The Internet is the homeschoolers best friend. In our journey in homeschooling I’ve come across several resources that have been a life-saver to us in our classroom. One of my favourite homeschool resources is one that I’m also starting to use in my blogging practice as well. Grammarly is one of the best online editing tools I’ve encountered, and I wanted to share this awesome tool with you. Today, we have a guest post from Grammarly’s own Nikolas Baron, outlining the top 5 ways internet resources can benefit your eager students, whether you are homeschooling or helping with home work.
1. Grammar check programs
Teaching grammar can be difficult, but help is at hand! There are websites available that provide more than the standard, unreliable spell check and autocorrect already installed on your computer. Grammarly is one such service, giving users all the benefits of a virtual online English tutor. Copy and paste your text directly into a box on the site, and the program will run an impressively thorough check, finding problems that Microsoft Word would miss. It highlights errors, but instead of automatically correcting them, it first explains why the highlighted section might be incorrect – a big help for students and teachers alike, as it gives writers the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. The program then offers suggestions and alternatives, so that the student can choose the best possible option based on what they have learned. It’s a useful online support system for anyone needing help with written work.
2. Writing Prompts
Many kids struggle with ideas when it comes to writing creatively. That’s where writing prompt sites are invaluable! They are available for all age groups and ability levels: just do a quick search online, and you’ll find one that’s right for your child. These sites come in many different formats. Some provide sentences starters, some suggest titles and topics, and some give a list of words, characters, or events to include in your story. Others simply provide a series of pictures, giving kids the chance to ‘find’ stories hidden within them. Depending on the site, your child may be able to create their very own story books and print them out or email them to friends and relatives.
Encourage reluctant writers to start their very own blogs. It’s amazing what the thought of an online audience can do for motivation levels! WordPress is a popular choice among bloggers, and it’s free to sign up. Blogging is a simple way to publish your writing online. How about starting a family blog, where each member of the family can contribute their thoughts and stories? Or let your children have their own individual blogs, where you and other relatives can read what they write and encourage them by leaving comments. Don’t worry about safety – it’s possible for parents to moderate the blog, check what kids are writing about before posts go live, and manually approve comments before children are able to read them.
Many educational sites store vast selections of worksheets–often free–to help children practice writing. These range from basic letter formation (tracing and guided writing) to grammar-based exercises and essay questions. Print out as many as you like and give your kids plenty of practice at writing by hand in addition to all the typing they’re doing!
5. Graphic organizers
These useful online tools are great for kids who struggle with gathering all their ideas together, grouping them into paragraphs, and writing a story or essay that flows naturally. Graphic organizers provide a simple way for students to enter all the information they’re planning to use and plan a well-structured piece of writing. These are just a few examples–there are more online writing tools available than would be possible to list in a short post like this. Mix up your approach, take advantage of what’s available, and make writing a fun, interesting activity for kids of all ages!
Nikolas Baron discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.