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Complete Guide to Homeschool Writing Curriculum for Every Budget and Age

Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum pin

Looking for a homeschool writing curriculum that will educate and motivate your child to write with excellence?

It can be a hard road, Homeschool Mama!

Writing is one of the three core subjects (reading and math are the other two) that form the basis of a solid education – which is why it can be so stressful for the homeschooling parent!

We feel the pressure to develop strong writers, but we also want our kids to love writing. It can be hard to achieve both of those things.

Blessedly, there is a mountain of homeschool writing curriculum out there that can fit any homeschool style, education philosophy, budget, and family size!

This blog post is going to be your complete guide to the 12 best and most loved homeschool writing curriculums on the market.

Think of it as a one-stop-shop to explore curriculum you’ve heard of but don’t know that much about – or to discover new curriculum that is just right for your homeschool!

Enjoy and happy homeschooling!

Ultimate Guide To The 12 Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum Options

girl using homeschool writing curriculum outside

Below I have provided quick reference information for each curriculum in terms of grade level, materials needed, price, and details. 

Price is for new curriculum and according to prices available to me as I write this. 

1. IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing)

 

For Grades: 1st grade – 12th

What You Need: Teacher’s Guide and Student Book

Price: $55

Details About IEW:

This was the first homeschool writing curriculum that we tried, and I think it truly set an excellent foundation for my then 3rd grader. 

Our co-op at the time taught it every year, but I sat down and did the actual lessons and writing with her during the week. 

I loved that it did such a thorough job teaching kids how to put a keyword outline together for a structured, low-stress writing experience. As a writer myself, I understand how important an outline is to keep you organized and productive!

IEW is also very big on teaching vocabulary words and encouraging students to use more “interesting words” in their writing. To this day, my daughter still includes lots of adjectives and “strong verbs” in her writing because of her experience with IEW. She also carefully avoids using the “banned words” like “big” and “good” – why use those words when there are so many other more descriptive and colorful word choices out there!

Another fun part of IEW is that you can choose what theme you want your child to use for the year. For example, grades 3-5 can pick from “Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales,” “Bible Heroes,” “Ancient History,” or” All Things Fun and Fascinating.”

If you are looking to build a strong foundation in writing, I would recommend IEW for an excellent beginning. It was easy to teach, reasonably priced (definitely use the above links to check for used prices on Amazon), and solid.

I have not used the higher levels, but I have often heard it discussed as the gold standard for homeschool writing. 

Keep in mind that the IEW grammar program is sold separately.

2. BJU Writing & Grammar

 

For Grades: 1st grade – 12th

What You Need: Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbook

Price: $110

Details About BJU Grammar and Writing:

BJU Writing & Grammar is the next writing program we tried. When our co-op shut down for the pandemic, I realized I was on my own for teaching writing.

We shifted gears to BJU Press because it bundled together grammar and writing, which would be a big time saver. 

My favorite thing about this homeschool writing curriculum is that it teaches the writing process perfectly. My then 4th grader learned the steps of Planning, Drafting, Revising, Editing, and Publishing – steps that she still uses today.

I loved that my kid was being taught to draft an entire piece in one day and that it didn’t need to be perfect! She could just pour out her thoughts on paper or “make the dough” as we called it. And then we would shape the dough during revising and editing later in the week.

This helped very much with her paralysis with writing, because she felt overwhelmed with it being perfect. 

She still uses these writing process steps for her writing today and I even still make her editing checklists similar to what the book had so she can edit her own work. 

I would strongly recommend BJU Grammar and Writing for strong grammar, time-saving, and high-quality writing.

3. Writing With Ease/Writing With Skill

 

For Grades: 1st – 12th

What You Need to Buy: Writing With Ease (elementary level) only requires a student workbook. Writing With Skill will require a student workbook and Instructor Text (teacher’s guide).

Price: $25 – $50

Details About Writing With Ease and Writing With Skill:

I love this super gentle writing curriculum from A Well Trained Mind and written by Susan Wise Bauer. 

I am on my second round of using Writing With Ease (the elementary level) with my younger children, and I absolutely recommend it as a beautiful introduction to writing. 

Every week I read sections of classic stories to my daughter and I ask her listening comprehension questions that she has to answer in full sentences. She thinks it’s just a fun story and talking time with mom, but there is a specific purpose. 

This process teaches her what a complete sentence is and what a fragment is – which is key information before you sit down to write.

There is also copy work of classic literature, grammar instruction, and writing original thoughts.

I haven’t used the next levels of this writing program from Susan Wise Bauer yet, but if this quote from The Well Trained Mind is any indicator, you need to check it out!

“We offer a variety of easy-to-use resources for teaching the vital skill of written communication. Our Writing With Ease series teaches elementary students how to transform thoughts into coherent paragraphs. Writing With Skill adds many other skills for middle and high schoolers, such as outlining, research, citation, and the construction of full-length essays in history, literature, science, and other subjects. The Creative Writer helps them write a best-selling novel that will get turned into a worldwide blockbuster movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which will enable them to support you in your old age.”

There are four levels of Writing With Ease and three levels of Writing With Skill

4. WriteShop

WriteShop homeschool writing curriculum

For Grades: K – 12th

What You Need to Buy: WriteShop Primary (ages 5-9) requires an activity pack and a teacher’s guide. WriteShop Junior (ages 8-13) can pick from a number of things or bundle them all together: activity pack, teacher’s guide, fold-and-go grammar guide, and time-saver pack. WriteShop 1 & 2 (Middle School/High School) requires a student workbook, teacher’s guide, and dictation/copy work guide.

Price: $41 – $110

Details About WriteShop:

WriteShop is a homeschool writing curriculum that I’ve had my eye on for a long time. In all of my homeschooling blogging circles, I seem to always hear buzz about how incredible this writing program is!

I have done some homework, and it is beautifully laid out, colorful, and so engaging from first sight. It is known for fun activities, engaging writing assignments, and its step-by-step, incremental approach to teaching writing skills.

And as an added bonus, WriteShop focuses on teaching the homeschool parent how to teach writing – in an easily understandable way.

The lower levels enjoy fun, hands-on writing activities to get kids excited about writing! I love that there are supply lists in the teacher’s guides (all regular things you’d have in the house) to teach a writing lesson! 

And the assignments would catch any kid’s attention: science fiction, adventure, and mystery story writing!

There are also additional resources on the website that you can use alongside WriteShop or as a writing supplement to your current curriculum. Check out StoryBuilders and Writing Prompts for some fun springboards for creative writing!

The higher levels allow students to work more independently, and there is even a video course offered.

It may be difficult to know which level you need to start with, so definitely check out the WriteShop placement test.

To find out more about Writeshop, head on over to their website or check out this full review from MeaningfulHomeschooling.

5. BraveWriter

Brave Writer Logo

For Grades: K – 12th

What You Need to Buy: BraveWriter offers bundles of their curriculum that covers multiple kids, but they are very relaxed about what you “need.” It is cheaper overall to buy the bundle, but you can also just start out with one of their books, and go from there. Online classes are also offered. They are taught by homeschool parents, who are also published authors.

Price: $50 – $229 (bundle price)

Details About Brave Writer:

Brave Writer is definitely the most unique writing curriculum that I have researched yet.

This writing program was written by Julie Bogart, a homeschool mom who has 5 homeschool graduates to her credit. 

Brave Writer promotes a “Brave Writer Lifestyle” that focuses on raising kids in a language-rich environment where they will learn to not just be a good writer – but to love writing. There is a large focus on reading great books aloud and a weekly poetry tea time (I love that!), and less of a focus on structured lesson plans and “you have to write this many sentences.”

Parents are encouraged to purchase one bundle and adapt it to teach all the grades in their homeschool. That is a huge time saver!

Learn more at the Brave Writer website or check out this full review at This Simple Balance.

6. Wordsmith

For Grades: 4th – 12th

What You Need to Buy: Each level only requires one book. Level 2 suggests buying a helpful teacher’s guide.

Price: $18

Details About Wordsmith:

Wordsmith is an economical homeschool writing curriculum from Janie B. Cheaney, a published author of six books. 

She provides a simple, easy-to-use curriculum that is broken up over three main books.

Wordsmith Apprentice (4th-6th grade):

“All the practicality, humor and fun of Wordsmith, but written for the younger student, ages 9-12. An easy to use writing course encouraging students to develop their writing skills as they participate in every role on a newspaper staff: editor, reporter, writer, etc. Children develop a love for writing as they express themselves through sentence and paragraph writing, persuasive writing, and much more. The third edition has a larger font and cleaner type for easier reading. With added examples and delightful new illustrations, developing writing skills is made fun and easy.”

Wordsmith: Building Skills (6th-9th grade):

“Confidence is what most young writers lack, and Wordsmith is designed to lead them to the place where they can read over their own work and think, “Hey—that’s pretty good!” Wordsmith is the core book in the series, the one that every student from age 12 and up should complete, especially if their writing skills lag behind the recommended level.”

Wordsmith Craftsman (9th-12th grade):

Part Three of Wordsmith Craftsman is a master class on The Essay, pulling together thought, organization, logic, personal connection, and style.  A well-written essay is rightly considered the mark of an educated, thoughtful man or woman. A student will learn how to apply the TOWER process (Think, Organize, Write, Evaluate, and Rewrite) to a variety of essay types, namely descriptive, narrative, expository, critical, and persuasive. The expository section includes a primer on the all-important first step in writing research papers (which will save a lot of freshman-comp angst later!).

There are sample lessons for all three of their books. Hop on over to the Wordsmith website to check them out and see if this homeschool writing curriculum best fits your homeschool!

7. Clear Water Press

Clear water press homeschool writing curriculum

For Grades: 6th – 12th

What You Need to Buy: Student Kit and matching DVD or Cloud Access

Price: $258 – $343

Details About Clear Water Press:

ClearWater Press is the perfect writing curriculum for aspiring authors! Students are taught this creative writing course through in-depth video lectures while they work on year-long writing projects.

Below are the details of their three main curriculum books.

Cover Story (6th-9th grade):

“The Cover Story magazine writing program works with your student, not against them. Award-winning author Daniel Schwabauer takes 6th–9th graders on a creative journey writing their very own magazine through engaging videos. The optional grammar lessons make Cover Story a full English Language Arts! Choose to watch Cover Story lessons on Cloud streaming or DVDs.”

One Year Novel (9th-12th grade):

“Author Daniel Schwabauer takes 9th–12th graders under his wing to write their own compelling original novel—for a high school English credit! His unique approach begins where many writing courses don’t go at all, with an exploration of how Story works. A creative community and support resources help students thrive. Video lessons now available on Cloud streaming only.”

Byline Journalism and Essay Writing (9th-12th grade):

“In the Byline journalism and essay writing program, students step into the role of a 1930s-era newspaper reporter, training under Editor-in-Chief Daniel Schwabauer, who takes them under his wings to teach them everything he knows. Before they even realize it, they master the dreaded high school essay! Choose to watch Byline video lessons on Cloud streaming or DVDs.”

Head on over the Clear Water Press website to find out more information and see sample lessons!

8. Writers in Residence: Apologia

 
For Grades: 4th and up

What You Need to Buy: All in One Student Text and Workbook, answer key, additional workbooks for teaching more than one child

Price: $21 for one student

Details About Writers in Residence:

I have to be honest with you all, I had no idea that Apologia offered anything besides science! Apparently, they do offer a full language arts program through their Writers in Residence series!

I love that it is designed to be used with multiple children at the same time – a huge time and money saver for homeschoolers with multiple kids!

Your students will learn about everything from sentence structure to short stories to persuasive essay writing – all through a Christian worldview lens.

“Thorough and systematic, six units and twenty-four modules are included, with lively and colorful lessons building on previously-taught concepts, skills, and terms. The easy-to-use, “all-in-one” Student Text and Workbook features an engaging tone that’s written directly to the student. Each unit opener includes a focus on a Christian writer, unit overview, and rubric; units include models from professional writers for students to study and use as an inspiration for their own writing. Modules integrate clear, engaging instruction with sidebar notes and a variety of exercises.

Assignments cycle through four types of writing tasks:

  • I Remember: assignments focused on the personal narrative
  • I Imagine: creative writing assignments such as short stories, poetry, and novels
  • I Investigate: research skills assignments
  • I Think: tasks that teach opinion and argument writing, including persuasive and argument writing”

To find out more, check out Rainbow Resource, Christianbook.com, or Amazon for reviews, sale prices, and more details!

9. Jump In


 For Grades: Middle School

What You Need to Buy: Student Text and Teacher’s Guide

Price: $45

Details About Jump In:

Jump In is a budget-minded homeschool writing curriculum focused on getting middle school students ready for the expectations of high school writing. It has a gentle, low-stress format that is focused on independent student writing.

“What to do when high school is just around the corner and your middle schooler HATES to write? Jump In: Middle School Composition covers all the basics needed for high school writing in an engaging fashion; humor sneaking in occasionally. Daily lessons will take 5 – 20 minutes to complete. Instruction is written directly to the student and sometimes involves Bible stories or characters. Lessons might start with 10-Minute Writing Plunges that are designed to engage reluctant writers or appeal to eager writers. Or the Plunges can be a break from other assignments or a course by themselves. Plunge prompts are given M-Th with no grading (or turning in). On Friday, the student chooses which one they like best, proofreads it, and gets it ready to hand in.

10. Essentials in Writing

Essentials in Writing Logo

For Grades: K-12th

What You Need to Buy: Student Workbook, Instruction Manual, and access to video lessons

Price: $69-$89

Details About Essentials in Writing:

Essentials in Writing is a video-based course that will take a lot of stress off the busy homeschool parent or the parent who is intimidated to teach writing. 

The format is rather simple. The student watches a video (DVD or streamed) and then completes the corresponding workbook pages. The parent is responsible to look over the work and discuss it with the child.

There are also fun hands-on activities, such as time capsules, that will get kids excited and engaged with the writing process. 

“Looking for a complete English course for all grade levels that is well organized, thorough in explanation, effective in teaching and easy to use in a homeschool or group setting? Then consider Essentials in Writing! Video instructor Matthew Stephens taught English at the elementary and high school levels for years, and he used his experience to good effect in authoring this course.

Video lessons featuring Mr. Stephens are the essence of the course, with supporting workbook activities as follow-up. Mr. Stephens is doing the heavy lifting of presenting and explaining the material, leaving only clarification and follow-up questions to the home instructor. Lessons are presented in bite-sized chunks, so each day’s lesson features one main point. The quality of the video and audio is good, showing Mr. Stephens teaching in front of a classroom on a white board. For younger grades, the teacher and student would watch the videos together, then discuss to make sure that the student grasps the main ideas of the presentation. Students at more advanced grades can watch the videos on their own (as the instruction is always directed to the student), leaving only follow-up discussion of the material and assignment to the teacher. Of course, the instructor should preview the video material to ensure knowledge of the material and consistency of approach in working with the student.”

Check out the Essentials in Writing website for more information, sample lessons, and videos!

11. Writing Strands

 

For Grades: 5th – 12th

What You Need to Buy: One Student Book and One Teacher’s Guide (One teacher’s guide covers all 6 levels of Writing Strands)

Price: $40

Details About Writing Strands:

Writing Strands is a full language arts and writing curriculum from Master Books. It is a newly revised edition that has streamlined and improved on the older version.

The curriculum includes a Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level and has a Christian Worldview.

You will find clear daily schedules, opportunities for independent work, and writing lessons based on the analysis of literature and scripture.

Here is a snippet of the curriculum description for Writing Strands Book 2:

“This resource covers 180 days of instruction and includes a weekly lesson schedule, student worksheets, and an answer key for the objective questions in the reading lesson portion.

Each week alternates between writing lessons and reading lessons; for their reading, students will read biblical passages as well as books chosen and assigned by the parent. A weekly lesson schedule is also included.

This comprehensive approach will help students begin to develop a solid foundation in communication as they focus on basic, creative, organizational, and descriptive writing skills. This course alternates a week of writing exercises with a week of reading and discussing books and ideas.”

12. Writing & Rhetoric

 

For Grades: 3rd and up

What You Need to Buy: Student Edition and Teacher’s Edition

Price: $40 (for one semester)

Details About Writing and Rhetoric:

Writing & Rhetoric is an award-winning series of writing curriculum books.

Each book will only cover one semester, so if you stay on track, you will be doing 2 books per year.

Books 1-6 are for grades 3-6. Books 7-12 are marked for grades 6 and up. 

Here is a description of this overall curriculum:

“Writing needs to be taught just like any other subject, and letting students be ‘free’ to write without a model is often letting them jump in the deep end without learning to swim first!

Writing & Rhetoric assumes students learn best by first reading excellent literature and then imitating those writers. Students who complete the entire program will learn to write narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive essays while developing their own unique style. Each exercise is designed to teach a skill that can be employed across all subjects. Skills are arranged from simple to complex, and the cumulative nature of each chapter reviews skills from earlier in the book, helping students to build a solid foundation of writing skills.”

Recap: Best Homeschool Writing Curriculum

I don’t know about you, Homeschool Mama, but it’s going to be very difficult to choose between all of these writing curriculums!

I do hope that you found a few that you want to research, dig deeper into, and hopefully use in your homeschool. 

Of course, this is not a complete list of all writing curriculum – I would need a whole book to write out everything that is out there!

Please drop a comment and share if you have a favorite writing curriculum that I didn’t list above!

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