Writing with Sharon Watson-Easy-to-use Homeschool Writing and Literature Curriculum

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Poignant Christmas Memories

Poignant Christmas Memories

SHARON’S BLOG

Do you have Christmas season memories you hold dear? Here are a few of mine:

The year my mother saved her hard-earned cake-decorating money to buy a sewing machine for me when I was a college freshman. Little did I know that I would use that machine to sew little outfits for my firstborn son and to teach my daughter how to sew on it. In fact, she has it now.

The year we skipped Christmas.

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One Sure-Fire Way to Create Writing Prompts for Your Students

One Sure-Fire Way to Create Writing Prompts for Your Students

SHARON’S BLOG

I have a secret to tell you.

I’m not really sure I should. After all, it feels a little like a chef revealing the secret ingredient to a closely guarded family recipe, but I’m going to share it with you anyway.

As you may know, I create many writing prompts, usually two a week for my Website and the daily writing prompts for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. That’s a lot of writing and a lot of prompts.

Where do I get my ideas? Here’s my secret:

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The SAT Essay: What You Need to Know About It


SHARON’S BLOG

SAT essayThe words “SAT essay” can strike fear in the hearts of moms and teens. It seems like a vast, blackened storm at sea, and students can feel a little seasick about taking the test.

Consider this a virtual dose of non-drowsy Dramamine ®.

You’ll want to know two things right away:

1. The January 2016 SAT essay was a persuasive essay, but it exists no more.
2. Beginning in March 2016, the SAT essay will be analytical, which I will also address below.

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Declaration of Dependence: Teen Maturity


SHARON’S BLOG

declaration of dependence teen maturity imageYour son is eleven years old. He wishes he could play ball as well as his dad does, and he hugs you freely. Your daughter is ten. She loves to look through your jewelry box, and she plays up to her dad.

Now jump ahead a few years to a time when your kids will no longer regard you as perfect. Your son is 17 and chafes at having to obey you and do his school. Your daughter is 16 and spends more time on her mobile device than it took you to deliver her.

These can be painful days for us—days when we feel our teens pulling away from us in their quest for independence.

They have a surprise coming.

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Your Chance to Add to the Conversation


SHARON’S BLOG

what topics to post in conversationWhat would you like to see here in the next few weeks and months?

What topics would you like me to address?

In the past year, we’ve posted grammar and proofreading tutorials, family writing prompts, tips on writing persuasively, how to conduct an interview, how to write introductions, issues about literature, grading tips, how to avoid plagiarism, fun writing activities for summer, and much more.

I’d love your ideas about what you would like to see here.

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Proofreading Marks and How to Use Them

Proofreading Marks and How to Use Them

SHARON’S BLOG

This tutorial shows your students the universal proofreading marks and how to use them. Plus, you'll get examples and an exercise to reinforce the information.Do your students waste endless time erasing whole sentences? Do they become discouraged when they look at their rough drafts filled with arrows, illegible notes in the margins, and ugly lines of scratched-out writing? Let’s save them the pain by teaching them these handy, easy-to-use proofreading marks.

I’ve watched students in my writing classes scratch out whole sentences and rewrite them. They draw lines through words. They burn up their papers and crumble their erasers just to change something.

This is totally unnecessary.

There’s an easierand quickerway to proofread that doesn’t require a lot of rewriting, which should be good news to our students.

This is the last in a series of tutorials on grammar. In this one, you and your students will learn how to use these helpful proofreading marks.

If you’re dying to know what the other grammar tutorials are about, click here for one on punctuation in dialog. (Tarzan and Jane help out on that one.) Click here if you yearn to know how to handle commas in compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions.

And click here for the hard-hitting exposé on where to put the comma, period, colon, or semicolon when using quotation marks.  Here’s a tutorial on a question I suspect you’ve heard from your students about using question marks and exclamation points with end quotation marks (you know, do they go inside or outside?).

For the tutorial revealing the crazy fact that the word “everyone” is singular, click here. And to finally put to rest your students’ confusion about it’s/its, you’re/your, and others of that ilk, click here.

 

 

Proofreading Marks

As with all the other tutorials, you get a super-duper package today: an infographic to teach the proofreading marks, an example of how to use them in a real paragraph, a exercise so students can fix someone else’s mistakes, and the answers.

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Apostrophe or no Apostrophe: It’s Confusing

Apostrophe or no Apostrophe: It’s Confusing

SHARON’S BLOG

confusingThis week’s grammar tutorial puts to rest some confusing words like “it’s” and “its.”

You can use the infographic below to teach your students about some confusing word usage. After that, there’s an exercise to reinforce the material with your students, and you’ll find the answers below the exercise.

Now, on to the tutorial . . .

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Too Many Question Marks and Exclamation Points?

Too Many Question Marks and Exclamation Points?

SHARON’S BLOG

question marks and exclamation pointsWelcome to yet another week of biting, incisive grammar questions like this one: “Mom, is this sentence supposed to have one question mark or two at the end?”

If you’re dying to know what the other grammar tutorials are about, click here for one on punctuation in dialog. (Tarzan and Jane help out on that one.) Click here if you yearn to know how to handle commas in compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions. And click here for the hard-hitting exposé on where to put the comma, period, colon, or semicolon when using quotation marks.

This week, your students will wrestle with the thorny problem of what to do if a sentence is a question (interrogative) but there’s already a question mark to the left of the end quotation mark.

Take a look at the infographic, which is the lesson.

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Where to Put the Comma, Period, Colon, and Semicolon When Using Quotation Marks

Where to Put the Comma, Period, Colon, and Semicolon When Using Quotation Marks

SHARON’S BLOG

punctuation Welcome to the second in a series of tutorials on grammar!

This week’s lesson answers such thorny questions as this one: “Mom, does a period go before or after the last quotation mark?”

You can find the first in the series of grammar tutorials here; it’s all about compound sentences, coordinating conjunctions, and commas. And if that doesn’t create some excitement in the classroom, I don’t know what will.

This week’s tutorial includes an infographic to teach the material, a set of sentences your students can correct to reinforce the material, and the answers to the sentences. There are only two rules (can you believe it?), and they are easy (again, is it to be believed?).

This lesson does not cover quotation marks in dialog. Tarzan and I will hit that next week.

As you’ll notice by the infographic,

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