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Posts posted by stlily

  1. I'm looking for a curriculum recommendation for a Creative Writing  course for my high schooler. We need something affordable. Bravewriter and the courses offered at TWTM Academy are a little more than we can afford right now. I'm looking for something that will earn her a full credit and, if it's a two year program, even better. I appreciate your help.

  2. We use Saxon and we have a similar situation because the Advanced Mathematics book covers  part two of Geometry as well as  Trig and Pre-Cal. From the  research I've done, It seems that colleges want course names they can recognize, so keep it simple and  familiar. You can list the courses as two separate courses such as:

    Course 1 - Algebra II

    Course 2 - Trigonometry w/ Advanced Algebra OR Trigonometry & Pre-Calculus

    I don't think I would list them as one course and assign 1.5 credits for it because that's not something colleges are used to seeing and it might throw them off.

    Give each course a description that briefly summarizes the topics covered that pertain to that math level. Also, what does the publisher say about the course? Usually they'll say something like, "At the end of this course the student will have earned 1 full credit of Algebra II, 1/2 credit of Trigonometry, and 1/2 credit of Pre-Cal. What the publisher says is typically what you want to go with.  Hope this helps.

  3. There are two simple workbooks I can recommend but they're both geared for upper elementary and middle school.  The first one was recommended in the 3rd edition of TWTM for the logic stage and is only available as a PDF download. I printed it our copy. It is Note Taking & Outlining by Q. L Pearce. It's a Frank Schaffer Publication. You can find it here:

    The other is also a workbook titled Note Taking by Deborah White Broadwater. You can find it here:

    I'll be following the post in case someone  recommends a good resource for the high school level 🙂.  Hope this helps.

    • Like 3

  4. I highly recommend listening to SWB talk "A Plan for Teaching Writing: Focus On the High School Years" which can be found here:     This is an audio and instant download so you can listen to it right away. I took notes as I listened. Also, there are three writing resources that she recommends either in her talk or in TWTM. They are:

    1) The Elements of  Style

    2) A new workbook just came out that goes with The Elements of Style which can be found here:

    3) Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers

    4) They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic  Writing

    Hope this helps.


  5. Hi there,

    I'm not sure I have the answers you're looking for but I'd like to share some thoughts in hopes that it will be of some help. As far as your local school district being "Physics" first, I'm not sure why they choose to follow that order for the sciences but there really is no hard and fast rule for the order in which you do the sciences. Typically, Chemistry and Physics are taught later, 11th and 12th grade, to give the student a chance to get some more math under their belt since both Chemistry and Physics require a pretty solid math foundation. However, it's perfectly o.k. to do physics first. If you're planning to enroll your student in public school down the road, then it is probably a good idea to follow the pattern your local school district is using. If you plan to homeschool through high school then you're free to choose the order based on your student's interest or what makes sense to you, so long as you're following your state's guidelines. 

    1) As far as the pattern most homeschooling families follow, well it varies.  The two physics curricula recommended in TWTM are  Saxon Physics for the student who enjoys math or who will be pursuing a career in math or science. Conceptual Physics is recommended for bright students who will likely pursue a non-math or non-science degree.  To be competitive for college,  a student needs a minimum of 3 science credits, I believe, two of which include a lab. One thing you can do is, go the website of the college or colleges your student is interested in and look at their admissions requirements. There you'll find exactly how many science credits and how many lab credits they require. My daughter will not be pursuing a degree in math or science but she will still be taking 4 sciences three of which will be lab sciences. 

    2) Again, the order in which the sciences are studied varies from student to student. If you're following TWTM, the pattern is Biology-Astronomy-Chemistry-Physics. We're not following this pattern exactly. Instead of Physics, my daughter will be taking Advanced Biology (Human Anatomy).

    3) We have no experience with Conceptual Academy

    If you own a copy of The Well Trained Mind, you'll find more information on requirements for college admission on page 553 of the 4th edition. In case  you don't, I'm including a photo of the page I'm referring. I hope this information is of some help. You children are going to do great, I'm sure. 




  6. The Study Guide  does not include reading/literature suggestions. Those can be found in The Well Trained Mind and the lists are divided by historical period: Ancients, Medieval-early Renaissance, Late Renaissance-early Modern, Modern. I'm not sure what you mean by POC. The Study guide includes comprehension questions, critical thinking questions, and map work. I'll attach some pictures. The first have of the study guide includes the answers to the questions (suggested answers or examples, not that the student has to answer exactly that way). The second half of the book has the questions. These pages are perforated although it's not necessary to tear these pages out because the student will be writing  their answers on a seprate piece of paper.  For the map  work, you can buy the digital pdf format of the maps from The Well Trained Mind website to print them out at your leisure or you can have the student draw the maps according to the directions in the book.  This is the link for the maps:

    Hope this helps.









  7. My oldest will be a junior in high school in the fall. We have followed the recommendations in TWTM fairly closely, but I don't know of many people who do. Do you have a specific question regarding TWTM for high school? For example, were you wanting to know how our Great Books study looks like or History or which courses she's taken? I'm by no means an expert. She's my first high schooler and we're still learning but I can share what we've done. 

  8. 12 minutes ago, Reefgazer said:

    Is this a step-by-step curriculum by itself, or do you use this in addition to your curriculum?

    So, according to the recommendations in TWTM, a high school writing course should have 2 components: 1) Skills - Which includes formal grammar and word study, 2) Compositions - which includes the formal study of Rhetoric (this is done in the 9th and 10th grade only), Persuasive Papers across curriculum (History, Science, & Literature), and Research Papers (One in the 9th grade and one in the 10th). The Schaum's book only teaches how to write research papers. I would recommend using it to supplement whatever writing curriculum you choose to go with. Also, if you would like more details on what high school writing should look like, I highly recommend SWB's workshop on teaching high school writing: Hope this helps.



    • Like 1

  9. 12 minutes ago, SusanC said:

    We've been using WWS and I love it. It really holds the student's hand through the writing process. I feel it is very apropriate for high school writing if it is teaching your student something they haven't done. We have never made it through a complete book in a year. Maybe we are slow note-takers - that seems to be where we fall behind. My freshmen are in WWS3 and at the end of last semester I decided that rather than push through to finish the book, we would spend some extra time writing with all the different topos we've learned over the years. I got some nice papers on the Persian Wars, Hannibal, Rockets, and Shakespeare in the last few weeks. The writing notebooks that they have assembled working through the books have been helpful resources when writing papers for English, history, and science.

    Each book is scheduled for 4 days a week, but we set aside time every day for writing and an extra week when there is a writing assignment. It feels crazy, but that has been what it takes for us. Regardless of your student's pace, I think it would be hard to speed up the program without missing important parts. There isn't fluff or repetitive assignments that can easily be pared out. In fact, my addition of a pause to practice what we have learned is going to push this curriculum into year 5.

    I'm not a writer and always planned to outsource writing by high school, but that just hasn't been how things have worked out. This is what my students need.

    I agree with SusanC, there is no fluff in WWS. Also, the time allotted for some lessons/assignments was just not enough. When I go through this program again when my second child I plan to give her as much time as she needs instead of trying to finish a book by the end of the school year. 

    • Like 2

  10. If he's a STEM kid, I think he would do well with Writing With Skill. WWS teaches expository writing so it should be a good fit. In one of her talks, SWB said that creative writers behave like reluctant writing when asked to do expository writing. Students who don't naturally write creatively seem to do better with expository writing. WWS is a very rigorous and meaty writing curriculum. I think your son would get a lot out of it. I would start with level 1 because you can always skip lesson that you feel he doesn't need. In my opinion, level 1 is foundational. Maybe someone who has used it with a high schooler can chime in. 😊

    • Thanks 1

  11. According to SWB, logic stage students should practice outlining a variety of history and science texts. My understanding is that the goal is for them to see the many ways a piece of writing can be organized because not every writer organizes their work in the same way. The idea is that, when they reach the rhetoric stage, they will have seen lots of different ways they can organize an essay. For this reason, I have my student outline different resources.  I don't have them do all of their outlining from one source. In history, for example, they could outline SOTW, like others have suggested, The Kingfisher encyclopedia (or whatever you happen to use as a spine), and library books. Library books were my favorite to use. Also, I didn't have her outline only from a history text. She alternated. One week she would outline a passage history and the next week she would outline a passage in science. If in your American History study, you have your student(s) read additional books to enhance their study, you can have them outline from one of those resources. My understanding is that the only rule is, you can outline expository writing but you cannot outline fiction. I hope this helps. 

    • Like 1

  12. I was hoping that looking at the chart would give me more information to possibly help answer your question. I think someone who has used and is familiar with Writing and Rhetoric would have to chime in.  My guess is that SWB made the recommendation to use all 6 levels in 2 years because an 11th and 12 grader would be able to work through the lower level books a lot more quickly. I think focusing on forward progress, while acquiring general writing skills, research skills, etc., would be a better goal that trying to complete a set of books. I know this doesn't answer your question. I'm sorry I couldn't offer more help. 

  13. Hi Laura,

    I follow the recommendations in TWTM fairly closely and I can share what I did for literary analysis during the logic stage with my oldest. I used notes I took form listening to the SWB talk on "Writing in the Middle Grades", notes I took from TWTM, as well as points taught in Writing With Skill Level 1. I plan to change things up a little once my next child hits the logic stage but here is an example of what my oldest did. I'm also including rubric I used as a guide. I made the rubric by using one that was included in WWS and adding some details to it. Let me know if you need me to clarify anything in the attachments. Hope this helps.

    Literary Essay Example - Logic Stage.docx Literary Criticism Essay Rubric.docx

    • Like 3

  14. If Christian curriculum is o.k. with you,  I highly recommend Rod & Staff's English curriculum. It covers both grammar and writing, it's very affordable, and the texts are hardback so they will hold together very well if you plan to use them with other children. The first level they offer is Englsh 2 (2nd Grade) but you do not have to start there. You can jump right into English 3. They do a lot of review and it's very thorough so it will do a great job of filling in any gaps. A couple of things to know, 1) They offer a lot of practice meaning, if the student is learning to identify the subject or predicate of a sentence, for example, they'll be given 10-15 sentences to copy and then they'll be asked to underline the subject once and the predicate twice. This is waaaay too much writing for a young child. These books are written for classroom use that's why they offer so much practice. What I have my kids do is, depending on what the point of the exercise is, I have them either write only the answer (not the complete sentence) or if it's important for them to write the whole sentence down, I'll have them do just a few: 2-5 sentences, again depending on the point of the lesson.  You can see samples here:  Hope this helps.

    • Like 1

  15. I don't have a list but I have a few suggestions of where/how you can get some book ideas. If you own the SOTW  Activities book, you'll see that for every chapter there is a list of recommended Additional History Reading & Corresponding Literature Suggestions. Most of these books are for elementary level students but sometimes there will be some that are IR 3-5 or IR 6-8, IR meaning Independent Reading. Another thing I've done in the past is search the topics being covered in a particular chapter, in my libraries catalog. Then I sort by by reading level. I also use the reading list provided in TWTM. There is enough there for an entire school year (for most kids:). Finally, there are a few lists already made that I have found on Pinterest. Here's an example: Hope this helps.


  16. If you haven't listened to them yet, I highly recommend listening to SWB's audio seminars. There are three I recommend that relate to your questions:

    What is Literary Analysis? When, Why, and How Should I Teach It?  ($ 3.39)

    A Plan for Teaching Writing: Focus on the High School Years ($2.39)

    Great Books: History as Literature ($3.39)

    You're already doing a lot of what she recommends but she does give a good idea of what the output should look like. I've listened to these over and over and have taken notes. There are basically 4 components to the Great Books study in high school, according to SWB:

    1) (Output 1 - this counts for history and lit.) - The History Foundation - The student reads from the chosen history text (i.e. The History of the Ancient World by SWB, The Penguin History of the World, etc.) and the student takes notes listing important/major events, people, dates. This set the foundation for the great book they are going t read. 

    2) (Output 2) - Book Context PageThis context page should be a one –page summary of historical information that includes: information about the author (birth date, death date, country of origin, etc. ), when the work was written, and major events occurring at the time.

    3) (Output 3) - The Book's Genre - The first time a student encounters a genre, in each year of study, the student should 1)  Read about the genre, its history, and the instructions on how to read that genre. 2) Take notes on this reading about a genre. This page is essentially a summary of the definition/description of the genre and the "tips" (from "How to Read a Book" by Adler, for example) for how to read that particular genre.

    4) (Output 4) - Book Notes - Read through the text, pencil in hand, and note down the major events in the book. Mark passages that seem significant, troubling, or puzzling.  Write a summary of the Notes. These should be brief, 2-3 pages of notes for the entire book should be plenty.

    5) (Output 5 - Final Assignment) - Compositions - She recommends two types: 1) Response Paper which is a "personal engagement with the book. The student has to have an opinion about the book. The student can discuss an element, scene, plot, or character that is either interesting or annoying to them personally, they have to explain why, defend it, and include quote(s)." The second type is 2) Analytical Literature Essay and there are 3 kinds: A) Formal - The student takes a literary term, for example, a metaphor, and writes about how the term is used and what it means. B) Biographical - The student draws a parallel between something that happened in the writer's life and something that happened in the literary work. The example she gives is Jane Austen had a mean mother so all of the mothers in her books are mean. C) Historical - The student draws a parallel between something that happened in the writer's lifetime and something that happens in the literary work. The example she gives is Oliver Twist reflecting the condition of orphans during Dicken's day.

    I'm still very new at homeschooling high school. It has been challenging and scary. We'll be starting our second year of homeschooling high school, next Tuesday, and I don't yet feel confident. The above is a condensed version of the information SWB has put out that I've listened to and read. You are your children's teacher. Use the information you get here or not. It's up to you how you design your homeschool and what your want for your children. Hope this helps.

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  17. Yes! Saxon is known for being academically rigorous. A lot of people don't like it because it's time consuming. It is a solid math program and many of the private schools in my area use Saxon as their math program.  I've also heard of school using a different program for the lower grades and then switching to Saxon beginning with book 5/4. Susan Wise Bauer used it with her kids, I believe. She has recommended it in all four edition of The Well Trained Mind. The strengths of the program is that it is incremental and students practice, practice, practice the skills learned throughout the entire book. Many math programs take a mastery approach when teaching skills. Students work out problems until they master the concept and then they move on. My experience has been that, even if test show you've mastered a concept or anything, but you don't use it again for a while, you tend to forget it. I think Saxon has worked in our home because my kids don't have a chance to forget the new concepts. I also like that Saxon teaches the concepts and has the student apply them across different situations/scenarios. This give the student an understanding of when they're likely to encounter and use their newly acquired math skills. 

    As you can tell, I'm a huge fan, however, the truth is that every child is different and every teacher/parent is different. You'll have to find a program that works well for your child(ren) and that you're comfortable teaching. 

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