So, we'll start here....
1) AVAILABILITY OF LEVEL 1. Currently we are on schedule to have the entire, proofread, typeset, finished PDF ready for sale in October 2011; and the print book for sale December 2011. (If copies are ready sooner, we'll let you know.)
In the meantime, the first seven weeks and the full table of contents are available as free PDF downloads from the Well-Trained Mind blog: http://www.welltrain...st-seven-weeks/
Further weeks, for those of you who intend to hold out for the print book, can be requested by emailing my assistant, Pattie Worth: [email protected].
It has been incredibly helpful to me to get feedback early in the process from many of you. If you feel that you can't continue without the print book, I do understand, but I hope you'll consider sticking with it and sending comments/problems/suggestions/questions to me (via Pattie).
The books will be available from Amazon about eight weeks after it is available directly from Peace Hill Press.
2) AVAILABILITY OF FUTURE LEVELS. I'm on schedule to finish one level per year. What this means is that future levels will be available in September of each succeeding year...as long as you're willing to work from manuscript/PDF copies that we send you by email until the printed books are finished.
Again, this is an invaluable part of the process for me--getting feedback from parents before the final books are printed. I had originally intended to make WWS available starting in the fall of 2012, and the Feb. 2012 pub date was so that we'd have copies for the spring curriculum fairs. However, the beta testers were SO helpful that I'd like to continue to put the program out a year earlier for feedback. The more parents and kids who use this, the more effectively I can fine-tune it.
Drawbacks: You get manuscript/PDF copies and they're not as pretty. And you have to print them yourself.
Advantages: It's free.
3) INTENDED AGE/GRADE: Writing With Skill can be begun by any student who is writing at a fifth grade level or above.
If you're coming out of Writing With Ease: Children who have finished Writing With Ease 3 and are working at about a fifth-grade level can usually skip Writing With Ease 4 and go straight into Writing With Skill. Writing With Ease 4 continues to develop skills in narration and composition and also exposes children to a wider range of prose styles--all of this helps younger students mature to the point where they're ready to begin Writing With Skill. WWS asks students to write about a wide range of topics and also demands a fair amount of self-direction and determination...which is often a matter of maturity, not skill.
If you're not sure, simply ask the student to complete Week 1 of the free PDF download (Week One: Narrative Summaries). If the student can do this without too much struggle, you can move on ahead in WWS. Deer-in-the-headlights reaction = go back and work on WWE 4 for six months and then try again.
Although this is labelled "Level 1," it is valuable as pre-rhetoric for any student who is not prepared to go directly into the rhetoric studies outlined in TWTM. Finishing the four levels of WWS will actually prepare most students to go into basic-level college composition.
3) SCOPE AND SEQUENCE. WWS is a spelled-out, detailed, week-by-week development of the writing skills that are expected of pre-rhetoric students in TWTM.
a) Writing With Skill teaches explicit skills in outlining, narrative composition, and sentence style.
b) It also teaches directly how to construct and write chronological narratives, descriptions, biographical sketches, and sequences, across the curriculum (assignments are in both humanities and sciences).
c) WWS teaches explicitly how to write brief literary reactions to both short stories and prose.
d) WWS teaches basic research skills, documentation, and definition/avoidance of plagiarism.
e) WWS teaches students to combine the four elements of (b) into longer compositions.
WWS does NOT teach grammar explicitly; our assumption is that you will use it with a separate grammar program.
4) HOW TO USE IT. WWS consists of two books, the Student Workbook and the Instructor Guide. You need both of them. (For some reason, Amazon has the Student Workbook listed as an alternate "format" for the Instructor Guide. We're trying to get this fixed, but they're not WAY responsive, in case you hadn't noticed.)
The program is directed AT the student; by this point, students should be taking on more of the responsibility for their own writing (since, after all, writing is a self-directed activity). The Instructor Guide provides you with suggested answers and rubrics for each step, plus detailed guidance in how to teach the student skills that he or she may struggle with.
Incidentally, if you want the print book before February you can call PHP and pre-order it now by calling the PHP office. Order before Dec. 1 and we'll give you a 10% discount plus free shipping on those two books.
Another post about Advanced Language Lessons coming shortly.
Edited by Susan Wise Bauer, 19 August 2011 - 02:55 PM.