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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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     You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

     The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #37
     Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

     June 2, 2003
     Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents

  • 15-Part Basic Skills Series: Writing, Part 2
  •      Writing Goals and Objectives
  •      The Building Blocks of Writing
  •      Types of Writing
  •      The Writing Process
  •      Publishing
  •      Online Writing Resources
  • Recommended Resources
  •      Today's Child Magazine
  •      American Christian History
  •      WriteAtHome
  •      Henty Books on Tape
  •      Teaching Home Back Issues


         In this issue you will find specific and practical teaching tips to use in teaching your children to write. As we said in our last newsletter:

         To the degree we are serious about extending our
         Christian influence and reflecting well on our Lord,
         to that degree we will be serious about perfecting all
         of our communication skills.

         May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory!

    Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
    The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.

         Complement Your Teaching with Today's Child Magazine!
         Check our Web site today for:
         * An inside look at a magazine to help you communicate
              spiritual truths to your children.
         * Special online price.
         * 9 great benefits for homeschoolers.
         A ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship.

    15-Part Series on Basic Skills
    by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

         Our 15-part series is written to help you evaluate your children's skill levels and help them improve in those areas.
         Topics are listed with the newsletter number in parenthesis. These can be viewed in our Newsletter Archives at

         1. Listening (#18)
         2. Word Analysis/Phonics (#19)
         3. Vocabulary (#21)
         4. Reading Comprehension: Knowledge (#23)
         5. Reading Comprehension (#25 & #26)
         6. Reading Comprehension: Analysis & Synthesis (#28)
         7. Reading Comprehension: Application (#29)
         8. Reading Comprehension: Evaluation (#30)
         9. Spelling (#32)
         10. Grammar (#34)
         11. Penmanship (#35)
         12. Writing, Part 1 (#36)
         13. Writing, Part 2 (This Issue)
         14. Math, Part 1
         15. Math, Part 2

         Good writing can be an effective means of expressing a Christian perspective and witness to unbelievers or edifying fellow believers.
         We can teach our children the skills to develop a lifestyle of purposeful, helpful, and God-honoring writing.
         To write well, your children need to write often. Writing is both a skill and an art, and mastering it is a process that takes time.

    Writing Goals and Objectives
         In general, our primary goals for writing are to record and communicate information accurately, clearly, logically, convincingly, elegantly, and morally for the glory of God and the edification of other people. Specific objectives could include:
         * Journal Entries (events, projects, thoughts).
         * Letters (family, friends, editors, legislators).
         * Essays, Themes, and Devotionals.
         * Reports and Research Papers.
         * Reviews (books, movies, music, literature).
         * Poems and Song Lyrics.
         * Stories (true or fictional).
         * Instructions (what to do, how-tos).
         * Speeches, Sermons, Lessons, Gospel Tracts.
         * Columns (commentary, humor, etc.).

         The form and content of each writing composition will depend on its purpose, its audience, its sources of information, and its desired depth, length, and formality.

         Not everything that can be said, ought to be said. How we say something can either undermine or reinforce what we say or what we hope to accomplish by saying it.
    * Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
    * Do not be condescending, arrogant, belligerent, or sarcastic.
    * Be genuine, humble, and sincere.

         Teach Your Children about America's Christian History
         * The book, "You, Your Child, and the Constitution,"
              contains biblical principles in the Constitution, plus
              discussion topics and assignments.
         * "The Governor's Story" is the lost-but-found history
              of our Christian roots by Gov. Bradford. A Study Guide
              is also available.
         * Plus many more resources.

    The Building Blocks of Writing
         There are basic components, or building blocks, of writing, all of which should be progressively mastered so that they can be easily utilized in appropriate places. These components comprise the subject of grammar and motivate its study.

         Develop a wide vocabulary of:
    * Specific, precise nouns.
    * Vivid, active verbs.
    * Colorful, sensory-rich adjectives and adverbs.
    * A complete range of prepositions.
    * Transition words (e.g. then, therefore, because, finally).

         Prepositional, participle, and other phrases can be used as modifiers and their positions in sentences changed around to give variety and rhythm.

         Dependent, independent, adverbial, and adjectival clauses also add variety to sentence structure.

         Learn to write all types of sentences: simple (with or without compound subjects or predicates), compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Changing the lengths and types of sentences within a piece makes it easier to read and more interesting and effective.
    * Find examples of different types of sentences in good
         literature and point these out to your children.
    * You may find that learning to diagram sentences will aid the
         understanding of different grammatical structures.

         Each paragraph should be a coherent and unified group of sentences that develops a topic sentence (whether it begins and introduces the paragraph or ends and clinches it). The topic may be developed by facts, examples, incidents, or reasons that are presented in order of location, chronology, or importance (ascending or descending).

         The finished piece of writing links paragraphs together logically using transitional expressions and the repetition of key words.
 Effective Online Writing Instruction
              WriteAtHome offers on-line writing courses for
         homeschoolers in grades 6-12. Expert Writing Coaches
         provide positive, personal attention. Creative,
         challenging, fun, and flexible! We offer a variety of
         courses, from nine-week workshops to nine-month
         courses. Summer classes available.

    Types of Writing
         Understand and teach the different types of writing and methods of developing each type effectively. Once learned as separate skills, the different types can be blended as needed. For example, you might use one or more descriptive paragraphs within a narrative, or use both descriptive and narrative paragraphs within an exposition, etc.

         Descriptive writing can be used alone or within other types of writing to describe persons, places, or things.
    * Select details to:
         Support a general statement.
         Create an impression.
         Show attributes of an object.
    * Use sensory details (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste).
    * Organize details according to:
         Place in space.
         A moving point of view.
         A desired emphasis.
    * Use descriptive words:
         Specific, vivid nouns, verbs, modifiers.
         Figurative language to create pictures.

         Narrative writing is used for journals, stories, etc. to relate a sequence of events.
    * Select key events.
    * Use narrative details, dialogue, description.
    * Select a point of view:
         First person participant.
         First person observer.
         Third person omniscient.

         Expository writing is used for essays, reports, instructions, etc. to make an analysis or comparison or to explain a process.

         Persuasive writing is used for essays, letters, speeches, etc. to express an opinion and/or persuade an audience.
    * Develop an argument based on authoritative sources (the Bible
         first!) and logical reasoning.

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    The Writing Process
         Certain specific steps are helpful for creating any piece of writing, whatever its form. The three main steps of writing are prewriting, writing, and rewriting.

    Step 1. Prewriting
         (See Pre-Writing Skills in Newsletter #36
         First you need to decide what you are going to write about, and how you are going to present it. Then gather information and decide how to organize it.

         This is an opportunity to teach your child to go to God for direction and help in everyday concerns. He has promised wisdom to those who ask in faith (James 1:5-6).

    Topic and Scope
         Not only the topic, but the scope and depth of the topic need to be selected. The narrower the scope, the easier it is for your child to focus on the topic and do a better job.
    * Choose a topic that interests your child, is something he knows
         about, or is willing to research.
    * Brainstorm by writing down possible topics. An activity such
         as a field trip, story, or discussion helps your child to
         develop his ideas.
    * Start an idea notebook with a list of writing topics and notes.

    Type(s) of Writing
         Your audience and purpose for writing will help you determine what type or types of writing you will use.
    * Decide on a style and tone.
    * Analyze writing samples of the type of composition your child
         is to write.

    Information Gathering and Organization
    * Do some research and/or conduct an experiment.
    * Spend some time thinking about the topic. List ideas and
         note any questions you want to answer in your composition.
    * Choose information and ideas from notes or research. You may
         want to limit the scope of the topic at this point or divide
         it into two or more compositions.
    * Decide how to organize your ideas.
    * Outline the chosen information.

    Step 2. Writing

    Rough Draft
         Your child should not feel he is expected to write a perfect paper in one sitting. This can prevent him from starting or doing as good a job as possible. Teach him to get as much as possible down on paper as raw material from which to choose in writing his final draft.
    * Write a rough draft by putting the pieces of your outline into
         sentence form in one sitting with no interruptions.
    * Write without concern for spelling and other details. These
         will be corrected as you rewrite.
    * Mark out mistakes or changes as you think of them and keep
    on writing.

    Beginning and Ending
         The beginning and ending of a composition need special attention to make it effective.
    * Make an interesting beginning such as an impressive statement,
         quote, anecdote, or dialogue.
    * End with a strong conclusion, such as a summary or an important
         statement, or add an element of surprise.

    Step 3. Rewriting
         The editing process is one of the greatest opportunities for learning. Your child may need to do several rewrites to polish his composition before it is finished.
    * It is best to leave the composition alone for a day, then reread
         and begin revising the rough draft.

    Writing Conference
    * Have your child read his writing aloud to you. This alone will
         reveal areas that need more work.
    * Ask your child questions to draw out more information or
         description where needed.
    * Make suggestions for content and style. (See "The Building
         Blocks of Writing" and "Types of Writing" above and the
         checklist below.)

    Editing Checklist
         Use a checklist similar to this to evaluate your composition.

    Overall Organization
         Rethink your ideas and organization, evaluating the composition for unity and coherence.
    __ Clear statement of point or focus.
    __ Each paragraph supports the thesis or focus (cut out parts that
         drift away from the theme).
    __ Smooth transitions between paragraphs by repeated words,
         synonyms, or transition words.
    __ If needed, change the sequence of sentences and paragraphs
         into a more logical order or one that gives movement towards
         the conclusion.

    __ Specific, precise nouns.
    __ Vivid, active verbs.
    __ Colorful, sensory-rich adjectives and adverbs.
    __ Avoid overuse of adjectives.
    __ Replace over-used words with fresh ones.
    __ Cut unnecessary or redundant words.

    Phrases, Clauses, Sentences, and Paragraphs
    __ A variety of phrases and clauses in a variety of positions
         within sentences.
    __ A variety of sentence types and lengths.
    __ Each paragraph is coherent and unified and develops its topic

    __ Thoughts expressed clearly.
    __ Specific details show, rather than tell.
    __ Enough details for understanding.

    __ Check for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

         Buy Teaching Home Back Issues Online

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  • Practical How-Tos & Teaching Tips.
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  • Find Information, Inspiration & Encouragement!
  • Each Issue Is Pictured and All Articles Are Listed.


         The presentation of a composition to an audience provides purpose, motivation, satisfaction, and the desire to do more writing.
         Compositions can be distributed to a variety of people. (See "Writing Goals and Objectives" above and "Our Mission" in Newsletter #36
         The many possible presentations include the following:
    * Desktop publishing.
    * Part of a newsletter or other publication.
    * E-Mail, fax, or letter.
    * A short composition hand copied in calligraphy and framed
         as a gift.
    * Add photos or art.
    * Placed into a folder or bound into a book.
    * Home-School support group exhibitions.
    * Open house for neighbors, friends, or relatives.
    * County fairs or other contests.

    Online Writing Resources

    General Writing
    The Elements of Style
    The Research Paper
    How To Write a Tract
    How to Write a Letter to the Editor
    How To Write to Your Legislator

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    God Loves You.
         Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
         "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

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