Why do we love homeschool clubs?
Writing Club is one of the highlights of our week here at True North Homeschool Academy. We meet twice a month for a time of writing, reading, skills building, discussion of great books and smart goals. Students are writing plays, novels, poetry and more!
We are expanding our clubs at True North Homeschool Academy to include Speech, Debate and Art Club! Why? Because homeschool clubs are an essential part of Jr. and Sr. High School! Don’t believe me? Here are ten great reasons why your 7th-12th grader should be in a homeschool club!
Homeschool Clubs offer accountability.
In a homeschool club, students meet regularly with others with similar interests and abilities, setting goals and report progress to their classmates and club mentors. Writing down and sharing goals is a sure-fire way to move ahead with them!
Homeschool Clubs provide a diverse learning environment.
Rubbing shoulders with those who know more than you allow students to have something to reach and strive for. In our Writing Club, we have students aged 12- 17 with a broad range of ability, experience, and passion. The older kids encourage younger students and provide amazing role-models.
Homeschool Clubs offer mentorships.
Being a mentor for those who don’t know as much as you do gives students a chance to hone their own abilities. The best way to learn something exceptionally well is to teach it. In writing club students with experience are reaching out to younger students to offer advice, encouragement and support, share contests, online resources, editing, and more!
Homeschool Clubs are skill building.
Clubs allow students to grow and develop their skills in ways that they possibly wouldn’t seek out on their own. Our writing club has delved into songwriting, comedic sketch writing, and more based on the interest of club members!
Homeschool Clubs are low stress but offer high rewards.
Clubs allow students to immerse oneself into an area of interest without a huge time or monetary investment. Jr and Sr high school is the perfect time for students to explore various areas of interest. Clubs give students support to explore and develop in areas that may lead to career interests, lifelong hobbies, friendships, and professional skills!
Homeschool Clubs are a great way to earn credits.
Clubs are a low-stress way to earn credits. Our writing club is automatically worth a half a credit a year but students can earn up to a full credit of writing, depending on their goals and commitment. This allows students to build their transcript in a low-stress fun way!
Clubs often offer side benefits.
Because our good writers are readers, our writing club does a weekly “Book-Share” too. Students learn about different genres, learn assessment tools and participate in co-authoring quarterly “Tweens and Teens Book Recommendations,” which are published on our blog. Also, students have the opportunity to write blog posts for our blog, allowing them to publish before a fairly wide audience while still in high school.
Homeschool Clubs offer more freedom than a traditional classroom.
For example, homeschool club members can socialize with people that they have things in common with. In our Writing Club, we often do break-out rooms with smaller groups. The kids work on projects together, like writing poems or songs and have a blast laughing, brainstorming, and coming up with amazing ideas together.
In a Homeschool Club, everyone is there because they want to be there.
They are already interested in the subject matter which makes it easier to make friends! People tend to be warmer and more engaged when it’s something they want to do versus something they have to do. In our Writing Club, kids are meeting and talking with kids from around the country both inside (and outside of class).
Homeschool Clubs allow students to have input!
On the suggestion of one of our Writing Club members, we have writing “buddies.” Kids were paired up randomly with someone else in the class. This is because kids wanted to be able to continue writing prompts, share ideas, and brainstorm outside of class. The enthusiasm is contagious and some writing buddies are even writing stories together!
Clubs. We LOVE them at True North Homeschool Academy because we LOVE watching students learn, grow and develop into people who are passionate and eager to engage in the world around them!
What are you waiting for? Join a Club for Spring! At True North Homeschool Academy we offer:
Which one will you choose?
How to Start a Writing Club
I am leading a Writing Club this year at True North Homeschool Academy and to say I love it is an understatement. I love words, teaching people how to use them effectively and watching the enthusiasm and joy young writers take in expressing themselves and sharing their creation. Happy Sigh.
There is still time to join our fantastic writing club (we have new members joining us this week) but if you’d like to start a Writing Club where you are at, here is a simple format to get you started.
First, set goals and time frames.
Set goals for the group or have the kids set their own individual goals. In our group, our students set their goals for the year and then share their writing/reading goals (because writers are readers) for the time between now and the next time we meet.
Set a clear structure for the club so the kids know what to expect and how to prepare. The very nature of a club is less structured than a formal class, but creating set time ensures that you keep moving forward and as many students as possible have a chance to read and share their writing.
Next, add writing prompts to your Club
Start with a writing prompt. The kids love this time, regardless of age or ability. Set a timer- not too long, not too short- 5-15 minutes. Read the prompt and then let the kids write. No talking, just writing. When the timer goes off, give everyone time to read their response to the prompt.
Sit back and revel in how amazing the kids are! You will be blown away at the diversity, ability, and creativity! No critique or formal feedback, though you’ll probably notice that often the kids will give each other unsolicited encouragement and support and cries of “Wow! That was amazing!”
Where can you look for writing prompts?
- Pictures from all time periods
- Famous Quotes
- A sentence or two from a book
- A snippet from the news
- A few lines of poetry
- Snippets from other subject areas
- Math formulas
- Science facts
- Funny photoshops
The sky is really the limit. Last week our prompt was from the news, “This storm can kill!” and the week before a quote, “Absence of faith is not lack of faith, but control.”
Focus on skill building in your Club
I am a poetry writer, reader and advocate from way back, so I often bring in poetry forms and tropes as part of our skill building. Many great writers include poems and songs to develop their characters, and I want the kids to have these tools available to them.
Other ideas include working on dialog, tropes, sentence structure and variations, plot devices, characteristics of genres, humor, applying literary analysis to one’s own writing and so much more! I usually allow for about 20 minutes on this section because I’ll present the skill and then give them time to work on it.
Next, write and share feedback.
Take time to have 2-3 kids share 5 minutes of their writing each week (the writing that they are doing on their own- apart from the writing prompts) and have everyone listen well. Then, allow the class to give feedback and assessment on the writing. I set clear parameters for the kids on this as our goal is to give each other constructive feedback and information that will allow each person to grow and excel as writers.
I teach kids about the “sandwich” method of giving feedback (2 positives, one critique, one positive) and encourage them to find both strengths and areas of weaknesses in the writing- offering possible solutions. This feedback teaches how to give and receive feedback, simple literary analysis, and how to listen well. We also work on presentation skills, and the kids know that they’ll have to introduce themselves and their work to contextualize for the audience before they begin.
Book reviews are also great!
Because good writers are good readers each student shares a book they’ve read, gives a brief critique, what the liked or disliked about the book and gives it a 1-5 star rating. We’ll be publishing our books lists each semester, so stay tuned!
Finally, have plenty of extra resources for your Club
For our Writing Club, I also make sure the kids know about resources like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as well as writing and reading contests.
Our writing club has kids ranging in age from 12 to 17, some have written very little, and some have written a couple of books already. What we do have in common in a love of words and a desire to hone our ability to craft with words.
Start a local Homeschool Writing Club, but if you don’t have the time or inclination, we’d love for you to join ours! (you can join any month of the year). Or, if you have a local group, we can work with you too. We are partnering with co-ops and class days to bring quality education TO you, regardless of where in the world you are! We have special prices for groups. And if you don’t see something you are looking for in our catalog, be sure to let us know – we can work together to make it happen!