A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

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Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing and the Homeschool Portfolio

Writing is one of those things that is just hard for some people. I learned a lot about teaching developmental writing in college and grad school. While it was an outstanding foundation, I have actually learned so much beyond that by actually homeschooling my own children. Each child is different and has unique hurdles he or she must overcome.

This approach meets him where he is and walks him on to the next step. This is the writing approach I use in my homeschool for elementary aged children. I have found that this pattern can be modified and tailored to children as young as 3 or 4 and all the way up to the child who is ready for very formal, lengthy essays.

The Weekly Cycle and Our PortfolioLearningKeeper Easy Homeschool ePortfolios on Any Device Free Trial Nothing to Download Signup Now 336X280 300x250 A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

When you keep each phase in the child’s portfolio and you will both be motivated by the progress you will see.

The weekly cycle looks something like this:

Day 1- Prewriting using a graphic organizer

Day 2- Copy the sentences into a first draft

Day 3/4- Edit the draft

Day 4/5- Final draft

Prewriting in the Developmental

Goal: Get your thoughts on paper.

Modifications: For the very young child, your goal is simply to help them understand that writing is no more than moving their thoughts to paper. Believe me, they have a lot to say! While it sounds very simple, this step can take quite a while for some. If the child can not yet physically write three to four sentences with ease, the parent should write the child’s thoughts for him. Most elementary aged children benefit from graphic organizers to help them collect enough thoughts to form solid paragraphs. I can’t emphasize these enough. They are fun and who doesn’t like to think about a big hamburger while writing? (see sample photos). Older children can move to a more word based outline format for prewriting.Slide1 A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

First Draft

Goal: Make it look like writing.

Modifications: Again, if the child is very young, the parent can model how to transfer his thoughts from the organizer to lined paper. It is a great time to emphasize the mechanics of writing such as directionality, letter formation, and the concept of a sentence. For the slightly older child, all him to copy his work from the organizer onto lined paper. Encourage him to pay attention to capitalization and punctuation. The older child should be thinking more about developing a voice in his writing and the quality of his sentences. He, of course, should write the first draft himself.Slide2 A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

Edit the Draft

Goal: Teach, teach, teach!Slide3 300x225 A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

Modifications: This is the time to pick a few concepts upon which he can improve his writing. By picking just a few items to improve, you are not overwhelming him while still guiding him along the developmental continuum toward great writing. Find some good points to discuss in whatever he has turned in to you. I always enter this copy in his portfolio (by taking a picture or scanning) and sometimes also photo copy his work before making notes or corrections. This communicates value to him and there is just something defeating about having your work turned into a marked up madness by someone else. If the child is working on penmanship, I will rewrite his first draft prior to the final step. After the child has learned to form each letter (in either manuscript or cursive) this method of copy work is how we improve the quality of his penmanship.

Not sure what to emphasize when? LearningKeeper is currently working on a sequential list of developmental learning objectives for the core content areas. This is not to be confused with Common Core Standards, but rather is a developmentally based continuum. We will be rolling these out to our LearningKeeper Portfolio users in the near future. We would love to hear how you would personally benefit from this. Contact Us.

Final Draft

Goal: Produce writing that is one step farther along the developmental continuum.

Modifications: Most elementary aged children will copy either my rewritten copy of his work or his own edited draft. My main emphasis in this step is attention to the corrections we made. I do not demand over all perfection. Rather, the desire is progress.

Slide4 A Simple Approach to Teaching Developmental Homeschool Writing with the Portfolio

Always Improving

Each week, writing topics are chosen to cover various writing styles. Sometimes I choose a creative writing theme and other times it is a topic that lends itself to sequence writing or persuasion. When possible, it is great to pull writing topics from what you are learning in history, science, or other content areas. For example, we are studying early American history. My third grader is writing about ‘Winter and the Pioneer Family’. By merging Language Arts and other content areas you are free to focus on quality over quantity of assignments. Our portfolios are the core of assessing writing progress. I snap a photo of each step of the week’s writing assignment and enter them as an Achievement in the child’s LearningKeeper. Using the LearningKeeper portfolio and this developmental writing method will allow your student to feel good about his work. His progress will shine!

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More great ideas can be found by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or checking out awesome videos like this 10 Minute Teaching Tip on Descriptive Writing on our YouTube Channel.

~By Alison Haley

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