Homeschool High School English - How to Prepare Your Teen for College Writing

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Summary:  How to prepare your homeschooled teen for college writing is really not that hard.  My teen did well in writing during college and I share how we prepared her for that, and what was important for her to do in homeschool high school.  This can be done using prepared homeschool high school English curriculum or making your own course.  Note - This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.

This week was all about finishing up college writing assignments for my daughter. We had homeschooled her through high school and this was her first quarter in college.

She had an opinion paper to write, a research paper to finish, and a bibliography to create.  

She was also asked to annotate and summarize in the margins, while reading a research paper for her business class. We are finding that there is lots of writing at college. 

Even though she is in college, I still offered her support for her first quarter.  

So, I met with my daughter to hear how she planned her writing and study time, and she took it from there.  She is doing well with her college writing assignments. 

What did we do in our homeschool to make that happen?

I thought back to her high school days and how we did her high school English at home. 

So today, I'd like to share seven things that we did for high school English, that have helped prepare her for college writing. 

1.  First thing - Write a Lot

I encouraged her to write. A lot!  

In whatever way that she felt motivated to do....  Write about a newspaper article, write some dialog to a short story, write how to's - such as a recipe, or how to find a good deal on cell phones, etc.  

It is also helpful to introduce your teen to different types of essays, such as narratives, expository essays, persuasive essays, etc. Time for Learning has a great resource for that here.  But the topic is always teen-led.

2.  Literature and Composition 

Whatever homeschool curriculum that you choose, such as: 
Oak Meadow
7 Sisters Homeschool English

....preparing your student for college writing is really not that hard.

Oak Meadow Lit and Comp
Doing literature and composition in homeschooling high school is vital for later college writing.  Many colleges ask for both of literature and composition on transcripts for high school English.  That just means that your high school English courses should include both novels and some essay writing assignments.

We used both Oak Meadow and 7 Sister English ourselves.  Both have solid homeschool high school English courses.  Both have good question to discuss and for your teen to answer regarding the novels that they are asked to read.

7 Sisters is the more frugal option, with most courses costing less than $30.00.  

If you don't want to use a prepared curriculum, your English courses can be done as homemade courses as well.

Making Your Own Homemade English Courses

Doing it yourself with your own homemade course, can work well, too, by choosing good literature and assigning essays to go with it.  

There are Literature Guides from 7 Sisters Homeschool, for more than 40 different novels, that you can choose from for your own homemade English course, if you like.  These are very frugal.  Also Rainbow Resource has Literature Guides.

Time for Learning has a helpful resource for do-it-yourselfers.
It is a listing of writing standards for 11th and 12th grades.  

Sharing an essay at an event.
3. Literary Analysis

7 Sisters American 
Doing literary analysis was key for my daughter, too.  

What is literary analysis?

Literary analysis just means learning how to analyze what they have read, including:

- character development
- what is the setting of the story
- the plot of the story

- point of view

It taught her critical thinking skills, preparing her for more complicated essay writing in college.  The prepared English programs, mentioned above, will guide you in teaching this important skill. 

All of the Oak Meadow English courses and all of the ones offered by 7 Sisters Homeschool English do this by asking lots of questions to ponder about plot, setting, character development, etc. 

I found these questions helpful in getting my daughter to really dive into literary analysis.  

4.  Discuss the Literature with your Teen

When discussing literature with your teen and having them do their essays, ponder the why's and how come's of the story, the plotline, how the setting impacted the plot, etc. 

the Chronicles of
Talking about the books that they have read for English is so important.  

That is why I liked both Oak Meadow and 7 Sisters Homeschool English, as they give you great questions to discuss together. (links above for both of these resources.)

To the left is a full year English course in the Chronicles of Narnia.

5.  Creative Writing

If your teen is interested in writing fiction, I would encourage that. 

Writing fiction is a great way for kids to learn the components of literature and literary analysis - setting, point of view, characters, plot, etc.  But doing creative writing is not necessary for homeschool high school English.

6.  Do Research Reports

Writing research reports gave my daughter practice in the all the components of researching, such as note taking, compiling data, drafting, revising, and the all important bibliography.

 Senior Writing 
She was hit with doing research reports in her first year of college.  So it is a great thing to practice during high school.  

Oak Meadow includes research reports in their courses, and 7 Sisters Homeschool has a course Research Writing here.  Their Senior Writing Course includes research writing plus how to write the college essay. 

7.  And of course, practice the steps of writing, from brainstorming to publishing.

The steps of writing just include:  

-Prewriting - Brainstorming, making an outline
Drafting - First draft, putting some words on paper
Revising - Setting it aside, than coming back to it and writing/revising
Editing - checking for spelling and grammar
- and Publishing. - finishing up and typing the final draft.
Oak Meadow

My daughter disliked making an outline, but learning to outline in high school at home has really paid off in college.

Time for Learning has a simple outline for the steps of writing here.  

So back to our story.  We finished discussing her current college writing work, took some time to go on a mini road trip and stop by our favorite farmer's market.  I was amazed at all the vegetables that were already available there.  And lots of great apples, too.

That got me busy cooking, and making applesauce.  Nothing like homemade applesauce.  We had it with latkas, potato pancakes, for dinner.    

 What is your favorite way to encourage writing for your teen?  Thanks for stopping by and I love reading your comments.

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Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled from preK.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

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