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Learning to write well
Volume 56, Program 33
12/15/2004
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How can I help my high school student excel at writing? Michael Farris talks about writing with veteran homeschooling mom Dianne Hurst on this edition of Home School Heartbeat.

    Michael Farris:
    Dianne, the College Board published a report recently that was decrying the state of writing in the public schools. As homeschoolers, we don't want to fall into the same trap, but moms have a pretty heavy load already. How can moms incorporate writing without feeling overwhelmed?

    Dianne Hurst:
    Well, through my years of homeschooling, I have come to the conclusion that children need to master really only three things with writing: the sentence and the paragraph and the essay. So in those early grades, I had my own children write perhaps one good sentence a day in 1st grade and then two good sentences a day in 2nd grade and so forth. And a little down the road you can work on paragraph development—maybe one paragraph a week or so.

    Mike:
    Dianne, once a student's working at the junior high or senior high level, what should be expected of him at that stage?

    Dianne:
    Well, that's when you teach your student to write an essay. Around 8th or 9th grade, we took a very short time (two weeks for us), we set aside all other schoolwork, and we immersed ourselves in essay writing. So at that point my children had everything they needed for the academic writing that they would be doing in high school and college. And then it was just a matter of practice—maybe one or two essays a month. So keep it simple. Focus on the basic building blocks, and your writing program will be very doable.

    Mike:
    I know you're going to want to tune in tomorrow as Dianne and I talk about what to include in your writing program so that your student will be able to write a persuasive essay. I'm Mike Farris.

To order The Lively Art of Writing, just give us a call. The number is toll-free; it's 866-338-8614.


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