My daughter has struggled with writing from the moment I asked her to write. Once she reached high school and the writing level increased…we had a huge problem to solve.
The first half of her freshman year, she ignored writing. At her mid-year review with no writing assignments completed, we had an intervention.
Kristen my homeschooling friend, offered to provide a writing co-op class. She knew accountability would help her to keep writing on the top of her own school list, instead of at the forgotten bottom. We both considered the writing co-op an answer to prayer.
Building confidence and basic skills with their writing became the main goal of the writing co-op. Even through our main goal focused on improving their writing we found we could not ignore literature. Kristen is a firm believer that good readers make good writers, so in class they devoured Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde and the girl’s favorite, Harper Lee.
Class began by going over the basics and making sure all three girls were all on the same page with their foundation. Using the 5-finger paragraph, we discovered that the girls took an immediate liking to the simplicity of the format. When the tears come again, we immediately refer back to the basics to remind them of their confidence.
Benefits of the Writing Co-op:
- Peer support
- Receive praise and constructive criticism
- Give praise and constructive criticism
- Deadlines on each assignment
- Keep it small so that they get a lot of feedback in each class
- Safe environment to share written work
- Teacher to role model pointing out weaknesses and strengths
- Have students lead the discussion and decide what assignments to be given. This added responsibility requires more preparation on their part.
After the completion of our second year of writing, the young ladies do not even bat an eye when given a four-page assignment that is due in two weeks!
A few months ago my daughter had to write an essay for the National Honor’s Society. She chose to write about her struggle with writing. At the ceremony they shared a brief on each student’s essay. Here is a short clip of my daughter receiving her pin while the brief was read.
My daughter feels the writing co-op has been the best decision in helping her to write.
Finally, if something isn’t clicking with your student, it is our responsibility to find a new way to bring them the information until it clicks. This mindset has pushed me as a teacher, but the payoff in our writing co-op has been well worth it.
Have fun with your aspiring readers and young writers!
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