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I know there are many questions that I won't answer here...but post them and I'll do my best to address them.

 

So, we'll start here....

 

1) AVAILABILITY OF LEVEL 1. Currently we are on schedule to have the entire, proofread, typeset, finished PDF ready for sale in October 2011; and the print book for sale December 2011. (If copies are ready sooner, we'll let you know.)

 

In the meantime, the first seven weeks and the full table of contents are available as free PDF downloads from the Well-Trained Mind blog: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/resource-roundup/writing-with-skill-the-full-table-of-contents-and-first-seven-weeks/"]http://www.welltrainedmind.com/resource-roundup/writing-with-skill-the-full-table-of-contents-and-first-seven-weeks/

 

Further weeks, for those of you who intend to hold out for the print book, can be requested by emailing my assistant, Pattie Worth: executiveassistant@welltrainedmind.com.

 

It has been incredibly helpful to me to get feedback early in the process from many of you. If you feel that you can't continue without the print book, I do understand, but I hope you'll consider sticking with it and sending comments/problems/suggestions/questions to me (via Pattie).

 

The books will be available from Amazon about eight weeks after it is available directly from Peace Hill Press.

 

2) AVAILABILITY OF FUTURE LEVELS. I'm on schedule to finish one level per year. What this means is that future levels will be available in September of each succeeding year...as long as you're willing to work from manuscript/PDF copies that we send you by email until the printed books are finished.

 

Again, this is an invaluable part of the process for me--getting feedback from parents before the final books are printed. I had originally intended to make WWS available starting in the fall of 2012, and the Feb. 2012 pub date was so that we'd have copies for the spring curriculum fairs. However, the beta testers were SO helpful that I'd like to continue to put the program out a year earlier for feedback. The more parents and kids who use this, the more effectively I can fine-tune it.

 

Drawbacks: You get manuscript/PDF copies and they're not as pretty. And you have to print them yourself.

 

Advantages: It's free.

 

3) INTENDED AGE/GRADE: Writing With Skill can be begun by any student who is writing at a fifth grade level or above.

 

If you're coming out of Writing With Ease: Children who have finished Writing With Ease 3 and are working at about a fifth-grade level can usually skip Writing With Ease 4 and go straight into Writing With Skill. Writing With Ease 4 continues to develop skills in narration and composition and also exposes children to a wider range of prose styles--all of this helps younger students mature to the point where they're ready to begin Writing With Skill. WWS asks students to write about a wide range of topics and also demands a fair amount of self-direction and determination...which is often a matter of maturity, not skill.

 

If you're not sure, simply ask the student to complete Week 1 of the free PDF download (Week One: Narrative Summaries). If the student can do this without too much struggle, you can move on ahead in WWS. Deer-in-the-headlights reaction = go back and work on WWE 4 for six months and then try again.

 

Although this is labelled "Level 1," it is valuable as pre-rhetoric for any student who is not prepared to go directly into the rhetoric studies outlined in TWTM. Finishing the four levels of WWS will actually prepare most students to go into basic-level college composition.

 

3) SCOPE AND SEQUENCE. WWS is a spelled-out, detailed, week-by-week development of the writing skills that are expected of pre-rhetoric students in TWTM.

 

a) Writing With Skill teaches explicit skills in outlining, narrative composition, and sentence style.

 

b) It also teaches directly how to construct and write chronological narratives, descriptions, biographical sketches, and sequences, across the curriculum (assignments are in both humanities and sciences).

 

c) WWS teaches explicitly how to write brief literary reactions to both short stories and prose.

 

d) WWS teaches basic research skills, documentation, and definition/avoidance of plagiarism.

 

e) WWS teaches students to combine the four elements of (b) into longer compositions.

 

WWS does NOT teach grammar explicitly; our assumption is that you will use it with a separate grammar program.

 

 

4) HOW TO USE IT. WWS consists of two books, the Student Workbook and the Instructor Guide. You need both of them. (For some reason, Amazon has the Student Workbook listed as an alternate "format" for the Instructor Guide. We're trying to get this fixed, but they're not WAY responsive, in case you hadn't noticed.)

 

The program is directed AT the student; by this point, students should be taking on more of the responsibility for their own writing (since, after all, writing is a self-directed activity). The Instructor Guide provides you with suggested answers and rubrics for each step, plus detailed guidance in how to teach the student skills that he or she may struggle with.

 

Incidentally, if you want the print book before February you can call PHP and pre-order it now by calling the PHP office. Order before Dec. 1 and we'll give you a 10% discount plus free shipping on those two books.

 

OK...questions?

 

Another post about Advanced Language Lessons coming shortly.

 

SWB

Edited by Susan Wise Bauer

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A suggestion for the next round of Beta Testing. I know there is a huge benefit to just collecting a lot of responses and reactions. But I also felt like I was either being too general or too in the weeds.

 

It might be helpful to have some points to ponder as we're using the curriculum in order to come up with more helpful responses.

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I know you said this is for 5th grade and up. What about a bright 9th grader who is VERY self directed, but who has not had a lot of writing practice. I could see him doing great with something like this because it is written to the student and very well explained ( I have the 20 week sample). However, is it too little too late? Or would it still benefit him to do the 4 levels (along with other writing) before college?

 

Thank you so much!

 

Renee

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What will the font size of the PDF be? I'm not sure, but it seems that my emailed sample is 10.5, and the blog sample is 11.5. Both are on the small side for myself (old hag that I am) and my dd.

 

Alternatively, if anyone knows how to change a font size of a PDF, I'm all ears. As far as I can tell, I cannot do it in Word without losing all the formatting. I'm thinking about trying the Adobe on DH's computer, which may be one of the fancier versions.

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A suggestion for the next round of Beta Testing. I know there is a huge benefit to just collecting a lot of responses and reactions. But I also felt like I was either being too general or too in the weeds.

 

It might be helpful to have some points to ponder as we're using the curriculum in order to come up with more helpful responses.

 

Good point. Although "We had no idea what you were getting at in this lesson" is always helpful too.:001_smile:

 

SWB

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I know you said this is for 5th grade and up. What about a bright 9th grader who is VERY self directed, but who has not had a lot of writing practice. I could see him doing great with something like this because it is written to the student and very well explained ( I have the 20 week sample). However, is it too little too late? Or would it still benefit him to do the 4 levels (along with other writing) before college?

 

Thank you so much!

 

Renee

 

Renee, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. IMO these are the basic skills of organization and research that MUST be in place before students can move on to more advanced expository writing. This series is motivated in part by my sense of what my college freshmen missed in high school composition. Ideally, yes, students will move on to do at least SOME rhetoric before graduating, but if I had a freshman student who'd completed the skills WWS covers, I'd certainly feel they were adequately prepared for freshman comp.

 

I'm actually making DS3 (ninth grade) work through the lessons as I finish them, in part because this is a more organized and sequential version of the writing across the curriculum we did in grades 5-8.

 

SWB

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Thank you, thank you, thank you.....That is what my "gut" was telling me after reading through the sample, but hearing you say that really gives me the confidence to go ahead and do it. :001_smile:

 

One more thing:

I have a 6th grader that I'm going to use it with too..... How would you explain to your 9th grader that he is doing the same writing as his sister in 6th grade? :confused: I mean, he is not "behind" or anything, actually he is pretty smart. How do I present this to him?

 

Renee

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What will the font size of the PDF be? I'm not sure, but it seems that my emailed sample is 10.5, and the blog sample is 11.5.

 

OK, not sure I can help you with this one, because when I open it up it looks nice and big. Anyone else?

 

Alternately, call the office and ask Mollie for suggestions, or email mollie@welltrainedmind.com. She knows the software a whole lot better than I do.

 

SWB

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I have a 6th grader that I'm going to use it with too..... How would you explain to your 9th grader that he is doing the same writing as his sister in 6th grade? :confused: I mean, he is not "behind" or anything, actually he is pretty smart.

 

That's a tricky one. You could fall on your sword and tell him that you want him to do it because YOU should have gone through the material with him earlier and didn't. (Shifting the blame to yourself always a good strategy with high school students, I have used that successfully myself. :D) You could have him complete the lessons in half time--two per day--and then use the other two days to go through something simple but higher-level like Rulebook for Written Arguments...

 

...You could put them in different colored folders and order them not to talk to each other about their writing programs (that would lend a cool air of mystery, wouldn't it?)...

 

Anyone else want to jump in here?

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I had planned on doing WWE 3 for my 6th grade girl who is a reluctant reader/writer/worker. She is one of those "I don't get it" kids. Should I start her there and then go straight to WWS next year or do WWE 4 this year to get her to WWS next year? Thanks! Kristen

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That's a tricky one. You could fall on your sword and tell him that you want him to do it because YOU should have gone through the material with him earlier and didn't. (Shifting the blame to yourself always a good strategy with high school students, I have used that successfully myself. :D) You could have him complete the lessons in half time--two per day--and then use the other two days to go through something simple but higher-level like Rulebook for Written Arguments...

 

...You could put them in different colored folders and order them not to talk to each other about their writing programs (that would lend a cool air of mystery, wouldn't it?)...

 

Anyone else want to jump in here?

 

Why not tell him that Dr. Susan Wise Bauer, college professor and homeschooling mom extraordinaire, is having her 9th grade son use the program, because being able to write with skill is so very important? That's what I plan to tell my 9th grader. :D

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Can you give a ballpark figure re: how long a lesson in WWS should take? (Every student is different, I know. :))

 

The lessons are intentionally of different lengths, so that often a difficult assignment is followed by an easy one. They range from 20 to 45 minutes (ideally), although as you mention, mileage varies.

 

I wouldn't have a middle-grade student work for more than 45 minutes without breaking the lesson into two and finishing it the next day, and for many fifth and some sixth graders, 30 minutes of concentrated work is enough. An older student can work for longer periods.

 

SWB

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I had planned on doing WWE 3 for my 6th grade girl who is a reluctant reader/writer/worker. She is one of those "I don't get it" kids. Should I start her there and then go straight to WWS next year or do WWE 4 this year to get her to WWS next year? Thanks! Kristen

 

I would give her the year-end evaluations for each year of WWE and start her in the year where she has trouble. You can find them here...

 

http://wtm-pdfs.s3.amazonaws.com/wwe/wweevaluations.pdf

 

SWB

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I had my bright 13 yo look at the WWS pdf of the first 7 weeks and she was very excited about it. I did not mention what level/age/grade this was for. She is doing quite a bit of high school level work, but is going to be using WWS and AAL this year.

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Why not tell him that Dr. Susan Wise Bauer, college professor and homeschooling mom extraordinaire, is having her 9th grade son use the program, because being able to write with skill is so very important? That's what I plan to tell my 9th grader. :D

 

 

LOVE this! :D

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That's a tricky one. You could fall on your sword and tell him that you want him to do it because YOU should have gone through the material with him earlier and didn't. (Shifting the blame to yourself always a good strategy with high school students, I have used that successfully myself. :D) You could have him complete the lessons in half time--two per day--and then use the other two days to go through something simple but higher-level like Rulebook for Written Arguments...

 

...You could put them in different colored folders and order them not to talk to each other about their writing programs (that would lend a cool air of mystery, wouldn't it?)...

 

Anyone else want to jump in here?

 

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. I'm really excited to start using the material.

 

I just told DS I was writing to the author of "The Well Trained Mind" to which he replied, "Oh wow....you're talking to someone famous!" :D

Thought you'd get a kick out of that.

 

 

Renee

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Wow! This writing program looks fantastic!!! I can see that it would be helpful not only in improving writing, but in reading comprehension as well. Nicely done! :)

 

(Numbers were transposed on Peter the Great - change 1628 to 1682.) :)

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Posting on this thread as well. My 11yo 5th grader finished week one of WWS this week. I am very impressed with this program and so glad to have it for this year. He worked on the lessons fairly independently. The 4th lesson for the week did take him a lot longer than the previous days, but no more than 30-40 minutes (I think). He is particularly enjoying how the program directs him in how to improve his writing. Apparently he finds it refreshing to have his book (rather than his mother) tell him to proofread and read his sentences aloud before finalizing. :glare: At any rate, I am already seeing improvement and I am quite pleased.

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We are on week 3 of WWS and I just wanted to say

 

THANK YOU!!!!!

 

This is by far the best writing program for Middle school ages we have used to date. Dd11 is loving it! The outlining is brilliant and her narrations/summaries have come so far in 3 weeks I can't hardly believe it. Thank you for all your hard work!

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Say that while they are working off of the same text, you expect that the older student's work will shortly be to amhigher level. You might mention that it's not uncommon for undergrads of different "grades" to take the same course or even for a course to be offered as undergrad and grad at the same time.

 

ETA: I had German courses that were on the multi level model. Our assignments were pretty much the same, but the professor had higher standards and/or paper lengths for the grad students. I think that dh had a few multi level history courses too.

 

Of course saying that Dr. Bauer said it was fine carries a lot of weight too. I came home from the Cincinnati conference and told my kids that SWB said that I needed to lighten up on all of the writing assignments I was giving them. They thought it was an April Fools' Joke. (But boy were they glad.)

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)

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My 12 year old dd just completed week one. She has always been very reluctant to write in school, but loves writing creative stories in her spare time. She did so well with WWS this week, I'm so proud of her. She likes this program, although she did say it was challenging to her.

 

I just want to say thanks for making this available to us!!

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OK, not sure I can help you with this one, because when I open it up it looks nice and big. Anyone else?

 

Alternately, call the office and ask Mollie for suggestions, or email mollie@welltrainedmind.com. She knows the software a whole lot better than I do.

 

SWB

 

Thank you, Susan!

 

Anyone else: what does the font size look like when you print it out?

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I agree on stating any specifics you'd want from beta testers. For instance, in my beta testing, I didn't really do much with actual proofreading because I figured you had peeps for that. :) But I wasn't totally sure. I stuck mainly with content feedback.

 

Which, by the way, I thought the changes were very responsive to the issues stated. Awesome job on this program!! Thank you!

 

LOVE, love, love WWS-dd11 can't wait to get back to it! Glad to hear it will be coming year by year!

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In response to "aquiverfull"

 

I was in a similar situation with spelling with my son and daughter. Younger daughter caught up to my son due to multiple factors, mostly mine due to two additional babies being born. I fell on my sword, told him I was not teaching him adequately, and promised that we were going to start a new approach to spelling. He and is his sister were in the same Spelling Workout book, but I started moving him MUCH faster through the lessons with lots of supervision and drilling from me. He's fine now. He knows he is working at a "faster" pace and has now gone on to the next spelling book ahead of his sister.

 

Lisa

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In response to "aquiverfull"

 

I was in a similar situation with spelling with my son and daughter. Younger daughter caught up to my son due to multiple factors, mostly mine due to two additional babies being born. I fell on my sword, told him I was not teaching him adequately, and promised that we were going to start a new approach to spelling. He and is his sister were in the same Spelling Workout book, but I started moving him MUCH faster through the lessons with lots of supervision and drilling from me. He's fine now. He knows he is working at a "faster" pace and has now gone on to the next spelling book ahead of his sister.

 

Lisa

 

 

I think you mean quiverfull. I was confused for a moment trying to remember what I had said...LOL. Then I went back and looked and "quiverfull" was the one who was talking about her 9th grader.

 

I know it's confusing having our usernames so similar with just one letter off..:001_smile:

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Thank you, Susan!

 

Anyone else: what does the font size look like when you print it out?

 

WHen I print it out (Week 1 Day One: Original Narration Exercise), the base text is 4mm. Online, the calculator I used said that's equivalent to 11.3.pt Postscript.

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WHen I print it out (Week 1 Day One: Original Narration Exercise), the base text is 4mm. Online, the calculator I used said that's equivalent to 11.3.pt Postscript.

 

Thank you for checking, Capt Uhura!

 

I meant to mention earlier, so far we are very happy with WWS :). We just started Week 2.

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I am so excited about starting WWS with my new 6th grader. She is still struggling with dictations at times, but she rocks narrations. I had her do a few simple outlines at the end of last year, and she did really well. I think I will go ahead and start WWS and also throw in a couple of dictations each week.

 

Thanks so much, Susan, for providing the samples! You are so generous!

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[quote name=Nakia;3060700

Thanks so much' date=' Susan, for providing the samples! You are so generous![/quote]

 

:iagree: We are so looking forward to starting this soon. On a side note, I've been driving myself insane looking for my copy of WWS...literally days. It wasn't until I read a thread yesterday did I remember that duh, I only have the download samples. :tongue_smilie:

 

We haven't even started school yet. Not a good sign...

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My Dd completed WWE 4 last year and I'm very excited to give WWS a go.

 

Forgive me if my question is too off-topic, but how does WWS fit into the grand WTM scheme for a beginning logic-stage student? Logistically speaking, would I drop the planned outlining and narration she would have done each week after reading her history?

 

Thank you so much!

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The outlining and narration in history combines history comprehension/review with building skills in writing. I've put together WWS, in part, because I hear from parents that they need more guidance and instruction in the "building skills in writing" part. So WWS will fill the skill-building function of your history work, but not the comprehension review.

 

Because of that, I wouldn't drop it entirely. But I would reduce it to once or twice a week, rather than three times, and I would be careful not to overdo the length.

 

Hope that makes sense; if not, let me know.

 

SWB

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I never know how much to correct. Does WWS give guidance on what is acceptable or good or great.?

I get how to correct Grammar and Math, but writing seems subjective to me. word choice etc.

It's my ds who wants to know a " grade" or some feedback. How can I handle corrections. ? Does WWS give any help here?

 

Thanks,

~Christine in al

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Thanks so much for answering questions, Susan!

 

This might be an odd question, but would it be possible to continue our writing program using your middle grades writing lectures instead of WWS? Or would we be missing out on essential skills?

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Susan, can ALL be used with WWE level 4, sorry if this is a dumb question, but i'm new to your program. i am hesitating to use wws with my 5th grader because he just came out of ps and although very bright and strong in language arts he hasn't had much experience in narrating and summarizing.

My second question is, if he completes ALL level 1 in 5th grade and ALL level 2 isn't available yet, do you have any suggestion which grammar program my son would fit in, do you consider ALL level 1 advance in comparison with other grammar programs that my son would need to be placed at a higher level using another grammar program? I would need a secular program, so Rod and Staff won't work.

Thank you very much.

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The outlining and narration in history combines history comprehension/review with building skills in writing. I've put together WWS, in part, because I hear from parents that they need more guidance and instruction in the "building skills in writing" part. So WWS will fill the skill-building function of your history work, but not the comprehension review.

 

Because of that, I wouldn't drop it entirely. But I would reduce it to once or twice a week, rather than three times, and I would be careful not to overdo the length.

 

Hope that makes sense; if not, let me know.

 

SWB

 

To clarify, each week, my child should do one outline, one notetaking session (list of facts), and one narration/essay in one content area--history or science or literature but not all three? Is that correct?

 

Thank you so much, Susan, for WWS. The TOC blew me away. I am very excited to use this with my children. Thank you also for answering our questions.

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This might be an odd question, but would it be possible to continue our writing program using your middle grades writing lectures instead of WWS? Or would we be missing out on essential skills?

 

This depends entirely on your comfort with teaching writing. What I've laid out, week by week, in WWS, is what *I* would do while having students outline and rewrite in history and science. It's a completely fleshed-out version of the writing lecture, just like the WWE workbooks are a completely fleshed-out version of the elementary grade recommendations.

 

SWB

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Susan, can ALL be used with WWE level 4, sorry if this is a dumb question, but i'm new to your program. i am hesitating to use wws with my 5th grader because he just came out of ps and although very bright and strong in language arts he hasn't had much experience in narrating and summarizing.

 

Yes, absolutely. We publish the writing and grammar curricula separately because kids often advance at different rates in those two skills.

 

 

My second question is, if he completes ALL level 1 in 5th grade and ALL level 2 isn't available yet, do you have any suggestion which grammar program my son would fit in, do you consider ALL level 1 advance in comparison with other grammar programs that my son would need to be placed at a higher level using another grammar program? I would need a secular program, so Rod and Staff won't work.

Thank you very much.

 

Warriner's, Stewart English, Voyages in English would all work.

 

SWB

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To clarify, each week, my child should do one outline, one notetaking session (list of facts), and one narration/essay in one content area--history or science or literature but not all three? Is that correct?

 

You have a lot of flexibiltiy with this, but what you've outlined is certainly a workable plan. Just be careful not to assign too much writing to fifth graders, particularly those who are still struggling.

 

SWB

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The outlining and narration in history combines history comprehension/review with building skills in writing. I've put together WWS, in part, because I hear from parents that they need more guidance and instruction in the "building skills in writing" part. So WWS will fill the skill-building function of your history work, but not the comprehension review.

 

Because of that, I wouldn't drop it entirely. But I would reduce it to once or twice a week, rather than three times, and I would be careful not to overdo the length.

 

Hope that makes sense; if not, let me know.

 

SWB

 

Yes, thank you! That makes sense. WWS provides the writing instruction - the skills necessary for outlining and composition. Then the child will use these developing skills in their history, literature and science both for writing practice, and as a means to comprehend and learn those subjects. I should be mindful not to overburden my kids with too much writing in the subject areas - adjust accordingly depending on the age/aptitude of the child.

 

One of the things I love most about WWS (besides the excellent instruction :D), is your choice of source material. I felt the same about WWE. It increases our exposure to a variety of works we may have otherwise never come across, kwim?

 

Thanks so much!

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I think ideally, as SWB mentioned, you would be doing WWS in your DC's history, science, and literature. It helps to cement what they are learning and is relevant. We watched a documentary on the Ardipithicus skeleton. I outlined it while we watched. A few days later, I showed DS how I could re-write a paragraph from the show based on my outline. I then had him do it. Would I be consistent in doing this every week in history and science and literature? Ah nope. That's where WWS comes in. Plus it gives me the step-by-step explicit guidelines to get DS where I want him to be in writing. So we'll do WWS and start incorporating our own history, science content as well.

 

I'll never forget when I asked DS8 to give me a narration on a book he had read. He was rambling and stopping and starting etc. I finally told him, "Give me a narration like in WWE." "OH!!!!!!" then he gave me a beautiful narration. He hadn't made that connection of what we did in WWE to extending it to his content areas. DOH! Hitting head on forehead.

Edited by Capt_Uhura

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Susan, I emailed Pattie a couple of weeks ago for pdf pages of the WWS and she emailed me what looked like more than the first 5 weeks, are those pages the same as the ones listed on your website?

 

Also, I've emailed her using pattie@welltrainedmind.com address and it took several days to get a response (perhaps she's flooded with questions), is the executiveassistant address a better one to use?

 

Thanks.

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So happy to have stumbled onto this thread, if for nothing else than that I forgot to print the Teacher's Edition. DUH!

 

Anyway, here's my question: Susan, I learned from you in Valley Forge that I was expecting too much from my kids in terms of writing (the 2nd & 5th graders were doing WWE as well as narrating every day for reading AND twice each week for history), which explains sooooo much about our '10/'11 school year. So now I'm paranoid about WWS and narrations in general. My 6th & 8th grader are doing WWS, and I need to know how to correct their mistakes. Last year with my 5th grader, I'd say, "You have 4 mistakes on the first line," and leave him to figure out his spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes for himself. This sometimes took forever, and I'd get to the point where I'd say, "It's 1 spelling error, 1 grammar, and 2 punctuation." Is that the right approach, or should I point out his mistakes to him?

 

Thanks!

Becky

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:party:

So happy here!

You have made my planning so much easier!

I'm going back to read the previous posts, but had to get my happy fance out of the way first, so feel free to ignore my question if its already been answered.

 

Is WWS a 4 day a week program, like WWE was?

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Thank you, Susan, for the sample. My ds10 has finished four weeks and it is a tremendous success. He enjoys working on it independently and comes in early from playing outside to have some quiet time to work on it, all without my ever having to ask about it. I am so impressed with how his writing has improved. He is checking out books from the library on interesting subjects and writing short reports on his own initiative! Best of all, he can see how his writing is improving and he is proud to present his work, aloud, at the dinner table. All this from my capable, but once very reluctant son. Many thanks. And he also sends his thanks for the great excerpts, we have more books to add to our library list.

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