Of all the subjects out there, homeschool writing is probably what most students (and parents) struggle with the most. I have seen just about every writing program available in my 16 years of homeschooling. An experienced parent can usually look through a book and tell whether their children will respond favorably to the contents. So far I haven't really found a book, curriculum or resource that really inspired my children to write.
This year, though, my son and I have started Writing with Ease and we both really like it. This is a solid writing program that I can actually recommend! Susan Wise Bauer's books (Story of the World, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, and The Well Trained Mind), are all very good. Having a springboard to use for writing is always a good idea, but getting down to the business of writing is most important.
Here's what I recommend for writing....
Have your child write a page a day.
If they are young they can title a drawing or write a sentence. One good suggestion is to have your children write a sentence for each grade they are in, so if they are in 5th grade, they should write at least 5 sentences several times a week.
If they are a little older they can copy almost anything they want to copy. They can copy poems, riddles, fables, Bible passages, famous literature, famous quotes and more.
At some point you will need to transition them into writing on their own. When they write on their own they can write a made-up story, give a narration of something they saw or read, retell a story they heard. If they like, they can start a story and add to it each day. When they are done, they may even have a little book.
If they don't want to write each day, you can tell them that they will have to do one of the boring writing workbooks that are available. I would think anyone would prefer writing their own creation than having to fill in a workbook.
Some people require their children to write every day, but others find that writing several times a week is sufficient too.
The Writing Course - This program was written by a homeschool dad who did lots of tutoring of writing in his home. It is more for high school students or motivated junior high students, but is a very good program. You can read my review at Homeschool Writing Programs.
If you are more comfortable with a homeschool writing curriculum, good luck! I have looked for years for a usable writing program for homeschooling. There are some good programs out there, but The Writing Course is the only one I can recommend.
I love the Writing With Ease writing program for younger students. I wish this book would have been written when my daughters were much younger. Some parents like the Institute for Excellence in Writing Program. My children hated it, but maybe some families could get some good use out of it.
What kind of homeschool writing programs have you used with success? Feel free to leave a comment below if you have found something that works for your family. I'm sure other families will appreciate the advice.