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  1. It has been summer holidays here, so I have been reading, reading, reading about writing. I have read 3 of the 4 recommendations from SWB for rhetoric: Corbett's Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (re-read this one, and really studied it) DeAngelo's Composition in the Classical Tradition (yes, the examples are as bad as she says) They Say, I Say: Moves that Matter in Academic Writing I have also read Webster's Student Writing Handbook Lively Art of Writing And I have read the following curriculum (some I actually read like LtoW, CW and WWS; others I really just skimmed to understand what they were doing like Killgallon and WWE): Killgallon Sentence Composing (middle and high school levels) Lost Tools of Writing (LtoW, levels 1 and 2) Classical Composition's Fable Classical Writing's (CW) Homer, Maxim, and Chreia, (and soon Herodotus as it just arrived today) MCT's Island, Town and Voyage levels Writing with Skill (WWS) Writing with Ease (WWE levels 1,2,3) IEW's Structure and Style (luckily got these DVDs from the Homeschool library). Yes, as you can see, I have also spent a lot of money. But I see things so clearly now and I wanted to share my understanding. I hope this helps someone..... I also don't mind answering questions. I have found that Corbett is the best overview of the scope of writing, and would recommend it as a must read for anyone interested in teaching writing to her children up through high school. Corbett sorts classical writing into the 3 canons: Invention, Arrangement, and Elocution, and I have found that organization perfect to sort the different curriculum into. Invention: by far the best curriculum I have read to improve a student's invention is Lost Tools of Writing. It uses the exact same list of Common Topics found in Corbett. However, when I read Corbett, I just could not understand how to get from the list of topics to putting them into an essay. And in WWS and CW I was spoon fed too much, so I could not really see the forest through the trees and implement it on my own. LtoW teaches the student how to ask questions based on the Common Topics and then how to arrange them into an argument. Also, LtoW and CW are the only curriculum that give any attention to the Special Topics associated with judicial, deliberative, and ceremonial discourse. The Lively Art of Writing has 2 excellent chapters on how to create a thesis statement. WWS (as planned for grades 5-8) studies half of the Common Topics listed in Corbett, I assume she will cover the rest in her high school curriculum WWStyle. Arrangement: Different curriculum attacked this in different ways. IEW does the best job in teaching kids the traditional paragraph structure, story structure, 5 paragraph essay. But also does this is a very formulaic manner. I have not seen IEW's more advanced materials. LtoW is also formulaic, but at the essay level. They Say/ I Say is unique in its discussion of arrangement. It focuses on the persuasive essay at the highest level and how to incorporate your ideas into the ongoing Great Discussion of books, essays, and ideas. This is the kind of arrangement I needed to write my dissertation. WWS's discussion of arrangement is not based on an standard outline, but rather on imitation of great writers – imitating how they describe and narrate historical and scientific topics (for level 1, haven't obviously seen the other levels) Elocution: Killgallon and Classical Writing tie IMHO for the best instruction on style of the sentences. They both have you play with sentences, change them around, evaluate how the new sentence augments certain aspects of an idea. LtoW teaches some extremely advanced stylistic features that are covered in Corbett. However, it does not spend enough time on each of these features for the student to actually be able to use them effectively. IEW teaches more formulaic style including a certain number of features for each paragraph, but it does not actually teach you HOW to change a sentence around. WWS so far has a fairly limited approach to style. Critical Reading: Both WWS and CW require students to analyze classic writers to help them understand what makes writing effective. CW does this somewhat better than WWS. MCT has you read classic essays but does not spend much time guiding the student through them. Classical Curriculum using the Progymnasmata. Corbett does not discuss this at all and has a somewhat condescending attitude towards it. The progym is a series of exercises that teaches you how to create different paragraphs and discuss different set topics, It uses Corbett's rhetorical ideas in a restricted and controlled manner. DeAngelo explains the purpose of all of the exercises very well, but his writing examples are as bad as SWB said. I actually could not finish the book, and the examples tarnished my feeling towards the progym. Classical Composition is a progym course which you would finish by 8th grade and then move to rhetorical writing. CW is more than just progym. It stretches the progym out to cover up to 12th grade (although the additional books are not out yet). By stretching out the progym exercies, it mutates some of them to make them truly rhetoric, meaning persuasive essays. The initial idea of the progym is that it happened before rhetoric – a student learned how to write and think using the exercises and then used this understanding to construct persuasive arguments. CW merges the two at the higher levels. Classical Curriculum not using the progym: LtoW follows Corbett's text but does not use the progym exercises. It is an early Rhetoric curriculum that teaches persuasive writing. WWS also follows Corbett's text but does not use the progym exercises. However, in contrast to LtoW, WWS does not teach students about persuasive writing. Instead, it teaches each of the Common Topics (well, half of the Topics) that will be used later to construct a complete argument in a rhetorical composition. Classical vs Modern writing: I have seen some discussion of this, and was confused for a while. But all this reading has cleared it up. In Ancient times there was a lot of time spent on ceremonial and judicial speech, to praise the fallen and to defend oneself (you acted as your own lawyer). These types of writing are not really done now, more of an ancient style. Also, many of the progym exercises use essay starters (like maxims etc) that are not commonly found today. WWS definitely uses more modern styles of writing than CW for example. What I will be using: For 5th through 8th, we will use WWS with Killgallon to shore up the lack of style in WWS. I like the modern writing style in WWS. 9th and 10th LtoW, I may even compact levels 1 and 2 into 1 year. This is early rhetoric. 11th -12th : Rhetoric. We will be writing across the curriculum without a curriculum. For an overview of rhetoric, Ds will read Corbett both years; for critical reading, we will apply Corbett to essays; for arrangement, we will use They Say/ I Say; and for style we will continue with Killgallon. I like CW, I really do, but I am concerned about the focus on non-modern writing styles. I think I will be creating my own CW by using the above books. I disagree with SWB about how difficult Corbett was to read. If you skip the part on logic, the rest of the text is straight forward and relatively easy to read. I found his examples and very lengthy discussion of them to be excellent, just excellent. And after studying all the topics, I think that I could now guide my son to analyze other's essay writing (like MLK or Rachel Carson) using my knowledge of the topics. Very very useful text, and I will definitely have my son read it twice in both 11th and 12th grades. Well, that is about it!! Hope you enjoyed it!:001_smile: Ruth in NZ
  2. I have been sucked into MCT. I must honestly thank the forum for this because it looks great and is much needed around here. My issue becomes where to start. As much as I tried to find information online, it seems to elude me. The samples at MCT won't seem to come up correctly. I figured y'all have a ton of experience and could help. My son is a humanities kid. Like many kids on this forum are ahead in math, he is ahead in literature and language. Writing had never been of much interest to him, however. He can write very well when required, he just fussed about it so we kept it to a minimum. Now, he is actually choosing to write so I am looking for curriculum. He has had to do essay work for school since he was quite young because Dh is a high school English teacher. If our son wanted to participate in my husband's high school book discussions, he had to write the essays just like the high school kids (graded with the same rubric, revised, turned back in, whole deal). My husband does not have time to directly teach my son about writing. He tried this last summer and it was a disaster. The authoritarian school teacher clashed quite dramatically with the gifted homeschooler. My husband mainly wants to edit, grade, and provide feedback. I am the cheerleader and curriculum wench. At this point my son can write a thesis (though rather formulaic at times); outline a five paragraph essay; complete an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and conclusion; use parenthetical footnotes; and site texted based evidence to support his points. He has persuasive down, but not expository or compare/contrast. Transition statements still give him some trouble, and fleshing out his ideas so they do not sound repetitive is still part of his revising process. He has a list of citation phrases like, "According to" or "as shown in the text" or "the author stated" that my husband gave him to use and he still pulls heavily from that list. Does this put him in Essay Voyage or in Advanced Academic Writing? Maybe it puts him somewhere else entirely - I was a STEM major, this isn't my area! We will be using Word Within A Word and Magic Lens (both volume 1) next year if that helps. Poetry is probably going to wait one more year as the interest is just beginning to intensify.
  3. We are in WWE3, and I am incorporating Classical Writing Aesop because I'd like to use the CW program as a main writing program. This is for A., who is 8 and in third grade and is a quick study. However, I also hope to use WWS in 5th grade -- we school 6 days/week year-round, so this is feasible. Esp. given the WWS goal, is it worthwhile to use WWE for 3rd and 4th grades, or would writing time be better spent moving more quickly through CW? thanks in advance!
  4. I recently made the decision to home school my daughter who will be ready for K (or probably 1st grade) in the fall. After reading the WTM, I ordered the Zaner-Bloser K Handwriting Student Workbook because it states that it uses the I'm not seeing the continuous stroke method anywhere in the workbook. The back of the book has a page with numbers and arrows indicating where to begin each stroke and the next stroke. I called Zaner-Bloser to make sure there wasn't another series of workbooks to rule out the possibility that I got the wrong one. I didn't. They only have one method. The representative told me she didn't even know why they used the terminology "continuous-stroke" because it really isn't the way it works. I'm confused as to why this resource for teaching writing was described and recommended on this basis in the WTM. I'm starting to wonder on the value of some of the other recommended resourses. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thank you. :confused:
  5. Hi! I need your input! What do you like to use for teaching Writing & for teaching Language Arts? My kids will be in 3rd and 6th grades this year. For Language, I have used Abeka Lang Arts workbooks, First Language Lessons (which I like), Simply Grammar (which I'm not sure I like), and other misc things I've picked up here and there as well as library books on grammar. A friend of mine suggested I use Explode the Code along with First Lang Lessons for my 3rd grader and Wordly Wise with Simply Grammar for my 6th grader. What has worked for you? What would you suggest? Also, I've heard great things about IEW, but I don't really have the money to buy it outright. Any input on this or other writing programs? I have not felt very successful at teaching writing & feel like my 6th grader needs more training. She seems to really like to write & I'd like to give her more direction. Thanks in advance for your input!
  6. Ds11 who left the spec-ed classroom in Sept. to be homeschooled. My son's disabilities mean that it actually HURTS to use a pencil and write. We try to keep actual pencil work to a minimum, opting for typing whenever we can with the exception of his Saxon math. He is currently doing S.O.S. Language Arts - partially because of his disability and because a dear friend gave it to me to use for free. gotta love free! :001_smile: I am looking for advice on a writing curriculum for my son. If you ask him to tell you a story, it's at the grade 5 level, easily according to his public school teachers. If you ask him to write a story it come across at a grade 2 level, maybe. The school wouldn't let him use a computer to write because it wouldn't be fair to the other students. :001_huh: We've been learning grammar rules - he was never taught these in the spec ed classroom. His spelling is improving - thank you spellingcity.com Now, it's time to help him get his creative ideas in his head down onto paper using a computer and then to be printed. He will be homeschooled through high school and we are not expecting him to attend university because of some of his delays. So, he's needs to write well enough to pass a GED at the end of the day. I prefer an open and go style of teaching. I'm not opposed to presenting a lesson to him daily, but he's happy to just read it and do it himself. I need suggestions from you as to what writing/language arts curriculum to use through the rest of grade school and high school. Being at home these past 6 months he's completed Saxon Math 3 and is now happily walking through Saxon Math 5/4 with ease. He's capable of learning, he just learns better in a home environment compared to the classroom structure. Because I know he's missed a lot being in the spec ed classroom lets pretend he's just in grade 2 and head out from there. What do you suggest I check out? Toss me the names of writing programs you like or dislike and why? Thanks.
  7. This year, my son attends a private classical Christian school. He is doing very well. Next year, he will be going to public school for 1st grade. The public school is a good one ( my husband is friends with the principal). One of my concerns academically about next year is writing. In his school now they practice writing through dictation and handwriting exercises. Next year, he will need to do creative writing and understand the writing process. Any recommendation for a good Program to help my son catch up with creative writing? Blog? Free program? I am just not sure how I am supposed to teach him to go through the writing process. Anyone use Write Shop for creative writing?
  8. What is your favorite Writing Curriculum and why? Feel free to give me any details you want to give :001_smile: In the recent "Worst Curriculum Purchases Ever" thread, Writing Strands came up quite frequently. I was planning on starting it next year with my soon-to-be 5th grader who has had very little writing exposure, except for what we do in ILL. Why is it so hated? What do you use instead and why? Thanks!
  9. I'm looking for a list of all the different options available for teaching writing/composition. Specifically: What's out there? If you've used it, what do you like about it/not like about it? What does it cover--creative writing and/or technical writing (paragraphs, essays, outlining, research papers), something else? How is it used? Daily, 3x/week, per project, etc. Thanks!
  10. of writing to a 7th grader and would prefer the curriculum meet the following criteria: Quote: Strategies that provide a common language across grade levels and content areas *Interpreting textbooks *Varieties of writing for different purposes *Note taking and study skills *Listening and speaking skills Stategies that increase critical thinking skills *Analyzing text *Producing organized, clear communications *Synthesizing information into knowledge Strategies that teach the writing process *Narrative, personal narrative, and expository writing *Sentence, paragraph and multiparagraph writing Stategies that improve reading Comprehension *Response to literature *Vocabulary *Summarizing DS will be coming home in the Fall and he's dyslexic. I've been looking at WWE4/WWS but am now wondering if I should supplement WWS with something that teaches more structure of sentences, paragraphs, and explores writing styles. Help me please, as I'm a total N00b to this curriculum selection thing.... Thank-you, Heather
  11. DD#1 started 5th grade this year and I need to step up to the plate with regard to teaching her writing skills. We use R&S (we are finishing 4 before moving on to 5), and she does all of the writing exercises. According to WTM, R&S should be enough - is that the general hive concensus? What if I tell you that we haven't done any formal narration or dictation up until this point? Would that change things? :confused: I bought WWE-1 for DD#2 and we are working through that (and will move on to WWE-2) in order to give her a better foundation than DD#1 received. Originally I also was having DD#1 work through WWE-1 at an accelerated pace, but after lesson 17 we stopped, as it was far too easy for her. So, where should I got from here? Should I start with a higher level of WWE? Should I try WWS? I have a neighbor that just offered to let me borrow her Writing Strands books. Would that be a better fit? Or should I just stick with R&S and hope that's enough? Any thoughts / suggestions would be most appreciated!
  12. Ok, I posted looking for help with Write Source Level 2, but it doesn't look like too many people use that curriculum. So, I'm looking for a 2nd grade writing curriculum that covers the steps of the writing process. Background: We just started WWE2. DD does dual enrollment in public charter but we do lang. arts at home. They are teaching steps of the writing process in what seems like a rather accelerated method for 2nd grade. I want her to have background in this in addition to the classical method in case she needs to re-integrate into the school curriculum, just to cover all our bases. Can anyone recommend a writing curriculum that does this, provides small incremental practice, AND is easy to teach? :bigear: Thank you.
  13. My ds is going to a Classical Christian school half-day for kindergarten. My husband wants to send him to public school maybe for 1st grade. Our public schools are HEAVY in writing (stories etc) like a lot of public schools. The CC school is very traditional and works on penmanship and copywork. Is there a curriculum or workbook that I can use to afterschool him to help him keep up with PS in writing?
  14. I have a problem. I am not very confident in my teaching writing to my 15y.o. dd. We've struggled in this area for a long time. That coupled with the fact that I have a special needs son who requires a lot of time, has left me feeling anxious about her writing abilities with only a few years left of HS for her. She is very bright and really does do a decent job of writing, but I really feel like I've let her down in that area and I am looking for a solid program that will help solidify a good foundation for her before she heads off to college. I am afraid when asked to write for school, (or worse the SAT) that she won't know what to do or how to approach the assignment. The program we have on our shelf currently is Writeshop. It's OK. Maybe it's something I'll use with my son, but I find it to be a bit of a pain to flip back and forth through ALL of those sections to find the information I want. We really put it off this year and did not accomplish as much as I would have liked to. I am curious about your thoughts on Writeshop, Understanding Writing, and IEW. Please understand that she is 15, going in to 10th grade, and has not had a classical education. I do use a modified classical approach with my son. If there are any other programs out that that you might want to bring to my attention I am willing to hear any suggestions. Thanks for your time!
  15. Hi Everyone. I'm new/coming back. My son, now 12, has been studying in Spanish for the past 3 years and has fallen behind in English. I feel overwhelmed trying to catch him up. Everything I have read says he must write ... not only read. But I'm not sure how MUCH as he is a bit ADD and somewhat Oppositional. Where do I start so he can write a little each day, but not have meltdowns? I'm not sure where or how to post this? Thanks to anyone who can help me.. over here, back to homeschooling in Panama. Elizabeth
  16. So many of the writing programs I see recommended strike me as being rather pricey: IEW- $169 for TWISS, $239 for combo TWISS/SWI Lost Tools of Writing- $142 for level 1, $118 for level 2 Write Shop- $100 for level 1, then another $45 for level 2 workbook Bravewriter Writer's Jungle- $97 Meaningful Composition- $60-70 per year I've already shelled out quite a bit for WWE, MCT's Paragraph Town, 2 Killgallon books, Wordsmith Apprentice, and The Paragraph Book series. I'm planning on getting MCT's Essay Voyage at some point and possibly AAW. Is there any decent program out there that doesn't cost an arm & a leg?
  17. Has anyone heard of or used this? What are your thoughts and opinions on it for middle school writing instruction?
  18. Before I began homeschooling my daughters I taught freshman writing at USC for 10 years and I've begun a series of posts on writing for homeschoolers. Part 1 is here: http://www.knittedthoughts.com/2010/11/writing-skills-for-homeschoolers.html Today's post includes lots of practical ideas for working with even the littlest writers. I hope you find it useful!
  19. I’ve written up a very detailed lesson plan for teaching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for homeschoolers: http://www.knittedthoughts.com/2010/12/harry-potter-homeschool-craft.html I homeschool my own 2 daughters and teach a class on Harry Potter at the Huckleberry Center for Creative Learning and have had many discussions with parents about the series. The book (and movie) includes the rather difficult concept of “horcruxes†and this lesson (which includes a really nice writing component and craft) helps kids understand what Rowling is doing in this book and why it is so dark. The ultimate message of the series is actually quite life affirming and I think if your kids have read the book or seen the movie it’s important to discuss how the horcruxes lead to this ultimate message. My lesson plan is really fun for the kids and opens up a door for discussing these more difficult ideas. If you enjoy it and find it useful, please feel free to repost to facebook or other homeschooling forums or email it to anyone you think might benefit – homeschooled or not, this would be a fun craft and great educational opportunity for all kids. Enjoy! Holly Van Houten
  20. Hi Everyone, I'm a homeschool Mom who taught freshman writing at USC for over a decade before I began homeschooling my own girls (ages 8 and 11). I've been writing a series of posts on my blog about how to get homeschoolers excited about writing. Today's entry contains lots of practical, everyday activities for kids and teens:http://www.knittedthoughts.com/2010/11/express-yourself-writing-with-kids.html Hope you find it helpful :) Holly
  21. I hope someone can help me... I like the Writing With Ease program but I'd rather have the guidelines and incorporate my own literature excerpts and poems. Does such a curriculum exist? Has anyone, maybe, created their own already and shared it on a blog?
  22. I am not able to purchase the TWSS at this time but want to use the SWI-B with my boys. Is it possible to do this? I need to hear from those who have done it this way. I know the ideal is to use TWSS to teach me first but like I said, it's not possible to purchase it now. It's way way too much money. Someone told me to skip SWI and just buy the workbooks but I think that is not going to be helpful. Advice?
  23. My dd just recently turned 10 and I am trying to plan out next year's studies. Writing curriculum is turning out to be my hardest decision. It's the thing that hasn't gotten much attention in formal instruction and I know we have to start something now. I am torn between following SWB's suggestions in WTM/her plan for writing MP3s and IEW's TWSS. Since I haven't been following SWB's plan since the beginning is it "too late" to start up that path? I don't have that concern with TWSS. Does anyone want to throw out some pros/cons or compare/contrast? Please help me get through this planning roadblock! Thanks! Amanda
  24. I just looked at this. My son is not a reluctant writer, but I need something for writing. He writes good paragraphs, but I want to take it to the next level of essays. If you've used this program, can you tell me about it? This would be for a 6th grader.
  25. I'm looking for a secular writing program to use after WT... I know the authors of CW are Christian, but I can't tell from the sample pages how secular the content of the program is or is not (i.e., copywork from the Bible, etc.). Any users out there that can let me know? Thanks!
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