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Writing Strands -- A Home School Curriculum, By Charlie Lawing

Writing Strands -- A Home School Curriculum, By Charlie Lawing

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Published by Charlie Lawing
Around 1978, Dave and Lea Marks’s son Corey was in the fourth grade and his parents “were unhappy with the language arts training [he] was receiving in public school[ . . . ,] so they decided to do some after-school work with him in language arts," focusing particularly on developing Corey’s writing skills. Their son worked through the exercises over the next three or four years, at which point it seemed he had mastered the fundamentals of writing. So, when Corey was at the age of 12, they enrolled him in a college English course, and he aced it. Since the exercises worked so well, they realized they could turn the materials into a curriculum for homeschoolers. Thus was born Writing Stands, a writing curriculum for homeschoolers.
Around 1978, Dave and Lea Marks’s son Corey was in the fourth grade and his parents “were unhappy with the language arts training [he] was receiving in public school[ . . . ,] so they decided to do some after-school work with him in language arts," focusing particularly on developing Corey’s writing skills. Their son worked through the exercises over the next three or four years, at which point it seemed he had mastered the fundamentals of writing. So, when Corey was at the age of 12, they enrolled him in a college English course, and he aced it. Since the exercises worked so well, they realized they could turn the materials into a curriculum for homeschoolers. Thus was born Writing Stands, a writing curriculum for homeschoolers.

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Published by: Charlie Lawing on Dec 31, 2010
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Running head: WRITING STRANDS: A HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 1
Writing Strands
: A Homeschool CurriculumCharles B. LawingArgosy UniversityDecember 6, 2010
C
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T
HIS
W
ORK 
:
 
Lawing, C. (2010, December 6).
Writing Strands
: A Homeschool Curriculum. Unpublished manuscript.
 
WRITING STRANDS: A HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 2
Writing Strands
: A Homeschool Curriculum
Cultural Influences
 Marlene E. Bumgarner, Ed.D., was a homeschooling mother when at her home in 1980she interviewed John Holt—recognized by many as the father of the modern homeschoolmovement—for 
Mothering 
magazine.“I don’t believe in formal fixed curriculums,” Holt told Bumgarner, as he played in thegarden with her two children. “My advice,” for homeschooling parents, said Holt,is always to let the interests and the inclinations of the children determinewhat happens and to give children access to as much of the parents’ lives andthe world around them as possible [ . . . ], so that children have the widest possible range of things to look at and think about.[ . . . ]How that’s done depends very much on the family’s circumstances andtheir interests, and the particular interests of the children. Some kids are bookish, some children like to build things, some are more mathematical or computerish, or artistic, or musical, or whatever. The mix is never going to beexactly the same. (Bumgarner, 1980, para. 7)Eleven years prior to his conversation with Bumgarner, Holt had written
Underachieving Schools
(1969), his third book advocating free schools, students rights, and education reform.Reprinted in 2005, Holt had remarked in 1969 how “astonishingly hard” it was for his fifth-gradestudents—who “usually of high IQ, came from literate backgrounds, and were generally felt to be succeeding in school”—”to express themselves in speech or in writing” (p. 855).
 
WRITING STRANDS: A HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 3Asked to speak, my fifth graders were covered with embarrassment; manyrefused altogether. Asked to write, they would sit for minutes on end, staringat the paper. It was hard for most of them to get down a half page of writing,even on what seemed to be interesting topics or topics they chose themselves.(
ibid 
.)As Gaither (2008) observes, “Holt’s fame, rhetorical skill, and tireless activism quicklymake him the de facto leader of the homeschooling movement” (p. 126). But it was also hisexperiences as a student and teacher in traditional school settings that shaped Holt into anoutspoken and influential leader.As a child, Holt studied with private tutors and “at some of the most prestigious boardingschools in the country” (
ibid 
., p. 122). For high school, he attended Phillips Exeter, and in 1943graduated from Yale with a degree in Industrial Engineering. After serving for three years in thePacific as a lieutenant aboard a submarine, he taught for four years at Colorado Rocky Mountaincoeducational free school; in Cambridge, MA at a “select private school” (
ibid 
., 123); and as avisiting lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and at the University of Californiaat Berkeley.Yet despite—or, rather, because of—his formal positions and training, he remainedconvinced that “school” is better a verb than a noun. “The proper relationship of the schools tohome,” Holt concluded, “is the relationship of the library to home, or the skating rink to home. Itis a supplementary resource” (Bumgarner, para. 3).

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