The Homeschool Writer

“How do I grade my child’s writing?” I get this question a lot. Some are worried of being too lenient and others too strict. English teachers out there probably won’t like my answer but here it is.

Take a long range view of your child’s writing skills. In the beginning whether the child is seven or fourteen use the sandwich approach to discuss the corrections. Tell him one thing he did well. Then choose one weak area and then tell him something to encourage him to keep writing.

Let’s say the introduction to the essay is weak and his uses weak arguments to  make his point but he has a strong conclusion. First, tell him how much you like his conclusion and explain why it’s strong. Then tell him  you want to work on building a good introduction by using his conclusion and the points of his argument. Do not press him to compose his arguments well at this point. Just have him make a list to be used on his rewrite. Then the two of you can compose an introduction together. Ask him to do his rewrite with the new introduction and body and the first conclusion he wrote. Consider this well done.

On his next essay gauge if his ability to write an introduction has improved from his first attempt. If so, the first part of your sandwich speech will be about this. Then work on his points of argument this time. If his introduction still needs improvement then find something good about the essay to begin your sandwich speech and then work on an introduction together.

If you want some thing a little less subject you might like this rubric.

Essay Rubric

What do you think? Does this help you? Do you have questions?

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  1. I really like this simple format for evaluating writing. I know it will be helpful in our homeschooling! Thanks, Ali!

  2. I have used the sandwich approach before and have seemed many teachers use it. I think it falls under the “keep it simple” advice. I believe there should always be praise of a good thing, with a something to work on critique. And… most importantly, be very specific! Glad you posted. This is important.

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