Home School Heartbeat Radio Program

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The importance of writing

Vol. 56, Prg. 31–35
December 13–17, 2004

The ability to communicate well is an invaluable life skill. Yet colleges and employers are increasingly dissatisfied with the writing skills of students and employees. How can we help our children learn to write clear, memorable prose? This week, homeschool mom and writing instructor Dianne Hurst joins Michael Farris to suggest simple, practical ways to improve your writing program.

Program Listing:

Click on a program title to listen online and read a transcript

Whatever happened to good writing?
Getting excited about writing
Learning to write well
How to write an essay
Overcoming challenges


Dianne Hurst

When not busy finding yard sales, Dianne Hurst enjoys teaching "average" kids to write. Her favorite format is a crash course at the beginning or end of a school year that takes students from being non-writers to authors of literary essays on the college level in less than two weeks!

The course is based not only on Payne's The Lively Art of Writing, but also on experience that Dianne gleaned through several years of teaching English at the junior and senior high levels and then at the college level, both at Kankakee Community College and at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. She holds a BA in English from Cornerstone University, a BS in Education from Calvin College, and a MA in English from Governor's State University.

In 1984, Dianne was asked to produce a grammar curriculum for the ATI program, and spent the next several years writing an advanced sentence diagramming course called Sentence Analysis. The Textbook, Workbook, Answer Key, Quiz Booklet, and Parent Guide are available from the Institute in Basic Life Principles in Oak Brook, Illinois. Her second-favorite thing to teach "average" kids is the "big picture" of analytical grammar so they can grasp the simplicity and orderliness of God's design of language.

Dianne's enjoyment of the written word extends to editing, as well. Several years ago, she helped edit Cultural Change and Your Church by Potock and Henriques, published by Baker Books, and recently helped to edit Argumentation and Debate: Taking the Next Step (published by Home School Legal Defense Association).

Wife of HSLDA Membership and Human Resources Director Chuck Hurst, Dianne homeschools their 14-year-old son, Jacob. Jackye (18) is attending a local community college this year, and Jennifer (20) is pursuing an MBA in Accounting from James Madison University.

Program Offer

Lively Art of Writing

Lucile Vaughan Payne

Students, teachers, businessmen, aspiring authors, complaining consumers—all have one thing in common: the need to successfully express ideas, opinions, arguments, explanations, and instructions through the written word. With The Lively Art of Writing as your guide, you can master essential writing skills.

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