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When Should We Start The Writing Course (to teach our kids how to write)?

I received this letter a while back and wanted to share it here:

I’ve been using the Writing Course for over a year now with my 15yo.
I’m wondering if I should go through it with my 10yo yet or not. How did
you determine at what age your children were ready for it? I wouldn’t
want to move forward to soon, like I did when my 15yo son was younger,
pushing him until he hated writing all together (luckily the Writing
Course has taken away the fear that I, most likely, was responsible for
:( ). With my 10yo son, I’ve been very laid back; He has only done
copy work for writing & oral narrations (CM methods) up until this point.
He’s also around a 3rd grade reading level. I’d love to hear your
thoughts Fred, or others on where I should proceed with him from here.




So, here was my response to Heather:


Thanks for the question!

I have seen 9 year olds do well, but it is with those who love to write.
The Writing Course is a new course each time you work through it, so
there is no harm if you keep that in mind.

Jody likes to make a transition from copy work to writing by having the
child tell stories (or whatever) and the parent writes them down. It
allows you to show some principles and have a little fun. Of course, it
doesn’t have to be long each time.

You also might have your son write for a while before taking the course
(allows for some experience before interacting with the principles).

At the least, I’d go through The Writing Course once before he turns 12
for sure…and again…if you don’t obsess on it, next week is find too!

Too double-sided?



Thoughts? Questions? Comments?


Welcome: How to Teach Kids to Write

Hey Educator,

Glad you dropped by! If you own The Writing Course, or are just thinking about it, this is our way to connect a little, share some information about our homeschool writing curriculum, and answer your questions. We had a forum, which was good…but it is a little too tedious for most of us to quickly use (but please go survey it…lots of good stuff there). We’ll move some of the forum material over here and produce more blogs for your benefit. PLEASE comment and interact…it makes a big difference for everyone!

Here’s the one question most folks have in teaching kids to write with The Writing Course



In our experience, going through the homeschool writing curriculum material yearly (at least) is key to comprehensive learning. Each time through the student is at a different “place” in the learning process as a writer.

The Writing Course turns out to be unique here because each time through you print a new workbook. Also, the exercises are open-ended, which means they will be ‘fresh’ each time. Try this with any other curriculum :-) and see if your students don’t revolt from the tedium!

So (after investing in your own copy of The Writing Course)

1. Print the workbook
2. Have them listen to the audio lesson and use the workbook (one lesson a day..should take about a month)
3. Discuss together what they are learning (daily)
4. Complete the course and start having them write daily (about 20 to 30 minutes at least).
5. Give feedback (see our video instruction under Video Extras) as we suggest
6. Get wowed!

On a side note, The Essay Course, as part of our homeschool writing curriculum, is probably better suited for 14 year olds and up. Of course, you can decide. I don’t think we started any of our children on it until they were 15. Frankly, high-level argumentation is a function of a more mature brain. The most important thing is to learn to master the sentence / paragraph.

Fred Ray Lybrand