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High School Writing: What can Homeschoolers Do to Prepare for College Writing

Almost every conversation about homeschooling high school (or even just homeschooling, for that matter) eventually comes around to the topic of writing. What program do you use? How often do you require your child to write? How do can you motivate them to write? Should you make them write? It’s an area fraught with concern. Even more so, it’s an area where there seem to be no “sure thing” that will make your child into a successful writer. And just what type of writing do you want him/her to be successful at? Essays? Book Reports? Creative writing? Poetry? Just enough to score well on the SAT? Be able to write a killer essay for the college application? Everyone has different ideas about what their child will need for his/her future success.

I don’t have any answers. I wish I did. I thought our son David was prepared for college writing, but his experience indicates that he was not. Of course at the time he thought he was prepared also and was not too willing to work more in-depth on his skills. Would he have done so if I had required it? I doubt it. My criteria had always been that he score well on the SAT and he did so, well enough to be offered a merit scholarship to his college of choice. As David discovered, though, essay writing for the SAT and essay writing on a daily basis for class assignments and tests were two vastly different things.

You can read about David’s experiences and his advice on essay writing in at Check out A Five Paragraph Essay on Writing Essays (written by David Gibson). And if you have an experience on writing to share or a successful program you have used, please leave a comment.

Also, we have been discussing “teaching writing” recently on the LeapingfromtheboxDiscussion Yahoo Group. Why don’t you join us?

1 comment to High School Writing: What can Homeschoolers Do to Prepare for College Writing

  • In the over-30 years since I first taught composition to college freshmen, I’ve seen increasing numbers of students who do well in high school English but do badly in their college English. The policies and standards of the National Council of Teachers of English, for example, emphasizes students’ being allowed to use alternative media (video, for example,) instead of writing, and stresses the importance of creative writing, by which the NCTE means imaginative writing.

    When students get to college, they find they cannot do their sociology research papers as a video or their chemistry lab report as a limerick. College instructors want plain, nonfiction prose. What’s more, they want sentences that begin with capital letters, correct spelling (no text abbreviations), and reasonably correct grammar.

    I’ve discussed on my website the difference between the college entrance writing requirements and college degree requirements.

    More detailed information is included in my five article series Is Your Teen Ready for College Writing? and is also available free to subscribers to my ezine WritingPoints.

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