Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School.

Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School

Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School

For homeschool high schoolers, one of the most time consuming components of English/Language Arts is the writing. Then one of the most time-consuming components of ELA for homeschooling parents is the grading and goal-setting process. We receive so many questions on goals and grading writing that we decided we should talk about it here on the podcast.

Let’s start with grading. Here is the simple answer for grading writing assignments: Use a rubric!

What’s a rubric?

A rubric is a tool that helps homeschool parents know what value to assign each aspect of their teens’ writing assignments. There are a gazillion ways to create a rubric, based on what is being emphasized in each writing project.

Where do you find rubrics?

You can create you own rubrics or download one off the internet (there are SO many variations on the internet, so you will find something that feels right to you).

For your convenience, we 7Sisters have saved you the time and trouble and included rubrics in our writing curriculum for:

You can even adjust the rubrics to fit your goals for your homeschool high schoolers!

Goals for writing in homeschool high school

Which leads us to the next questions that we receive so often:

  • “I don’t know what the goals should be for my teens’ writing each year. Help?”
  • “I don’t really like writing myself, so how can I set goals for my teens?”
  • “How can I know the priorities for writing?”

Let us help out a bit. Let’s define what the most helpful goals for writing can be. (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, so you adapt our advice to your own family’s needs.)

Goals for writing: What is the heart and soul of writing?

One of the things we have noticed over the years is that sometimes writing curriculum focuses so much on the mechanics of writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation) that there is absolutely nothing left for fun or inspiration.

Teens often need purpose, meaning and inspiration in their writing. Teens often do best when they know the “WHY” of writing. Do you know the why of writing, BTW?

The purpose of writing is communication!

The purpose of writing is communication.

The purpose of writing is communicating so that people understand what teens are feeling, thinking, learning, being inspired by. So they should ask themselves for each assignment, “What am I trying to communicate here?”

  • For instance, in a comparison and contrast essay about something. The purpose is to help the reader understand what you thought about the similarities and differences of whatever is being compared.
  • For a research paper, the purpose is to communicate what your teen has learned about a subject while doing their research on the topic. (As opposed to the idea that a research paper is about a teen’s opinion about what they are learning. The goal of research papers is information presentation, not opinion presentation.)

One of the best gifts we can give our teens is lots of practice organizing and communicating their thoughts. High school writing can help train teens on thinking and sharing those thoughts through life.

If a teen starts a writing project with those goals in mind, and the grader keeps those goals in mind, life will be easier for both! SO, start out each writing project with a discussion with parent and teen on the goals. Make it clear. Go over the rubric together.

BTW- We 7Sisters have graded SO many papers over the many years of teaching our kids and others. It has not been unusual for teens to complain about writing. However, after graduation and teens have entered adulthood, they have often come back to us and said, “thanks for all the writing”!

Also, know that grading and goals will vary for teens who have different abilities

All teens are different. This is good. So grading cannot be one-size-fits-all!

  • Teens who struggle with reading and writing, will need a simpler rubric and adaptations of goals.
    • BTW-if you have a struggling writer, go easy on the red-pen corrections. Instead, work together on several revisions with lots of encouragement.
  • A teen who is headed to college as a humanities major will need lots of writing with higher-level thinking and word usage. Adapt your rubrics to their needs.
  • Teens who are reluctant but able, need to concentrate on fun, short assignments at first, then gradually grow the assignments.
  • Teens who overthink things, need page limits.

So think about what your teens’ abilities, personalities and goals for after graduation are. As the parent, you know your teens and their needs. Adapt goals and grading to fit those needs.

For lots more information on writing requirements and grading for homeschool high schoolers, check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide post.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for an informative discussion on goals and grading for homeschool high school writing.

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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