This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Goals and Grading Writing for Homeschool High School
For homeschool high schoolers, one of the most time consuming components of English/Language Arts is the writing. Then one of the most time-consuming components of ELA for homeschooling parents is the grading and goal-setting process. We receive so many questions on goals and grading writing that we decided we should talk about it here on the podcast.
Let’s start with grading. Here is the simple answer for grading writing assignments: Use a rubric!
What’s a rubric?
A rubric is a tool that helps homeschool parents know what value to assign each aspect of their teens’ writing assignments. There are a gazillion ways to create a rubric, based on what is being emphasized in each writing project.
Where do you find rubrics?
You can create you own rubrics or download one off the internet (there are SO many variations on the internet, so you will find something that feels right to you).
For your convenience, we 7Sisters have saved you the time and trouble and included rubrics in our writing curriculum for:
You can even adjust the rubrics to fit your goals for your homeschool high schoolers!
Goals for writing in homeschool high school
Which leads us to the next questions that we receive so often:
- “I don’t know what the goals should be for my teens’ writing each year. Help?”
- “I don’t really like writing myself, so how can I set goals for my teens?”
- “How can I know the priorities for writing?”
Let us help out a bit. Let’s define what the most helpful goals for writing can be. (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, so you adapt our advice to your own family’s needs.)
Goals for writing: What is the heart and soul of writing?
One of the things we have noticed over the years is that sometimes writing curriculum focuses so much on the mechanics of writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation) that there is absolutely nothing left for fun or inspiration.
Teens often need purpose, meaning and inspiration in their writing. Teens often do best when they know the “WHY” of writing. Do you know the why of writing, BTW?
The purpose of writing is communication!
The purpose of writing is communicating so that people understand what teens are feeling, thinking, learning, being inspired by. So they should ask themselves for each assignment, “What am I trying to communicate here?”
- For instance, in a comparison and contrast essay about something. The purpose is to help the reader understand what you thought about the similarities and differences of whatever is being compared.
- For a research paper, the purpose is to communicate what your teen has learned about a subject while doing their research on the topic. (As opposed to the idea that a research paper is about a teen’s opinion about what they are learning. The goal of research papers is information presentation, not opinion presentation.)
One of the best gifts we can give our teens is lots of practice organizing and communicating their thoughts. High school writing can help train teens on thinking and sharing those thoughts through life.
If a teen starts a writing project with those goals in mind, and the grader keeps those goals in mind, life will be easier for both! SO, start out each writing project with a discussion with parent and teen on the goals. Make it clear. Go over the rubric together.
BTW- We 7Sisters have graded SO many papers over the many years of teaching our kids and others. It has not been unusual for teens to complain about writing. However, after graduation and teens have entered adulthood, they have often come back to us and said, “thanks for all the writing”!
Also, know that grading and goals will vary for teens who have different abilities
All teens are different. This is good. So grading cannot be one-size-fits-all!
- Teens who struggle with reading and writing, will need a simpler rubric and adaptations of goals.
- BTW-if you have a struggling writer, go easy on the red-pen corrections. Instead, work together on several revisions with lots of encouragement.
- A teen who is headed to college as a humanities major will need lots of writing with higher-level thinking and word usage. Adapt your rubrics to their needs.
- Teens who are reluctant but able, need to concentrate on fun, short assignments at first, then gradually grow the assignments.
- Teens who overthink things, need page limits.
- Here are more tips for college prep writing for college-bound teens.
So think about what your teens’ abilities, personalities and goals for after graduation are. As the parent, you know your teens and their needs. Adapt goals and grading to fit those needs.
7Sisters offers some posts and resources for rubrics to help you and your teens with the grading process:
- How to Create Rubrics for Homeschool High Schoolers
- Writing Papers for History or Science? Here’s a Simple Rubric for Grading
- Tips for Grading Papers freebie
- Rubric for Honors Level History and Philosophy of the Western World
- What’s a Rubric and Why Should We Use One?
These rubrics may be tweaked or tossed according you goals and your teens’ needs and goals.
For lots more information on writing requirements and grading for homeschool high schoolers, check out 7Sisters Authoritative Guide post. Also, check out this post on how to do a goals review for your teens.
Also, check out our Cousin Betsy’s post on ways she prepared her daughter for college-level writing.
Join Sabrina and Vicki for an informative discussion on goals and grading for homeschool high school writing.
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