Monday, February 11, 2019

Homeschool Writing & Typing - for Cheap or Free!

Homeschool Writing and Typing - Cheap or Free!
Writing involves a complex set of skills, making it a daunting subject to homeschool. But, when those skills are broken down into groups or categories of skills, quite frequently the teaching of it seems much simpler, and in fact, it can be done - like the other subjects - for cheap or free!

These are the materials that have worked, or are still working well in our homeschool. I used some trial and error finding these resources - I'm sharing "the best of" here : )

Here are some categories, and the resources I have used for them - most are free!

Modeling through Reading- FREE

It is my firm belief that the most effective writing instruction is READING well-written books and other materials. The BEST modeling resource is a well-translated Bible. It is impossible to be a good writer without reading well, and reading a lot. For this reason, I allowed my daughter several years of reading before I embarked on any sort of rigorous writing curriculum. In the early years, we just practiced writing letters and words, copywork, typing, and the occasional short composition. So, here are my posts on reading:

Teach Reading with Confidence: Homeschool for Chea...  

Read-Alouds, Best Family

Manuscript - Forming letters - CHEAP OR FREE

For the earliest writing practice, we used a wipe-off book like this (long out of print), that I found at a thrift store. There are lots of models of this sort of wipe off book for kids - choose one that appeals to your beginning writer:

Fisher Price Little People Wipe Off Alphabet Book

 Later, we moved into doing copywork from this site. They have a few free downloads, they also have inexpensive books to download and print.

Copycat Books

Cursive - forming words - FREE

I tried several resources to teach this skill, and it just wasn't working very well. I found this great, free resource, and it worked great for us. And, even better, it was free & didn't take very long!

This is a direct link to the PDF, but I enthusiastically recommend Don Potter's Website - it has a HUGE number of great free resources, including many on teaching reading well.

Direct Path to Cursive

Typing - FREE

Typing is a skill that many think may be more important than handwriting in the coming years. Touch typing is a skill that is necessary for academic success - and for success in many careers.  (altho there are brilliant hunt-and-peck typists, they waste a lot of their own time by not developing this skill!)

Here are a couple of typing sites that we have found tremendously helpful.

Typing Club


We also saw a BIG boost in skill levle when we did these, but we did spend under $5. for purchase.

 Typing Instructor for Kids
(and it's Disney themed cousin- which we found in a thrift store : )

Spelling - FREE

For Spelling, I simply use the McGuffey Speller. It works great for us.  I actually inherited a hard copy from my Mother - but if I hadn't I would have downloaded it for free!  I encourage my daughter to study by observing which rules are followed by the words, and which words are spelled differently that she might expect from simply sounding out the word. Where are there double consonants? etc. She has become very efficient at learning new spelling words by this method.

Grammar - FREE

In the home, most of our skill with grammar comes from two sources: 

1) Speaking correctly in the home environment makes proper grammar "sound right" when we hear it. And of course, speaking incorrectly on a consistent basis does the opposite.

2) Study of a foreign language. Figuring out which word in the target language to replace with which English word - and why - provides a great foundation for English grammar.

But, additionally, here are some of our favorite Grammar resources

 Parts of Speech Poem

Our Favorite Online Videos
Khan Academy Grammar 

Grammar Gorillas Game 

E-Learning for Kids Language Arts 

We also liked this book, which we found at a thrift store:

Painless Grammar 

Composition and Creative Writing - FREE

The number one source of writing skill is practice and then revision with an adult who can write. Two great resources we have found are: 

When my daughter was very young, we used a book called "Story Starters" from the Target Dollar Bin. It was simply a book of fun writing prompts with pictures and some space with wide lines for a little one to write in big letters. I cannot find these books any more, but if you do an internet search for "Writing Prompts for Kids" you'll find a slew - and some of them are likely to resonate with your student!

After that, we have LOVED for both grammar and composition:

Amy Maryon's FREE English Texts

Mrs. Maryon's books are Workbook style, with only a short explanation of the assignment. For example, She might say something like, "Write a descriptive paragraph about your favorite meal" For assignments like those, I hop over to youtube and search for "writing descriptive paragraphs for kids" - and find a few explanations for my daughter to learn from along with Mrs. Maryon's excellent lessons.

We also used basic instruction on "P.E.A." Writing structure. Though we prefer to call it "T.E.A." - Topic, Examples/Evidence, Analysis.  It's an easy way to learn to construct a basic paragraph, and later, a basic paper.

This video has been a great help, too, along with some other Nessy channel offerings : )


If you liked these ideas, you might like the other posts in this series:

Teaching Math: Home School for Cheap or Free

Science Fun Homeschool Video Day

Teach Reading with Confidence: Homeschool for Chea...

Home School for Cheap or Free: Why Greek is Better than Latin!
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Reading

Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Conversation

Great Ways to Homeschool History 

History & Geography Videos, Homeschool Video Fun Day
Teaching Music: Homeschool for Cheap or Free

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1 comment:

  1. I don't have any young children in my life, but I shared this post on Facebook for the benefit of those friends who do.


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