Whether the school year is zooming by or inching along like a snail, now may be the perfect time to reflect on what’s working—and what’s not. In particular, take a time to evaluate your homeschool writing goals. It’s never too late to make mid-course corrections.
A Writing Portfolio Conference
As a former classroom teacher, I kept writing portfolios for each of my students. Their portfolio contained samples of their writing throughout the year: poems, stories, book reports, essays, nonfiction reports—you get the picture!
With the turn of each season, I met with each student for a portfolio conference. Homeschool parents will also find portfolio conferences valuable.
In a portfolio conference, you and your child can face the child’s writing growth together. This is mutually informative for mom or dad, son or daughter alike. Not only do children learn more about their strengths and weaknesses, but parents learn how their children view their own work.
Parents also gain insight into the effectiveness of their teaching strategies! Students receive feedback on setting—and achieving—their own homeschool writing goals. Likewise, parents get feedback on how to make writing activities more meaningful and useful to their children.
Prepare discussion questions
As you think ahead to a portfolio conference with your child, here’s a list of questions to jumpstart discussion with your son or daughter:
- What kinds of things do you like to write about?
- What does your portfolio show about you as a writer?
- How have you improved as a writer? What can you do well?
- What else do you want to improve in your writing?
- What new types of writing would you like to try next semester or next year? Fairy tales? Mystery? Poetry? Memoir pieces?
Set new homeschool writing goals
Next, hit the reset button with some new homeschool writing goals.
- Is your child bored? Could she use a challenge? If so, flesh out your regular writing lessons with some supplemental activities. For example, journaling and poetry are easy to fit into a writing diet.
- Has your child lost interest? Is he frustrated with your current writing program? Maybe it’s time for a mid-course curriculum switch.
- Is your child overwhelmed? It’s possible there’s a little too much pressure. See suggestions for how much homeschool writing to assign in K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade, 5th-8th grade, and high school.
- Has your child expressed unusual interest in a hobby, school subject, or extracurricular activity? If they’re crazy for sports, robotics, baking, 4-H, sports cars, art, or music, maybe writing across the curriculum could fit with your writing goals.
- Is your high school student ready for persuasive essay writing or research papers? Make a plan together for incorporating more advanced writing assignments into your schedule.
- Talk about editing. Does your younger child need help learning to self-edit? Could your teen use a crash course in proofreading his own papers? Add these to your homeschool writing goals.
There’s so much to talk about during your portfolio conference! Remember to keep it upbeat and positive. Praise the things your kids are doing well, and be gentle when they need correction. Because you took time for an honest and loving conversation, your child will be primed for setting new homeschool writing goals with you!
For over two decades, Janet Wagner was an elementary and middle school teacher. She also had the honor of helping homeschool her two nieces. Janet and her husband live on the family farm in North Carolina. She enjoys a flexible life of homemaking, volunteering, reading, tutoring, and writing for her website.
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