Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve shared the basic writing stages of K-2nd graders and 3rd-5th graders. But you have older kids, so now you’re wondering how to help your 5th-8th grader with homeschool writing.
The middle school years—typically 5th-8th grade—are the time to reinforce and build on previously-learned writing concepts. Motivated or advanced children will be able to take their current writing skills to a new level, while reluctant or resistant children, or those who lack fundamental writing skills, may need to go back to basics.
Because you want to make sure the foundation is strong, use these middle school years to work on:
- Choosing stronger words.
- Writing complete and more complex sentences.
- Writing a well-developed paragraph.
- Improving grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.
How Much and How Often?
Provide your middle schoolers with a steady diet of writing activities.
- Have them write 3-4 days a week.
- Aim for 8-15 writing projects per year (1-2 each month), meaning paragraphs and short reports that go through all the paces of the writing process.
- Tuck in other writing activities along the way—such as book reports, journal writing, and current events—that don’t require revisions.
- Spend no more than 45-60 minutes per writing day. Consider both the assignment itself as well as your child’s age and attention span.
- Students should primarily write 1- to 5-paragraph compositions and occasionally 1- to 2-page reports.
Become a Purposefully Involved Parent
During middle school, students should begin taking more responsibility for their own learning. At the same time, parents need to be purposefully and consistently involved. Though it’s tempting to let your child work independently, this isn’t the time to jump ship and abdicate your role as primary teacher. This means:
- Overseeing and supervising daily writing.
- Setting a pace for assignment completion so your child stays on task.
- Reading and commenting on each writing assignment to show that you’re interested and that you care.
- Promptly editing and returning work to keep your child from falling behind.
Catch the Whole Series
- How to Help Your K-2nd Grader with Homeschool Writing
- How to Help Your 3rd-5th Grader with Homeschool Writing
- How to Help Your Homeschool Teen with High School Writing
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Using WriteShop is a great way to help your 5th-8th grader with homeschool writing. Choose WriteShop Junior Book E or Book F for most 5th and 6th graders. WriteShop Junior teaches key writing skills while keeping an element of fun in every lesson!
Students in grades 7-8 can begin using WriteShop I, one of the best homeschool writing programs for teaching and reinforcing the steps of the writing process.
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Parent supervision is a key element of all WriteShop levels as you learn to equip and inspire successful writers.