If you’ve been working on the assignment I gave you last month, you’ve thought of one or more good ideas that you want to write about. Now let’s get in to the meat of how to make this a course that kids can enjoy.
You’re going to need three main pieces to your course:
- The basic text the students will read
- The activities that will go along with the text
- Assignments for further exploration
The first question to answer about your text is what age you are writing for. This can be a range, but it’s important to know your reader, just as it is when writing fiction. Not only will it make a difference in your word choice and sentence structure, it will play a huge part in exactly what specific topics you can cover. For example, if you are writing about plants for a child who is six, you are probably not going to spend a week discussing photosynthesis. You are going to discuss things like the types of common plants they see every day, what shape they are, how they grow from a seed, and things relevant to the world of the reader.
Once you know the age of your reader, you can start planning your main content. I’m an outliner, so I like to lay everything out ahead of time and then fill it in. If you prefer just sitting down and writing what comes out, please skip over this section and get busy writing. Let’s say I want to write about the geography of the United States. Two ways to outline this topic come to mind:
- By region
- By state
If I choose to outline it by region, I’ll have five divisions (depending on what map I consult): Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West. If I choose to outline it by state, I’ll have fifty separate sections.
If this is your first time creating a course, I strongly suggest you start with the five divisions instead of the fifty. Otherwise, you may find yourself planning for the fifty, starting strong, and wondering what you were ever thinking right around number seventeen!
This month, I want you to outline how your main idea might break down into units and then write. Don’t worry right now about what form the course will take in the end, or what kind of activities you will create—though certainly make note of any ideas you have about those as you go. Write as much as you can, and include as much information as you can. Keep track of the sources you use to gather and verify your information. Your job this month is not to write a polished piece of content. Your job is to learn as much as you can about your idea, divide it into logical chunks, and write as much as you can about. Next month we’ll start turning it into a course.
If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comment box below. I look forward to seeing you in April!
Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.