Editor’s note: Since this article was originally published, I’ve made changes over time because some of the original resources no longer exist.
As many homeschooling parents know, writing can be a difficult subject to teach. Even if your student understands grammar and can write well, many children simply do not like writing, resulting in poor content and a lot of complaining. It can be hard to teach writing if your student does not like it, or if you do not enjoy the subject either, for that matter.
Grammar is a tedious but important subject. Why not hand over some of the responsibility to an online classroom where your students can engage in grammar and writing assignments and even take quizzes?
You can rest assured knowing they are learning grammar rules correctly. They might be more motivated when they have to turn in assignments to someone other than their parent.
While this is not a replacement for your teaching, it is a great supplement. Of course, checking their homework and adding any additional writing work you feel necessary is still required.
At Grammarly, where I work, we grammar check hundreds of documents of all types. I often look at online writing classes to see how they’re teaching. This helps me see how people best learn English so I can improve our product strategy.
I often see writing classes for homeschoolers that impress me. Here are some of the best I’ve come across:
Institute for Excellence in Writing
IEW is known for their robust writing curriculum. Many homeschooling families have used their textbooks and home videos to teach writing, grammar, structure, and style. Their online classes are taught by master teachers and are perfect for busy homeschooling families or parents who aren’t as confident teaching writing.
English Grammar 101
English Grammar 101 provides free online grammar lessons, with a special program tailored to homeschoolers. As the website says, “writing and grammar skills are essential in any line of work, at any age,” so help your students get started with the free lessons on English Grammar 101. For further instruction, the website offers teaching materials and an e-book.
Time 4 Learning
Time 4 Writing is a good source for busy homeschool parents. It has a variety of lessons, from beginning grammar to essay writing, and tailors to each grade. If you’re teaching students of multiple ages, this is a nice way to give each student the information and work he or she needs, so you have time to focus on answering questions and helping with homework.
Home 2 Teach
Home 2 Teach offers college-prep writing classes for students aged 8-18. Sessions are six weeks and offered four times per year. It is exclusively for homeschoolers, and students must submit a writing sample for placement. These courses are a great way to give your advanced writing student an edge.
Write Guide is a great online writing tool if your student wants a tailored program. Each course is individually designed, so you can pick the topics and areas that are most interesting to your students, or that they need the most help with. You can even incorporate your own projects and assignments, and have the teacher help you explain and grade them. While lessons are meant for individuals, students can share if they are at the same level. Certified teachers (most of whom are published authors and have years of experience) provide daily feedback.
San Diego Scribblers
San Diego Scribblers offers online classes for different age groups. These classes are not comprehensive but based on a theme. For grades four through eight, there is a short story writing class, and high school students can take a journalism class. The online courses do not teach grammar but are a fun addition to your writing curriculum. Assignments are given each week and teachers provide detailed critiques of each student’s work.
Harvard Extension School
Harvard Extension School is exactly what it sounds like—an extension of the Ivy League university. While this option is only for older students, it is a vigorous program that will set your child apart. Homeschool students can earn credits that will count toward high school graduation or an undergraduate degree. An online writing center is included, where students can attend virtual writing seminars and workshops.