Winter Writing

spring 4

Are you counting the days until spring?   It’s two months away, but this week Spring Semester’s writing classes begin!


Even if your students do not take a writing class this semester, encourage their writing daily with a writing journal.  Winter is a wonderful season to begin a journal about the weather.   Ask them to write how they feel about the winter storms and temperatures.  Maybe they could make up a story that has a setting in the wintery mountains.  Perhaps they could research a topic related to winter or start a nature journal.


Winter is the best time to begin a nature journal.  Ask your child to select a tree or a plant that has no leaves right now and draw a picture of it in the journal.  As the seasons change and the plant changes, students can update the journal with new drawings that will reflect the change in seasons.


Besides journals, writing can be done in many other ways, of course!  Composing a letter to a grandparent or a pen pal and sending it via “snail mail” is a perfect writing opportunity.  Once a letter is received in return, the enthusiasm to write again is sparked!  Another idea is for you to dictate a grocery list to your child to write, and you’ll even teach some spelling of words such as broccoli, asparagus, and onions!


There is a plethora of opportunities to write daily outside of the formal academic setting.  Writing is fun, and the enthusiasm can certainly be shared!


Happy winter writing!

High School Help

sat help website

This course is for independent students who are planning to take the SAT exam in the spring.  Learning the skills to effectively answer a prompt and to write a comprehensive, logical essay in the limited time is the goal of this class.   Weekly prompts are given, and students are taught the timing of each part of the process.  Like all things, practice provides comfort and confidence.  Every student who is preparing for the SAT should take this class!

To learn more and to register, click here!

Commas, Commas, Commas

Take Charge of Commas

Commas are confusing!

It’s true!  To know where to place a comma can be quite frustrating.  As I tell my students in my writing classes, we must write differently than we speak.  We pause when we speak.  We talk in fragments.  We even interrupt.

With writing, however, there are some simple rules that can guide one on the proper placement of commas that will enable sentences to flow smoothly on the paper and be grammatically correct.  For example,  ALWAYS use a comma before a coordinating conjunction where two main clauses are joined.  (What?)   One complete sentence is written, and then another complete sentence follows it.  (See the comma before the coordinating conjunction, and?)  Commas are also use with lists, numbers, addresses, dates, interruptions, introductions, attributions, appositives, negation, dependent clauses, independent clauses, and more!     This all can seem intimidating, but don’t let it be.  A few short lessons can alleviate that anxiety.

Why are commas important in writing?  They instruct the reader where to pause so that the information will make sense.  Sometimes a missing comma changes the sentence completely.  Look at the following examples:

The boy yelled, “Let’s eat, Grandma!”

                The boy yelled, “Let’s eat Grandma!”  

One of those sentences could mean the demise of Grandma!  Oh, no!

Learning about commas early in a student’s education will be beneficial in the long run.  In this era of digital technology and autocorrect, proper grammar and punctuation usage is deteriorating.  There’s still nothing better than human comprehension and reasoning when writing sentences.  Effective communication and the ability to think will always be important regardless of texting lingo; and students need to integrate grammar, punctuation, and writing skills into their toolboxes for their future success.

Tips to integrate these skills into your homeschool:

  1. Copy Work: Having a student copy a properly written sentence (while paying attention to the details of punctuation) provides a model of where punctuation is to be placed.
  1. Editing Work: Some homeschool products are just for that purpose.  A few sentences are written on a page with a specific types of mistakes to look for.  Student is to “edit” the paper and find the mistakes.  This is typically done after being taught a grammar, punctuation, or writing skill rule.

Rules are important in all areas of life, and it’s even true with writing!  It doesn’t take long to master the rules. All students can learn the basic rules of when to use and NOT to use a comma.  Provide your writers the opportunity early in their education to build confidence and sharpen their writing skills.   Those who read their writing will appreciate it!

Happy Students

happy kids

The semester is halfway finished, and I’m overjoyed with the assignments that the students are submitting for homework.  From facts to fiction, all students have already progressed in their ability to write more descriptive sentences.  I’m not the only satisfied person in this picture; the students are having fun in class while learning this everlasting skill of effective communication.


Spring semester classes that begin in January are beginning to be posted online.  Check out my listings under “Pages” and “Online Classes” on the right side of this page to see if there’s something that your student may need.  Classes from elementary through high school are being offered.

Dog Days of Summer


dog days of summer

While I’m certain that most children aren’t thinking about the commencement of the upcoming school year, we homeschooling parents are!  There are only a few weeks left to play and enjoy the warmer weather before the required schooling days begin.  Do you have your lesson plans ready?  Books purchased?   Students enrolled in classes?


My IEW online classes begin the week of Monday, August 27th.  There are still some seats left in each of these fun and effective classes, and I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to have somebody “besides Mom” teach and review your students writing.   Students from third grade to high school will benefit from these classes.   You can read about the “ONLINE CLASSES” offerings on the right toolbar.  


Enjoy summer, but don’t let it ruin your fall — make your plans and order your books  soon so that you and they can be lazy now, resting to be prepared to tackle the new school year with enthusiasm!





Slow and Steady



We all know the moral of “slow and steady” wins the race!  Working at one’s own pace is a guaranteed way to success.   This fall, high school students have that same opportunity with writing!  A self-paced class is offered this fall where a student will increase paragraph-writing skills under no “race schedule.”  Family sets the schedule to ensure that the work is completed before the end of the semester.  To learn more and to register, click here.

Creating Portfolios



Wrapping up the school year is always exciting; isn’t it?  However, before you toss away all those papers, I hope you will save some of your children’s best work.


In all of my classes,  students are expected to keep a portfolio of their written assignments.  IEW calls the final, revised, clean copy of an assignment the “Polished Draft.”  The Polished Draft is to be placed in a binder within a page protector.   Pictures to accompany each assignment’s topic is encouraged.  By the end of the school year, students have a collection of all their hard work.  It is so enjoyable to look back at the children’s writing over the years and see the gradual improvement.   Saving samples of written work is not only sentimental, but sometimes colleges request writing samples from high schoolers.  This would be a timesaver to have an organized portfolio.  If you haven’t already done this for your students for this school year, there’s still time! 


  History and art are the themes of my upcoming classes, which will prove to create charming, personalized books by the end of the next school year!  Check them out on the right side:   choose the “ONLINE CLASSES” option under “PAGES.” 


I look forward to guiding your students towards creating delightful portfolios next school year! 😊






It’s that time of year …

Home school conventions are around the corner, and curriculum sales abound!  With so many homeschool products available, it is hard to decide what is the best curriculum.   Believe me … I know!  With over 25 years of homeschooling under my belt, I can honestly state that I have jumped on many bandwagons as new products evolved over time.

Some worked well for one child but not another.

Others worked well for ALL four of my children, such as IEW!  🙂


When we find something that works, we stick to it!   IEW is truly an effective program.  I am honored to be able to teach this curriculum to many students every year and witness outstanding results!   If you want to hear other testimonies about IEW and my classes, please read what parents have shared under the “Testimonials” link on the right side of this page.


Together we can create excellent writers! 


Be sure to check out my classes under “ONLINE CLASSES” link

on the right side of this page.




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