Mom-to-Mom Support/How do I correct my children’s writing assignments?

How do I correct my children’s writing assignments?


I’m having problems knowing how to correct my children’s writing assignments, do you have any tips? I don’t want to expect too much from them, but I don’t want to be too easy either. Please help!

Dear Parent,

Writing involves different elements, such as grammar, spelling, following directions, clarity, and style. Children just beginning to write (regardless of their age) need more encouragement than correction. Point out what the child did well. For example, did she follow the directions, did she spell several words correctly, and did she use any punctuation that she has been taught in previous lessons?

As a general guideline, make minimal, consistent corrections for ages 5 to 9. That is, mark only errors that the child should have been able to avoid or that the child has recently learned. (Mistaking a “d” for a “b” and vice versa is one error you want to correct at this age). Make sure the directions were followed. Ages 10 to 14 need a more careful proofreading, but limit the marking of errors to no more than 3 per page. Otherwise, the number of mistakes becomes overwhelming, and the child will not be able to focus on learning from his mistakes.

Draw their attention to clarity. Ask them to rewrite vague or unclear sentences. Ages 15 and up still need encouragement, but now is the time for very careful proofreading and mandatory revisions for any errors. Students at this age should become used to rewriting their work for clarity, grammar, and spelling.

Never use a red pen to correct your child’s writing. Red has an angry feel to it. Try blue, green, or purple ink. These colors are less intimidating.

Sandra Garant

About Sandra Garant

Sandra Garant is a veteran homeschooling mom, certified teacher, writer, attorney, and administrative law judge. She taught her three children at home until they were ready for college. She tutored students in writing for many years and is the author of Language of God, Level F and Language of God, Level G.