Vector64 Home Education Writing Pages

This page contains general writing materials and references to materials and websites that we're actually using in our Home Schooling program. The organization here is a little haphazard as I'm doing this realtime for live teaching.

Our son has always hated writing while our daughter has always loved to write. They are both knowledgeable on the mechanics of writing but our son has a hard time coming up with ideas in writing, even if it is in answering a question that he should be easily able to handle. Our daughter, on the other hand, does a little brainstorming and finds a solution fairly easily.

Our son had to take a test to take a math class at Middlesex Community College in August 2006. He had to pass a writing test in addition to five other tests and we were worried that he wouldn't do well enough on the writing test to get in. So we spent about two weeks working on five-paragraph essays to improve his writing skills. This approach worked as he scored well enough to place into College English. My goal is to teach him College Composition which means that we'll need to do a lot of writing Fall 2006.

My approach to teaching writing is to give writing assignments and then go through the revision process. This is a tried and true approach to teaching writing but it does require a lot of labor from the student and the teacher. To make the process a little easier, we're using an online word processor: Google Writely, which allows us simultaneous access to one document and this is done for efficiency so that I can revise his documents even though we're in different places. Our goal is to write a bunch of five-paragraph essays and then a few longer papers of 3-5 pages and then one 5-10 page paper.

For mechanics, I suggest using standard school texts for teaching grammar when the children are young to build up the mechanics of writing. If I had to do it over, I'd have had them do more writing and revising but I can't change the past. We picked up some old MacMillan books that a library was throwing out and these were adequate. We went through a review of some weak areas using a few college texts that we had. I think that any reasonably good college writing text would be good to have around for reference and study if needed.
You may be wondering why we're focusing on five-paragraph essays. Apparently five-paragraph essays are in vogue for college admissions tests and so writing these is a fairly useful skill to have if you're interested in going to college. They're also a convenient size for a lot of writing and revising as there's enough room for structure and expression but not enough so that the student gets frustrated at having to write something longer.

Online College Writing Resources

College Video Lectures

Updated February 2, 2008.
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