It turns out Blogger likes one computer in my house. That one computer is the one that sits in the corner turned off most of the time. So, my apologies for the scant amount of posts this last year. Maybe over the summer I'll make friends with this machine and things will go much better.
I can hope.
Meanwhile, writing continues to be the subject that causes me the most trouble when it comes to homeschooling my kids. Once again, I've been on the lookout for ways to improve both how to teach my students writing and how to evaluate what they've written. My two oldest have really improved their writing. I'm so proud! Yet, it's so unfair to them that I assign writing projects for them to complete but cannot get them evaluated within a reasonable amount of time for my feedback to be of any use. I've just come to that conclusion now that we're almost done with school for the year. Brilliant.
About a month ago I started looking at online writing programs that would help me in this area. It still may be the answer for one of my progeny, but the price tag is too overwhelming for me to have both my older students go that route.
Yet, I found something interesting. Some online writing instruction companies have a service where you can submit your child's paper and (for a fee) they will provide feedback for you. So, while paying big bucks for an online writing class may not be in your budget, if you need your child's research paper evaluated, you can send that in and get some helpful feedback and instruction.
Here are a couple of companies I found that will do that:
Write at Home: Write at Home offers online writing courses, but they also offer a pay per paper service with two options; You can submit one paper and get feedback or pay for feedback on a paper with three drafts. Prices are based on the length of the paper. According to the website, turnaround is less than a week.
Write Foundations: Write Foundations offers online writing instruction as well as what is called the Parent Pro program (look toward the bottom of the page). The Parent Pro program allows you to control the writing curriculum and assignments while submitting the papers to the writing coaches for evaluation. They allow for each paper to be submitted twice - once for feedback and a second time for review to see if the recommendations were followed. The Parent Pro Program has options for 1, 5, or 10 papers.
What if you don't want to commit to a complete online writing program but you sure could use help teaching how to write an essay or research paper or a story? There are a number of places you can go that have short classes to teach such things. The two websites mentioned above are options. Another site I've been looking at is Brave Writer. You can find multiple offerings for short writing classes here on subjects such as expository essays, poetry, journaling, and many more.
There are many, many options online for writing help. These are just a few that I've been eyeing for next school year. Perhaps next year we'll settle into a writing rhythm that suits us. Till then, if you're in the same spot as I am, try signing up for the daily writing tips from Brave Writer for some good ideas and "like" the Write at Home (no spaces) facebook page for the daily grammar challenge and a few good writing pointers.