Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens.

Top Ten Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Why shouldn’t high school writing assignments be fun? Let’s have fun with tall tales!

Vicki was raised in Texas back in the olden days. In those early days of television there wasn’t much to watch. So in the evenings, neighbors would join together in the backyard. The kids would chase lightening bugs, watch the jack rabbits and listen to the grownups tell tall tales. Tall tales about Pecos Bill, mostly (being Texas and Pecos Bill was Texan, of course) but also, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and larger than life characters.

So Vicki grew up loving tall tales and taught them to her kids, then to our co-ops and homeschool group classes. We told the tales AND then made up our own tall tale characters and stories. Vicki thinks teaching tall tales to teens is a terrific idea!

Here are ten terrific reasons for teaching tall tale writing to your homeschool high schoolers:

Teens will thank you for this!

Tall tale writing is a great tie-in to your American History studies

Tall tale writing and reading brings to life the culture and traditions of the Old West. Check out a book on tall tales at the library or choose some stories from this website:

American Folklore

Or some classic YouTubes:

There’s a movie tie-in

Have you ever seen the movie Tall Tale? It’s a fun movie that features some favorite tall-tale characters: Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry. Log a few fun, inspirational hours for your American History class by:

  • Watching the movie Tall Tale
  • Wiscussing the larger-than-life characters
  • Discussing the “Code of the West” (Should we modern Americans have some sort of “Code”, ourselves?)

Teens need to know the original superheroes: the tall tale heros

Pecos Bill was a cowboy who rode a tornado and a huge black horse named Widowmaker. He could shoot the trigger fingers off the bad guys so they couldn’t harm the local citizens! He was rough and tough and always good.

Paul Bunyan was a lumberjack. He had a HUGE blue ox named Babe. He could eat pancakes so big that the griddle required buttering by other lumberjacks with huge butter pats tied onto their feet. They’d ice skate around the griddle to get it ready for pancake batter. He was NO nonsense but very good.

John Henry worked the building railroads. He was a mighty steel driver with a huge and mighty hammer. No one could hold a candle to his strength and speed! He was honest and unstoppable.

These original American heroes were the role models for our American superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, Black Panther and all the Marvel gang. They are strong and good and look out for others.

Tall tales help teens understand our American cultural roots

Tall tale heroes are a sort of American archetype: fictional larger than life versions of ourselves. We Americans want to see ourselves as:

  • Good
  • Brave
  • Standing up for the little guy
  • Doing what is honorable and right

This is exactly what the tall tale characters were (along with being silly and sometimes foolish). When we go back and study and respect these original American icons, it helps us decide how we want to live out these American values. It is an excellent discussion for teens, co-ops and homeschool group classes. How do we as individuals live out American ideals such as goodness, bravery, standing up for the little guy, acting honorably and righteously?

Tall tales are fun to hear and write. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #TallTales

Writing tall tales is a good creative writing project for teens

While there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, we 7Sisters have guided our teens to have four kinds of writing each year:

  • Essays
  • Research Papers
  • Short stories (creative writing)
  • Poetry (creative writing)

One of the most fun and useful kinds of short story writing assignments is tall tales! Tall tale writing is a fantastic way to write a short story because you can’t really do it wrong. No matter how silly it might be, it fits the genre (I mean, really, who rides a tornado- how silly! If it’s good enough for Pecos Bill, it will work for your teens).

Writing tall tales is fun to do individually and even more fun in a group!

Check out these posts that give terrific tips for tall tale writing in your homeschool co-op or group classes.

Writing tall tales is easy because 7Sisters has a step-by-step curriculum that teens love

Check out 7Sisters popular Tall Tale Writing Guide which gives daily assignments for writing a terrific, true-to-form tall tale! Each lesson is fun and non-threatening and builds writing success skills.

Teens tell us they feel so encouraged when they finish their tall tale

Over and over through the years, teens who were intimidated by writing (especially creative writing) have told us that when they finished their Tall Tales Writing Guide, they felt SO excited. They didn’t know they were creative writers, but once it was non-threatening and fun, their creative souls were unleashed. Tall tale writing has been such a confidence booster for many teens!

Tall tale studying and writing can become a tradition that your teens can pass onto their kids someday

Part of the wonder of tall tales is the passing down of stories from generation to generation. Perhaps your teens will tell their kids about Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and the Code of the West…and maybe their OWN tall tales!

Join Vicki for a quick and fun chat about Tall Tales and Teens!

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Ten Terrific Reasons to Teach Tall Tale Writing to Teens

Figuring Out ELA for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Figuring Out ELA for Homeschool High School.

Figuring Out ELA for Homeschool High School.

Figuring Out ELA for Homeschool High School

Why is English/Language Arts SO confusing? Why is it such a huge credit? ELA is the most complicated credit for each year of homeschooling high school. This credit has so many topics to cover in order to prepare our teens for effective thinking and communication as adults.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you! Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for a fun discussion on ELA and how to handle it.

Let’s start with the basic information for you to remember.

All credits are not created equal. We know it’s not fair that English/Language Arts is like five credits rolled into one credit:

  • Literature
  • Writing
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Speech/Public Speaking

It’s a huge credit! So let’s see if we can clarify the components and make it a little easier to manage.

We LOVE to help! SO here goes!

Let’s talk about Literature. It’s NOT just a book list. What goes into a the Literature component for high school?

  • You could approach it from several different ways:
  • Your teens should read an appropriate number of books (each teen is different, so the number will vary) that are challenging. The purpose of these books are to learn analysis and critical/inferential thinking skills.
    • We recommend Literature Study Guides for at least one book per month in this category (more for Honors-level students).
      • We highly recommend Literature Study Guides that DON’T kill the book by overteaching and busywork. (Our teens, and the teens we have taught over the years, helped 7SistersHomeschool.com’s team create guides that build skills but build them in meaningful, no-busywork ways.)
  • Your teens should read an appropriate number of other books (again, each teen is different, so the number will vary) that are:
    • not necessarily as challenging,
    • are reading for pleasure,
    • are part of their Bible reading or
    • supplement other subjects.

All credits are not created equal. We know it's not fair that English/Language Arts is like five credits rolled into one credit: Literature Writing Vocabulary Grammar Speech/Public Speaking

Let’s talk about Writing. It’s NOT just essay writing. What goes into a the Writing component for high school?

Homeschool high schoolers will need to write essays, yes. Essays (especially the basic five-paragraph essay) help teens capture their thoughts, then concisely and clearly present them. Essays at this level, are exercises to develop thought-presentation skill.

Teens then need to expand their skills in capturing and presenting thoughts in the form of research papers. In order to write a longer paper, like an MLA, APA or Chicago-style research paper, teens also need to learn to do research, present it in an appropriate format and cite it.

In order to write these long papers and essays well, it helps to write some Short Stories.

Basic short story writing helps teens develop creative thinking (which helps build problem-solving skills). Teens who write some short stories tend to notice they become better writers of the “serious” paper styles because they are writing are articulately.

Many teens are intimidated by the idea of short story writing, that’s why we 7Sisters started teaching our teens and our local homeschool co-ops how to write them. With their vetting, our guides take teens through simple, step-by-step processes of writing a fun short story (a different style each year of high school, including the ever-popular Myth-Fantasy Short Story Writing Guide). You may remember our fun HSHSP episode with popular indy-novelist Will Hahn who teaches our local teens this course each year.

In order to write essays and research papers well, it helps to write some Poetry.

Poetry writing can be fun but mostly it helps teens learn to find and use words articulately and with inspiration.

That’s why 7Sisters began teaching our teens poetry with non-threatening, tiny, fun daily lessons for a unit each year. Even our most reluctant teens learn to like writing poetry and feel more confident with their other papers.

Don’t forget professional writing. Don’t let teens graduate with these skills.

Being able to write emails, memos and other things may make a difference when they get into the job market. 7Sisters can help with that to, with our popular Professional Writing course.

Let’s talk about Vocabulary for homeschool high school.

Of course, 7Sisters Literature Study Guides include vocabulary from the book. Also teens who want more will love playing FreeRice.com‘s gamified vocabulary (will help with SAT prep, too). (BTW- we are not Free Rice affiliates, it’s just fun.)

Let’s talk about Grammar for homeschool high school.

Some teens just naturally have grammar under control. Help them learn to use the rubric for each paper to edit their papers. (Don’t forget to keep rough drafts of papers in your homeschool portfolios/records.)

If your teen needs something on hand to help check the rules, use 7Sisters digital pocket guide: Grammar Granules.

Don’t forget your teen can also use tools like Grammarly to run their papers through to catch grammar goofs they might not have noticed.

You can also have your teen do a practice workbook to increase their skills. Some of our local teens have enjoyed Language Mechanic or various levels of Editor in Chief. (Again, we are not affiliates with anyone.)

Let’s talk about Public Speaking for homeschool high school.

We really aren’t through with English/Language Arts until we give our teens a little bit of experience with Speech/Public Speaking. It doesn’t have to be scary. Let it be fun! Try 7Sisters’ beloved Public Speaking curriculum. It is full of FUN exercises.

Homeschool high school English/Language Arts: You and your teens can LOVE this. Give it a try with 7Sisters resources (especially our comprehensive ELA Bundles that include each of the 5 areas of ELA).

Hey, join our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group and enjoy the questions and discussions to encourage homeschool moms and thanks for joining Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for this week’s discussion on ELA for homeschool high school!

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO HSHSP VIA COMPUTER

  1. Follow this link to our Apple Podcasts page.
  2. OR take this IMPORTANT STEP: Under our Homeschool Highschool Podcast logo, click on View in “…your favorite podcast source”
  3. This will take you to Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast source and our own podcast page.
  4. Click SUBSCRIBE.
  5. Click RATINGS AND REVIEW. (Please take a minute and do this. It helps others find us. Thanks!)
  6. Thanks!

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA iPHONE

  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
  2. Tap the search icon on the bottom-right of your screen
  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
  4. Tap the Homeschool Highschool Podcast icon
  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*

Figuring Out ELA for Homeschool High School