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The Writer's Jungle - Pros and Cons?

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#1 swimmermom3

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 01:07 PM

If you are using The Writer's Jungle, how are you using it? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?

#2 MerryAtHope

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 01:46 PM

If you are using The Writer's Jungle, how are you using it? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?


Pros:
It teaches the parent how to teach writing

It teaches you the different stages that child-writers go through and how to help your child transition from one to another (this is something that doesn't seem to be in most writing curriculum & which we found very helpful).

It gives you several different ways to approach writing that your kids can try.

It has information that can help you decide whether your child will be able to learn spelling from copywork and dictation, or whether you will need a formal spelling curriculum (this was very helpful, with her guidelines I was able to decide that my kids needed a spelling curric. Her recommendation of Spelling Power didn't work for us though!)

It teaches writing in a style that won't sound stilted.

Awesome quotes from a number of professional writers about writing.

Examples and quotes from moms and student writing.

Tells you how to take a bad assignment topic and turn it into a better one.

Can be used alone for those who want to make up their own curriculum (there are 4 years worth of ideas in the appendix), or along with another curriculum.


Cons:
No specific assignments/schedules (although it does have exercises to try with your kids). If you need these, you will need something else in addition to TWJ. Her solutions for these--the Bravewriter Lifestyle emails and/or The Arrow didn't work out so well for us.

Cost--it's a great resource, and reflective of her years of research and work and education and experience--but in the end it's a book in a binder, and $100 is a lot for that kind of product. However, she offers free boards and is very helpful and accessible, and that, I'm sure, is reflected in the cost. OTOH, if you compare to IEW, it could be seen as economical. Even compared to some 1-year Instructor Guide/Manuals, I suppose it's economical. I waver on this one sometimes! Overall, I'm glad I have it.

My kids ended up needing more than a natural approach to LA, and while her book helped me see the need for that in spelling, I didn't see what they needed as quickly in things like language mechanics. We played catch-up in that area this year and made up a lot of ground.

Overall it's been a very helpful resource that I learned a lot from.

HTH! Merry :-)

#3 swimmermom3

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:11 PM

Merry,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and helpful response. One afternoon a couple of months ago I had the dc set aside their IEW. I pulled out a couple of my adult writing books written by professional writers. I let my dc choose any assignment they wanted to do. I was blown away by the results. They were different and so much more interesting and creative than the "school" writing. The dc begged to do it again. However, I put those books away because they weren't a curriculum.:001_huh:

The Writer's Jungle appeals to me because Julie Bogart seems to approach writing more as a professional and not just a teacher. I've stayed up late into the night reading the material.

I am puzzled by the very thing you mentioned:

No specific assignments/schedules (although it does have exercises to try with your kids). If you need these, you will need something else in addition to TWJ. Her solutions for these--the Bravewriter Lifestyle emails and/or The Arrow didn't work out so well for us.


I am still of the mindset that I want the majority of our writing to do double duty in other subjects with some fun writing thrown in. How did you schedule writing? If you don't mind my asking:D

#4 siloam

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 03:16 PM

JW totally shifted how I think about writing, for that I love it. Though the lack of a schedule is why I sold it. There was about 4 years in between buying it and selling it, and I read it a couple times. To do it over again I would still buy it.

Heather


#5 Balancing

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:44 PM

Merry,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and helpful response. One afternoon a couple of months ago I had the dc set aside their IEW. I pulled out a couple of my adult writing books written by professional writers. I let my dc choose any assignment they wanted to do. I was blown away by the results. They were different and so much more interesting and creative than the "school" writing. The dc begged to do it again. However, I put those books away because they weren't a curriculum.:001_huh:


May I ask what are the titles of the adult writing books that you mentioned? It sounds like these would be a great resources.

#6 MerryAtHope

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:47 PM

I am puzzled by the very thing you mentioned:

I am still of the mindset that I want the majority of our writing to do double duty in other subjects with some fun writing thrown in. How did you schedule writing? If you don't mind my asking:D


I have tried different things, and I sometimes do the double duty thing too. Usually I use another program and modify the assignments, and sometimes replace one with my own. I used Serl's in 2nd-4th grades for my oldest, then SL LA for my kids in 5th & 3rd grades. This year I tried the Arrow and the bravewriter lifestyle and didn't care for it. We also used Spectrum LA. Sometimes I threw in my own assignments, mainly this year we ended up with copywork and Spectrum (plus spelling which included dictation), and not a lot of writing. I just don't seem to do well when I try to schedule it on my own--if I'm not feeling the greatest or we have a rough day or whatever, it seems like writing is the first thing to go. I do better with a program and then tweaking or changing up assignments, I'm more consistent then!

Next year I'm using Jump In, along with some Karen Andreola Story Starters for fun.

Merry :-)

#7 swimmermom3

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:39 PM

May I ask what are the titles of the adult writing books that you mentioned? It sounds like these would be a great resources.


I use Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg (very adult). Favorite exercise for kids, "Be An Animal".

Annie Lamott discusses " Getting Started", "Short Assignments", "**itty First Drafts, "Character" and "Plot" in Bird by Bird. I obviously translate some of this for my kids. My favorite piece of advice from Lamott comes from the title of the book. Her brother had a report on birds due the next day. He had 3 weeks to write it and hadn't even started. Lamott's brother was immobilized by the task. (Know any kid like this?) Their father told his son, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird." This is one rule of writing my dc remember:D

Several of our Free Write exercises come from Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg. My older ds' (14) favorite exercise is "When is It Clean?" He wrote about my standards of a clean bathroom vs. his standards :tongue_smilie: The younger one chose to write about "Collections". He picked his 8 favorite rocks and described them. That description went on to become part of an hilarious dialogue for a short story he was writing.

Please understand that these are adult writing books and my dc listen to NPR. Check them out from your local library.

#8 Balancing

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:47 PM

Please understand that these are adult writing books and my dc listen to NPR. Check them out from your local library.


Thank you Lisa! I am not a writer, so I feel that if I learn to write a little myself, that I will be better equiped to help my dd.

#9 Kareni

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 05:18 PM

I use Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg ...

Bird by Bird. ...

Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg.


Thanks for sharing these titles, swimmermom3!

Regards,
Kareni


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