• Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

    Making Sense of IEW: The Writing Process

    This is the last part of our IEW series. If you missed the first two, you can read about Student Resources here and Teacher Resources here. This article will focus on the most important part of composition–the writing process! IEW may seem like it complicates the writing process, but actually, it breaks it down into meaningful tasks, which help a student build a paper of substance. First, the key word outline (KWO) teaches students to find the most important words from the source(s). Don’t skip this step or seek to alter this part of the process. The KWO teaches students that a paper worth writing, or being read for that…

  • Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

    Making Sense of IEW: Teacher Resources

    The Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW) provides so many resources for teachers that it can seem overwhelming. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Look at it as IEW is willing to train you to be the best composition teacher you can be for your child.  First of all, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS) workbook and videos are so important if you are clueless on how to begin teaching writing. These resources are expensive though. One of the best ways to curb costs is to go in with other homeschool moms to split the bill. The benefit of this is saving money as well as learning how to teach this…

  • Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

    Making Sense of IEW: Student Resources

    In order to teach composition in cottage school, I wanted to choose a curriculum proven tried and true. Annie and I had a year’s experience of using the Institute for Excellence in Writing’s curriculum with our oldest girls, and we already could see some of the benefits of this method. The problem with any writing curriculum is that it’s not easy to teach kids how to write. It takes time, patience, and consistency. It requires a parent willing to do the hard work to understand the material well before teaching it. The great news about IEW is that you don’t have to have an English degree, like me, to teach…

  • Art,  Books,  Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English,  Science

    Cottage School Life Fall 2020 Schedule

    One of the advantages to having a small cottage school is the ability to change and adapt our schedule each year. We began our cottage school three years ago with less children and obviously different needs since they were younger. As our group and our children have grown, the classes at cottage school have shifted. This year one of the changes for us will be adding some of the “younger” kids to our IEW class (last year just our “older” kids were in IEW). Another change we are adding is a preschool class for our little kids who haven’t previously had a formal class at cottage school. Here’s a quick…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Verb Tense & Form Errors

    The final portion of our major grammar errors series will focus on verb tense and form errors.  These are some of the most common errors I see in my students’ writings, but a short review of these errors and how to correct them will help you catch them in your writing as well as teach them to your children. Verb Tense: The best way to avoid verb tense errors is to remain consistent. If you’re writing in present tense, don’t switch to past tense unless it makes sense and vice versa. Incorrect: Sam washes the clothes, wrings them out, and hung them on the clothesline.  Correct: Sam washes the clothes,…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Subject-Verb Agreement

    For the third part of the Major Grammar Errors series, let’s focus on Subject-Verb Agreement. It’s so important to understand in each sentence, a subject must agree with its verb. Agreement must be in number. In other words, subject nouns that are singular take a singular verb, and subject nouns that are plural take a plural verb.  Let’s back up a minute to review making nouns and verbs plural. You are probably familiar with making nouns plural already. Most nouns add and -s or -es to become plural, like “cat” becomes “cats,” or if the singular noun ends in ‑s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, or -z, add ‑es to the…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Run-ons

    Last week, we focused on the major grammar error of fragments. Another major grammar error that’s important to correct in your own writing and to teach your children to correct in their own writing is a run-on sentence. What is a run-on? It occurs when two complete sentences are joined incorrectly. Here are some examples: Regular Run-ons – I like to call this example a “regular” run-on because it’s the most common I see in my students’ essays. This occurs when you use a coordinating conjunction to join two complete sentences without using a comma before the coordinating conjunction. Example of error: I went to the store and I bought…

  • English

    Major Grammar Errors: Sentence Fragments

    When teaching composition or helping your children with writing, it’s best to know how to correct the major grammar errors in it. On Fridays for the rest of July, I will cover four major grammar errors everyone should learn to avoid. The first one is sentence fragments. Fragments are just that–a fragment of a sentence. When a writer uses a capital letter and end punctuation on something that’s missing a subject, verb, both a subject or a verb, or simply is not a complete thought, it’s a fragment. Here are some examples of fragments: 1. Couldn’t go because I said no. This is incorrect because it is missing a subject. …

  • Book Nook,  Books,  Curriculum,  English,  History

    4th of July Books

     This holiday weekend is for cookouts, fireworks, and all things red, white, and blue. Enjoying our freedoms with family and friends is certainly what it’s all about. Let’s be intentional and teach our kids WHY and WHAT we are celebrating on Independence Day. Here are my favorite 5 books for learning more about the 4th of July:

  • English

    Teaching Kids About Prepositions

    Prepositions can be the easiest part of speech to identify in many cases. Remember that a preposition always takes an object (noun or pronoun), so you will see a preposition beginning what is called a prepositional phrase (and it ends with the object). For example: Over the hill and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. This sentence has three prepositions in it. Can you find them? They begin a phrase and end with the object of the preposition (noun or pronoun).  Over the hillThrough the woodsTo grandmother’s house I remember an elementary teacher telling me that prepositions are anything that a rabbit can do to a log: A…