In our experience, WWE is easy to grasp, implement, and accelerate. If I were in your shoes, I would:
1. Print out the placement evaluations for WWE. Work through them with your children individually, until you have a good sense of where to begin with each student. Here is the link --
2. After you determine which level would work for each student, purchase those levels and set up your notebooks.
3. Start to work on the lessons, about three days per week, per student. Or, you might want to work two days with your youngest two, and three days with your oldest. We do alternate days for composition, because it's somewhat teacher-intensive. Take your time. Be willing to spend time on the task, but don't worry too much about the "levels." There is no rush to laying a good, solid foundation for writing.
4. Having said that, it is easy to accelerate WWE for some students. With your oldest, you might consider doubling up on lessons (e.g., Day 1 & Day 2 on the same day), or you might want to only work through the odd-numbered lessons.
5. Every now and then, you might want to change out a dictation that seems silly for something more meaningful to you. We sometimes substituted Bible verses. I would say, "Choose two verses from this chapter and I'll dictate that." If the dictations are painful for a student, you might want to guide them along differently than what is suggested in WWE. You could at times replace a dictation with typing practice. I sometimes said, "Skip the dictation and do 20 minutes of Typing Instructor."
6. One thing to keep in mind is that Level 4 is totally "optional." We own it, but we never used it, because my three girls didn't need that much WWE before they were ready to move slowly into WWS 1. What we did was stretch Levels 1 through 3 over several years. I have been very happy with the results of working at a pleasant pace through these three levels of WWE, but if I was starting with a non-remedial older student (12 and up), I'd probably just work through Level 3.
7. IMO, all of WWS 1 in one school year is too much for a 5th grader, unless you take it very slowly, really work along with the student, and sometimes break up a "day" into two or three shorter assignments. Also, we took the time to type, print, and occasionally review the reference charts -- outlines, sentence variety, topoi, time/sequence words, space/distance words, and so on. Reviewing the reference charts was helpful for both my student and for me! It helped us to see the Big Picture of WWS -- sort of like reviewing all the tools in the toolbox up to that point and how to use them.
8. WWS 1 could probably be stretched out over 5th grade (if at all then), 6th grade, and 7th grade. With my oldest student, we completed "only" the first 12 weeks of WWS 1 in 5th and the final 24 weeks of WWS 1 in 6th. However, it was plenty, and I'm probably not going to get my twins (5th graders) through more than 10 weeks of WWS 1 this year. They are fine with it, but it's just that there are two of them and one of me. I'm nearly certain we will then split the remaining WWS 1 lessons over 6th and 7th grades. It is truly "enough," especially if they are doing other writing assignments (which my girls are). No rush.
9. Having now taught once all the way through WWS 1, I think that part of the student's (and parent's) "readiness" for this level is having the emotional maturity and executive functioning to cope with multi-step, multi-day, student-directed, complex, layered assignments. It's like the difference between your child making a grilled cheese sandwich and heating up a can of clam chowder (WWE) on the one hand, or your child making cheese souffle and bouillabaisse from scratch (WWS) on the other. The skill level really is higher. The student has to keep so much more "in mind" for WWS. So... it's okay to hold off on it until the student has some tenacity, confidence, organizational skills, and fortitude.
Seriously, I am so glad that we stretched out WWE and then took WWS very, very slowly. Otherwise, there would have been more than the two meltdowns that I clearly remember having. Volcanoes! Marie Antoinette! Just kill me now....
Edited by Sahamamama2, 11 November 2017 - 10:46 PM.