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The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #37
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
June 2, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Table of Contents
15-Part Basic Skills Series: Writing, Part 2
Writing Goals and Objectives
The Building Blocks of Writing
Types of Writing
The Writing Process
Online Writing Resources
Today's Child Magazine
American Christian History
Henty Books on Tape
Teaching Home Back Issues
In this issue you will find specific and practical teaching
tips to use in teaching your children to write. As we said in
our last newsletter:
To the degree we are serious about extending our
Christian influence and reflecting well on our Lord,
to that degree we will be serious about perfecting all
of our communication skills.
May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory!
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.
Complement Your Teaching with Today's Child Magazine!
Check our Web site today for:
* An inside look at a magazine to help you communicate
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A ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship.
15-Part Series on Basic Skills
by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Our 15-part series is written to help you evaluate your
children's skill levels and help them improve in those areas.
Topics are listed with the newsletter number in parenthesis.
These can be viewed in our Newsletter Archives at
1. Listening (#18)
2. Word Analysis/Phonics (#19)
3. Vocabulary (#21)
4. Reading Comprehension: Knowledge (#23)
5. Reading Comprehension (#25 & #26)
6. Reading Comprehension: Analysis & Synthesis (#28)
7. Reading Comprehension: Application (#29)
8. Reading Comprehension: Evaluation (#30)
9. Spelling (#32)
10. Grammar (#34)
11. Penmanship (#35)
12. Writing, Part 1 (#36)
13. Writing, Part 2 (This Issue)
14. Math, Part 1
15. Math, Part 2
Good writing can be an effective means of expressing a
Christian perspective and witness to unbelievers or edifying
We can teach our children the skills to develop a lifestyle
of purposeful, helpful, and God-honoring writing.
To write well, your children need to write often. Writing
is both a skill and an art, and mastering it is a process that
Writing Goals and Objectives
In general, our primary goals for writing are to record and
communicate information accurately, clearly, logically,
convincingly, elegantly, and morally for the glory of God and the
edification of other people. Specific objectives could include:
* Journal Entries (events, projects, thoughts).
* Letters (family, friends, editors, legislators).
* Essays, Themes, and Devotionals.
* Reports and Research Papers.
* Reviews (books, movies, music, literature).
* Poems and Song Lyrics.
* Stories (true or fictional).
* Instructions (what to do, how-tos).
* Speeches, Sermons, Lessons, Gospel Tracts.
* Columns (commentary, humor, etc.).
The form and content of each writing composition will depend
on its purpose, its audience, its sources of information, and its
desired depth, length, and formality.
Not everything that can be said, ought to be said. How we
say something can either undermine or reinforce what we say or
what we hope to accomplish by saying it.
* Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
* Do not be condescending, arrogant, belligerent, or sarcastic.
* Be genuine, humble, and sincere.
Teach Your Children about America's Christian History
* The book, "You, Your Child, and the Constitution,"
contains biblical principles in the Constitution, plus
discussion topics and assignments.
* "The Governor's Story" is the lost-but-found history
of our Christian roots by Gov. Bradford. A Study Guide
is also available.
* Plus many more resources.
The Building Blocks of Writing
There are basic components, or building blocks, of writing,
all of which should be progressively mastered so that they can
be easily utilized in appropriate places. These components
comprise the subject of grammar and motivate its study.
Develop a wide vocabulary of:
* Specific, precise nouns.
* Vivid, active verbs.
* Colorful, sensory-rich adjectives and adverbs.
* A complete range of prepositions.
* Transition words (e.g. then, therefore, because, finally).
Prepositional, participle, and other phrases can be used as
modifiers and their positions in sentences changed around to give
variety and rhythm.
Dependent, independent, adverbial, and adjectival clauses
also add variety to sentence structure.
Learn to write all types of sentences: simple (with or
without compound subjects or predicates), compound, complex, and
compound-complex sentences. Changing the lengths and types of
sentences within a piece makes it easier to read and more
interesting and effective.
* Find examples of different types of sentences in good
literature and point these out to your children.
* You may find that learning to diagram sentences will aid the
understanding of different grammatical structures.
Each paragraph should be a coherent and unified group of
sentences that develops a topic sentence (whether it begins and
introduces the paragraph or ends and clinches it). The topic may
be developed by facts, examples, incidents, or reasons that are
presented in order of location, chronology, or importance
(ascending or descending).
The finished piece of writing links paragraphs together
logically using transitional expressions and the repetition of
WriteAtHome.net: Effective Online Writing Instruction
WriteAtHome offers on-line writing courses for
homeschoolers in grades 6-12. Expert Writing Coaches
provide positive, personal attention. Creative,
challenging, fun, and flexible! We offer a variety of
courses, from nine-week workshops to nine-month
courses. Summer classes available.
Types of Writing
Understand and teach the different types of writing and
methods of developing each type effectively. Once learned as
separate skills, the different types can be blended as needed.
For example, you might use one or more descriptive paragraphs
within a narrative, or use both descriptive and narrative
paragraphs within an exposition, etc.
Descriptive writing can be used alone or within other types
of writing to describe persons, places, or things.
* Select details to:
Support a general statement.
Create an impression.
Show attributes of an object.
* Use sensory details (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste).
* Organize details according to:
Place in space.
A moving point of view.
A desired emphasis.
* Use descriptive words:
Specific, vivid nouns, verbs, modifiers.
Figurative language to create pictures.
Narrative writing is used for journals, stories, etc.
to relate a sequence of events.
* Select key events.
* Use narrative details, dialogue, description.
* Select a point of view:
First person participant.
First person observer.
Third person omniscient.
Expository writing is used for essays, reports,
instructions, etc. to make an analysis or comparison or to
explain a process.
Persuasive writing is used for essays, letters, speeches,
etc. to express an opinion and/or persuade an audience.
* Develop an argument based on authoritative sources (the Bible
first!) and logical reasoning.
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The Writing Process
Certain specific steps are helpful for creating any piece of
writing, whatever its form. The three main steps of writing are
prewriting, writing, and rewriting.
Step 1. Prewriting
(See Pre-Writing Skills in Newsletter #36
First you need to decide what you are going to write about,
and how you are going to present it. Then gather information
and decide how to organize it.
This is an opportunity to teach your child to go to God for
direction and help in everyday concerns. He has promised wisdom
to those who ask in faith (James 1:5-6).
Topic and Scope
Not only the topic, but the scope and depth of the topic
need to be selected. The narrower the scope, the easier it is
for your child to focus on the topic and do a better job.
* Choose a topic that interests your child, is something he knows
about, or is willing to research.
* Brainstorm by writing down possible topics. An activity such
as a field trip, story, or discussion helps your child to
develop his ideas.
* Start an idea notebook with a list of writing topics and notes.
Type(s) of Writing
Your audience and purpose for writing will help you
determine what type or types of writing you will use.
* Decide on a style and tone.
* Analyze writing samples of the type of composition your child
is to write.
Information Gathering and Organization
* Do some research and/or conduct an experiment.
* Spend some time thinking about the topic. List ideas and
note any questions you want to answer in your composition.
* Choose information and ideas from notes or research. You may
want to limit the scope of the topic at this point or divide
it into two or more compositions.
* Decide how to organize your ideas.
* Outline the chosen information.
Step 2. Writing
Your child should not feel he is expected to write a perfect
paper in one sitting. This can prevent him from starting or
doing as good a job as possible. Teach him to get as much as
possible down on paper as raw material from which to choose
in writing his final draft.
* Write a rough draft by putting the pieces of your outline into
sentence form in one sitting with no interruptions.
* Write without concern for spelling and other details. These
will be corrected as you rewrite.
* Mark out mistakes or changes as you think of them and keep
Beginning and Ending
The beginning and ending of a composition need special
attention to make it effective.
* Make an interesting beginning such as an impressive statement,
quote, anecdote, or dialogue.
* End with a strong conclusion, such as a summary or an important
statement, or add an element of surprise.
Step 3. Rewriting
The editing process is one of the greatest opportunities for
learning. Your child may need to do several rewrites to polish
his composition before it is finished.
* It is best to leave the composition alone for a day, then reread
and begin revising the rough draft.
* Have your child read his writing aloud to you. This alone will
reveal areas that need more work.
* Ask your child questions to draw out more information or
description where needed.
* Make suggestions for content and style. (See "The Building
Blocks of Writing" and "Types of Writing" above and the
Use a checklist similar to this to evaluate your
Rethink your ideas and organization, evaluating the
composition for unity and coherence.
__ Clear statement of point or focus.
__ Each paragraph supports the thesis or focus (cut out parts that
drift away from the theme).
__ Smooth transitions between paragraphs by repeated words,
synonyms, or transition words.
__ If needed, change the sequence of sentences and paragraphs
into a more logical order or one that gives movement towards
__ Specific, precise nouns.
__ Vivid, active verbs.
__ Colorful, sensory-rich adjectives and adverbs.
__ Avoid overuse of adjectives.
__ Replace over-used words with fresh ones.
__ Cut unnecessary or redundant words.
Phrases, Clauses, Sentences, and Paragraphs
__ A variety of phrases and clauses in a variety of positions
__ A variety of sentence types and lengths.
__ Each paragraph is coherent and unified and develops its topic
__ Thoughts expressed clearly.
__ Specific details show, rather than tell.
__ Enough details for understanding.
__ Check for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Buy Teaching Home Back Issues Online
Select from 51 Never-Out-of-Date Back Issues.
Practical How-Tos & Teaching Tips.
Search for Topics You Need.
Find Information, Inspiration & Encouragement!
Each Issue Is Pictured and All Articles Are Listed.
The presentation of a composition to an audience provides
purpose, motivation, satisfaction, and the desire to do more
Compositions can be distributed to a variety of people.
(See "Writing Goals and Objectives" above and "Our Mission"
in Newsletter #36
The many possible presentations include the following:
* Desktop publishing.
* Part of a newsletter or other publication.
* E-Mail, fax, or letter.
* A short composition hand copied in calligraphy and framed
as a gift.
* Add photos or art.
* Placed into a folder or bound into a book.
* Home-School support group exhibitions.
* Open house for neighbors, friends, or relatives.
* County fairs or other contests.
Online Writing Resources
The Elements of Style
The Research Paper
How To Write a Tract
How to Write a Letter to the Editor
How To Write to Your Legislator
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Florida Space Research Institute Online Courses
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Structured Writing: Writing Formulas
Lion & Lamb Mini-Masters Curriculum
God Loves You.
Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died
in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ
as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
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