As homeschool parents, we want our teens to become self-directed, capable writers who are well prepared for college or career. Does that goal sound scary to you? If so, I’ll let you in on a little secret: homeschooling high school doesn’t have to be intimidating!
These days, it’s easy to lay your hands on some great products for teaching core subjects. Even better, you don’t have to be an expert to teach them!
You only need to know what to look for.
Let’s start by taking the fear out of finding the best homeschool writing curriculum for your high school student.
A good writing program helps you fill your teens’ tool belts with assorted skills and tools. In the process you get to watch them grow more comfortable with the writing process. With a solid curriculum by your side, you’ll be able to:
- Build on and review writing skills they’ve learned in the past.
- Train them to write clearly, creatively, and effectively.
- Give opportunities for your teens to work more independently.
- Create confident, competent writers.
Top 5 skills to look for in a homeschool writing curriculum for high school
In your quest, look for certain key traits in a solid high school writing curriculum. Whether your teen is a reluctant or confident writer, these five skills should be part of the program you choose.
1. Brainstorming and Organizing
It’s wishful thinking to give most students a blank sheet of paper and expect brilliant results. They need direction first!
Brainstorming is the foundational tool that prepares teens to write a paper. Early in the writing process, brainstorming teaches them to narrow a topic from general to specific. Additionally, it guides them to create graphic organizers and use charts and mind-maps to plan and organize information.
WriteShop I and II incorporate topic suggestions, brainstorming worksheets, and 17 practical word banks to help unlock your student’s creative ideas.
Structuring a writing piece goes much deeper than the hamburger paragraph. Your high schooler’s curriculum should emphasize writing strong topic and closing sentences, developing complex sentences, and using transition words.
Together, these components help high schoolers learn to develop powerful thesis statements and write multi-paragraph essays—both necessary for students who want to go to college.
3. Composition Writing
Think of composition writing as the “meat” of the writing process. This is where students discover creative writing and learn to write original descriptive narratives. They’ll explore how to start sentences in different ways, use active voice, and write concisely.
4. Nonfiction and Essay Writing
Writing nonfiction teaches students to differentiate between fact and opinion. Informative articles and expository, argumentative, or persuasive essays become the focal point of their pieces. They’ll understand and practice including an introduction, body, and conclusion to create a well-rounded piece of written work.
5. Editing and Revising
At this age, editing and revising happen in two stages.
✏️ Student Self-editing
Self-editing and revising their own work, one of the most valuable skill sets for high schoolers, bridges everything they’ve learned thus far.
WriteShop I and II guide your teens through this process as they follow objective, lesson-specific checklists to proofread for content, style, and mechanics. During the self-editing process, they learn to rely on a good thesaurus to replace weak or repeated words and to use standard proofreading symbols to correct their work.
✏️ Parent Editing and Evaluating
The editing process can be just as daunting for parents as for students. However, with WriteShop’s objective checklists and grading rubrics, you’ll know exactly what to look for as you review your teen’s work. In addition, the Teacher’s Manual contains lots of examples, troubleshooting tips, and more to help you edit and grade fairly and confidently.
Why WriteShop makes the best curriculum choice for teaching writing to your high schooler
Not only do WriteShop I and II cover each step of the writing process, but the program is packed with tools to help teach students how to brainstorm, write, and self-edit. Through the “learn-practice-do” approach, new skills become comfortable habits.
Parents particularly appreciate the way WriteShop lessons present new concepts. Writing skills are:
- Introduced during Skill Builder exercises.
- Practiced and applied in the current composition.
- Revisited in future compositions.
Additionally, WriteShop focuses on clarity, conciseness, colorful vocabulary, and sentence variety that add sparkle to dull, ordinary compositions. Lessons are laid out incrementally. This step-by-step approach means your student can confidently move past writer’s block, overcome pencil-to-paper insecurities, and see their progress.
Finally, WriteShop is easy for homeschool parents to teach. Having an open-and-go curriculum takes the stress out of what to do each day. You’ll appreciate the schedules, lesson plans, editing tips, and answer keys. Parents love seeing their teen’s faces light up when they’ve mastered a writing concept. When you see your kids thriving, you get a confidence boost in your ability to teach.
What’s included in WriteShop’s high school writing curriculum?
While you can certainly purchase the books à la carte, most parents choose the WriteShop I & II bundle. The bundle includes:
- Teacher’s Manual for WriteShop I & II
- 1 WriteShop I Student Workbook
- 1 WriteShop II Student Workbook
The Teacher’s Manual features a softcover, plastic-coil binding with sturdy tabbed dividers. Because student workbooks are consumable, you’ll need to purchase one for each of your teens. Alternatively, you may duplicate certain pages according to WriteShop’s copyright policy.
Workbooks come packaged in a paperback cover with loose-leaf pages. Pages are 3-hole punched and ready for your own binder.
In addition to your basic curriculum, consider these helpful resources to use along with WriteShop I & II
- Copying and Dictation Exercises for WriteShop I
- Video Companion Course for WriteShop I or II
- Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
- Proofreading Marks Printable (free download)
- The Synonym Finder (our favorite thesaurus)
WriteShop I & II: Which level is right for my student?
Grade 9: Younger teens who are new to the program should always begin with WriteShop I. This book lays a solid foundation in paragraph writing and gives plenty of experience with descriptive, informative, and narrative compositions.
Grade 10: Sophomores can go into either level, especially since WriteShop II starts off with a review of WriteShop I. Both reluctant and motivated high schoolers show dramatic improvement in their ability to write clearly and concretely using this curriculum.
Grades 11-12: Juniors and seniors usually jump right into WriteShop II. But some 11th and 12th graders find their footing using WriteShop I first. It establishes core writing habits that prepare them for WriteShop II, where they’ll learn about advanced descriptive narration, point of view, narrative voice, and essay writing.
No matter what kind of learner you have, teaching writing can be intimidating or overwhelming. Even if you’re a writer, it doesn’t automatically mean you know how to teach writing. Putting words on paper might be second nature to you. But how do you pass on what you know and love to a child who hates it?
WriteShop understands the challenges of teaching high school writing to homeschoolers. That’s why we’ve created materials that teach your teens how to write—and show you how to teach. We’re confident you’ll find it’s the best homeschool writing curriculum for high school. You and your kids will love WriteShop I & II!
When you’re unsure which book to settle on, use the placement quiz along with this helpful WriteShop I & II placement guide. Together, they’ll guide you to choose the best starting level for your teen.
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Do you enjoy writing? How do you feel about teaching writing? How do your teens view writing? Let us know in the comments below.