Update: I realized this morning that I haven't mentioned the resource I am using to guide the workshop. It is The Writer's Jungle by Julie Bogart.
Yesterday I gave the girls a choice of which freewrite they wanted to focus and expand.
We are getting into a regular habit of freewriting for ten minutes at the beginning of the hour, and using the rest of the hour to work on existing compositions they want to improve. I let them pick from a list they made at the beginning of the week, or give them the option of taking my suggestion. I think once we start back in the fall, I will have a day of freewriting for each of the subjects: History/Geography, Science/Nature, Fine Arts, Literature/Poetry, and Bible. They will have the option of journaling instead, and I'll have them make lists of things they know about in each subject, in order to have something to choose from. But they will have to write consistently in all the subjects as well as journaling. (I think I'll have to have a little chart to keep track of it. Oh joy! I get to make a little chart. I love little charts. They make you look so productive.)
Why am I spending time on writing in the summer, you ask? Well, I have really been a meanie about writing skills this year. I want to repair writer/instructor relationships and build an atmosphere of acceptance and goodwill around the writing workshop while I am in summer mode, so the kids will already be comfortable with it come fall.
And they are enjoying it, I think. Mariel is revising a report about hobbits, and Triss is working on a description of dragons. These are their own topics. I would be stressing out about them neglecting to write on historic figures or scientific processes if it were the school time. They have always resisted revisions, but they are now voluntarily researching and spending time every day rewriting compositions, and they look forward to the writing workshop every day. They are receptive to my ideas, and I think this will carry over into the writing on school subjects. I have got something here, I can feel it.
Writers are funny creatures. They have put some of themselves on paper and it hurts when you poke it wrong. I'm learning to poke properly, so my writers will come out and play with words and grow stronger.