teaching tips blog


Oct 10, 2012

How Do I Evaluate My Teen’s Writing?

Diane Kummer

You’ve given your teen a writing assignment and the composition is completed. Now the sweating begins.  I’m not referring to your teen’s sweat glands, but yours!  How do you evaluate what your teen has written? 

   I remember when my children would give me their compositions and I would not know where to begin to critique and analyze them.  I could handle science and math – it was easy for me to evaluate their knowledge and progress in those courses. But, evaluating their writing was a different animal.  Let me provide you with some tips I learned along the way that may be helpful to you.

   Rubrics are an aid when evaluating writing.  Think of a rubric as a checklist.  Provide the rubric to your student when you give the writing assignment so that he knows what you will be evaluating when grading his paper.  Here are some links to rubrics you may want to consider: Here and Here.

   Denise Boiko, in her book, Homeschooled and Headed for College, provides a rubric for evaluating high school essays.

   The free Glencoe Guide for High School Writing Rubrics contains many helpful tips for evaluating high school compositions.

   The Institute for Excellence in Writing offers an inexpensive download for parents to use when assessing their teens’ writing.

   You may also want to consider asking a friend, neighbor or relative who has good writing skills to help you evaluate your teen’s composition.  For example, do you know any retired teachers, writers, or others who may assist you?  Perhaps there is a former teacher who is now a stay at home mom who would be willing to take a look at your teen’s papers and provide her assessment.

   Write at Home offers a pay per paper review service that you may want to look into:

   Before your teens graduate, it may be helpful to enroll them in one outside course where another teacher can evaluate their writing.  You can use the teacher’s recommendations and reviews to help you evaluate future papers that your teen may write. Here are some possibilities.

   My daughter took an AP English course online from a homeschool mom who also directed her own writing institute.  My daughter’s love for writing grew leaps and bounds during that course, and she even went on to major in English during college.  She is employed today in a job where she uses her writing skills extensively. The Lord always provides us with exactly the help we need as we homeschool our teens!

   I hope these ideas and resources for evaluating your teens’ compositions encourage you that help is available when that next term paper or essay comes across your desk (or kitchen table.)