Homeschooling High School – How Much Is Too Much Writing
One frequent variation on the “how much is too much” question for homeschooling involves high school writing. Specifically, what is a usual, acceptable level of writing to ask your high school students to do?
Most high school student curriculum seem to have one 5-6 page paper assigned one or two times per year, with some smaller papers in between. In public school, students are generally asked to write one or two papers like that per year. I personally asked my children to write 500-1000 words per week when they were in 11th and 12th grade. That was about 1-2 pages typed and single spaced, most weeks of the year. It wasn’t all “English” because at times the papers were for History, French, or Art.
This might look like too much to you, but the reason our writing program was successful was because I taught my kids at their level, and I knew how much to push them so they wouldn’t break. That’s why homeschooling works. If you have them write AT THEIR LEVEL, they can learn. If you have them write too much, then they will get irritated, angry, or worse, rebel. I realize that I had my kids write a lot, and I know it was more than most. That’s what my kids did because they were capable, and both ended up being excellent writers. But the reason it was effective wasn’t because of how much I had them write, it was because I asked them to work at their level.
Trust yourself on that. If you are involved with a writing program, and the requirements are killing you – STOP! You’ll discover that each child in your family could be different, as well. Perhaps if you consider having them write for, say, an hour a day, that would be a more reasonable measure for high school. If you feel that your child is being asked to do too much, then I am 100% confident that it is too much.
Have them write each day, and have them write different things. Good writing is all about practice, which means that they do need to do some writing every day. But don’t push them so hard that they dislike writing. Keep a “five year plan” in mind, where they have a love of learning at the end of this wonderful homeschooling.