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In one fell swoop he has gone from only being able to write reports to being able to write persuasive papers with a thesis! Not that he is writing perfect papers now GRIN, but the rest of the problems are more minor ones that I know how to fix. I am so relieved! He has always had plenty of ideas, he just couldn't get them organized enough for his papers to work. I made him stick to this format for his body paragraphs and it worked! http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1662037#poststop

 

Just posting in case someone has a similar problem...

-Nan

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The one refered to in the post is by Jane Schaffer. I emailed and asked, ordered it, read the material, and presented the literature half of it to my son in one three-hour session. Then he wrote a paper that worked! All in one day. We didn't get much else done that day, but who cares? The material has samples, student handouts, and what almost amounts to a script. One thing extra I did was to snip up my son's first draft and lay the sentences out on a template. This allowed us to rearrange to fit the format.

-Nan

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I went to that thread and was wondering which post you were referring to. Was it the one by the tutor? :)

 

Update: Was that the Homeschool Connection link?

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Susan, I want to add that I had a very specific problem and this is a batch of material that was written specifically to address that problem. It is not a full writing program.

-Nan

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Nan I'm so happy for you and your son!!! :hurray:

 

It's such an awesome feeling when you find what works after having gone

through things that didn't! BTDT!!! :)

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I'm confused. I didn't see a reference to any program mentioned in this thread or the thread you linked to, Nan. I really liked the post though. What is this material by Jane Schaffer?

 

My writers are definitely still working on organizing thoughts. They tend to take giant leaps without seeing the need to support their statements. I would love an 8-sentence paragraph pattern for them to practice.

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There wasn't one. I emailed the tutor and he gave me the name of the program his school uses. I'll post the link later. I could almost teach it with just the brief post in the thread, but having the program helped me to figure out how to explain it to my son. I am glad I bought the program. I can see why the tutor speaks so highly of it. My son was able to write a paragraph about his ideas, or a paragraph reporting facts, but mixing the two wasn't going well. In order to mix them, you need to put in lots of fluff. (I am inclined to agree with him. We both feel that one ought to be able to give the thesis statement, give the proof, and leave the reader to make the bridge between the two, at least in the sorts of papers one writes in early high school.) This format forces him to write the bridges, the fluff. His papers aren't very good yet (he has written two now using this format) but they are now at the point where we can use any one of the nice checklists out there for improving, revising, and proofreading. That part will come with practice. He knows what to write about (Writing Strands and TWEM have done that), and he knows when a sentence is grammatically incorrect (Latin helped with that). He probably will never be able to spell well; I'm not worried about that. His punctuation is reasonable. I have a number of resources that will help him to get the wording right. When he can write plain papers with nothing wrong with them, Writers Inc (left over from when my oldest was in ps) has doable advice for making a paper interesting. He has had his own voice since he was small (lots of classic literature). We just had to get him writing a reasonable draft. Outlining wasn't working. He can write from an outline if he is writing a report, but not a persuasive paper, or whatever they are called. As I said, there is a ton of material for fixing one's writing once it gets to this point, and a ton for the five paragraph format, which expanded works well for any sort of report. I don't care if he never writes a book review or a letter to the editor or a poem. I just want him to be able to write reports and persuasive papers for his classes - basic academic writing. Anyway, I am very relieved. I can use this for the rest of high school, together with the five paragraph format, and that will be sufficient for engineering school.

-Nan

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Link: http://www.curriculumguides.com/engine/cart/details.aspx?id=3

 

I've tried other formats with my son, but they weren't flexible enough. I guess it is tricky to hit just the right balance between forcing organization and stifling all thought. This one happened to be just right for us. I don't know if it would work for others.

-Nan

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Just to be understanding this right, the basis for a 8 sentence paragraph is the following:

 

1. Topic sentence

 

2. A relevant quote from a resource

 

3 and 4. Commentary by the student on the quote and its meaning

 

5, 6, and 7. Another quote and then two more sentences of commentary

 

8. A restatement of the topic sentence

 

Is this for every paragraph? That's a lot of quotes. Maybe I'm not understanding this right, which is quite possible!

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Susan, I want to add that I had a very specific problem and this is a batch of material that was written specifically to address that problem. It is not a full writing program.

-Nan

 

I think I have enough with what the poster put, which is a good idea how to set up all of the information. In researching, there are people who don't like the program because it is so structured. The paragraph structure of topic, quote, commentary, quote, commentary, is a good starting point.

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Just to be understanding this right, the basis for a 8 sentence paragraph is the following:

 

1. Topic sentence

 

2. A relevant quote from a resource

 

3 and 4. Commentary by the student on the quote and its meaning

 

5, 6, and 7. Another quote and then two more sentences of commentary

 

8. A restatement of the topic sentence

 

Is this for every paragraph? That's a lot of quotes. Maybe I'm not understanding this right, which is quite possible!

 

This is awesome! Free curriculum! Is the "8 sentence paragraph" a common format like the 5-paragraph essay?

 

Nan, thanks for sharing. A major light bulb just lit up for me.

 

The last two weeks I've been having my kids practice the essay for the CHSPE exam. They wrote a 5-par. essay each day with this format:

 

X is a controversial topic today. [X=mandatory PE, lowering the drinking age, moving out at age 18, and various other teen-oriented topics] On the one hand, A. On the other hand, B. I believe C because D, E and F.

 

... and more of the same. Gee, they got quite repetitive but I think they really liked having a formula to plug into.

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Just to be understanding this right, the basis for a 8 sentence paragraph is the following:

 

1. Topic sentence

 

2. A relevant quote from a resource

 

3 and 4. Commentary by the student on the quote and its meaning

 

5, 6, and 7. Another quote and then two more sentences of commentary

 

8. A restatement of the topic sentence

 

Is this for every paragraph? That's a lot of quotes. Maybe I'm not understanding this right, which is quite possible!

 

This structure is also taught in IEW's Elegant Essay - but there are about 7 or 8 different ways (a quote just being one of them) to support the topic sentence. A personal anecdote, a statistic - several others. I forget all the rest right now (and I guess IEW would probably prefer it that way - LOL!)

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Think of it more like proof and less like quote. Some are quotes and some are not. Yup, that is it.

 

Okay, I see. That makes sense. Thanks again for this thread; it's got me to thinking more about writing for next year. :)

 

And Rhondabee ~ Very funny! I'm sure IEW appreciates your 'forgetfulness'!

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This structure is also taught in IEW's Elegant Essay - but there are about 7 or 8 different ways (a quote just being one of them) to support the topic sentence. A personal anecdote, a statistic - several others. I forget all the rest right now (and I guess IEW would probably prefer it that way - LOL!)

 

I have seen quite a few lists of ways to offer proof of something. I ugess part of what I liked aobut this is that it doesn't do the other parts of writing - it just offers a formula for a body paragraph. And since that was the part I was having trouble explianing, this worked for us. Many writing programs have too much in them and my son has a tendency to alter the directions or passively resist them if it is something that he already knows how to do part of.

 

-Nan

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Thinking about this some more...

 

I think I would be a lot more worried about using a sentence by sentence format like this if my son were (gritted teeth here) so very incapable of following directions, any directions. He can always see a better way of doing something and he has no fear of bad consequences. In his defense, I have to say that most of the time his way is indeed a better way. (This is our fault - we freely customizes everything - jobs, houses, clothes, ... It makes homeschooling him frustrating, though.) I had to be very, very specific about him having to follow the format, the whole format, and nothing but the format, for the first paper. The second, I told him he could alter. And he did. He is really good at transitions and making things flow. He added transition sentences and made one of his quotes be the commentary for a different quote. The paragraph worked fine and followed the idea of the format without actually being the format. So - if you have the sort of child who alters everything they touch, is good at transitions, and has trouble with mixing his own thoughts together with facts, this format might be helpful to you. If you have a child who once he given a formula for something gets upset if you ask him to depart from it, this formula might be a trap.

 

-Nan

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This sounds like my ds too.

 

Link: http://www.curriculumguides.com/engine/cart/details.aspx?id=3

 

I've tried other formats with my son, but they weren't flexible enough. I guess it is tricky to hit just the right balance between forcing organization and stifling all thought. This one happened to be just right for us. I don't know if it would work for others.

-Nan

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I have seen quite a few lists of ways to offer proof of something.

-Nan

 

Are any of these lists online free somewhere or are any of them in the books I have on my shelf LOL or books I could find at the library? Or are they only in writing programs like Elegant Essay and the Teaching the Multiparagraph essay? I tried an internet search but I'm not putting the right terms in the search engine because I keep getting geometry sites. Thanks so much for starting this thread!

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Nan, this is terrific! Just what I needed and I needed to hear it! The "formula" is very much like the great, specific formula used to teach how to write a literary analysis essay in IEW's Windows to the World.

 

So, since it's so easy to teach, when do you hit the lecture circuit in the Southwest so we can attend...? :tongue_smilie:

 

Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Thanks, Nan! Do you have a paragraph that he has written that you would have time to and be willing to share?

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Thinking about this some more...

 

I think I would be a lot more worried about using a sentence by sentence format like this if my son were (gritted teeth here) so very incapable of following directions, any directions. He can always see a better way of doing something and he has no fear of bad consequences. In his defense, I have to say that most of the time his way is indeed a better way. (This is our fault - we freely customizes everything - jobs, houses, clothes, ... It makes homeschooling him frustrating, though.) I had to be very, very specific about him having to follow the format, the whole format, and nothing but the format, for the first paper. The second, I told him he could alter. And he did. He is really good at transitions and making things flow. He added transition sentences and made one of his quotes be the commentary for a different quote. The paragraph worked fine and followed the idea of the format without actually being the format. So - if you have the sort of child who alters everything they touch, is good at transitions, and has trouble with mixing his own thoughts together with facts, this format might be helpful to you. If you have a child who once he given a formula for something gets upset if you ask him to depart from it, this formula might be a trap.

 

-Nan

 

:lol:Sorry Nan, but the part in bold explains so much, especially about our last conversation regarding planning school for this child. The little yellow guy is laughing in sympathy and amusement that once again our children seem to have so many similar traits even down to the birth order, I think. It's good to hear that you have found a writing tool that works well for him. I wonder if solidifying this part of his overall plan will help other things fall into place or at least make the journey less rocky.

 

Children who alter everything they touch and who often have a better way to do things are exceptionally hard to plan for. At the beginning of the year, it's as though you are standing on the bank of a lazy, pleasant river, ready to jump in, you do so only to find your head emerging in a torrent of white water whose current changes direction every few strokes. Then there are the whirlpools that circle 'round endlessly threatening to suck you down. This writing format sounds like a lifeline. I hope it's the start of even better things, Nan. You deserve it.:grouphug: Thanks for sharing your success and giving the rest of us with a similar issue a ray of sunshine.

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Lisa,

 

What a great analogy. We are talking about 2nd born children are we?

 

Totally off topic - I send you a private message about another topic from the K-8 board.

 

Kendall

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I don't think I've ever correlated the two before, except in a vague, how-am-I-supposed-to-hit-a-moving-target-here way. That is a perfect description of our year. I knew your posts sounded familiar GRIN. A good English teacher might have been able to "fix" him a long time ago. Or he might have had to get to this age. He's grown so much this spring. Thank you for the encouragement. I think you might be right. If I can get his output level more in line with his input level, it will be a huge relief!

-Nan

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I don't think I've ever correlated the two before, except in a vague, how-am-I-supposed-to-hit-a-moving-target-here way. That is a perfect description of our year. I knew your posts sounded familiar GRIN. A good English teacher might have been able to "fix" him a long time ago. Or he might have had to get to this age. He's grown so much this spring. Thank you for the encouragement. I think you might be right. If I can get his output level more in line with his input level, it will be a huge relief!

-Nan

 

But Nan, they are moving targets. There are times I am almost mortified at the amount of curricula we have gone through this year, or how often our plans have changed. I had someone suggest that Swimmer Dude was a tad on the spoiled side and that I should just make him do the worksheets, the study guides or read the too dry text. That's life after all. Hmmm. I've made my kids grin-and-bear-it many a time. But like you, when Dude says something is boring or redundant, I cringe because I know in my heart, most often he is right. He would prefer to write a short essay on what he learned in a chapter then fill in the blanks in a reading guide. Oh how he hates those. I remind myself when I think I am going to lose my mind that the fact that he does chose a different drum beat is part of why I home school him. And I have no idea where he got his different sense of rhythm from.:D

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Nan, this is terrific! Just what I needed and I needed to hear it! The "formula" is very much like the great, specific formula used to teach how to write a literary analysis essay in IEW's Windows to the World.

 

So, since it's so easy to teach, when do you hit the lecture circuit in the Southwest so we can attend...? :tongue_smilie:

 

Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

But the 8 sentences reminded me very much of what Shurley teaches. We've done the Shurley writing in the early grades (the 3 point paragraph which I know isn't unique only to Shurley) and found it about the same. However, I can see now from Jan Shafer's example that the junior high students should be able to greatly improve their Shurley "supporting sentences" to get them closer to the essays like for the SATs.

 

Thanks - very good looking curriculum site and great writing reminders!

Lisaj

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This sounds all too familiar. I wish I could tell when boring means boring because I have to work hard at it and it is boring, and when boring means this is really easy and boring. It might take some of the worry out of homeschooling.

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This sounds all too familiar. I wish I could tell when boring means boring because I have to work hard at it and it is boring, and when boring means this is really easy and boring. It might take some of the worry out of homeschooling.

 

Forgive me for being blunt, but this whole issue gives me such a rash. In graduate school I was fascinated with resolving process inefficiencies. Who knew I was going to have to pull out some of the same tools for home schooling. By the end of the year we had developed a routine for student protest. To start with, we examine the purpose of the protested assignment: learn new material, practice skills, review, or need physical output. Once we have established the purpose and its worthiness, my son is required to provide an alternate suggestion for an assignment that will accomplish the same purpose. Ugh! Sometimes the process takes so much time but it is good for both of us. He has to feel strongly about the assignment to be willing to invest time out of his school day for the protest process. "Boring" is to be avoided for the most part if he wants to win his case. It has cut down on the number of complaints as I suspect he runs through the scenario in his head and comes to the conclusion that he might as well do the work.

 

My having to think through the purpose of numerous assignments has brought me back to pondering on that old home schooling pig on the truck of breadth vs. depth. It is probably time for a thread on K-8 board on this topic...after I finish my geometry lessons. And there is no one to complain to.:tongue_smilie:

 

It's always a pleasure to "talk" with you, Nan. Even if it does occasionally hurt my brain.:D

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