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Help me focus my writing requirements for 7th grader!!


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Sorry, this is just a warning beforehand, this is a long post!


I plan on making some serious changes in the way we homeschool this fall. My dd will be in 7th grade and we need to get to work this year. I have some plans for writing for her this fall but I need help keeping it focused. I don't want to have too many assignments so that the quality sinks too low, but I do need to increase it across the curriculum so this will be a heavy writing year. Besides math and grammar and latin, I really believe this is where we need to place our emphasis. Some of my assignments may not be challenging enough for many of your 7th graders but since we are really just getting started I needed them to be appropriate for her. I need this to be a hard year but definitely not painful!:001_smile:


Here are some ideas and some definites:




Classical Writing Homer A and B and Poetry for Beginners A with Harvey's Grammar


World History assignments-

Ex. (from Chapter 12, The Story of England)

Compare the characters of Henry I, Henry II and Henry III. What was the relationship in blood of each of these to the others?


Who carried on the government before Henry III came of age?


In What Ways did Henry III misgovern?




I do plan on her answering these in complete sentences. I think she will roughly be reading 2-3 chapters a week for world history with 2 of the 3 main books having questions and map work such as above. I also planned on her using some of our history tales to use Homer across the curriculum. For example, she is asked to read a story of Alfred and the Cakes. We have this in 50 Famous Stories and it is not longer than other stories in Homer. I plan on having her use her skills from Homer with this story. I have others planned but I'm not sure how many I should have her do. Would one every three weeks be appropriate?



I plan on dd keeping either a science notebook with her labs written with more reflection.

Here is something I may use:

Title of experiment and date

what we set out to do

how we set it up

what we did or measured

what went wrong

what went right

what we conclude

how this compare to what we set out to do

any diagrams or drawings that are labeled


Here are more ideas:

Literature and Poetry-

I'd like to incorporate some writing with our literature but again I don't want to take on too much. I also want to be mindful of the training it takes to write well. What would be appropriate for her age? I could use English Literature for Boys and Girls to do an author study since this book is arranged by author chronologically and is usually only one chapter long. Hmmm, this may be too much. I also have some free literature guides for some of our books and could choose one question for a writing assignment. I also have some poetry that has composition ideas along with it that we could use. How much of this should we do?


American History-

Here is where is feels like too much. I think we will stick to oral narrations with Am. History. It will give us a subject to keep these up with. I do want some written work with it so maybe some written narrations...


Am I forgetting something? Do those of you who have been here before see some potential problems?


Thanks so much for reading through all this and if you have any feedback I would really appreciate it!:001_smile:

Edited by Kfamily
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Here's a great article from Lene Jaqua, author of CW, on how to write for science - http://home.att.net/~MikeJaqua/writing-for-science.html


I'm a little confused by the two different things for history. Is Writing for History a curriculum, or are you just talking about writing for history? Why are you doing that and also doing American history? I would choose one time period to work with. I like the questions you referenced from the writing for history, but wonder if they may be a little heavy for 7th grade. I wonder if you could use those questions for discussion rather than having her write them.


I've asked a similar question about amount of writing on the high school board for my rising 9th grader, but I can tell you for 7th grade what we did. We used PTIW I which had a writing assignment each week. I wish I had spread it out a little and given more time to polish the works that she did, instead of trying to complete a lot of lessons. We did LL7 for lit, which is really liked. She did not do all of the writing assignments, but completed a few. She did not do a whole lot of writing for history, but I tried to line up her regular writing class with history topics when possible. We spent a lot of time on lab reports for science, I had her do a lab one week with the report due the next. Again, I had her use science topics when possible for her writing assignments.


So, overall I'd say she wrote 1 to 2 major papers per week. It was a good amount for us. She went to public school for 8th grade and was well prepared, may I actually say over prepared for any writing she had to do in 8th grade.

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Definitely to improve quality!


Then may I suggest an alternative route? I do not believe that simply doing lots of writing in answering questions improves quality. The amt of writing you have listed is more typical of what my 10th/11th graders do, not my 7th graders. Most of our science/history/lit is done via discussion.


On another thread (about 5th/6th skill development) I wrote about how I teach writing, but essentially I think that once a student has mastered structure, style is improved by understanding the revising/editing process.


My kids write one paper/week. It is their only writing assignment and it is expected to be the best of their ability. I sit with them after they have written their rough draft and we work together on studying the grammar/mechanics and the content. Areas of noted weakness are expected to be re-written.


I personally like Put That in Writing's instruction b/c it teaches the student how to develop style and how to evaluate writing. Evaluating someone else's writing really helps them learn to be more objective about evaluating their own. (I really dislike PTIW's assignments though. I create my own assignments across curriculum.)


I think learning what makes a piece of writing good and putting that in to practice will ultimately achieve better results than simply writing a lot.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Hi Julie,

We are using The Story of England for World History and these are questions at the end of each chapter. I had thought about discussing the questions especially in the beginning. We will be using this book over two years. I could start with discussions and maybe I could write on the white board an outline of how to answer the questions to start and let her take over as soon as she is comfortable. This book is older but is designed for grades 6 and 7. Some of the questions are simple and some are comparisons but all are based on the chapter text. The chapters are fairly short and easy to read as well. She is very excited about the books.

The science you linked is the very one I was looking at while typing the bit on keeping a science notebook!:001_smile:

I put this out so that I could keep the writing assignments focused. I don't want her to have so many that her writing suffers for it.

Hope you get some feedback to your question. Thank you so much for helping me with mine.

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Thanks Momof7,


So, if I spent all of this year discussing the history questions and maybe even modeling on the white board how to answer these questions would that be a more effective way to guide her? I did not plan for this to be overly formal. I had hoped that this would help her read an assignment on her own, think about it and then respond in writing in an informal notebook.


We use Classical Writing because I do need the guidance and structure. I know many moms (yourself included :001_smile:) are very good at this. I felt strongly I needed more help. Maybe I'll be better at this in time for my younger dd!:D


The Classical Writing will already have her writing at least one good paper a week. Should I do more or is this enough? What about for literature and science? What do you think about keeping a science notebook? I would keep this somewhat informal too.


I have a lot of thinking to do but I love the feedback. I know I need it!

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The only problem with using strictly Homer is that the writing is narrative. I really like to see my 7th and 8th graders perfect essay structure so that high school writing is focused on developing their argument/presentation.


I don't think it is necessary to model the answers on the white board. I think more time spent in discussion and learning to "defend" her position orally would be more beneficial. (This is where Socratic questioning is helpful......make sure all questions are open-ended and guide the discussion to where you want it to go.)


Science......LOL.......I'm not sure that I should answer that one! My non-high school kids do lots of experiments, but they are all self-generated. I have them outline their science chapters or take notes in 7th/8th. But lab notebooks, um.....not so much!

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The problem with the science curriculum we're using this year is that there isn't a main book that we could use for outlining. We're using Kym Wright's Botany Adventures which uses experiments, draws from Abeka's Biology book as a resource only and botany cards in the back to label and vocabulary. I was thinking the science lab notebook would be a way to organize all of this but I will look at it again. I haven't really started planning for Botany yet so I'm still working on this.


Thanks for your help! I hope to finish Homer by the end of 7th (we school year round and have started Homer) so that we can be in Diogenes by 8th. We're a little behind but I was willing to sacrafice this for quality in her writing.

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