How to help your homeschool teen with high school writing

by | Apr 13, 2020 | College Prep, High school

Homeschooling through high school (especially teaching teens to write!) can feel scary and overwhelming. Do you know how to help your homeschool teen with high school writing?

Writing is the most important academic skill students need to develop in their secondary education.

Why? Because it’s “the most visible expression not only of what [they] know but also of how well they have learned it.” (Carl Nagin, Because Writing Matters)

Use these important high school years to teach, train, guide, and direct. Provide opportunities for your homeschoolers to work more independently, letting the rope out bit by bit so they have a chance to prove themselves.

Your goal is to produce strong, independent writers who are equipped and confident to enter college or the workplace.

Teach Key Writing Skills to Your Homeschool Teens

Help your homeschool teen with high school writing by teaching them to:

  • Write clearly, concisely, and correctly for both academic and personal purposes.
  • Develop research skills.
  • Vary sentence structure beyond the subject-verb sentence.
  • Use correct conventions (spelling, grammar and usage). Incorrect or sloppy grammar distracts the audience from the content, so continue working on grammar and punctuation throughout these secondary years until you know their skills are solid.

>> Teaching Writing Conventions
>> Hey, Homeschool Teens! Look Smart. Grammar Matters!

There Are No Shortcuts

To improve their writing achievement, homeschooled teens need:

Writing is the most important academic skill students must develop in high school. Homeschool parents can teach and guide teens to become strong writers.

How Much and How Often?

  • Your high schooler needs to write regularly—4-5 days a week—for a variety of subjects.
  • 2-3 short writing projects per month makes a good goal. Students should take these compositions completely through the stages of the writing process, from brainstorming to final copy.
  • In addition, assign 1-2 longer research papers, each of which can be spread out over an entire quarter. These can range from 4-15 pages, depending on age and skill level. Requirements for a 9th grader should not be as stringent as those for a senior.
  • Tuck in shorter essays, journal writing, book summaries, or responses to current events along the way—assignments that only take a day or so and that don’t require much in terms of editing or revising.
  • To prepare your student for college entrance exams and other timed writing situations, make sure to assign timed essays at least every other week.
  • Keeping in mind maturity and attention span, spend about 1 hour per day on writing.

Promote Independence But Remain Involved

When our children become teens, it’s easy to think: “They’re getting older. I’ll back off and let them take responsibility.” There will come a time to step back. But that time comes when your teen has proven himself trustworthy and reliable.

Even with such a dependable child, you’ll still need to monitor his work. As part of your involvement:

This is how you help your homeschool teen with high school writing!

In addition, teach students to develop self-discipline and independence while also holding them accountable. In doing so, you’re preparing them well for the demands of college-level writing.

Do You Have Younger Kids?

We’ve got you covered!

>> How to help your K-2nd grader with homeschool writing
>> How to help your 3rd-5th grader with homeschool writing
>> How to help your 5th-8th grader with homeschool writing

WriteShop I and WriteShop II Student Workbooks

WriteShop I and II will not only teach your middle or high school student how to write, it will show you how to teach homeschool writing.

This step-by-step program includes schedules, lesson plans, engaging writing assignments, and checklists that help you teach effectively and edit and grade your teen’s work with an objective eye.


  1. John Andrew Williams

    Great writing tips! I am relieved that promoting independence was mentioned because as a Life Coach focusing on developing the skills of young adults, I can say that it is critical for students to learn the essential life skills on their own.

  2. Kim

    You don’t know how much I appreciate your comment, Janet. Timed writing isn’t even on the radar for many parents, yet it’s such a vital skill for college success.

  3. Janet

    I appreciate the tip on timed essays. I remember taking my first “real” timed essay; it was a timed application piece on a CS Lewis quote. I had 60 minutes to produce a finished product. This was the summer after high school graduation, and I had never- not once- completed timed essays in my high school honors courses! How well I did on this particular piece determined which English courses I’d be taking at the private college I’d be attending that fall. Fortunately, the professor must’ve liked what I wrote, for I was invited into the advanced composition class. From my experience, I would urge parents to give their high-schoolers timed essays on a regular basis. One never knows what doors might more easily open for your children!



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