Sunday, March 13, 2011


We've been trying out some new strategies for self-editing using some tips from WriteShop. I LOVE Kim's suggestions! I can't tell you what a difference it's made in our successful student editing. Just a simple thing like reviewing their work looking for the things they did right first has been incredible. R10, who is notorious for various grammar infractions, actually looks forward to this process and she's making progress in finding her own mistakes. This is HUGE!

The kids use highlighters and stickers now to mark what they've done well before we even begin to look for the items that need correcting. We just keep this can handy during school hours. They love the can.

A spelling dictionary I picked up at a Scholastic Warehouse Sale years ago. It comes in handy actually. For Christmas, we bought R10 her own Franklin Children's Dictionary and Speller. I was afraid she wouldn't be able to spell well enough to use it, but she does! And this little tool makes editing pretty cool stuff.

A pocket thesaurus which is great for beginners, but pretty lame over all and good ol' Roget's that I used in college. It doesn't even hold a candle to The Synonym Finder (below).

The best thesaurus EVER. Trust me. You need this book.

We are having a great time writing this semester. We have a few things cooking, but I've been spending a lot of time at In Our Write Minds. I am most excited to report though, that despite the fact that I do not use formal writing/grammar programs, my kids are doing very well with their writing. Which really just reaffirms my choice to continue with the goal of helping my kids to become good written communicators through lots of writing and coaching.


Kim @ In Our Write Minds said...

Heather, I LOVE this article! How fun to see all your kids' editing tools. But even more so, how wonderful to hear that editing (and writing, overall) are fun for your daughter. ~Kim

Tonya Lee said...

I'd love to hear your philosphy/approach to grammar (if you haven't already done it and I missed it somewhere!). I struggle with feeling it's better to learn by using and them worrying my kids don't know the formal names, etc. I'd also love to hear more about how you make sure you get in enough writing. As a public school teacher I was known for being the teacher who loved to teach writing but somehow in our homeschool it always gets pushed back!!!

Heather said...

Tonya, I have some notes on grammar in the link under Hall of Fame posts. It's titled Thoughts on Grammar. Here's the link.

You need to read from the bottom up!

As for how do I get it in there? Well I just made the commitment that if I wanted my kids to have good written communication, then I had to set aside enough time to make it happen. My kids write something everyday and often they are composing not just copying. Then I coach them on what they've written and we work together to edit and make sure what they are trying to convey is what the reader is seeing. You can cover a lot of grammar this way. Grammar is what allows the reader to really hear what you want you are trying to communicate.