As I've mentioned, WriteShop is my wonderful sponsor for The 2:1 Conference. I've got a lot of great stuff to share with you today in this blog post so please read it all the way through! :) First up, I did an interview with a super nice lady - Kim Kautzer, the creative director at WriteShop!
Hi Kim! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and your love of writing?
Thanks so much for having me, Shay!
My husband Jim and I have been married 36 years. We raised our three children here in Southern California, where we began homeschooling in 1988 (our youngest graduated in 2003). Now they're all grown up and married, and we're blessed with seven grandchildren ages newborn to almost 12.
As the creative director at WriteShop, I oversee all our writing projects. That means I spend my days with bum glued to chair, fingers poised over keys, and eyes fixed on a screen. When the opportunity strikes, I bake, read, and hang out with my crazy-pickle grandkids. I really should exercise...but I don't. I'm still trying to figure out Twitter. And I'm the only one in my family who doesn't like coffee, no matter how good it smells or how much you try to disguise it in those fancy caramel frappamajiggies. English breakfast tea, anyone?
As a child, I always loved writing. It came easily for me, though I'm grateful for several teachers who especially nurtured that gift. I journaled often, wrote tons of letters to friends and grandparents, and was fond of writing poetry. Today, my writing is very different. I write to educate, so my blog and other writing projects are mostly expository. While I enjoy it, I do miss having the time to write for sheer pleasure.
How did the creation of WriteShop come about?
It became clear early on that our son learned differently from his sisters. While they were voracious readers who loved to write, Ben didn't read till age 7, couldn't read chapter books till he was 11, and dictated most of his "writing" to me because it was such a struggle to put pencil to paper.
In 1997, after teaching "fun" homeschool classes like geography, art, and California history, my friend Debbie and I decided it was time to really concentrate on our 12-year-old boys' dismal writing skills, so we offered a writing class for middle schoolers. Our first meeting was a disaster—none of the students could write a decent paragraph. It was too late to bail, so we had to come up with something! That's when we started writing our own lessons—and student writing began to blossom! Eventually, we stepped out in faith and published WriteShop I and II.
Years later, God brought the amazing Nancy Sanders into our lives. Nancy is the author of our younger levels, WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior.
What makes WriteShop different from other writing programs?
Writing is a partnership between parent and child, yet most parents confess they don't know how to teach writing. WriteShop equips parents so everyone feels successful.
Especially at the elementary levels, fun is the order of the day!
WriteShop includes engaging activities, brainstorming worksheets, and impressive projects that equip kids to become confident writers. I love that they can learn creatively and have a blast doing so! What better way to learn a new skill or tool than with a non-threatening writing game? Even our older levels incorporate a measure of fun through various activities.
WriteShop's emphasis on editing is one of our greatest strengths. Editing is a battleground in most homes, but armed with self-editing tools and checklists, kids can approach their papers with a real sense of purpose. I think they’re surprised to discover that editing can actually be fun! Parent consistency during the editing stage goes a long way toward building trust. For teens, both the student and parent checklists hold students accountable to meet lesson expectations. Because the checklists are objective, they keep emotional battles and power struggles at bay.
What is your favorite WriteShop product? If you can narrow it down to one! :)
Wow! Only one? Since you’re forcing me to choose, I'd have to say WriteShop Junior. It wins parents and kids over with a fun assortment of writing genres, games, and powerful brainstorming and editing tools. Plus, I absolutely love the Fold-N-Go Grammar component!
Do you have a favorite genre of writing?
I'm especially fond of reading rich, descriptive historical fiction. As far as my own writing goes, it's mostly expository, which I really enjoy, but I wish I also had time for a personal blog. Someday...
What do you feel is the hardest part of the writing process?
Editing and revising, hands down! For one thing, most parents don't have a clue how to edit or grade their children's writing. Meanwhile, the kids think their writing is perfect just the way it is and don't want to make changes. Their writing is so much a part of them that they feel picked on or rejected at the slightest suggestion for improvement. That's why so many writing projects never make it past the first draft. It's also why parents appreciate WriteShop’s unique approach to teaching editing skills.
What advice do you have for homeschooling moms?
At every age, your children need your involvement in the writing process, not just to give editing feedback, but to instruct, guide, prompt, and model. Whether teaching them to make a bed, knit a scarf, or write a narrative, it's important to remain involved until they're confident and successful. So stay connected. It's crucial to your child's writing success!
Anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you for having me as a guest. I've enjoyed sharing with your readers!
A big thank you to Kim for sharing with us! If you're interested in hearing more from Kim or learning more about WriteShop, check out the WriteShop blog, In Our Write Minds and the WriteShop Facebook page!
Facebook event to see the whole list of goodies!
The party is going to be held a week from today - Tuesday April 17th at 9 PM (EST) on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #WriteShopParty and (optionally) the hosts (@WriteShop, @Bowmania, @SpellOutLoud, & @mrsaddison) to make sure you don't miss out on the fun. You can also enter below to win a pre-party prize - your choice of WriteShop Book A, B, or C!
And of course, what would a party be without favors?! Here's a fun writing prompt ~ you can check out the four blogs listed below to collect them all!
Visit the other #WriteShopParty coordinators party posts for party favors, reviews & more!
www.wonderfullychaotic.com --> You're currently here!
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