“Just Write,” a writing curriculum by Rachel Tolman Terry, provides 150 writing prompts for middle school. Such a book will make your life easier if you would like a no-prep writing curriculum.
This curriculum is consumable. The pages are lined, so that it really functions as a workbook. Every two-page spread has a black-and-white picture on the left and the lined page on the right. At the end of the book, you can read briefly about the photographers.
Think about it: a school year has 180 days. We usually spend 30 days on field trips, illness, or concerts. Realistically, we can count on 150 days of active book instruction. With “Just Write,” you can plan on your child’s writing something every day. Meanwhile, you did not have to do a thing to prepare.
How It Works
My philosophy of education states that a small child cannot produce poems and compositions because she came with nothing into this world. We must pour information, stories, characters, plots and plot twists into children through literature and nonfiction reading, before we can expect them to create.
Therefore, by middle school, a well-read child should be able to produce small compositions like the ones “Just Write” encourages. I saw this in action with my own two children.
My son is in sixth grade – a true middle schooler. On the other hand, my daughter is in fourth grade – in public school, this corresponds to intermediate school. At the very least, you can say she is younger than a middle schooler.
As such, my son could sit down and write three compositions in one sitting. He enjoyed the writing prompts so much, that he would come up with a story and then turn the page. “What’s next? This is fun.” And he would do another one.
My daughter did one and considered it a great accomplishment. She is younger and it shows. So yes, even a third grader could do a writing prompt a day. But a true middle schooler could do three or more, if (s)he felt the inspiration flowing.
Either way, I would think “Just Write” would help in your homeschool if used on a consistent basis. One writing prompt a day seems like a reasonable goal that even the most uninspired child should be able to reach.
The attraction of this book is in the writing prompts themselves. For instance, “What is more important in a friend: The ability to keep secrets, or a great sense of humor? Why?” There would be so much to write about it. In other prompts, kids imagine what a city would look like if they were the architects. Or, what would happen after a bird takes a doctor’s recording-device in Nepal? How would that end?
Some prompts give school scenarios like finding a cage in your locker room, for instance, but not many. In this case, I think it is good for a homeschooler to imagine things from public school. My children end up reinforcing the idea that homeschooling beats public school for themselves.
The book is available on Amazon for $12.95 – a bargain for a writing curriculum or a supplement to your existing writing curriculum.
So glad to hear that your kids enjoy using the prompts! I love how you offer glimpses into your homeschool days and how you structure your curriculum. That’s such a big help to other homeschooling families!
Thank you for stopping by! We hope many families enjoy your book(s).