Essential Conversations

This blog is devoted to all aspects of writing, literature, and teaching. We are excited to partner with you on your homeschool journey and provide you with helpful and quality content in our blog posts.

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Athena Lester
By: Athena Lester
June 21, 2019

Summer Writing Ideas for Homeschool Students

Summer is a time for fun and a break from the rigors of the school year. However, as Laura pointed out in the previous blog post (check it out, it’s really sweet), summer can also be an opportunity to continue growing! She encouraged parents to guide their children’s reading through the vacation months, but parents can also guide their children’s writing during the summer. “Excuse me, Athena. That sounds like a school activity, and the point of summer …

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Laura Prosapio
By: Laura Prosapio
June 13, 2019

Reading: A Great Summer Vacation

As a member of the Essentials in Writing curriculum team, my hope is that students learn to enjoy reading and writing as a lifetime pursuit—not only when they are working on course assignments but also during the summer months. Truly, when a student learns to fall in love with reading, they have made a friend for life. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, our Essentials in Literature curriculum provides homeschool students the opportunity to engage many …

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Danielle Nettleton
By: Danielle Nettleton
June 6, 2019

For the Homeschool Parent: Dealing with the “Summer Scaries”

As homeschool parents enter the month of June, they may also encounter a phenomenon that I like to call the “summer scaries.” This is the few months in which they worry that their homeschool students will promptly forget everything they learned over the past school year, especially in more practice-based subjects like math and writing.   In my opinion, the summer scaries are a legitimate concern, especially since students learn and retain that knowledge in different ways. Are …

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Athena Lester
By: Athena Lester
May 31, 2019

Words of Encouragement from Homeschool Parents to Homeschool Parents

With Memorial Day come and gone, summer vacation is officially upon us! And for some homeschool families out there, that means… absolutely nothing. “What is summer vacation? We homeschool. We don’t do that here.” Personally, I remember three or four years growing up where my homeschooled sister and I didn’t take summer vacation at all. I finished seventh grade on Friday and started eighth grade on Monday. We weren’t a super competitive homeschool family or anything. It was …

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Laura Prosapio
By: Laura Prosapio
May 16, 2019

Michelangelo, Marble, and Mastery: Writing as Sculpting for the Homeschool Student

Hello, EIW World! My name is Laura, and I recently began working on the Essentials in Literature Curriculum Team. Soon, I’ll also be starting as a Scorer for student compositions. I am excited to begin writing on this blog to share thoughts about reading and writing. I believe writing is one of the most important skills a homeschool student can develop during their childhood and teenage years. Why? Because it’s the student’s chance to leave an imprint upon …

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Danielle Nettleton
By: Danielle Nettleton
May 9, 2019

Is It “Than” or “Then”? Helping Your Homeschool Student Figure Out Common Homophone Mixups

In the age of smartphones, computers, and technology, the subject of spelling may not seem all that important thanks to a certain ever-helpful invention—spellcheck.   Gone are the days of proofing papers for spelling mistakes! Banished are the never-ending lists of spelling words in homeschool curriculum! Dictionaries? Who needs them? Just rely on the squiggly red line for all your spelling needs, and you’ll be golden, right?   Well, not quite—at least, not according to the papers I …

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Athena Lester
By: Athena Lester
May 3, 2019

Writing on the Computer or by Hand: How Should the Homeschool Parent Integrate Technology and Composition?

Although this blog is titled with a question, I will not definitively answer it. This is an opinion piece based on my personal mindset and experience, but it may be helpful to some homeschool educators who wonder how they should incorporate the computer into their student’s writing program. The fact is that kids born after 2000 are tech-innate. They don’t have to be taught how to use a smartphone or Google or a touch screen. They grow up …

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Hope Tolbert
By: Hope Tolbert
April 25, 2019

5 Things I’ve Learned Working at Essentials in Writing

Whenever someone asks me what I do, and I tell them I’m a curriculum creator, they immediately respond with, “Oh, cool. Wait, what does that mean?” “You know those workbooks you had as a kid that would tell you to find all of the nouns in a paragraph or whatever? I write those.” “Wait, that’s a job?” I don’t know if people think that workbooks randomly materialize out of the clouds, or if it’s a side-hustle Santa has …

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Danielle Nettleton
By: Danielle Nettleton
April 18, 2019

Writing Well: Why Homeschool Students Have an Edge

In his groundbreaking book Amusing Ourselves to Death, critic and educator Neil Postman discusses society’s shift from what he deems the Age of Typography to the Age of Show Business—that is, a change from the importance of words to the importance of television and other visual media.   According to Postman, the decline of writing began as early as the nineteenth century with Samuel Morse’s invention of the telegraph and continued on with radio, movies, and television. This …

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Athena Lester
By: Athena Lester
April 12, 2019

How Can I Help My Reluctant Writer? : 7 Tips for the Homeschool Parent

When you ask your student to compose a writing assignment, does your student: A.   groan as loud and long as their lungs allow B.   slump in their chair, slide off to the floor, and lie there face down like a slug C.   pick up a pencil and start eating it while vacantly staring at anything except the paper in front of them D.   pick up a pencil—then pick up another pencil and start practicing for their …