Homeschool Hints: Simple Steps to Writing a Basic Essay

A cheat sheet for homeschooling parents who hate writing

My approach to homeschooling is much like my approach to most things. I don’t like making things harder than they need to be. I like to keep things relaxed and as stress free as possible.homeschool-hints-how-to-write-an-essay-in-simple-steps

For parents who don’t love writing, teaching writing to your students can be a daunting task. I stumbled upon a method that worked in my homeschool and allowed me to “trick” my 5th grader into writing a very well produced essay. These steps are for introductory writing purposes – not intended for research papers or persuasive essays. For example, this guide works beautifully for an essay on Benjamin Franklin, The Spotted Seal, Canada, etc.

Follow these easy steps to help YOUR student. Use this printable as a handy reminder for your student!


Step 1

Identify the subject – Have your student determine what/who will they write about. Assist younger students in finding sources. Allow older ones to find their own. We tend to use books from the library for this – as opposed to internet/digital sources, but either work. Give them adequate time to read the material and ask you questions.

Step 2

Write 3-4 facts – Instruct your student to write 3 or 4 unrelated facts about the subject. These should be complete sentences. For a biography, childhood/heritage/reason for influence/family are good places to start.

Step 3

Write 3-4 additional sentences that support each fact – This is where the meat happens. Have your student write 3 or 4 sentences that support each of the facts given in Step 2. Each fact will become a paragraph along with the supportive statements.

Step 4

Write an introduction – Your student tells the readers what the essay about – the subject and the broad topics (Step 2) covered in the essay. Introduction is 3-4 sentences.

Step 5

Write a conclusion – Then, the student restates the introduction. Why is this subject famous/interesting/important? Conclusion should be 3-4 sentences.

Step 6

Put it all together – Beginning with the introduction, have your student assemble their finished essay. Either they write it to practice handwriting or they can type it to learn letter placement on the keyboard.

In our household, this entire process can take 2 weeks – not because it’s that much work, but because breaking it up into smaller pieces makes it less stressful as we’re establishing the skills. The first day or two are the research days. The next day is Step 2. Depending on how many facts are given in Step 2, I allot a day for each fact to write the supporting facts in Step 3. As the kids become more familiar with the process, Step 3 takes fewer days. Step 4 and 5 can be done in one day or two – depending on how stressful the process is for your student. Step 6 can be completed in one day or two, depending on the method – handwritten or typed.

This process works in our homeschool. Feel free to tweak it to work in yours. As students progress, the process will evolve and transition into MLA, APA, and other formats. We’re a “baby steps” family when it comes to new concepts because we strive to be as low stress as possible, while still challenging our kids. The result is often “tricking” our kids into learning new concepts. It’s exciting to watch a 2nd grader fully assemble an essay without tears.

What works for you? Comment below. While you’re at it, hop on over to my Facebook group “Happy, Healthy, Holy, Humorous Homes” for more tips and encouragement!homeschool-hints-how-to-write-an-essay


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