Why you should teach your children to write well
Think about the people that you are drawn to oline or in print. What is it that keeps you coming back to their content? Whether it’s political, spiritual, helpful, or even funny, you know you have a few favorites that deliver what you want or need consistently.
Now tell me: do you even think about their grammar, or punctuation, or spelling? Probably not. But here’s where I’m going with this: the best communictors do it so well that you only pay attention to their content, and not the mechanics of their writing.
Next, think about those posts you see online with run-on sentences, strange grammar, weird punctuation usage, all caps or no caps, etc. You know what I’m talking about.
Before I go any further, let me address the easily-offended: I know it’s not PC to judge people. But hey, you and I also know we make judgements all day every day. So yes, it’s okay to talk about good and bad grammar. I’m not apologizing for it.
Because good communicators have the ability to change the world if they want to, and that’s a really big deal. And that’s the important work I want to talk about today: why you should teach your children to write well. Writing well can also create people who speak well.
This post definitely contains affiliate links because I really want to suggest that you try Institute for Excellence in Writing curriculum in your homeschool. There. Legal disclaimer done.
Communication is key
Good communicators are leaders, no matter their personality. Think over just a couple of world changers in history (good or bad) and you’ll probably come up with someone who could communicate ideas passionately, whether speaking or writing.
We are living in a world desperate for hope, for change, for freedom; desperate for someone to lead. Christians in the 21st century are facing opposition, confusion, and sometimes a loss of hope, and we need an army of leaders who can share truth, conviction, and passion in a way that reaches hearts and inspires boldness.
But who is going to do that if Christians don’t train their own children to defend their faith, love God with all their hearts, and communicate both effectively? Who is going to do it when the Christians right now are not confident in their own ability to write or speak?
This is epidemic. I hear it all the time. I get the most wonderful compliments from friends and readers who thank me for writing and sharing passionately about Christian parenting as well as preserving history. And it’s almost always followed up with, “I just can’t do what you do. I could never do that.”
I am so sad to hear that, because I believe anyone can, and should! (I also believe Anyone Can Homeschool. Shameless plug for my book!)
But seriously, I talk to people in person who are so convicted about wonderful things, who feel strongly about something deep within their hearts, and yet they never communicate it because they think they can’t. Yeah, some peple are just naturally gifted with writing and communicating, but the majority of people who do it well have just learned and practiced and had the boldness to put it out there.
Let’s be those people. And more to the point of this post, let’s raise children who are those people.
Teach and learn at the same time
You know, homeschoolers are always saying, “I’ve learned so much about history from our curriculum!” Homeschool parents are constantly re-learning the stuff they missed or ignored as a kid. If you can learn all about history or the Bible or even geometry (okay, not sure about geometry) in a way that pulls you in and gives you a real love for it, you can do the same for writing.
I believe the secret to this lies in the methods.
So, moms and dads, let’s buckle down and teach our children to communicate effectively through writing, and if we have to, let’s learn and practice right alongside them.
Institute for Excellence in Writing
When I first knew about this curriculum eons ago, I though two things: it’s expensive and it’s complicated. And then one day, my oldest daughter began taking IEW classes (the old program) with our homeschool group. I wasn’t teaching it. I wasn’t even in the classroom. But she came home and showed me her work, and how much sense the classes made, and how she looked forward to each class.
Fast forward a couple of years later, when my next child attended a similar class in our homeschool co-op. This time I was a helper in the class, so I got to watch the videos and understand the process. I totally got it. I understood why it was so great!
I was hooked and got the confidence to teach it at home. So let me explain what I mean by the old program and the new program, and why I highly recommend either in your homeschool.
The old program had a DVD series for teachers called Teaching Writing With Structure and Style that parents could watch to learn the program. It is so valuable! Then, there was the student course (three levels for three different age groups) that included its own video sessions for the kids to watch. That program has been around for about 20 years.
The new program just launched in 2020, and of course, it’s available to stream! It’s all new recorded sessions called Structure and Style for Students, available in all three levels. The teacher training is available as part of the Premier Package and includes Forever Streaming:
In this new course, join Andrew Pudewa as he leads students on a 24-week writing journey using IEW’s Structure and Style approach. Students will take delight in Mr. Pudewa’s humorous, incremental, and effective writing lessons. The curriculum provides clear daily assignments and includes vocabulary words, literature suggestions, and lesson plans for teachers. In addition to the student writing course, teachers learn IEW methodology from their training course, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style.
Andrew Pudewa, the founder and instructor at IEW, is passionate about great communication, and he is so effective at teaching kids to love it and do it well. He says,
“Why do we do what we do? Well, I am very motivated by the idea of equipping students with the skills they will need to use, the language they have, the written and spoken English, so that when the world needs it there are people ready to wield words of truth, to be able to accurately and effectively and winsomely bring words of truth to a world that so desperately needs that.”
And that’s exactly what he does with Structure and Style. This program is taught in a series of exercises that make so much sense. Students are not just told to “write something.” They are given text examples to start with, the tools to build an outline, and the instruction to recreate the original text with their own style. The lessons incrementally introduce (and review) parts of speech, punctuation, word usage, vocabulary, and creative “dress-ups,” openings and closing, and titles. They learn to write informational text as well as fiction.
Once your students learn the basics of Structure and Style for Students, you can follow up in future years with higher levels of SSS, or branch out into some of the themed writing lessons. (I’m currently using Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons with our Mystery of History Volume 1 curriculum.) Also check out The Elegeant Essay.
Why you should teach your children to write well
Christian parents, just as Esther was put in a certain place at a certain time to do a very important work, our children were also “born for such a time as this.” The culture we live in is disturbing, to say the least. Some days it causes me to mourn that my children and grandchildren must grow up in this ugly world. But then I remember that God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave us kids for the 21st century.
So let’s equip them for important work. Let’s give them the tools they need to communicate God’s love and biblical principles to a confused and hurting world. Yes, they need some high school credits, and a great writing course will definitely fill that need, but let’s look beyond credits and educate Christian soldiers to lead future generations.