Writing and literature classes designed to teach students to wield words well
WordWielder was begun out of a need for me to learn how to teach writing to my own children. I had been homeschooling them for about 10 years, and although I studied teaching, earned a B.A. in English, and possessed a background in journalism, I found I could not adequately transfer that writing knowledge to my kids!
My search for a writing curriculum first led me to the Institute for Excellence in Writing, which provided clear models for children to follow as they learned techniques to help their writing come alive. It was truly an answer to prayer. I chose a workbook that would complement our history units, so their writing would be enriched through their studies.
During this time we learned that one of our children had a Specific Learning Disability involving the processing of language. We later discovered she had autism. She did not read until around 3rd grade, and did not speak in full sentences until she was well over 10 years old. While reading and writing were difficult for her, with IEW she managed to produce writing that was organized, and her vocabulary increased as she was challenged to replace banned and weak words. I honestly think I cried when I saw her first, completed 5-paragraph essay! We used this curriculum for many years, and when parents began asking me to teach it to their children I became a Registered, then Certified, Instructor. While I’m not an expert, I have taught — and continue to teach — a wide range of students, including those with learning disabilities.
Writing in the High School Years
When my children reached high school, I realized there was still more to learn. I needed them to be able to logically think through and write a persuasive argument. After all, isn’t all writing about trying to persuade your audience in some way or another? I discovered The Lost Tools of Writing, which we used - and reused - through the high school years. I now use that curriculum in conjunction with my Great Books classes, where we argue an issue raised from each great work.
Just before they graduated, I felt I needed to also introduce my children to the ideas in the Great Books and be able to weigh those ideas — or any idea — against their belief system. For us, that meant examining them with a Christian, biblical worldview. Following that model, my Great Books classes takes students through one year each of classical writings from ancient history, the Middle Ages, and modern times.
Not the end of the story
Over 20 years after beginning my homeschooling journey, and having graduated my own kids, I’m not ready to stop teaching! I earned my Masters of Arts in Education in April 2021, and my desire is to help other moms discover the joy of reading their own children’s written work. Don’t despair; your children can write! All they need are the right weapons to learn how to wield words well.