The very BEST writing curriculum is designed in the family with good reading and child-interest directed writing assignments. It has two stages.
STAGE ONE: Read lots to your children.
Read good quality writing from every genre that you want to teach your child to write. Journalism? Read great journalism to the children. Speeches? Read the great speeches to your children. Mysteries? Adventure? Drama? Science Fiction? Fantasy? All of the written word, provided it is quality, is the right material to read to your children.
Also part of reading is allowing your children access to lots of good quality writing. Encourage them to read on their own, from books and magazines. One good way is to see which read aloud books most excited them and find easier to read books along those lines for their own reading time.
It matters very much that the reading be quality, but the type is far more negotiable. After all, anything they don’t choose can be done as a read aloud together as a family. In this way a literate culture is developed in the home and all members benefit from hearing good writing read aloud.
The result of reading aloud is improvement in vocabulary and an ear for quality writing. The result of reading on one’s own is skill in pulling meaning from the printed or written word. Both are valuable in themselves and essential to learning how to write.
STAGE TWO: Assign writing to your children.
Writing is something we learn by doing. The more it is done, the better the skills develop. Your child’s ear is trained through what is read to them, and what they read to themselves. This is what will guide them as they use their own creativity in their writing.
Assignments are determined by two criteria: Favorite subjects and the skill development desired. The first is chosen by the student, the second by the teaching parent.
These two criteria are combines to create learning opportunities which are designed to the needs of the individual student. For example, the child could write about newly learned facts in a report and then use those facts in a work of fiction, or journalism article, or… let the imagination take it from here.
UNIT STUDIES : Child directed studies which the parent writes up into a unit study format.
This method of education combines elements of unschooling, where the child is completely in control of what they choose to learn and facilitated in acquiring materials by the teaching parent, and unity studies where most if not all subjects are taught around a single theme. What is learned is in control of the student, who then uses that knowledge to create documentation of his or her learning.
The parent lists a bibliography of the sources used by the student. Suggests forms of documentation which serve more than one purpose (writing assignments can test both learning of facts and demonstration of proper use of topic sentences in a paragraph) so that the packet is complete.
Teaching writing in this way helps the student to understand that writing is integrated into all of our lives both in what we read and what we produce. Linking writing and reading skills to the interests of the student also helps the child to see how important these skills are to their own goals.
Dear Lord, please bless all the parents who take on the task of teaching their own children. Please, guide them and grant them wisdom in their work. Please, bless the efforts of the students to learn. Thank You for giving parents the help they need to be the first and primary teachers of their children. + Amen.