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#1 blondeviolin

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 06:07 PM

My oldest (11.5) is working through WWS.  She is a good little writer who has written many summaries/papers on topics of her choice.  All of a sudden WWS is producing tears.  I don't believe it's because the work is hard.  I believe it's because the topoi assigns the topic and she finds them rather boring or she feels constricted by the assignment (include 6-8 plays, date some of them, read this essay for more background information, etc).  She wants to free-write, which is not an option ATM.  I feel like it's time for her to grow with her writing, especially since she's expressed interest in becoming a writer.  She writes little stories and creative pieces regularly.  The expository focus in WWS is killing it for her, I think.  HOWEVER, I think it's important for her to learn expository writing and to give some more direction to her assignments.  And I think there is something to be said about pushing through a program and growth through hard things.

 

The only time we have moaning is during topoi assignments.  Today it was on lesson 20 where the student is supposed to write on Shakespeare.  She did the chronological narrative piece fine.  She decided which style she'd follow.  But then she got upset because she was just listing plays and I pointed out that just a list of comedies does not a paragraph make and it's rather boring to boot.  Come to find out, she didn't read the corresponding essay giving information about the plays.  And I even read through the instructions with her.  

 

So I think she just wants to be lazy.  Or not work.  I asked her if it was too hard.  She said no.  I asked her why she was falling apart about it.  She said it was because it was boring and she didn't want to write about it; she wants to pick her topic.  I told her that she doesn't always get to pick the topic and she needs to learn to write more than fiction stories.  

 

So... Am I being too picky here?  Should I let her do the easy W&R?  Should I have her stick with WWS?  She is on week 20, which is basically halfway through.  (And it didn't get suddenly difficult.  She just feels drudgery with the topics, I think.)



#2 SusanC

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 06:28 PM

Perhaps a compromise? 1 week creative, 2 weeks wws? This is not the kind of problem we have, so I don't have any BTDT advice. The back and forth is what got us through WWE 4 and some self-devised creative writing a few years ago.

ETA I offer this idea in part because at the slow pace we are progressing here, I expect the 3 WWS books will take us 4 years to complete, so I'm already at peace with that notion.

Edited by SusanC, 17 January 2018 - 06:29 PM.


#3 RootAnn

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 06:28 PM

If she can find another topic and can find the info to match the assignment, I'd let her switch topics. But, it isn't easy to find the things you need for every assignment. (She will have to look and plan ahead. If she doesn't have the material ready to go, it means she does the WWS assignment as is.)

#4 PeachyDoodle

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 06:45 PM

It does, IMO, get a lot easier to substitute topics once you get into WWS 2 and it starts to build on the topoi already introduced. So there's that, if you can get there.

 

I just had a thread about creative writing myself, because I also have a creative writer. I've been lucky that she's easy to please and plows through pretty much whatever I give her, but I do think in hindsight something a little less detailed than WWS might have worked better for her. But I also needed a scope and sequence that made sense to me, so I could teach it. And in some ways academic and creative writing require very different approaches, and I think WWS does a great job of teaching how to break an assignment apart and tackle it systematically. That especially has been helpful for my free-spirit writer.

 

I don't think it would be the end of the world to switch to something else, but also not a bad thing to make her stick it out. You're right that assignments are not always what we want them to be and sometimes we have to work with what we've got. It might help for her to know that it does get more interesting/flexible down the line if you decide to persevere. A compromise, as someone else suggested, might help the medicine go down more easily too.


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#5 JNDodge

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 12:30 PM

You are not being picky or unreasonable at all. I agree with the concept of a compromise, however. WWS's "weeks" ar four days, correct? On day five, say Friday, she could do creative writing. As it is intended to be used in just this manner, perhaps you might consider using The Creative Writer series.

If your daughter sees that "carrot" out in front of her, she may be more willing to do the harder/less fun work to gain that reward. Among the many benefits that stick-to-it-ivity inevitablely brings is that particular feeling of satisfaction that only comes upon reaching a goal, whether great or small. Alternatively, you could even stick her creative writing day in the middle on Wednesday as a leaven in the lump of expository. 😊

I hope things go well for both of you!

Edited by JNDodge, 18 January 2018 - 12:31 PM.

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#6 ScoutTN

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 06:05 PM

I have a 12 yo doing WWS 1 who strongly prefers writing fiction. One thing that has helped is to take a break from the more tedious lessons and do the parts on literary analysis and poetry. We have not found that doing them out of order is difficult or problematic at all.

Also, I do make sure she has free time to write stories and poems. She has entered some contests and that had been fun. Does your dc like Cricket magazine? Has she attempted NaNoWriMo?

Edited by ScoutTN, 18 January 2018 - 06:11 PM.

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#7 blondeviolin

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:34 AM

I have a 12 yo doing WWS 1 who strongly prefers writing fiction. One thing that has helped is to take a break from the more tedious lessons and do the parts on literary analysis and poetry. We have not found that doing them out of order is difficult or problematic at all.

Also, I do make sure she has free time to write stories and poems. She has entered some contests and that had been fun. Does your dc like Cricket magazine? Has she attempted NaNoWriMo?



I haven't looked at Cricket. And I've not don NaNoWriMo with her because she never finishes any story she starts. And I'd have to hold her hand through it all...

#8 ScoutTN

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 08:22 AM

I haven't looked at Cricket. And I've not don NaNoWriMo with her because she never finishes any story she starts. And I'd have to hold her hand through it all...


:)

#9 SanDiegoMom in VA

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 06:39 PM

We use WWS - I love it, the structure, the feeling that yes, we are getting everything we need covered. And yet... if we were to actually do all of it on the standard time frame, I would have a mutiny. My kids need variety. So we do it for a few weeks, and then go away and write a blog. Come back for more, then go away and work on a brochure or a presentation. And while we are doing it, I modify. I don't force my ds to come up with a metaphor in one essay (he writes beautifully but metaphors stress him to no end). I let my dd use an informal tone and first person sometimes. When doing one of the biographical sketches I had them pretend they were spies trying to make a file on someone and it had to include certain information. For the Shakespeare assignment I'm pretty sure I modified that a little because I remember my son saying it was just turning out to be a laundry list of plays. And I don't do every assignment - near the end of the book the photocopied resources were so tiny my daughter was in tears trying to read them. So we got our own resources or skipped that one. So if you like it overall just throw in some creative writing or other types of writing when relief is needed. We used a book called Unjournaling and sometimes Kilgallon when we needed a break.
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#10 Sahamamama2

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 11:57 PM

A few thoughts on...

 

1. Eleven Year Old Girls: Three girls here (11, 11, 13), and perhaps some of the emotion is linked to the age? Seriously, there is something about being 11 (or so) and female that seems to create a wobbly-ness, even in areas that have previously been non-emotional. We get this here, too. My oldest has mostly worked through it, my twins are still in the thick of things. I think we'll work through the assignments, regardless, because somehow doing the work has contributed to their maturity.

 

2. Writing with Skill: We half-pace it, and sometimes even then... well, we just break down assignments into reasonable chunks, do that, and then call it a day. On the other hand, there are times when I sense some dawdling, and then I simply say, "Keep working on it, Honey." ;) Oldest daughter still needs to work on increasing her speed on sections of assignments -- The Perfectionist. Could this be at play with your oldest, also? They do tend to be perfectionists, right? I tell her, "Just SLAM IT OUT this time, it doesn't need to be perfect. It's just NOTES!" Plodding through while increasing speed/output is a work in progress. I do think she'll become more proficient over time, and that, in itself, will help with the boredom. FWIW, we don't change the assignments or topics, but we do change the "Week/Day" part of it. That is to say, we go at the pace that works for each student, and I guess it's just up to me as the mom/teacher to decide when to push or when to call it enough. But, hey, we did get all the way through WWS 1 and well into WWS 2 (with oldest), so plodding through does work.

 

3. Reviewing Topoi: What we ended up doing was to type out (in a word processor) all the reference charts (time/sequence, space/distance, point of view, topoi, copia, etc.) in the appendices, and then put them in a folder and REVIEW. So my students have to pull out the relevant chart(s) and really review them before starting the assignment. It helps that we printed all the charts on different colors of paper, so the students know exactly which charts to pull. They've gotten used to starting with the charts, reviewing those, and then starting the assignment.

 

4. Scaffolding Assignments: This just basically means teaching the student to pull out for herself the assignment instructions the SWB has put into the text. We sometimes will read together the actual assignments, and highlight the main instructions. Then we re-write the assignments into a concise, bullet-point list, so the student can see at a glance the basic expectations. This is not a criticism of the course, but SWB's instructions can tend to get a bit wordy and overwhelming. I think the student benefits from help in learning to pull out the 1-2-3 "to do" list from the bulky instructions. Also, I might say, "Work up to the end of Step Two, then see me," even if the text doesn't tell her that. It's easy enough to check in, and then move the student along. Or, if she's exhausted from Steps One and Two, I'll call it enough for that day. Give yourself checkpoints, so you can assess where she's at before there's a meltdown.

 

5. Sustaining Composition Hugs: There is no other subject in our household that requires hugs more than composition. I don't believe this is a fault of WWS, but is rather the nature of the beast. Writing demands more independence from our students; it is really a product of what they can do on their own. It requires clear thinking, organizing ideas, finding a voice, using new tools, juggling multiple details, and it's just so challenging, even for "good writers." I consider all three of my girls "good writers," and yet they are stretched by WWS in ways that other subjects don't stretch them. Hugs help them to regain that sense of "all is well." At our house, hugs help.

 

HTH. Hang in there! :)

 

 


Edited by Sahamamama2, 26 January 2018 - 12:00 AM.

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#11 LindaOz

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 08:01 PM

I haven't read the replies so I'm sorry if I'm repeating what is already said.

I have some kids that are natural writers too, and what I have always found to work well is to have some days designated as 'writing assignment' days and some days for free writing. We did Monday, Wednesday, Friday for assignment or program, and Tues/Thurs for free writing. This gave them opportunity to express and write their own topics etc while still advancing in other areas as well. My 15yo still functions this way and has recently written a 60,000 word story.

Just my thoughts...

Edited by LindaOz, 26 January 2018 - 08:01 PM.


#12 blondeviolin

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 01:30 AM

A few thoughts on...

1. Eleven Year Old Girls: Three girls here (11, 11, 13), and perhaps some of the emotion is linked to the age? Seriously, there is something about being 11 (or so) and female that seems to create a wobbly-ness, even in areas that have previously been non-emotional. We get this here, too. My oldest has mostly worked through it, my twins are still in the thick of things. I think we'll work through the assignments, regardless, because somehow doing the work has contributed to their maturity.

2. Writing with Skill: We half-pace it, and sometimes even then... well, we just break down assignments into reasonable chunks, do that, and then call it a day. On the other hand, there are times when I sense some dawdling, and then I simply say, "Keep working on it, Honey." ;) Oldest daughter still needs to work on increasing her speed on sections of assignments -- The Perfectionist. Could this be at play with your oldest, also? They do tend to be perfectionists, right? I tell her, "Just SLAM IT OUT this time, it doesn't need to be perfect. It's just NOTES!" Plodding through while increasing speed/output is a work in progress. I do think she'll become more proficient over time, and that, in itself, will help with the boredom. FWIW, we don't change the assignments or topics, but we do change the "Week/Day" part of it. That is to say, we go at the pace that works for each student, and I guess it's just up to me as the mom/teacher to decide when to push or when to call it enough. But, hey, we did get all the way through WWS 1 and well into WWS 2 (with oldest), so plodding through does work.

3. Reviewing Topoi: What we ended up doing was to type out (in a word processor) all the reference charts (time/sequence, space/distance, point of view, topoi, copia, etc.) in the appendices, and then put them in a folder and REVIEW. So my students have to pull out the relevant chart(s) and really review them before starting the assignment. It helps that we printed all the charts on different colors of paper, so the students know exactly which charts to pull. They've gotten used to starting with the charts, reviewing those, and then starting the assignment.

4. Scaffolding Assignments: This just basically means teaching the student to pull out for herself the assignment instructions the SWB has put into the text. We sometimes will read together the actual assignments, and highlight the main instructions. Then we re-write the assignments into a concise, bullet-point list, so the student can see at a glance the basic expectations. This is not a criticism of the course, but SWB's instructions can tend to get a bit wordy and overwhelming. I think the student benefits from help in learning to pull out the 1-2-3 "to do" list from the bulky instructions. Also, I might say, "Work up to the end of Step Two, then see me," even if the text doesn't tell her that. It's easy enough to check in, and then move the student along. Or, if she's exhausted from Steps One and Two, I'll call it enough for that day. Give yourself checkpoints, so you can assess where she's at before there's a meltdown.

5. Sustaining Composition Hugs: There is no other subject in our household that requires hugs more than composition. I don't believe this is a fault of WWS, but is rather the nature of the beast. Writing demands more independence from our students; it is really a product of what they can do on their own. It requires clear thinking, organizing ideas, finding a voice, using new tools, juggling multiple details, and it's just so challenging, even for "good writers." I consider all three of my girls "good writers," and yet they are stretched by WWS in ways that other subjects don't stretch them. Hugs help them to regain that sense of "all is well." At our house, hugs help.

HTH. Hang in there! :)


This is so helpful! I do think some of the near-tears is age/life.

I am working on scaffolding the assignments more. She can do some of them independently, but NOT the composition says. I also adjusted her schedule to give her a full hour of writing.

So you printed out all of the sheets they are supposed to copy/create rather than having th copy them down? I wonder... also, my OCD gets a twinge when she copies the charts. 😜

FWIW, she had absolutely NO PROBLEM constructing the science sequence about stars this week. At all. Six paragraphs, include descriptions, etc. Done. I could've never guessed it would have been that way.

Edited by blondeviolin, 27 January 2018 - 01:30 AM.

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#13 AdventuresinHomeschooling

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 02:54 PM

My son struggles with some assigned topics in a different curriculum.  Same age.  He is definitely more of a creative writer.  I do compromise on the topic sometimes as long as he doesn't spend all day in research.  Lately, I have given him a choice between three topics I know closely mirror the assignment and have plenty of research.  This way he has a choice, and I am still pleased in the final product.  Sometimes, I modify the assignment to correlate with history or science.  We also take a break on days it gets to be too much.  I have also started letting him type his papers, which makes a HUGE difference in his tiring quickly and trying to write the shortest paper possible.  Now he takes more pride in his work.  

 

You are right to say she has to finish something hard sometimes.  You are right to require a high standard.  However, I have learned to force those on the most important standards that I truly care about.  They HAVE to learn expository writing for academic success.  I choose some of my other battles more carefully.  Alternating between expository and creative is a good compromise too.  Evaluate what are the most important standards to require, and then you will know what you are comfortable modifying.



#14 PeterPan

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 03:26 PM

Fwiw, WWS is an executive function nightmare. I went through every lesson, highlighting what my very ADHD dd needed to get from it, and I wrote notes in the margins to make sure expectations were very clear. Also, it's a soul-less endeavor, with no attempt even at audience. Think about that. How is a person of whit, someone who has something to say, going to write for the expected audience WITH NO AUDIENCE??? Only an academic would think a task given in isolation could be satisfying. For highly creative kids (hello, all that fiction writing your dd does), they need audience, a reason.

 

I would assume her complaints of boredom are because it's hard and give her more structure and a reason to write. Your comment that she doesn't finish writings she starts is a pretty good clue she could use more EF (executive function) supports. WWS is highly structured, but there was no attempt to bring that out. The theory seems to be that the struggle is worth something. Fine, but there are other pedagogy theories. By using it already highlighted, my dd figured out what she SHOULD be noticing when she reads instructions. It was HUGELY instructive to her. Rather than undermining, it actually taught her how to do it for herself. 

 

For a reason to do the writing, yeah, sigh. My most famous one, and this was way before the elections btw, was me telling her to channel Trump (who was on the Apprentice then?) and castigate the guy and tell why he should be fired.  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  So yeah, look for a reason, WHY someone would do that writing, a new setting, something more creative, something to give it an audience. There were descriptive pieces, and those could go into a powerpoint or be the narrative for a video or a travel brochure. Get out of the box. It CAN be real writing with an audience and a reason if you let it.

 

We alternated WWS with some of the Creative Writer books, etc. It was pragmatic and useful but I won't say she loved it. 



#15 Sahamamama2

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 10:22 PM

This is so helpful! I do think some of the near-tears is age/life.

I am working on scaffolding the assignments more. She can do some of them independently, but NOT the composition says. I also adjusted her schedule to give her a full hour of writing.

So you printed out all of the sheets they are supposed to copy/create rather than having them copy them down? I wonder... also, my OCD gets a twinge when she copies the charts. 😜

FWIW, she had absolutely NO PROBLEM constructing the science sequence about stars this week. At all. Six paragraphs, include descriptions, etc. Done. I could've never guessed it would have been that way.

 

Yes. I absolutely wasn't going to make my students copy those charts, add to them, etc., either in handwritten or typewritten format. Instead, it has been much more helpful to us all for the charts to be typed up (by me), printed out on various colored papers, 3-hole punched, and put in a section of their WWS binders. All three of my WWS girls have these pages.

 

Instead of "copy," we "read and discuss." Instead of "add to," we "review." There are times when I will ask a student to tell me what the chart says, without looking at it first. I'm satisfied with the extent to which these instructions have been internalized.

 

The actual writing days take time -- sometimes two or three days for one "day." I suppose there is a part of me that sees the "analyze the topos and copy the chart" days as quicker lessons. We will not squander our valuable time on copy work at this stage. HTH.



#16 Garga

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 11:26 PM

Fwiw, WWS is an executive function nightmare. I went through every lesson, highlighting what my very ADHD dd needed to get from it, and I wrote notes in the margins to make sure expectations were very clear.

This. Oh my, this. The day 3 assignment is mentioned in a quick paragraph form at the beginning of the lesson. More information about the assigment is given along the way, and then it’s bullet pointed at the end. My son’s head is swimming from all the different sets of instructions and he has no clue where to go with all these instructions. He gets so flustered it’s hard for him to see that it’s the same instructions written in different ways.

I’d like to encourage you, but I’m 90% sure I’m going to switch to something else next year. We’ll see it through to the end of the year, but I think we need to move on after that.

Writing programs are always so complicated and I find that the instructions in them are very unclear. I’ve used IEW theme books and the Lost Tools of Writing and for both of those, the instructions seemed all over the place. And there were either too many charts (IEW) or too few (LTW.). It bemuses me because these are writing curriculae, yet their communication is fuzzy. Like, LTW used all sorts of fancy classical words. Instead of saying, “Hook” they’d say something like “Exordium”. So not only were we trying to learn what a hook was, we were also using a vague term that had no meaning for us.

I’m rambling.

My oldest is slowly working through the Lively Art of Writing this year, but we’re not far into the book. So far, this one seems pretty straight forward, but we’ll see.

Edited by Garga, 28 January 2018 - 11:27 PM.

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#17 KeriJ

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 10:43 AM

This. Oh my, this. The day 3 assignment is mentioned in a quick paragraph form at the beginning of the lesson. More information about the assigment is given along the way, and then it’s bullet pointed at the end. My son’s head is swimming from all the different sets of instructions and he has no clue where to go with all these instructions. He gets so flustered it’s hard for him to see that it’s the same instructions written in different ways.

I’d like to encourage you, but I’m 90% sure I’m going to switch to something else next year. We’ll see it through to the end of the year, but I think we need to move on after that.

Writing programs are always so complicated and I find that the instructions in them are very unclear. I’ve used IEW theme books and the Lost Tools of Writing and for both of those, the instructions seemed all over the place. And there were either too many charts (IEW) or too few (LTW.). It bemuses me because these are writing curriculae, yet their communication is fuzzy. Like, LTW used all sorts of fancy classical words. Instead of saying, “Hook” they’d say something like “Exordium”. So not only were we trying to learn what a hook was, we were also using a vague term that had no meaning for us.

I’m rambling.

My oldest is slowly working through the Lively Art of Writing this year, but we’re not far into the book. So far, this one seems pretty straight forward, but we’ll see.

 

Yes!  Exactly! 
 


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#18 Paradox5

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 11:06 PM

Yes. I absolutely wasn't going to make my students copy those charts, add to them, etc., either in handwritten or typewritten format. Instead, it has been much more helpful to us all for the charts to be typed up (by me), printed out on various colored papers, 3-hole punched, and put in a section of their WWS binders. All three of my WWS girls have these pages.

 

Instead of "copy," we "read and discuss." Instead of "add to," we "review." There are times when I will ask a student to tell me what the chart says, without looking at it first. I'm satisfied with the extent to which these instructions have been internalized.

 

The actual writing days take time -- sometimes two or three days for one "day." I suppose there is a part of me that sees the "analyze the topos and copy the chart" days as quicker lessons. We will not squander our valuable time on copy work at this stage. HTH.

Care to see if you can share those charts and save the rest of us time? Pretty please?


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