algebra ISBN 0-15-601524-2, and Intermediate Algebra ISBN 0-15-601522-6Over and over this is my favorite set of Algebra books.  The subject Pre Algebra is essentially fractions, decimals, and percents which are usually taught in 7th and 8th grade.  Even with my public and private school kids, I have to pull out this book to help them learn concepts.  It is more systematically written and clearer than any other textbook I have used.  Once a person uses a well programmed textbook, they never go back!
  • Geometry – Notables Interactive Study Notebook ISBN 0-07-868213-4 – This is a consumable workbook that makes a very good Geometry textbook.  It doesn’t focus heavily on proofs, which is a good thing.
  • Videos – Chalk Dust – Chalk Dust might cost more than other videos but it does a better job and you can always resell it, so your net cost is not so great.
  • Prentice Hall Math Textbooks – Better than Glencoe and way better than McDougal Littel!  What does better mean?  Better formatting, better questions, better explanations.

Life Skills –

  • Just Do Something/Kevin DeYoung (Making Good Decisions)  Helps the reader understand that determining your career calling is not as important as establishing proactive behaviors to bloom where you are planted!

Special Needs

Textbooks for HI/LO – High interest for middle thru high school, low reading level 3-4 with larger than normal print, shorter chapters,  and clear questions. When your student has learned how to read and you want to transition him to a textbook.  These are good choices.  Interestingly, these are also good choices for the very young, academically gifted child.

AGS Globe, now part of Pearson has great textbooks for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ1Ai

Contests

The National Bible Bee for ages 8-18     www.BibleBee.org

Magazines

Homeschooling Today

Writing Encouragements

Two Girls Writing Papers

Writing does not have to be a chore–although our students often think it is. Reliance on spell-check and electronic communication is a reality–but not a full-time necessity.  Pulling in some creative, fun projects is an easy thing to do!  If you are careful in the presentation, they might not even know they are ‘doing school.‘ 

Children especially love to receive notes and cards.  Pen pals are an old-fashioned idea with great potential.  Explore a foreign country and culture by locating a pen pal online.  Encourage a bit of history learning with ‘interview’ letters to aged family members (or friends).  Very young children who are learning to read and write will enjoy exchanging notes with you!  A little mailbox created for a doorway is a great way to encourage reading and writing.  Leave a note each day for one another.  If you have a particularly artistic student, taking the handwriting challenge up a level to calligraphy cards may appeal sometimes.  Other times, cards made with cut-out letters are a way to keep the writing projects fresh and fun.

A favorite writing project in our past was called “Thankful Thursday.”  Each week the children chose someone to send a card to and tell them they were thankful for something about that person.   The recipients were pleasantly surprised and the children practiced penmanship, grammar and kindness!

As the children grow in ability, cards can grow into longer projects.  Stories sometimes simply flow from their hearts and pencils.  You will enjoy the illustrations as much as the stories!  A journal that is not corrected for grammar is a useful tool.  Simply writing helps the children know they can write.  Grammar and punctuation can wait for the curriculum if you choose.  As stories and projects increase in size, the logic of utilizing computers enters the picture.  (Cards and letters do not have to leave the picture though!)

Online writing contests and forums are a great motivation when the natural desire to tell stories begins to wane.  Competitions, passion-specific projects (e.g. Mustang Horses) and writing websites are tools to keep our children learning to communicate.  Even in a world of texting, the ability to string sentences together remains a priority and hand-written notes are a treasure easily given.

Learn about Lap Books

Popular Foldables to Make Learning Fun

Popular with Homeschoolers, Dinah Zike invented so many of the foldables used in lapbooking.  Make your homeschool learning come alive, enhance unit studies.

http://www.dinah.com Dinah Zike is noted for inventing and developing three-dimensional educational manipulatives, also called graphic organizers, that.