High School Writing. It stirs up fear in some homeschool parents. The thought of grading papers effectively and guiding their students on their writing journey is more than some can handle. Does this sound like you? Or maybe you feel pretty confident and just want some resources to help. Thankfully, there are some amazing tools that can help you, and the best part is many of them are FREE!
Some of these tools can be accessed online, but they become even more powerful when added to Google Docs. Google Docs is Google’s equivalent to Microsoft Word and is free with a Gmail account. Google Docs is great in itself, but it is even better when you take advantage of Add-ons. (Add-ons are available on the “Add-ons” tab by clicking “Get Add-ons.” This opens up the Google Store, and you can explore all the awesome tools available to you.)
Here are some of my favorite writing tools. If teaching writing yourself is too much for you, don’t worry! Scroll to the bottom and check out the online courses available for homeschoolers.
Online Writing Tools:(free)
EasyBib Bibliography Creator
This is an easy way to create your works cited page. Enter the book, journal article, or website used in your paper and choose the style of bibliography you desire, and EasyBib will create a bibliography. If you add it as a Google Docs add-on, it will put it right into your paper!
Grade Proof gives you the readability level of your paper and checks grammar as well. This tool will help you determine what grade a person would need to be in to understand and read your paper. You can add it straight to Google Docs here.
SAS Writing Reviser
This is great for a student to use to independently edit their paper before turning it in. It helps to identify weak verbs, passive voice, overused words, simple sentences, fragments, run-on sentences, verb tense shifts, dangling or misplaced modifiers, and more! It guides the writers through a proofreading session without fixing everything for them.
WriQ scores the paper, points out grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, and it lets you know the vocabulary maturity of the student. This is a great tool to help determine the level of your child’s writing.
Grammarly will highlight spelling and grammar issues in your emails and online writing. You can create a free account and upload papers into Grammarly to edit and offer suggestions. Grammarly can also be added to Chrome and used in Docs. I have found Grammarly finds more errors than your standard word processing spellcheck.
Have you ever wondered what grade-level your student’s writing falls? Writing Tester determines the grade-level of a student’s writing. Simply copy and paste your writing into it, and click “Check!”
Books worth mentioning:
Grading With a Purple Crayon, by Dena Luchsinger, helps parents grade papers, set goals, and analyze strengths and weaknesses.
Essential Writing Skills for College & Beyond, by Charlene Gill, helps students learn down-to-earth writing strategies for writing.
Thinking on the Page
Thinking on the Page, by Martha Schulman and Gwen Hyman, challenges you to move beyond rigid rules and write with style.
Online Writing Courses/Classes/Help: (paid for services)
Even with all these wonderful tools, writing may be a little too daunting for some. Thankfully, there are some great options to choose from if you decide to outsource writing.
Brave Writer works as a writing coach to help your child develop writing skills and confidence. It offers both online and at home courses.
Write At Home
Write At Home offers online writing courses and workshops for middle and high school students. Students are assigned to an expert writing coach to help them with their writing. They also offer a 100% percent money back guarantee!
The Write Foundation
The Write Foundation offers online grading and tutoring. You teach the lesson and assign the paper, but then an experienced teacher will grade your student’s paper for you at a reasonable rate.
Home2Teach offers college prep writing courses for homeschoolers. Rather than giving a grade, they have the student edit the paper until it meets their standard.
Time4Learning offers an online writing curriculum. This curriculum is taught and graded by a teacher.
In SC, you are required by law to teach composition (writing) in 7th – 12th grades. Thankfully, homeschool parents don’t have to be writing gurus to meet this requirement; we just need access to some great resources. Hopefully, the resources I have mentioned will help guide you and your homeschooler on a successful writing journey.