The Lost Tools of Writing: Will this class be useful for my child?

“I don’t know what to write!”
“What do you mean by elaborate? I did elaborate!”
“Writing is boring.”
“I don’t know how to start my essay.” 

Do any of these sound familiar to you? These are some of the most common complaints from students facing writing assignments. One of the greatest challenges a parent faces is getting their child to do writing assignments. While some students are naturally gifted in writing and enjoy essay assignments, many students find writing to be a boring, difficult, or even impossible task. When faced with a single-line essay question, such as, “What would our culture say about punishing someone for the actions of another?” most students are at a loss as to how to answer the question, let alone how to structure a 5-paragraph essay on the topic.

In many cases, what ends up happening is the student sits in front of a blank sheet of paper for hours thinking about how much they hate writing. Eventually, the parents will either toss out the entire assignment or end up having to write the assignment with the child. It becomes a time-hogging activity that both the parents and students increasingly wish to avoid.

Why do students have so much trouble with writing? The main reason has to do with the fact that students are no longer being taught the three tools of writing. In classical composition, these three tools are called: invention (coming up with ideas), arrangement (organizing ideas), and elocution (expressing the ideas appropriately). Almost all complaints students give about writing fall under these three areas.

The Lost Tools of Writing Levels 1 and 2 will be offered this fall. Students will learn these three tools in the first few weeks, then practice applying them to composition assignments.

Will this course teach students to write the kinds of essays that will be required for college or the SATs? Absolutely. The SATs often call for persuasive essays, in which students are asked to take a position on a specific issue and support that position. The Lost Tools of Writing Level One focuses on two types of essays: the persuasive essay. Level Two will add the deliberative essay and the judicial essay.

If your child tends to shrink away from writing assignments or sends up a volley of complaints about writing, he or she can benefit greatly from mastering these lost tools of writing.

(For more information about the class, click here.)