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Everything posted by stlily

  1. First of all, I want to encourage you, you have not failed your child(ren). The fear that we're failing our children plagues us all from time to time. It's comes with the territory when we choose to home school. After all, there's no one else to blame, right? The truth is that children are resilient and they are little sponges that absorb so many things even when we're not actively teaching them. So take courage. It sounds like your son is very bright and a great writer already. I also want to encourage you by sharing that in the 3rd edition of TWTM, Susan Wise Bauer says, "If you choose to use Rod & Staff, the composition exercises provided can fulfill the middle-grade student's need for a writing program." You mentioned that he completed most of the writing assignments in Rod & Staff which means, he's in a great place. Finally, I recommend you listen to SWB's talks called "A Plan for Teaching Writing: Focus On the Middle Grades" as well as "What Is Literary Analysis: When, Why, and How Should I Teach It?" You can find both audio workshops here The MP3's are only $3.99 each and you can download and listen to them right away. In the talk on writing in the middle grades she distinguishes writing in the grammar stage as "writing with ease" because students do copywork, narrations, and dictation. They don't have to worry about coming up with original content. She describes the middle grades as "writing with skill" because the student is still not trying to come up with original content but rather focusing on developing the skills he'll need for writing original compositions later: narrative summaries, outlining, writing from an outline, short literary essays, sentence diagramming, and spelling. We use Writing With Skill but we've taken our time with it because some of the assignments require more than a day to complete, You should know, since you mentioned your son is a natural creative writer, that she says creative writers sometimes behave like reluctant writers when they try to work through WWS. WWS teaches expository writing not creative writing. It is, SWB's opinion that all students need to learn expository writing but not all need to learn creative writing. I recommend you listen to her talk and decide for yourself what is best for your son. My daughter, who will be going into the 8th grade, is a creative writer. She has done very well with WWS and, even though she hasn't loved it, she is now glad she's worked through it. I'm also having her work, very slowly, through the Creative Writer. I hope this encouraged you and helped a little. I'm sure you're going to have a great year. Lily
  2. I'm not sure if you're asking about literature related writing or composition that follows a formal writing program, but I schedule the two separately. My daughter has a one hour "Reading Block" daily and a one hour "Writing Block" daily. The reading block does not include reading she does for history or science. That is scheduled separately. The reading block is for whatever middle school literature list I select for my student. We use the "Formal Reading List" recommended in TWTM. So our Blocks look like this: Reading Block (Literature Study) * She'll spend an hour reading daily (because she is in the 8th grade--when she was in the 5th grade it was 30 to 40 min. daily. I increase her time each semester with the goal of 1 hour daily by the 8th grade). *After each daily reading, she writes a 3-5 sentence narration of what she read. *After she finishes a book, we discuss it using the questions in TWTM. They are on p. 345 of the 3rd edition. I have her answer (orally) 1 or 2 questions, requiring that she support her answers with examples from the book. *Once she constructs the "literary essay or response" orally, she writes it down. * Her literary essay includes 1) First paragraph (3-5 sentences) which is a narrative summary of the book, 2) Second paragraph, answers one questions and provides support for her answers, 3) Third paragraph, answers another question and provides support for her answer, 4) Final paragraph is an evaluation of the book. She tells whether or not she liked the book but again, must support her answer using examples from the book. A couple of things to note: I don't have her do this for every book. I do have her read every book on the list but, I select a few books at the beginning of the year for her to write about. I highly, highly recommend Susan Wise Bauer's audio lecture on middle school writing or "Writing in the Middle Grades". It's only $3.99 and it really helped clear things up for me. Writing/Composition Block I'm going to try something different this year but this is what we've done in the past. *Lesson (or sometimes just a "step" in Writing With Skill daily, Mon. -Fri. *1 outline and one summary for history or science weekly. We alternated. This was done during the history and science blocks. What I'm going to try this coming school year is more of a loop schedule (I learned about loop schedules from Pam Barnhill of Day 1: WWS Day 2: Three-Level Outline (on science or history, depending on which we are doing that day. She does history 3 days a week and Science 2 days a week) Day 3: WWS Day 4: Re-writes the selection , using the three-level outline she wrote for history or science, and compare it to the original. This is the first year we will be doing this. For grades 5th -7th she would write a summary instead of re-writing from an outline. Day 5: WWS Day 6: The Creative Writer Then the loops starts again. We're going to try the loop schedule for writing because there were days an outline for history, a WWS lesson, and a literary essay would all fall on the same day and it just wasn't working for us. I'm not sure if it's recommended that she re-write the selection the same day she writes the outline. I'll have re-read the section and make any necessary changes. Also, if her creative writing lessons seem disjointed, I may have her complete a full lesson, 1-3 days if necessary, before continuing on with the next thing on the loop. I apologize for making this response so long. I hope it makes a little sense and I hope I answered your question.
  3. It is on page 530 of the Instructor Text. Congratulations!
  4. What do you do once you're through with the Oxford books? Do you pick up with Human Odyssey where the Oxford books left off?
  5. Are you referring to history study with multiple ages? If so, we study history together. I have a 7th grader, First grader, Kindergartener, and a preschooler. We read SOTW together then my 7th grader reads the sections in the Kingfisher encyclopedia that correlate. She also writes narrative summaries, outlines, does map work, keeps a time line and does A LOT of extra reading from library books or books we own. While she works on that, I work on narrations with my next two. They also do map work and additional reading. We follow the recommendation in TWTM fairly closely. Hope this helps. Let me know if there is a specific question you have and I'll try to share what we do.
  6. O.k. I've never used Google Drive so I hope I'm doing this correctly. :crying: Lily
  7. I'm trying to upload images of the notebook we use but I keep getting a message that says the file is too big to upload. Any suggestions? Lily
  8. If you are planning to have her use the binder for WWS only, then a 1 1/2 inch binder will be large enough. My daughter used a 1 1/2 inch binder for WWS 1. This year she is using a 3 inch binder where she keeps all of her language arts work (writing, word study, grammar, etc.) and we place all of the reference charts she creates with WWS in a 3-prong folder. When she works on an assignment all she takes with her is the WWS workbook, loose leaf paper, and the folder with the reference pages/charts. Let me know if you'd like for me to attach a picture of her notebook. Hope this helps. Lily
  9. You may consider going back to Writing With Ease Level 4. Writing With Skill is a very challenging writing program. The narration lessons in WWS are meant to be review. If your student is struggling, it may be a good idea to go back because it isn't going to get any easier. If you look on page 1 of WWS, SWB says, "First you'll review how to write narrations. The ability to summarize a piece of narrative fiction (storytelling) in three or four sentences is a basic skill which should be in place before you begin work on outlining...The first week of the course walks you step by step through the process of summarizing and writing down a narration. These skills should be review for you. If you have a great deal of difficulty with the narrations, you may need to spend a few weeks working on this skill before continuing on with Writing with Skill. Additional narration practice is provided in Writing with Ease, Level Four." If you choose to continue with WWS I would do with the other moms recommend and that is, have your student read the passage out loud, read it more than once, or read the passage with her/to her. I typed up this checklist for my daughter to use as a reminder (and for me as well:). Hope this helps. Summarizing a Narrative (Story-Telling) Narration (3-4 Sentence Summary) Rubric â–¡ Write down a few phrases or short sentences that remind you of things that happened in the story, focusing on the main events. â–¡ Write down the events in same order that they happened in the story. â–¡ Combine the phrases/short sentences into 3-4 complete sentences. â–¡ Say your 3-4 complete sentences out loud several times before writing them down. â–¡ Write your sentences down and proofread them.
  10. Hi there, Susan Wise Bauer HIGHLY recommends using a primer like Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons, Phonics Pathways, or The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, and finishing it with your student. This is important because the temptation is to drop the primer once reading seems to "click" for the student. If you quit the primer to soon, the child never learns the skills they need to attack longer, unfamiliar words down the road. Phonics instruction is very, very important. You said your younger child will be starting All About Reading Level 1. You could actually do level one with both of your children. When teaching a student how to read you want to start at the beginning and not skip anything (I was a kindergarten teacher before homeschooling my children:). My recommendation is that you put the Pathway readers away for a while (you don't want your child to struggle and develop a dislike for reading), read to him in huge amounts, and do one of the following: 1) Resume the primer you own (Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons) or even go back to the beginning. This can help you pin point where your child begins to struggle. 2) Choose a different primer (I use the Ordinary Parent's Guide... but any of the ones I listed above will work) 3) Do AAR Level 1 with both of your children. One more tip, as I go through the primer with my children, I do not move on to the next lesson until they are able to read the words and sentences with some fluency, and not too much pausing and excessive "sounding out" of words, even if the primer is meant to be taught one lesson a day. When they first begin to sound out words, we stay on a lesson for a week and sometimes longer, if necessary. There is no sense in moving on if they having mastered a skill, sound, blend, yet. I don't skip any lessons either. I hope this makes sense and I hope this helps.
  11. My daughter is in the 7th grade this year so I've been wrestling with how the logic stage history study should look in our homeschool, for over two years now. There are a couple of things I can share that I think may help. If you are using a separate writing curriculum then the writing your student does for history and science will be less. They should still write across those subjects but not as much. If the writing your student does for history, science, and literature is your writing curriculum, then they should be doing more it. In the 4th edition of TWTM, SWB says that the focus of logic stage writing is to order ideas. "Students need to continue to practice narrative summaries, learn how to write brief critical responses to literature, and--above all--learn to outline." (p. 450). This means that a logic stage student should be writing narrative summaries and outlines in grades 5th-8th. SWB also says that we should consider how much overall writing your student is doing in a given week, before you assign writing in history and science. For example, we use Writing With Skill as our writing curriculum. Some days, her assignment was to simply read a passage. On those days, I would assign a 3/4-1 page narrative summary or report in history or science. Some days she would have to write one and a half page paper for WWS. On those days/weeks, I would only assign a one paragraph narrative summary or report. Regarding outlines, I have my daughter write one outline once a week and we alternate between history and science. If she is writing an outline for history this week, then she won't write one for science. The following week she'll write an outline for science but not for history. This ensures that she writes at least one outline every week. The outlining progression SWB recommends is the following: 5th Grade • 1-Level Outline of one page (or 5-6 paragraph section ) of text 6th Grade • 2-Level Outline of 1-2 pages (or 5-10 paragraphs) of text 7th Grade • 3-Level Outline of 3 pages of text 8th Grade • 3-Level Outline of 3-4 pages of text This is simply to show the progression. A student may be ready to write two-level outlines in the 5th grade. You, as the teacher, progress them to the next level as they become ready. As far as grammar goes, SWB is pretty clear in stating that she believes students should study grammar systematically through the 12th grade. She also recommends a program that teaches diagramming. We used Rod & Staff and it is excellent. In regards to the history notebook. We organize the notebook almost exactly as she suggests in TWTM. We have a tab for Facts; Great Men & Women; War, Conflicts, and Politics, etc. I also added a tab for outlines and a tab for map work. We used the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia as our spine. Here is an example of what writing for history study look like in our homeschool. One double page spread in the encyclopedia is on the topic of Early American Settlers. After reading the two pages my daughter would write 6-8 of the most important facts, in her own words and in complete sentences. Next, she does additional reading on 1 or two topics. She could choose to read a library book about the Jamestown Colony then write a one paragraph to 1 page narrative summary and file it in her notebook behind the "Colonies and Settlements" tab. The next day she could read another library book about John Rolfe and write a 1 paragraph to 1 page narrative summary and file it behind the tab "Great Men & Women". The next day (day 3--we do history 3 days a week) she could read about the Mayflower in her World Book Encyclopedia or another library book, choose two pages from the book and write a three-level outline on those two pages. You won't have an entry for every tab in your history notebook every week. I will copy a sample schedule for you to look at below but I do want to clarify one thing. My daughter doesn't always read an entire library book. For example, if she wanted to write about how John Rolfe grew tobacco, I would have her read the pages from the library book that provide that information and nothing else, UNLESS, it was a book I felt she should read in its entirety. She reads a lot for literature, history, science, self-selected reading, as well as for a separate literature class she is taking. It isn't always realistic for her to read every library book we check out. I apologize for the length of this post. I've been where you are. When I was first starting out with the logic stage I wanted and needed a lot of details and examples. I'll end this post with a sample schedule of what our weekly history study looks like. I hope this helps and doesn't overwhelm you:) Monday Late Renaissance – early Modern (1600-1850) Chapter 8: The Middle of the East â–¡ SOTW Vol. 3 – Section 1: “The Persian Puzzleâ€, pp. 81-84. (I have grammar stage students as well so we read this together then my 7th grader goes off and does her assigned work) â–¡ KIHW: Safavid Persia, pp. 346-347 (This is the Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World. We have several history encyclopedias and I'll assign reading from the one I think provides the best information. If they're all pretty close to the same on a given topic, we'll use the Kingfisher History of the World) â–¡ Facts: List 6-8 of the most important facts, in your own words and in complete sentences. â–¡ Summary Write a ½-1 page long summary on the Safavid Dynasty (some times I assign topics and some times I let her choose) â–¡ Map Work: Complete the map activity for student map p. 23 (She does the same map work activities assigned in the SOTW activity guide that my grammar stage students do but I give her a blank map to label. She does this without referring to an atlas. When she's done, she compares her map to the an atlas or a map that I've labeled and then makes any necessary corrections. I also have her label additional locations that I think are important. Finally, she locates the area under study on a wall map, globe, and atlas. Tuesday â–¡ SOTW Vol. 3 – Section 2: “The Ottoman Turksâ€, pp. 84-88. â–¡ Additional Reading: The Ottoman Empire by Adriane Ruggiero (she could choose to write about "Ottoman Cities and Towns" or "The Decline of the Ottoman Empire", etc.) â–¡ Brief Summary: Write a summary on the Ottoman Empire (whichever topic she chose above) Wednesday â–¡ Time Line: Add important dates to your time line along with the accompanying caption (we get these dates from the SOTW or the Kngfisher Encyclopedia) â–¡ Additional Reading: Countries of the World: Iran â–¡ Outline: Select two pages from your reading and write a three-level outline â–¡ Additional Activities: Sometimes we'll watch a YouTube video, do an an activity/craft for the SOTW activity guide, cook, watch a movie, dress up, field trip, etc.
  12. Wow! Do you have a blog? I would love to know more about how you plan your year. Impressive! Thanks for sharing.
  13. Can you give more details as to why it isn't working? What is your student(s) doing in addition to reading SOTW?
  14. A couple of things, in her "Wriing: The Middle School Years" talk, SWB suggested having your student diagram their own sentences so that they can see for themselves why a particular sentence isn't good. I've had the same issue. My 7th grade daughter will write something riddled with awkward sentences and, because they make sense to her, she can't see why I say they have to be re-written. On bad days, she'll take whatever editing suggestions I make, as personal remarks. Having her diagram her own sentences has helped her to see that I'm not just picking on her. In the latest edition of TWTM, SWB says, "In summary: in the middle grades, students should learn to diagram, outline, and then write from an outline." (p. 452). We're just about to finish WWS 1 and I'm thankful that she has learned the different types of writing taught there. If she hadn't, however, I would have been happy if she simply learned to write narrative summaries, diagramming, outlining, writing from an outline, and simple literary essays. Again, in the 4th edition of TWTM when discussing the different writing programs they recommend, SWB says, (in reference to the Wrting With Skill series) "Your engineers will flourish with this program. Young creative writers will find it frustrating (try Killgallon or Writing & Rhetoric instead)." (p. 748) I haven't used either program but you might want to look into those. Finally, she lists Writing Strands as another suggestion. She says the following about Writing Strands, " best suited to students who need the writing process broken down into small steps; students who are naturally creative, but resist expository writing; and students who prefer to work independently." (p. 481). We plan to continue with the WWS series, but if at any point it simply doesn't work anymore, I will look into using Killgallon. Hope this helps.
  15. Heroes, Gods and Monsters of Greek Myths, Tales of Greek Heroes, Illustrated Book of Myths (this one includes myths from different parts of the world not just Greek)
  16. I think you're right but she does recommend outlining from the encyclopedia in the 2nd edition and in her talk on middle school writing (if I remember correctly:). On p. 279 of TWTM, second edition, she says, " Read and outline a section from the Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World."
  17. In understand your frustration. My daughter, now in the 7th grade, has been using the method recommended in TWTM for her history study since the 5th grade. You're right, many if not most of the passages in the Kingfisher encyclopedia are " written in 'encyclopedic' form (many main points packed into single paragraphs of text)". My daughter has learned to identify good passages from bad ones so this has helped her when choosing which passages to outline. I do bring home several books from the library for her to choose from and she'll often outline a section out of one of those. I have grammar stage students as well so I have to go to the library anyway. It isn't too much extra work for me to bring books home for her to choose from. Also, I think the expectation for a logic stage student is for them to start doing more of the research themselves. If you make a trip to the library, a logic stage student should be looking up books in the library's catalog themselves. I think one of the goals for the logic stage is for the student to learn how to study history. SWB says, a student should "make use of a core text that lays out the events in world history and allows them to investigate further." (emphasis mine). I always try to keep in mind what our goals are for history study in the logic stage. The goal isn't to do an "exhaustive study of history" (SWB) but to learn how to study history, learn how to think critically about history, make connections, and synthesize all that is learned. The purpose of making a list of facts, from my understanding, is to help the student identify the most important facts. This is suppose to prepare them for research in the late middle school and high school years. I think you should follow your gut. If outlining from an encyclopedia isn't working then have your student outline from SOTW or a library book. It's the outlining that's important not the source. If the listing of facts seems like busy work to you then skip it. Think about what your goals are for your student and focus on that.:)
  18. I do follow the recommendations for science pretty closely. However, we were doing something different our first year of homeschool so we our science study is kind of "out of order". Other than that, we follow TWTM recommendations. Our science study is experiment focused. SWB says, "In the middle grades, your goal is to teach the young student to think critically about doing science. He'll learn how scientists in each field...use experimentation to confirm their theories. And through experimentation, he'll practice using the scientific method himself. This experiment-focused study will help the student learn the basics of each scientific field." (TWTM, 3rd ed., p. 358) Our study looks like this: Day 1: *Experiment following the scientific method *Proper documentation of the experiment--My 7th grader uses a lab book. *Draw, color, and label related sketches Day 2: *Additional reading (from a science encyclopedia or library book) *Write an outline or summary. I alternate with our history study. If she writes a summary for history then she'll write an outline for science. We switch the following week. To document the science experiment I bought a science journal for her. This is the one we've used in the past The one I purchased for our physics study this year is: The second one is prettier but it doesn't have a table of contents. You definitely need a table of contents so I'm either going to add it myself or purchase something else. Hope this helps.
  19. Both the 3rd and 4th editions of TWTM give recommendations for what to do when you are doing history with several children. You can find those recommendations on p. 278 of the 3rd edition and p. 373 of the 4th edition. I'll quote some of what she says here: "If you're doing history with several children, follow the same basic principle: do the same year of history with all of them, so that you're not trying to keep up with two or three historical periods simultaneously--a sure path to burnout. When each student reaches fifth grade, begin the logic-stage process of outlining and keeping a time line, no matter what period of history you're in." (4th ed.). In the book, SWB also says, "If you are using the Story of the World series for younger children as well as educating older students, you can read the chapter from the The Story of the World with all of the children together. Then ask the older students to (1) read the pages from the more difficult core text that correspond to the topic in The Story of the World, and (2) complete the other work described below." This is what I'm doing this year. I have a 7th grade, 1st grade, and a Kindergarten student. We read the SOTW together and while I do narration exercises and coloring pages with my youngest two, my seventh grader reads from the encyclopedia, takes notes, outlines, does additional reading, summaries, map work, etc over the three days that we do history. Hope this helps.
  20. I follow the science recommendations in TWTM but, what do you mean exactly. Are you referring to spending an entire year on a particular science year, or the following the recommended sequence (biology-5th, earth science/astronomy-6th, etc.), or do you mean studying science using a spine instead of a put together curriculum?
  21. I have a friend who wrote a blog post where she compiled a list of chemistry resources, a couple of which were games. Here is the link: Also, this is what I found on the Rainbow Resources website: Specifically the Element O game but there were others. Hope this helps.
  22. Most curriculum companies have math placement tests. I would into those. They're free. Then you should have a clear idea as to where she needs to start.
  23. I would love and appreciate more guidance as to how to "follow the rules for composition taught in the writing program which the student should be using concurrently." This is from the logic stage history chapter. It seems the student is to apply what he/she is learning in Writing With Skill, for example, to the summaries they are writing for history and science? Is that right? More information on this would be great. Looking forward to the 4th edition :)
  24. It may me too late to weigh in but here are my thoughts. I use TWTM almost exclusively to guide our homeschool. I joke that out homeschool room looks like a mini Peace Hill Press store. I own the 3rd edition of TWTM and my oldest is in the logic stage. What I would really appreciate is clarification on the difference between narrations, summaries, reports, and essays. I thought I knew the difference but when I tried to explain it to my student, my explanations all started to sound the same. Under History for the Logic stage students are to "prepare summaries of information" (p. 76) but then on p. 363 when discussing schedules, the 6th grade student is to write a history or science "essay". Page 344, when discussing the reading block for the logic stage says that students are too spend the reading block "reading and creating narration pages and reports." I've read these sections many, many, many times and I have a better understanding than when we first started. I would still appreciate a clearer explanation on the difference. One last thought, because I'm a visual person the schedules and tables included in the 3rd edition have been very helpful. If more detailed tables, charts, and schedules were to be included in the 4th edition, that would being a huge plus for me.
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