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Found 7 results

  1. I've been expending time and brainsweat the past few months on trying to really *understand* the similarities and differences between SWB's approach to writing, and the Bravewriter/Peter Elbow approach to writing (Peter Elbow is one of the main influences behind BW - TWJ lists three of his books as inspiration - and I loved TWJ so much I looked them up on the spot - and I love Peter Elbow so much I now have five of his books and still haven't gotten back to TWJ because of it :shifty). Anyway, after many hours of thinking and typing today, I finally reached something of a breakthrough on part of it, and I'm so chuffed I'm posting it here in the hopes it might be helpful to others :). I'm putting my sum-up and sum-up of the sum-up ;) up top, and then I'll post the big, long analysis that led to that, so as to not clutter up the main post. To sum up: I agree with SWB that developing fluency and automaticity in producing Standard Written English (SWE) is a good thing, and that it takes time and effort to achieve. I disagree that SWE is effectively a foreign language compared to unplanned English speech, and that you cannot/should-not harness spoken competence in teaching written competence in SWE. (And, actually, SWB sorta-kinda gives a nod to the importance of involving the ear and the tongue: she is a big advocate of lots and lots of reading of SWE - helps internalize the patterns and feel of SWE - and I think she's a fan of reading aloud, even when students are fluent readers (even if she isn't, I still am :shifty:giggle). And of course she uses narrations in spoken SWE as a key component. So I'd say she *does* value spoken competency in learning to write - she just doesn't think non-SWE language (whether spoken or written) has anything to offer in teaching/learning SWE - that "writing is a foreign language" thing.) I agree with Peter Elbow that we can and should build on our spoken competency (regular ol' unplanned speech) in teaching how to develop written competency - that writing is basically recorded speech, and that our intuitive knowledge of spoken English is a powerful help in learning to both speak well and to write well - is in fact the *core* of our language knowledge, and all our conscious, explicit language learning should build on it and be rooted in it and continually refer back to it. I disagree that the better solution to non-fluency in mechanics and surface conventions is to adopt crutches to get by (learn how to separate the bulk of writing from the parts you aren't fluent in, so you can write effectively in spite of your lack of fluency, dealing with that lack by pushing it off until the very end, when you either rely on handbooks or friends or paid professionals to copy-edit), instead of working steadily to achieve fluency. (In fairness, Elbow does actually value learning to be fluent in those areas - and offers up ways to harness our intuitive knowledge to get us most of the way there with knowledge we already have - but his primary audience is college students and adult students - who have already passed by their main chance to become fluent in those mechanics - and Elbow doesn't want to feed into the idea that you can't be a writer until you can churn out error-free prose. And I *do* agree with him, strongly, that it is much easier to turn good writing into correct writing with a good dose of copy-editing at the end than to attempt to turn blah correct writing into *good* writing - the latter is in need of much more than a quick polish. He's totally right that they are surface issues - I just am concerned 1) about the practical issues of not being able to turn out workmanlike relatively error-free prose on the first try, because so much day-to-day writing goes infinitely smoother with that skill, and 2) the lingering negative effects of not being fluent, no matter how good the kludges - I understand doing the best you can with what you've got, but when starting from the beginning with new writers, who have *time* to work to fluency, I don't want to settle for a second-best kludge-y non-fluency unless I *have* to, due to issues outside my control.) To sum up the sum up ;): The key difference does indeed seem to be the idea of writing as a foreign language - is our intuitive spoken knowledge of English a base to build on, or a parallel track, with no intersection with writing? - and there I fall on Peter Elbow's side. However, I do indeed value all SWB's goals, and want to achieve fluency in SWE (not just be able to edit my way there) - I just also believe that I can get there better/faster/simpler if I build on our intuitive knowledge of spoken English, instead of ignoring it as having nothing to offer. Implications for homeschooling: *the basic plan of brave writer plus WWE seems sound *big mod to WWE will be grammar teaching that builds on intuitive knowledge of English - gives words to concepts we already know, and teaches us how to consciously use our intuitive knowledge at will, to achieve specific goals - instead of teaching and practicing explicit rules so much that we internalize them; planned approach - work through Patterns of English, plus some diagramming, plus Whimbey's sentence combining, plus Killgallon, plus Elbow's techniques for training the ear. *biggish mod to brave writer will be a possibly? greater caring/emphasis on correct mechanics. Might not be a huge deal, as planning to do a serious spelling program (most of which do indeed take full advantage of training the ear to hear, in addition to teaching the eye to spell), and the grammar/WWE will address punctuation and conventions in terms of enhancing understanding - not that BW doesn't address that, but I believe it's more in the copy-editing phase, as opposed to practicing it to fluency.
  2. Am I hearing this right? :001_huh: I just listened to SWB's Elementary and Middle Grades writing lectures - which I thought were fascinating - but she said a writing program was not necessary (outside of her narration/outline etc. suggestions of course). Is it really that simple? It sounds relatively simple but then I read about people using all these different programs... I guess I'm confused! We've been using SL LA, and the Just Write Workbooks the last few years. Both of my kids are great creative writers but of course I want more than that for them. As SWB said, if these approaches worked then she wouldn't be lecturing. I was an abysmal essay writing when I got to University. I was the abysmal freshman she talks about! ICK. Can anyone enlighten me with their thoughts on using a writing program?
  3. A few threads about spelling and journaling have me wondering if I'm going about my daughter's writing all wrong. The *only* writing that my daughter does is spelling and journaling. Some threads have me thinking that my daughter doesn't need to do spelling. She is a natural speller and makes very few spelling errors. Although her spelling could use improvement, she spells above grade level and would probably improve even without using a spelling program. Thus, a spelling program is a waste of our time and I should drop it. In other threads, I keep reading how journaling is bad and unnecessary. Since my daughter doesn't like journalling, I shouldn't require it. But if I drop spelling and journaling my daughter wouldn't be doing any writing at all!!!! That doesn't seem right. Between spelling and journalling, she writes 6-8 sentences, or about two short paragraphs, per day (with very few errors). I can't go from that to nothing. Should I drop spelling and journaling and start a writing program? I want to do cross-curricular writing eventually, but I don't know how or where to start, especially since we aren't even doing history, science, or literature right now. Should I keep doing what I'm doing (spelling and journaling), even if it is a waste of time, because I am comfortable with it and DD is young (6 years old / 1st grade)? Something else?
  4. My precious son is 11 years old. We are finishing WWE 2. My plan had been to keep going with WWE. I have WWE3 on my shelf. The thing is...he just hates it. I really like the program, but because of how stressed he gets about it, it has gotten to a point where we *both* dread it. I've tried tweaking it. I explained to him that things that aren't fun can still be good for you (example: broccoli) I told him he is learning important skills. He still hates it. ETA: If we did Writing Tales 1 next year, would that accomplish the same goals as WWE? I notice that it has copywork, narration, etc. Narration skills are the important part to me, anyway. (The sheer length of the passages in WT2 would totally overwhelm him, btw...although, I know that would be more age appropriate.) Thanks for your thoughts!
  5. Why is it that I do not like ANY writing program that I have used or looked at so far? I was always an avid writer. I loved and still do love to write. My dd13 HATES writing...any type of writing except songwriting and poetry. She writes beautiful songs, full of emotion. Formal writing is just not her strength. Ds12 is a creative writer. He loves to write stories, movie scripts, etc. Ds10 will write if forced, but prefers not to. :tongue_smilie: Ds9 thinks his hand will fall off if he has to write more than a dozen words in one sitting. :glare: Anyway, back to topic: I've tried many different programs over the years and I have always found something wrong with every.last.one. Writing strands: blech and more blech. IEW: Just not my style I guess? K12 Writing in Action: Eh...it wasn't all bad, just not great. Igniting Your Writing: just got it and it looks, "okay" at best. Wordsmith Apprentice: appealed to my ds12 at the time, but I did not care for it. WWE: I do like that for the elementary years. Writing Tales: that was "okay", but not terrific as I had hoped and my ds preferred to write his OWN story...not copy somebody else's (he's gonna HATE IEW's Amer. Hist. based writing lessons for next year, but I got it anyway!). So, there you have it. IS there a program out there that has it all? Good, solid instruction, ease of use, appeals to the student, isn't boring and dry, encourages writing from the hesitant writer but doesn't bore the avid writer? Or, am I just doomed to be dissatisfied with all programs?
  6. I've posted about my dd that hates to write, now for my ds that LOVES to write - What would you recommend? I am considering an IEW literature and comp. class for him next year. He's coming from private school, and will be 6th grade, but is advanced in reading and writing. I'm not sure what is out there for a kid like him (he even uses grammar exercises to write creatively). Suggestions? Thanks!
  7. I'm partially HSing now, I have an on line school (which is great because they gave me a computer and pay for internet and books and extra $ for for whatever) HOWEVER... I find the writing to be restictive. My DD 9, 4th grade is a good writer and quite creative. Her current teacher (whom I really like) is following Colo Csap procedures and having her do the 5 steps of writing, (plan, 1 draft, revise, edit, & publish) Brenna will write a great, well written paper if I let her just go, if I make her do it the planned way, the paper is disorganized and she takes so long to do it we end up in tears. Do you all follow this structure stictly? I'm pulling her next year and doing this on my own, I'm just wondering if I should make her continue this way or let her do it her way. I find the over planning process to stifle the creativity in her. Lara
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