Frugal Homeschool High School Writing Resources for Struggling Writers

Summary:  Creative writing is a great way to get your teens to improve on their essay writing.  Plus it teaches literary analysis, through story telling.  Or would you prefer to focus on the basics of essay writing for your struggling writer?  This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. #NaNovWriMo Please see my disclosure policy.

Outside it's windy here, and a little rainy....Fall is here, with a feeling that the beginnings of winter are coming soon.  

Are your high schoolers struggling with essay writing?

One way to help with that could be to take a break from essay writing, and spend some time doing creative writing instead.

Another way to approach writing struggles is to back up and focus on the basis of essay writing.

So today, I am sharing resources for doing either approach:

  • Creative Writing Resources for Homeschool High School English, and
  • Resources for step-by-step High School Essay Writing

Let's start with creative writing:


Story writing, or creative writing is a great way to get your teen to develop confidence in writing, especially for those who are struggling with essay writing and that sort of thing.

Plus it also teaches literary analysis, important to high school English, but in a fun way, through story telling.

Why Do Creative Writing?

Creative writing is a great way to practice writing, especially for those teens who struggle with essay writing.  

And it teaches literary analysis hands-on!  

How does it do that?  Well, when writing a story, your teen will actually be using the components of literary analysis, when crafting a plot, deciding on a setting, and so forth.

Many families take a holiday break in November to December.   
When my daughter was in 8th grade, we discovered the National Novel Writing Month. 

There is something about October and having just gotten through all the busyness of early fall, with new curricula for the year, new activities, etc, that led us to want a break from our homeschool routine. 

Read on for frugal resources to give your teen a chance to learn creative writing, too.And we took a month long break from our studies routine to do a creative writing break.  

Has your family ever joined in that in November? 

What is the National Novel Writing Month - NaNovWriMo?

It's a guilt-free way of taking a break from your homeschool routine in November!

My young teen had an interest in story writing, and had written a few short stories during her middle school years.  So when I asked her if she wanted to do more of that, we found the NaNoWriMo site, and decided to join in for our first year.

We dropped our other homeschool courses, and just did creative writing for the month!..
Here's one of our favorite resources for that, from NaNovWriMo and more options for doing creative writing any time of year, as well.  

Resources for Creative Writing 

1.  "No Plot, No Problem" Book 

No Plot? No Problem NaNoWriMo Review at The Curriculum Choice

To get started, my daughter and I ordered No Plot? No Problem! "It is a low-stress, guide to writing a novel in 30 days, and it helped a lot to encourage my creative writer.  This book goes with the NaNovWriMo program.

"This book is full of helpful ways to get past the fear of putting words on the page, and "leaving your Inner Editor behind.  While doing NaNoWriMo, we did not stop to rewrite, edit, or critique my daughter's work."  

Click here for the rest of my review of this book.

2.  Resources on The NaNoWriMo site

The NaNoWriMo site includes LOTS of i
nfo for writers of all ages. To join in the fun, you can register for their Young Writer's Program here 

They offer resources for young writers' here, which includes workbooks.  To join in with other writers, there is also an online community here, made up of young writers, who are all trying to get some words on the page.  

It includes games and encouragement.  And another great resource is How to Write a Novel in a Month.

NaNovWriMo gives the student guidance and some instruction, but it is a loosely structured program, perfect for my teen who already had written some short stories.  

For students who would like a more structured program, the One Year Adventure Novel program might be a better fit. 

This course gives your teen much more structure.  BUT it could still be used as a way to take a break from the routine.  

This course follows a step by step program, teaching your teen all about story writing, using video instruction.  They also offer a community online, and extensive support resources.  

More information on it is here, or click here  to read the rest of my review of this course.

It could be done, just like the NaNovWriMo, by dropping the regular homeschool routine.  Or the course can be spread out and done as one of your teen’s regular homeschool courses.

This course is not frugally priced.

Another source for creative writing is the ebook English courses from 7 Sisters Homeschool.

4.  7 Sisters Creative Writing 

Have you seen the creative writing courses from 7 Sisters Homeschool?  They are written by a veteran homeschooling mom who has already graduated her kids and helped them get into college, too.

All of the 7 Sisters homeschool courses are in downloadable PDF format, with no busy work.  

Plus they offer this introductory course in Creative Writing:

This beginning short story course is called Introduction to Creative Writing - Family Narrative 

It is a 23 page downloadable PDF writing guide, to guide your teen to get started writing their first short story.

I like how creative writing is presented in an easy to follow, step by step manner, to ensure success.  

Then the 7 Sisters Homeschool site goes on to offer more creative writing PDF courses, including:

What fun, tall tales!  

I wish we had found these homeschool high school creative writing courses when my daughter was in high school.  She would have lots the fantasy writing especially.

Maybe your student does not like fantasy or story telling.  Then they may do better backing up and reviewing the basics of essay writing.


Another approach for struggling teen writers is to back up and review the basics of essay writing, then progress onward from there.

One of our favorite resources for doing that are the essay writing courses from 7 Sisters Homeschool.

They begin to offer essay writing in middle school, then go on to offer beginning, intermediate, and advanced essay writing for homeschooling high school.

And all of these essay writing courses are less than $8.00!

No worries about doing a lower grade essay writing course.  Pick whichever one you think will be at your teen's skill level.

Resources for Essay Writing

1.  7 Sisters Homeschool Writing Courses

You could start with middle school essay writing, here, if you like.

As it is written to the middle schooler and focuses the basics of essay writing, that might be a really good fit for your struggling writer.

It includes:

  • Basic essay format
  • 3 different types of essays
  • How to write a letter to the editor
  • Tips for taking a short answer essay test

And the last one. tips for taking a short answer essay test, gives practice for short essay writing, which will come in handy at the time for the SAT or ACT, as many of their questions are short essay ones.

Once your student gets how to do the basic essay format, then they will be ready to go on to the 7 Sisters Homeschool High School Essay Writing Courses.

The beauty of homeschooling is that we don't have to stick with grade levels.  We can use whichever homeschool curriculum that fits our teens the best.

So on your teen's transcripts, if you use the middle school essay writing course, I would just call it "Beginning Essay Writing".  And since it is a 10 week course, it could count as a 1/2 semester of homeschool English credit.

Here are the 7 Sisters Homeschool High School Writing Courses:

2.  Spectrum Writing Courses

Spectrum Writing uses a workbook format and offers a wide variety of writing activities, with clear instructions and diagrams to help.

This writing workbook consists of 144 pages at the cost of a little less than $11.00.

I have a review of Spectrum Writing 8 - Review is here, for more information.

Whether you go with a creative writing approach, or a remedial essay writing approach, your teen will benefit from the efforts you make to help them overcome their writing struggles.

5 Benefits of Creative Writing

1.  Creative writing is fun, and it is a great way to learn how to express oneself in writing.  

That is so important to later essay writing work.  Doing creative writing was a more relaxed way for my daughter to find her own voice. 

2.  Writing a story is a great way to learn the components of good literature! 

Putting together a fiction story teaches your teen all about character development, setting, plot, etc.  My teen learned the parts of a story, in a hands-on way, by writing one. 

3.  Story writing builds critical thinking skills, important for high schoolers, especially if they are college bound.

4.  Creative writing builds up the confidence needed for essay writing.

It can be made into a homemade course in writing.  Keeping track of the hours spent in writing, you can give your student a creative writing credit.  We did that, and it was accepted as a high school credit by all of our colleges.

5.  Taking a break brought all of us many benefits as well.  

We slowed down, built in more nature study (on the less rainy days), and when we got back to our routine, we were ready for it.  And we could face winter with a feeling of renewal.

Are you Homeschooling High School and are you wondering:

  • how to make transcripts
  • how to assign high school credit
  • and all those important record keeping details?

My book gathers my best tips for that and more. 

For more information: Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. 

Frugal Paperback and Kindle are on Amazon.

This book does not tell you how to homeschool high school.  Instead it encourages you as you do it your way, using the tips for high school and college in this book. 

For more information on homeschooling English with creative writing and more, click here for the Authoritative Guide to Homeschool High School Literature.

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition,   She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had some of her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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  1. Wow, I love that you are doing this with your daughter. What an incredible gift you are giving her in allowing her creativity to flourish. I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the second time myself. I look forward to reading more.

    1. Thanks, so much, PATTIPEANUT, for stopping by, and I wish you the best in your writing during the NANoWriMo this year!! My kiddo had fun writing a science fiction piece the most!

  2. LOVE this. I'm actually doing NoWrMo myself but never thought to include my girl since she doesn't necessarily love writing. It would probably give her lots of confidence, though! I love your blog topics since I have a 10th grader myself. Will definitely be piddling around here for a while. Thanks for sharing!

    The How to Guru {Shan Walker}

  3. Thanks, Shan Walker, The How to Guru! So nice to meet a fellow writer! I have dabbled in writing for kids, myself...It would be fun to hear about how your own NaNoWriMo projects are going. My short stories have mostly been for very young kiddos. Enjoy your 10th grader! I have many fond memories of do writing with mine.

  4. Thanks, Shan Walker, The How to Guru! So nice to meet a fellow writer! I have dabbled in writing for kids, myself...It would be fun to hear about how your own NaNoWriMo projects are going. My short stories have mostly been for very young kiddos. Enjoy your 10th grader! I have many fond memories of do writing with mine.


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