These are the questions the homeschooling mothers had. Do any of you relate to them?
Concern: My child WON'T write (cries if I ask him/her to write only a few sentences–and I've even told them what to write about; or, s/he won't make the deadlines I set; or, says s/he HATES writing, etc.)
Concern: My child's writing is TERRIBLE. (e.g., A parent isn't able to see beyond errors in conventions to find anything noteworthy about the idea the student had, or what s/he was trying to convey; but sometimes the content isn't really there either & parent doesn't feel equipped to draw the information out of the student.)
Concern: How do I evaluate writing? Many parents feel they are only qualified to correct mechanical conventions, and are completely lost when it comes to evaluating content. (Some know they must correct grammatical and spelling errors, but find when they do the end result is often a student who feels “I'm not any good at writing.”)
Concern: A few times each year, I talk with a parent who has a child that writes enthusiastically, and she wants to know how to support her child's interest. (I've noticed in a few cases the child does write A LOT, but the writing doesn't really go anywhere. The parent is afraid that in correcting the student, s/he will become discouraged and stop writing altogether. They begin to wonder, “Can a parent really teach writing at home?)
Concern: In addition to wanting to know how to tell if a child is performing at grade level, many want to know what the “average” student should be learning to do from one level to the next–for example, when is it “normal” to introduce writing paragraphs, and how long should it take a student to master this? What about essays? Reports? “Works cited” essays and MLA-style reports? What should a middle schooler be learning in order to prepare for high school, or a high schooler to prepare for college? What is a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader capable of doing? What kind of writing should early elementary students be working on (and how much time per day)?
They're such monumental concerns when you are a homeschooling mom.
>How do I evaluate writing?
You know I heard something recently that said all evaluation is done by asking questions. Maybe you could write up a series of questions a teacher could ask of a piece of writing to know how good it is. They could even give it to their kids who would then have a way of evaluating their own writing.
You could also rank it by level. So you ask less questions at lower levels. To teach the next level you add a new set of questions.