January 22, 2018

High School Writing

I am a boring writer!  I’m pretty good at the spelling and grammar thing but when it comes to writing something interesting to read – I stink!  You see, I’m great about giving you details, I just can’t make it fun or easy to read.  So, alas, I’ll probably never be a fiction writer.  As a homeschooling parent, I’m probably not alone.  Yet – we are asked to teach our students to become strong writers.  High school writing is so important!

high school writing

Most of us can probably relate to this poor guy!

Students need to write for many different reasons:  to communicate, to inform, to persuade, to evaluate or simply to tell a story.  It’s more than just proper spelling and grammar – it also about organizing your thoughts and making a paper flow to convey the message (or emotion) that the writer wants conveyed.   Often a student’s written work is what makes their first impression – or sometimes, sadly, it taints an otherwise good initial impression.  How many times have you changed your impression of someone after you’ve read something they have written?

For some students, writing comes naturally and the goal in high school is to fine tune writing skills.  If a student is not naturally a writer though, this often becomes the biggest challenge in their high school career.  Brian Clark, the British playwright gives this ten-step process to becoming a better writer:

“Write.
Write more.
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
Keep writing.”

While motivation can be the most difficult part, I think teens struggle with writing simply because they don’t know how to get ideas out of their head and onto paper.   And often, we, as parents don’t know either so we just let this slide.  Don’t overlook this important piece of the high school puzzle!  Find a good writing curriculum or take advantage of a local class that will challenge your student to raise their level of writing.

There are some great curriculums out there.   One of my favorites is produced by The Institute for Excellence in Writing. You don’t have to be an expert to follow their step-by-step instructions to improve your composition skills.

Students who are college bound will often be required to write application essays.  The SAT and ACT both have writing sections. (And, by the way, the key to writing a great essay for these exams is to have at least 75% of it already written in your head before you enter the test.)  And, nearly every job application is now online.  Therefore, the ability to write well is paramount to a student’s success as they leave high school and move to the next phase of their life.

Taking the time now to work on these skills will pay off in huge dividends in the future.  They may not say it now – but your teens will appreciate the ability to write well!

~to your success

Joanne 

(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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