My Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks always for your support!

Today I’m eager to share the Top 5 Blog, She Wrote Pinterest Boards for Homeschooling Teens. Honestly, I love Pinterest and I’ve been creating new boards whenever I can classify content specifically for middle and high school. I only got to choose 5 for this post, but I have more boards for teens that I adore. Feel free to follow any of my boards. The more, the merrier! Are you ready for my favorites?

eReader Homeschooling

This board is a collecting place for all things Kindle related and beyond. You’ll find free book series, ways to use a Kindle in your homeschool, and plenty of content for your eReader. Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

Blog, She Wrote posts related to eReader Homeschooling:

Homeschool High School

All things high school related are found on this board. I started out with just one highschool board, but I’m starting to add specific course names to my boards like chemistry, biology, and U.S. History.

Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

Blog, She Wrote posts on Homeschooling High School:

Teaching with Technology

You’ll find ways to incorporate technology into your homeschool- whether it’s using Netflix or using an Arduino unit to program simple electronics. I’m not much for apps though we use a select few for a select purpose. I’m much more interested in our kids being makers and I try to focus on that as I collect ideas.

Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

Blog, She Wrote Technology Posts:

Project Based Homeschooling

The projects gathered here are ideas and reporting on student-driven projects. These aren’t units or parent directed projects, but the kind that come from a student’s own motivation and desire to learn.

Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

Blog, She Wrote Project Posts:

  • Steampunk Fashion & Design- The story of Rebecca’s history and fashion project for the year.
  • Workspace- One of the keys to successful projects is the space you devote to what your kids are doing. This post shares all of our project spaces.

Coaching Writers

This board showcases ideas and programs that allow us to mentor our writers at home. There’s a lot of good stuff out there!

Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens

Blog, She Wrote Coaching Writer’s Posts:

I love to spend time on Pinterest saving things for a day when I need a great idea. Sometimes it’s all you need to spark something you can really use. Do you use Pinterest?

Enjoy this Cream of the Crop iHN Pinterest Boards for Homeschoolers. Join other bloggers from the iHomeschool Network as we all share our favorite Pinterest Boards today.

iHN: Our Pintastic Pinboards

Coaching Writing with a Writer’s Workshop

Blog, She Wrote: Coaching Writing with a Writer's Workshop

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks so much for your support!

I’ve mentioned before that we’ve been hosting a writer’s workshop twice a month since September. I use the model for a workshop found in the book Workshops Work by Patricia Zaballos. I’ve shared a review over at Curriculum Choice, but I want to focus on how our workshop plays out each week.

Who Attends Our Writer’s Workshop?

  • Our workshop has 6-8 kids week to week ranging in age from 11-15 (and my 8yo jumps in sometimes).
  • I sent an invitation to the workshop to our entire homeschool group and we’ve had some kids come and go, but we’ve had a core group of writers since September. I wanted to be sure we had a diverse group of kids as much as possible and not just pick our friends.
  • One requirement I specified is that the kids be able to be in a somewhat unstructured setting for two hours.
  • Kids have to share their writing. If someone doesn’t like to share their work, then workshop is not a great environment for them. I don’t mind if they don’t share at first, but the idea is to give feedback and to enjoy writing for an audience.
  • Not everyone who attends loves to write! This is a big one because even the kids who don’t profess to love writing enjoy coming to workshop and they are often inspired by others to write.
  • We did have one special event in early November where I invited a local author to join us. The kids invited some of their friends and some of them stayed on with us. Anne Mazer was a real treat to see and I am so thankful she was able to encourage the kids and show us all what it’s like to be a published author.

Blog, She Wrote: Coaching Writing with a Writer's Workshop

What Happens at a Workshop?

  • I start the workshop with announcements- usually I share websites I’ve found that I think the kids will like related to writing and writers.
  • The students share their homework- yes they have homework. They beg me for it! I send them home with a second writing exploration to do during the interim and we share it first thing when we gather.
  • We share the piece we’ve prepared on our own
  • Writing Exploration- they get a short writing exercise during the workshop time and we share those.
  • Share Time- after the writing exploration we have more sharing time. Our group is small enough that sometimes we share all at once before doing the exploration. I split it up only if it looks like everyone could use a break.
  • Assign the Homework- this is an exercise they get to take home and bring back the next time. These are helpful if you have students who don’t always bring something of their own.

Blog, She Wrote: Coaching Writing with a Writer's Workshop

How Do You Handle Peer Feedback During the Workshop?

This is the tricky part everyone wonders about! How do I get the kids to engage with each other in a positive way? Many of your questions are answered in the book, Workshops Work. However, I’ll share a few things that have worked for us so far.

  • Teach them how to do it- I went over how we would go about the process and I modeled that behavior when we started and occasionally now to keep things moving.
  • Reminders- on the positive feedback we are looking for. We want writers to share each week so we aren’t looking for super critical reviews.
  • They are specific with feedback- they tell something they thought was interesting or a word they really liked. It’s fun to ask more questions and help the students to remember specific things in a story.
  • I have a poster- with language they can use or ideas on what to look for as a person reads just as a visual reminder. I pull it out when they need to see it again.

The feedback portion is so interesting to watch. The kids really listen for those golden sentences- the ones they want to hear again. And I’ve seen multiple chapters of the same stories show up because kids are encouraged to continue the tale.

We’ve been working together for six months and the group loves to hear what they will all read. They love it so much they can’t imagine taking a break for the summer! In fact, they were appalled I would even suggest it! How is that not a win?

Blog, She Wrote: Coaching Writing with a Writer's Workshop

What Happens If You Lack Confidence in Coaching Your Own Writers?

  • The first thing I’d say is the workshop doesn’t require a lot of editing. It does require thoughtful feedback.
  • Hands down the writer’s workshop is the best value for my effort as a mentor! It’s easy to implement and the kids grow to love it more and more each week.
  • As a facilitator, after the kids get to know one another and understand how workshop time goes, you get to say less and less. The students really drive the workshop time. They are delightful to hear!

However, if overall you do not feel equipped to take on coaching writers through high school, there are other options! That is the great news about homeschooling- we can tailor our students’ experiences to fit their needs and ours. One such offering is the Essay Rockstar by Fortuigence. We had the opportunity to participate in the program last spring and summer and Lily Iatridis, the instructor, mentors the students through an essay assignment using an online format.


Fortuigence offers families four Essay Rockstar Personal Essay

modules that teach various aspects of essay writing. You can pay for the entire course or you can take them a la carte. The personal essay is a great start and allows Lily Iatridis to personally coach your student at writing a personal essay. College applications always require a personal statement of some kind.


 Resources for Coaching Writers

Don’t forget to visit my post on resources for coaching writing. We have enjoyed using many of these during the workshop time. They are also what I pull from to assign homework to the workshop participants.

You might also enjoy my Pinterest board on Coaching Writers.

Whatever resources you choose, enjoy the process and remain consistent- whether you are the coach or you defer so you can be the assistant coach.


Workshops Work! A Parent’s Guide to Facilitating Writer’s Workshops for Kids

Blog, She Wrote: Workshops Work! A Parent's Guide to Facilitating Writer's Workshops for KidsThis post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

I’ve been hosting a writer’s workshop in our home since September. A writer’s workshop is a time for writers to gather together and share their work. Sometimes workshops hold a mini lesson and give participants time to write and some, like ours, encourages writers to bring pieces they’ve already written to be shared during the workshop.

Writer’s Workshop with the Workshops Work Model

Our workshop is based on the model from the book Workshops Work by Patricia Zaballos. The book explains the benefits of doing a writer’s workshop with kids along with the nuts and bolts of putting a workshop together. I was convinced from the moment I started reading the book and aimed to invite kids to join us this fall. We are a success!

The book is divided into two sections: The Workshop itself – how it works and what to do and The Toolbox- resources and information you can use during a workshop.

To see more detail about each section, please click over to my review over at The Curriculum Choice and enter to win your own copy of Workshops Work!

Also, stay tuned to Blog, She Wrote for a post explaining more about our workshop and how it’s been successful for the kids…successful enough that when I began to ask them about what project they’d like to do to wrap up the year when it’s time, they couldn’t believe we had to end!

Methods for Teaching Middle School & High School Homeschool

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Middle & High School Language Arts

This week the iHN is hosting a Hopscotch on “How I Teach”. Here at Blog, She Wrote I’m sharing methods for teaching middle and high school students in all the major subject areas. We’ll be discussing strategy and curriculum. Today our topic is language arts.

Strategies for Teaching Middle School & High School Homeschool Language Arts

My philosophy on teaching writing and language skills from a young age is one of a coaching role. My job is to meet my writers where they are, give them the tools they need and how to use them and to help them to meet their goals. What is the goal? To be an effective written communicator. That’s what it’s all about.

  • Play with Words- enjoy exercises and fun ways to engage with words to increase vocabulary. Click the link to see five great ideas I wrote for Bright Ideas Press.
  • Collage Words- More details on reflecting on a word and exploring its meanings.
  • Resources for Coaching Writing- a list of some of my favorite resources for coaching writers.
  • Conferences- I meet with my kids regularly to go over their written work and to see what can be improved. I take a look at the first draft and usually ask the student to go back and self edit, naming the thing they are notorious for forgetting- whether that be correct capitalization or wild commas. If the piece of writing is hard to decipher because of poor organization/grammar/spelling, I have them read it to me. When they read it aloud they realize that without grammar conventions/organization, the reader will not experience the piece the way the author intended. This goes a LONG way to encouraging kids to edit their work.
  • Writer’s Workshop- I’ve been hosting a workshop that includes my kids along with about five other homeschoolers in our home since September. I’ll be posting more detail on this soon, but having kids write for an audience is one of the best investments I’ve made in time this year. If you’d like a little more information now, click the link above on Resources for Coaching Writing.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Middle & High School Language Arts

Our Favorite Middle School & High School Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum

  • Cover Story- This is a middle school writing program written by Daniel Schwabauer, the creator of One Year Adventure Novel. My 6th and 8th graders are working on building the pieces to their own magazine issue based on a theme they chose. There are video lessons which are well done along with resources for the parents. The younger siblings of OYAN students approve!
  • WriteShop- WriteShop Junior & WriteShop I and II. I love WriteShop for its ability to break down the writing process into pre-writing, drafts/editing, and final, published copy. We use this between the informal early elementary years and the time we begin creative writing and expository writing programs. I also use units from WS 1&2 to help with organizations of essays at any time during the teen years.
  • One Year Adventure Novel - Write a novel in one school year. That is the aim of OYAN and it is adored by us all. The lessons are thorough and draw the students in. My two favorite things (besides the novel) are: 1) How the curriculum provides excellent talking points about literature with our teens. 2) The community Mr. Schwabauer has created for teens to interact with each other. My 10th grader loves the OYAN forums where he can be himself and be in community with other kids who love books and stories as much as he does. There are also regular webinars with extra instruction.
  • Other Worlds- The follow up to the One Year Adventure Novel. This one is focused on writing fantasy and science fiction. My 10th grader is working on his fantasy novel. I enjoy the lessons on the history of science fiction and fantasy and how they are different from adventure.
  • Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings- Spend time immersed in the three books that make up The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Wonderful vocabulary studies, chapter discussions, essays, and unit studies based on this fantasy tale.
  • Excellence in Literature- Classic literature is taught in four week modules with honors options. I have all five volumes so we can skip around. They are meant to be use 8th-12th grade. This program has been a great model of student led reading and writing on the classics and has been very successful so far.

Slow and steady wins the race. We try to keep moving forward and see our kids make progress in their writing skills. We add in what’s necessary as they gain skills so they can be stretched to the next level. Our kids are immersed in reading and writing in many forms from a young age and we love to watch them gain confidence as they get older. Coming soon news from our Writer’s Workshop!

The iHomeschool Network is hosting a Hopscotch series this week on “How I Teach”. Join other iHN bloggers to see how they teach Language Arts. You’ll find information on working with special needs all the way to gifted kids and everything in between.


Resources for Coaching Writing

Blog, She Wrote: Resources for Coaching Writers

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks always for your support!

Since September I’ve been hosting a Writer’s Workshop for a fabulous group of students ranging in age from 8 to 15 years old. We started with a core group of kids which has shifted and grown a bit. We currently have eight writers who convene in our family room two to three Wednesdays a month. The young writers adore the time and as their mentor, it’s been a treat to hear their writing each week.

I promised them a collection of the writing resources I’ve been sharing with them and I thought it would be beneficial to share it with all of you. It’s a long post so bear with me. I’m going against my better judgment and keeping it as a one stop shop for now.

Blog, She Wrote: Resources for Coaching Writers

What Is a Writer’s Workshop?

A writer’s workshop is a time for writers to gather and share their work with each other. The concept has been around a long time and has various forms. Some workshops focus on using the time for writing coupled with a mini-lesson for writers. Other workshops bring work that is complete to share with the group. Ours is more the sharing sort of group.

Our workshop is based on the model from the book Workshops Work by Patricia Zaballos. The book explains the benefits of doing a writer’s workshop with kids along with the nuts and bolts of putting a workshop together. I was convinced from the moment I started reading the book and aimed to invite kids to join us this fall. We are a success! More on Workshops Work next month at Curriculum Choice (along with a giveaway!).

Book Resources for Writers

Some of these books were suggestions from Workshops Work. Others are books I have found along the way and have been using with the kids for years.

Blog, She Wrote: Resources for Writers

Rip the Page- Fun creative writing explorations for kids. This one is new to me and I’ve had a good time paging through it. I like to keep fresh ideas on hand for our time at writer’s workshop.

Games for Writing- A long time favorite of mine, this is a book full of practical ideas on playing with writing for grades K-3. I love Peggy Kaye’s approach to any topic using simple, hand made games for kids.

Games for Learning- This one has games for all sorts of subjects, but it includes ideas for writing. Once again, the exercises appeal to younger students.

Spilling Ink- A handbook for young writers with exercises inside in the form of dares. A pure pleasure. I happen to know a sequel is due out as well simply named, “Stuck”. For when you are at a loss for words. Bonus: We had the fantastic opportunity to have Anne Mazer join us for workshop one afternoon and it was the best ever! I happened to notice she lived locally to us (just a few miles away) after reading her bio in the back of the book. What an experience!

The Synonym Finder- Simply the best out there. If you want to play with the nuances of words. This is your ammo.

Dictionary- A nice dictionary. I’m in the market for an unabridged version, but for now we are using our collegiate dictionary from the early 90s. Unabridged because I like words.

Guy Write- A book all about boys and writing. This one is written to the boys and gives mentors and writing coaches permission to enjoy the way boys write. If you teach boys, this is a book for you!

A Writer’s Notebook- This one is a personal favorite. Does your writer have a notebook? I know I do! It’s next to me right now as I work on this post. Find out what a notebook is for and how to use it to improve your writing. Another one written directly to kids and available in the Kindle format for quick acquisition!

Live Writing- A quick look at a writer’s tool box. All the books in this series are easy to read and inexpensive. What does a writer use to make their writing happen? Find out!

How Writer’s Work- Written to the student, this book details how writers really write. Kids are taught in a particular way to work on something start to finish, but that is rarely how real writers approach their work- at least in the formal sense. Take a peek into the world of writers.

Teaching Grammar through Writing- Working on a link for this. The version I have may be out of print. However, if you can find it, this book is a handy tool in application of grammar as you write.

Write Source 2000- A handbook for reference. How to chapter on all sorts of writing.

Writer’s Inc- A handbook for writing. Easy to use and easy to read for the kids. I refer my kids to it all the time.

Blog & Website Resources for Writers

I’ve come across some really enjoyable and useful websites for young writers and writers of all kinds.

Blog, She Wrote: Resources for Writers

In Our Write Minds- This is the WriteShop blog and is written for teachers and students. There are a lot of writing exercises here for students young and old to try. If you have a writer in your midst, then there many ideas for feasting on here.

Wonder Farm- Patricia Zaballos’ blog. She’s an author and homeschool mom who “loves to write and wants others to love it too”. I could plant here and read for some time. When you do, you’ll come away with a glimpse of the passion she has for coaching writers. Her sidebar contains goodies like: “Becoming a Writing Mentor to Your Child” and “My Year of Excellent Essayists”. Gold!

Small World- Another homeschool mom, you’ll find Sarah loves writing and words. Check out Wordsmithery (you don’t want to miss this) and the Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing for Students.

Spilling Ink the Blog- The blogging home of Spilling Ink the book by Anne Mazer & Ellen Potter. Right now they have a contest for 8-12 year olds up. The age range of the contest actually inspired our kids to have their own with a much higher age limit. Stories are due next week writers! Are you ready?

NanoWriMo- This is the link to the Young Writer’s Program, but NanoWriMo is for adults too. November is National Novel Writing Month and you will love the encouragement to write as many words for your novel as possible. You have to see the programming they have in place for this big event. Start gearing up early and take advantage of the focus. Not to miss is the Dare Machine which gives really clever writing prompts and ideas. At this writing, there are 297 days and 2 hours left until NanoWriMo 2014!

Write at Home- This one is a gem. Find posts on grammar and characters along with anything else you can think of in the realm of writing. Brian answers the questions everyone has about annoying grammar mistakes and common misconceptions. Enjoy this blog geared to homeschoolers.

Go Teen Writers- This blog is a collaboration effort between several authors and is written to teens. There is a book by the same title which pulls together many of the posts on the blog. If you have a writer who wants to see something published, this is the blog to read!

textualFortuigence- Looking for a way to introduce another writing mentor into your student’s life? Lily Iatridis has a series of essay modules perfect for outsourcing some of your student’s writing. I think it’s a great way to have alternative feedback on a teen’s writing.

Student Blogs for Writing Resource

I’ve gathered together a few student blogs including those of my kids and a few other workshop students. See what you think!

Blog, She Wrote: Resources for Coaching Writing

The 11 Dollar Dog- Written by the dog of one of our workshop students. A humorous look at the life of a dog in a human family world.

Of Bows & Arrows, Swords & Spears- Another workshop student blog who happens to be E15. He’s not super consistent, but I’m working on that.

Miss Bliss- The long time blog of R13 which focuses on her crafting, American Girl dolls, and sewing. Since she posts mainly from her Android device, she’s a minimalist when it comes to words.

Nairam of Sherwood- An early graduate of the One Year Adventure Novel program and a story teller in her own right. She’s not posting anymore really, but you can enjoy her stories and writing already there.

Geography Crusades- This is another of Ethan’s blogs which is the ongoing project for his Ancient Studies course for 10th grade this year. This blog will be the whole package from appearance to lots of content. Enjoy!

Why the Workshop?

Some folks may be asking why we’ve invested our time in a writer’s workshop. It’s simple really. We’ve seen results! The kids arrive eager to share and join others in encouraging each other in their writing. Does it get better than that?

For me, it’s been worth the little investment of time to see young writers flourish. Not all the kids who attend love writing. What they love is the audience. They love to write so others can hear.

  • They write new installments of stories they’ve written when peers say they want to hear what happens next.
  • They write the poem late into the night so they have something to share the following afternoon.
  • They furiously write down the “golden sentence” from a book they love so they can share it.
  • They clip ads from the local paper to share funny grammar mistakes with the group
  • They ask the group how they can improve something they are working on
  • They are eager to encourage one another young and older

The next best thing is sharing with young people how writers really write. They don’t sit with a formal checklist and a set of directions. They pull from experience and passion to put something on the page and making it polished is simply part of that. It’s letting kids know they are writers not just homework doers.