How to Use This Course
The Benjamin Franklin Writing Method is a course that helps your student improve their writing skills using the same method employed by Benjamin Franklin—imitating the masters. Your student will learn to analyze good literature and apply what they learn to their own writing, focusing on the arrangement and presentation of ideas. This will help your student have a better understanding of what makes writing excellent. These lessons build on one another, so they should be studied in consecutive order. As this course does not analyze the literature and its content specifically and does not include spelling, vocabulary, or grammar, successful completion of the course will result in one-half credit in either middle school or high school. As always, please be informed of your own state’s academic requirements.
Have you ever wondered how early Americans received any sort of education when textbooks, classes, and reference books were so hard to come by? Though some had the means to enter formal schools and universities, many had to settle for a piecemeal education in unreliable country schools or a home education from parents who often had little education themselves. Yet, some of our country’s most influential figures managed to rise from the most humble of circumstances to become highly educated. One well-known example is Abraham Lincoln, who received a sporadic, minimal education, yet worked his way up to become one of America’s greatest presidents. Wealthy industrialist Henry Ford had a similar upbringing and yet grew up to create America’s automobile industry. Then there was Horace Greeley, a journalist who grew up with hardly any formal education but who became a Congressman, a co-founder of the Republican Party, one of the most influential journalists in American history, and even the founder of a Colorado town that still bears his name.
For writers, especially, Benjamin Franklin is possibly America’s most inspiring example of what one can accomplish with grit, commitment, and a few good books. Raised in a farming family with little education and no money to pay for schooling, he determined to better himself as a writer by analyzing literature that he admired, imitating it closely to practice what he learned, and then applying it to his own writing. As a result, he became one of our country’s most distinguished authors, as well as an inventor, politician, and entrepreneur.
In this 24-week course, your student will follow in Benjamin Franklin’s footsteps by borrowing his step-by-step study method to improve your writing. Each lesson will offer a different selection to study, drawn from a variety of authors and genres. I hope your family enjoys the Benjamin Franklin Writing Method!
The Denim Beret: A Writing School for Teens
Weekly lessons teach writing skills by applying the method Benjamin Franklin used to teach himself to write. Some readings will be provided; others will need to be chosen and/or obtained by the parent from your local library.
- Week One: Introduction
- Week Two: What Makes Writing Good?
- Week Three: Learning the Method, Step #1 Active Reading
- Week Four: Learning the Method, Step #2 Notetaking
- Week Five: Learning the Method, Step #3 Narration
- Week Six: Learning the Method, Step #4 Analysis
- Week Seven: Copywork, Revision, and Review
- Week Eight: Using the Method
- Week Nine: Using the Method, Content
- Week Ten: Using the Method, Language
- Week Eleven: Using the Method: Style
- Week Twelve: Using the Method: Review
- Week Thirteen: Introduction to Genre—Expository Essays
- Week Fourteen: Writing in Literary Genres Descriptive Essay
- Week Fifteen: Writing in Literary Genres Narratives
- Week Sixteen: Writing in Literary Genres—Persuasive Essays
- Week Seventeen: Writing in Literary Genres—Personal Essays
- Week Eighteen: Writing in Literary Genres
- Week Nineteen: From Imitation to Original, Part 1
- Week Twenty: From Imitation to Original, Part 2
- Week Twenty-One: From Imitation to Original, Part 3
- Week Twenty-Two: From Imitation to Original, Part 4
- Week Twenty Three: On Your Own, Part 1
- Week Twenty Four: On Your Own, Part 2
The Benjamin Franklin Writing Method may be considered a half-credit course in English/language arts for students in either junior high or high school. The course will last about six months, which is two-thirds of a traditional school year; however, the course covers composition only. It does not include spelling, vocabulary, or grammar. Literature is an integral part of the course but is only studied in short bursts for the purpose of examining the writer’s craft, not to analyze or discuss its content.