When I first started homeschooling, I decided not to buy a Writing Curriculum! Why? Because all the programs I reviewed were activities I could do on my own. I taught fifth grade for six years and most homeschool writing programs were like my public school writing curriculum, teaching students “what to write”.
Well, that was until I discovered Andrew Pudewa’s Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). IEW had a flagship product, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, that intrigued me. Mr. Pudewa did not spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas for students to write. Instead he spent the bulk of his curriculum on “how to write”. This was a new concept to me because the biggest problem my students had, like all other students, was what to write about.
Andrew’s approach to writing solves the “what to write about” problem by simply telling the students what to write about. His program spends more time teaching “structures” or outlines for a variety of writings, offering lesson plans for writing process. Depending on the type of writing and your purpose for writing, you can use different outlines to organize your thoughts.
In addition to teaching structures, Teaching Writing also shows students how to improve their writing “style”. Thus, the name of the program is Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. Students learn a variety of ways to vary their writing style. Mr. Pudewa shows students how to dress up their sentences with strong verbs and quality adjectives. Other dress-ups include adverbs and clauses. After mastering the dress ups, students learn how to open their sentences in a variety of methods.
In my next article (part 2), I will share a simple activity you can use with your own children this week (or the first week of school). If your older students struggle with writing, this is a great place to start.