Additional Posts: Categories

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Reading; Language Arts
Writing Helps Tags: writing skills writing worksheets essay writing writing exercises writing techniques

Here are some resources to help improve writing skills  -- and avoid those word crimes: 


Digital Education Network: Their writing course,

called Writing Den, has sections on grammar rules and writing tips for sentences, paragraphs, and essays; a vocabulary word-of-the day email signup; and a guide to help you use and navigate the site. There are other dens you can visit, such as MathDen, and the site also has software tutorials (eg. Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, Office, others).


Other ways to say common things:



Descriptive and Narrative Writing SkillsActivities to help develop them.


WriteSource is a K – 12 site offering prompts for writing personal compositions or for journal writing. For each grade, there are also different types of student writing samples, such as personal narratives, expository and descriptive paragraphs, reports and creative writing. At the high school level, you can view samples of different types of essays, responses to literature, and research writing.

Writing Worksheets

Citations How To Video:

Essay Writing Instructions: Download for writing expository, descriptive, argumentative, comparison/contrast, and persuasive essays.

SAS Curriculum Pathways' Writing Navigator Suite of Tools: Leads students through a step-by-step writing process. There's the Writing Planner which helps students to state a purpose, define the audience, and generate and organize ideas. Writing Drafterprovides a framework for developing ideas into a first draft. You build an essay section by section, at the end of which you are prompted to analyze sentences, word usage and transitions. The essay can then be opened in the Writing Reviser, which points out potential problem areas, like cliches or misplaced modifiers. It also presents checklists of questions regarding the structure of your essay, sentence variety and clarity, verb tenses, and other things. 


Thesis Generator: Type in your topic, your opinion on the topic, some reasons supporting your opinion, an argument against your opinion, and the generator comes up with several possible thesis statements.

Graphic Organizers: These are from Holt, including main idea, drawing conclusions, sequencing, comparison/constrast, and others.

More On Writing


Reading Worksheets and Study Guides Tags: reading comprehension worksheets free reading comprehension worksheets study guides

Non-fiction and informational fiction passages: For K- 8, these cover such topics as a partial eclipse, plate tectonics, and the Great Barrier Reef. Includes comprehension question sets. 

Reading WorksheetsThese downloadable worksheets cover a number of topics, including figurative language, grammar and sentence structure, characterization, theme, author's purpose, context clues, and others. For grades K - 12.

Non-fiction Reading SkillsDownload one-page, non-fiction reading passages designed to reinforce a specific skill, such as summarizing, and supporting a main idea. For grades 2 - 10.

Reading ComprehensionUnits for K - 5.

Grammar and Spelling Workbooks: For K - 6.

Free Study GuidesComprehension questions, vocabulary activities, and other exercises for a number of novels, including The Call of the Wild, The Giver, Holes, Hatchet, and others.

Signet Classics Teachers Guides: With chapter summaries and discussion questions.

Glencoe GuidesInclude background information on the novels and activity pages. 

You might also like: 14 Sites for Free Online Kids Books

More Reading and Language Arts

Poetry Happens Tags: poetry for kids famous poetry national poetry month poetry websites


I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree….

Thus began an impromptu game at the dinner table one night, spurred by a conversation we were having about poetry. I don’t remember what started that conversation. It might have had something to do with a college class my oldest daughter is taking. This lead my husband (who’s not big on poetry, but has written a few ballads of his own back in the day) to jokingly quote the first couple of lines of the Joyce Kilmer poem, “Trees.” And then, of course, we all had to join in, and we went around the table, everyone picking a poem they liked and quoting parts or all of it.

Sarah picked “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost, a poem she discovered while reading the novel, The Outsiders.

Leah chose part of a long Robert Browning poem called Paracelsus. She discovered it while watching an X-Files episode, in which only a very small part of the poem is quoted, but it caused her to look it up and find out more about it.

Anna, my youngest, picked, The Duel, by Eugene Field. It made her laugh, so she decided, on her own, to memorize it.

My middle-schooler, James, chose Casey at the Bat as his favorite. I was surprised the most by this, since I didn’t think he had a favorite poem – even though he’s tried his hand at writing poems, like the one at the top of this post, created on a magnetic poetry site. Or this acrostic he wrote after reading a historical novel about yellow fever:


You hear the church bells ring

Everyone is sick, and dying

Less and less are in the city

Like the fever is scaring them to the country

Once you have it, you’ve almost no chance

When the doctors find out, they bloodlet you

For only nine days, the fever lasted

Even at that, it still was deadly

Vexing everyone who’s seen it

Even Thomas Jefferson left, because he thought the air was toxic

Really, it came from something so, so small. Mosquitos were the cause of it all.

As I listened that evening to everyone talking about poems that had touched them, or that they’d found interesting or funny, I realized that, somehow, they’d developed an appreciation for this particular art form in spite of – or perhaps because of – the fact that I never used any structured lessons. I never planned poetry into our days. I’ve always had poetry books around, and we’d pull them out, and read some poems, and talk about them, and in the process, without realizing it, we’d be discussing techniques the author used or different figurative elements within the poems. Nothing earth shattering -- but it seems to have yielded a positive result.

If only we could have this kind of experience with Algebra...

How does poetry happen in your house?

Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus

New Members
Joined: Dec 4th
Joined: Dec 2nd
Joined: Nov 20th
Joined: Nov 10th
Grab Our Button