Grading and commenting on our kids’ writing is one of the most valuable elements of writing instruction. But evaluating homeschool writing also gives us the most grief because we often feel unqualified to identify our children’s writing strengths and weaknesses.
Seeds of Doubt
A host of “ins” and “uns” seems to attack homeschool moms (in particular) when it comes to writing, making us doubt our ability to edit and grade objectively. When teaching or evaluating writing, do you ever use any of these words to describe yourself?
Because many of us wear these monikers like millstones around our necks, we allow the weight of our insecurities to immobilize us. At worst, teaching and grading writing don’t happen at all, or at best we’re sporadic, leaving Mom feeling guilty and our children awash in frustration.
It’s not that we don’t think it’s important to give our children input. But don’t we all have excuses?
- I’m afraid I’ll be too hard on my child.
- I don’t know how to grade a paper—there’s too much guesswork.
- What do I know about writing? I’m just a math-science person.
And heaven forbid Mom should set aside her worries and actually make a comment. The smallest hint of suggestion from you and the drama begins.
- But I like it this way!
- You’re always so critical.
- Why are you so picky! You never like anything I write!
Myths about Evaluating Homeschool Writing
As a parent, perhaps you simply don’t know how to give objective input. So either you don’t give feedback at all—and therefore see no improvement—or you offer suggestions that make your child feel picked on or rejected. To help you renew your perspective, let’s look at three myths about evaluating homeschool writing.
Myth #1 – Editing and grading writing are too subjective.
- Fact: Learning to edit is a process for both student and parent.
- Fact: Many aspects of a composition CAN be evaluated objectively.
Myth #2 – It’s too difficult to edit and grade writing.
- Fact: The more you edit and revise, the easier it becomes.
- Fact: Familiarity produces recognition—you will catch on!
- Fact: There are tools (rubrics and checklists) to help you.
- Fact: You don’t have to find every mistake. When you address even just a few errors, you’ll see your child’s writing begin to change course.
Myth #3 – Editing and grading writing is for professionals.
- Fact: Many parents cannot find mistakes in their children’s writing—but you can improve your skills! If you feel weak in a particular area such as grammar or spelling, take a “crash course” to refresh yourself. Buy a second student workbook and study the subject alongside your kids. Or, consider a resource like The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation so you can brush up on key rules.
- Fact: You CAN learn to edit and grade. For instance, programs like WriteShop Primary, WriteShop Junior, and WriteShop I & II are good examples of homeschooling products that guide and direct parents through the writing and editing process.
On our blog, you’ll find loads of tips and tools to make editing and grading easier for you. You can also discover ways to help your children participate in the process through self-editing and revising.
WriteShop curriculum will not only teach your child how to write, it will show you how to teach homeschool writing. All WriteShop products offer schedules, tips, activities, lesson plans, and checklists that help you teach effectively and edit and grade your children’s work with an objective eye. Because it’s all laid out for you, your confidence will soar!
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