As a homeschool mom I am continually on the lookout for ways to encourage my children in their writing.  I want them to enjoy the process and feel proud of what they have accomplished.  I am eager to learn ways to improve my own writing as well and love to learn alongside my children.  I was excited to be given the opportunity by Timberdoodle to review Wordsmithy, Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson.



Wordsmithy is an easy and enjoyable 120 page read written in 2011 by Douglas Wilson. Wordsmithy is not another boring book on grammar and writing style but a guide on how to become a better writer by implementing strategies in your life to help you become a better writer even before you even start.   The book contains 7 chapters.  In the introduction you will learn the 7 main points to be covered in this book-

  1. Know Something about the World
  2. Read
  3. Read Mechanical Helps
  4. Stretch Before Routines
  5. Be at Peace with being Lousy for Awhile
  6. Learn Other Languages
  7. Keep a Commonplace Book

In each of the 7 chapters he expands on each of the points listed above, giving 7 more points on each.  Recommended reading on each of the points is given throughout the book, not only for each point but at the end of chapters as well.  This book would be great for your homeschool high school student.

How we used this Book

For Students that do not like Writing:

I hate to admit this but, my 2 boys that I am currently teaching do not like writing.  (ages 13 & 16)    How I planned to use this book was to read this book out loud to my boys and we would all learn and be encouraged together.  As soon as they learned it was about writing and written to those who are looking to improve their writing, they resisted. They simply do not see themselves as writers and didn’t see the need to pursue it any further.   After reading the introduction and the first chapter, I found I was enjoying it myself and realized it would be futile to make them listen to it.  So, I finished the book myself in the next few days.  I plan to implement what I learned in Wordsmithy to help my boys become better writers without them even realizing it, encouraging them to pursue the points covered in this book.  This will be very easy to do now that I know what my boys need to become better writers, even if they don’t see themselves as writers in the future.

For Students that like Writing and Desire to Improve:

This book should definitely be a part of the curriculum for students that enjoy writing and seek to improve.  I can see them gobbling this book up in an afternoon and setting about implementing the 7 points immediately, looking forward to reading all the books that are recommended to further their writing skills.

My Thoughts

First I like how the book is put together making it an easy reference manual for the future.  The introduction had me interested in finding out how I can implement these 7 points in my writing life. Which kept me turning the pages to learn more. What I learned in each point made me want to learn even more and the recommended reading section at the end of each point offered just what I was looking for.  I am planning to keep the book around as a handy reference and read many of the books recommended throughout.

Douglas Wilson gives ideas to improve mine and my children’s writing that makes sense.  Giving analogies with his ideas in a witty and very readable way that keeps you interested.   I began to understand that many of the things I encourage my children to do and the things I teach them effect their writing without us even realizing it.  His points began empowering and encouraging me by letting me know that I am helping them in more ways than I realized.  While finding out I am doing some things right, I also learned of new ideas to help them in ways I might not have thought of or even knew would be useful.

I found Wordsmithy to be very helpful to me as a homeshool teacher.  I plan to use it as a reference for years to come.    I found ways in this book to help my kids become better future writers.  The way it looks right now, they may not be writing a novel someday, but who knows, this could change at any moment and I will know I did my best, helping them to lay a solid foundation.

I would love to see more quality Christian literature in the world and Douglas Wilson is equipping young Christian writers with what they need to succeed in his book Wordsmithy Hot Tips for the Writing Life.



Timberdoodle has been one of my favorite places to shop for our homeschool since the beginning.  They make education fun and I have often wished I could buy everything they offer.  They also have Curriculum Kits for each grade level making it easy for you to decide what would work best for your children at their level.  Wordsmithy can be found in the 11th Grade 2016 Timberdoodle Curriculum Kit.  You will want to go and check out what else they have to offer for your student.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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