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Writing programs are killing me.


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Seriously. I am not comfortable with this subject at.all. Actually, all of LA, starting with phonics (had NO idea all those rules existed!!!) to grammar (diagramming? What?) and writing, I do not have a clue how to teach any of it. I don't even know what methodology I like when it comes to writing. Do I want a structured, WTM style? Or will that snuff out any creativity? Or do I want something more organic? And risk quality?

I've looked at various writing curriculum recommended here...WWE seemed dull and repetitive. I like the idea of it, but my dd would absolutely balk at doing it over and over and over again. I looked at IEW. Aside from the price ( :-o ) I am not exactly sure *I* can teach it. :( The student intensive was way over my head. Then I looked at Brave Writer. Again, not even sure HOW it teaches, is it all creative? I can't tell. I've also looked at EIW (looks good to me...) and Writing Tales (again, this one looked good).

Maybe i an tell you all about dd, and you can recommend a program? My dd is somewhat pencil phobic. I suspect a touch of dysgraphia. For that reason, I've been concentrating solely on spelling and handwriting. She can't seem to think and write at the same time lol. My thought was to get her handwriting and spelling coming somewhat more naturally, and then add in 'writing'. She is a typical Right Brained, ADD, creative, wiggly, daydreamer. She has a hard time keeping 'rules' straight, like AAS was a bust for her. She prefers A and P, despite it being a lot more writing. She does pretty well in narrating, she loves retelling stories.

I want something that will teach her all the mechanics of writing, incrementally, one thing at a time, and at the same time, allow some freedom for creativity. *I* need something more scripted than just a method...at least for the first year. For example, if I were to buy the IEW DVDs, I'd also want the student packet, instead of just incorporating the method across the curriculum...at least for the first year, kwim? Same with Brave Writer, I'd feel more comfortable having a scripted lesson plan for a bit.

 

Ok, so if you made it through all that, and you have any suggestions, old threads, comments...I would be so grateful!!! Thanks!

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It would be helpful if we knew how old your dd is. Perhaps you've mentioned that in other posts, but some of us [like me] have short-term memory issues, lol.

 

If she's young, you could try Level 2 of Writing Strands. It does lots of hand-holding, as it is intended for children who are just 7yo.

 

For something that's more long-term, there's Understanding Writing. It teaches children to use good, strong verbs and nouns instead of lots of adverbs and adjectives, and it teaches writing through having the children write letters. That, of course, teaches them how to know who their audience is (because you write differently to your BFF than you do to your grandmother), and knowing one's audience is an important thing in writing. It's sort of scrpted, very conversational, not boring.

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When I saw Julie Bogart of Bravewriter speak she talked about exactly that - how parents get overwhelmed by language arts programs, especially writing, because they try to box your child into a certain stage and speed that they might not be in.

 

Bravewriter is hard to get from the website, I think. I was just complaining about that in this thread.

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BW really, really appeals to me. However, seriously, I do NOT know what grammar/writing stuff I need to teach. So things like 'ok, for this lesson, you'll be talking about Voice' and then letting me figure out what to say, that won't work. I am NOT confident at.all. about this. I can usually see/hear when things are written wrong, but I don't know why or how to fix it. It's like spelling. I know when a word looks wrong, I might even be able to correct it most times (mostly, I think, due to the massive amounts of reading I do...) but I won't be able to tell you *why* it's spelled wrong. Does that make sense?

Will Bw give me enough direction (maybe a checklist?) of what things I'll need to point out to dd? Currently, she will narrate to me as I scribe, and she will say something in an odd way, and so instead of being able to tell her WHY is doesn't sound good, I simply make a suggestion for something that makes more sense. I don't want to do that, I want her to know why. Will BW do that?

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actually, bw says that writing together is a good thing. she even, iir, gives you tips on how to help them most productively. i think part of the point is that teaching writing shouldnt be that hard. Just let them write, have them copy good writing and read good writing, and when they are older, help them find meaningful things to write about. I feel like some people work too hard at writing with their kids. What is the purpose? Most kids need to mature to the point where they have something they want to communicate about before they are really ready to write. So until then, your job is to expose them to good language, writing and poetry and plays and whatever, and help them express themselves. it doesnt have to be so scary

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IEW isn't as hard to implement as it seems. It took a bit of time to set up the note book for SWI B and figure it all out, but it is not beyond your capabilities. :) You do not need the more expensive teacher training component IMO. Once you get started, the DVDs take your student through the lessons. For such a costly program though, I was disappointed that they didn't stream line the implementation better.

 

However, she is only 7.5. :) You don't need to rush and find something for her right now. The mechanics of writing will develop as she matures. If you are active and reading and discussing things, all kinds of things, it is most likely A-OK. :) You could write out a few goals you have for her regarding her writing and find a variety of sources from them. Sounds mostly like you would like a check list to be sure you are covering all the bases. Read a lot and answer questions and ask your own questions too.

 

You could try a higher level WWE book and take two years to work through it. Or you could try the free samples: http://peacehillpress.com/media/downloads/pdfsamples/wwe2sample.pdf

 

Try not to over think it at this point. :grouphug:

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BW really, really appeals to me. However, seriously, I do NOT know what grammar/writing stuff I need to teach. So things like 'ok, for this lesson, you'll be talking about Voice' and then letting me figure out what to say, that won't work. I am NOT confident at.all. about this. I can usually see/hear when things are written wrong, but I don't know why or how to fix it. It's like spelling. I know when a word looks wrong, I might even be able to correct it most times (mostly, I think, due to the massive amounts of reading I do...) but I won't be able to tell you *why* it's spelled wrong. Does that make sense?

Will Bw give me enough direction (maybe a checklist?) of what things I'll need to point out to dd? Currently, she will narrate to me as I scribe, and she will say something in an odd way, and so instead of being able to tell her WHY is doesn't sound good, I simply make a suggestion for something that makes more sense. I don't want to do that, I want her to know why. Will BW do that?

 

 

I think BW will get you where you want to go, but maybe not in the way you are wanting to get there ;).

 

I think there are two issues at play: you want to personally know why, and you want to teach your dd to know why. It may be most convenient to learn together through your dd's program, or (if your approach to learning doesn't really mesh with your dd's, or you feel better having the answers ahead of time, not discovering them as you teach them to your dc), it might work better for you to learn them first, through whatever resources works best for you, and then teach your dd through whatever resources work best for her.

 

Now, BW is really good for parent/children to learn together, since it is all about harnessing what you already know intuitively - knowledge which you have - and building on it, extending it and learning to use it in a conscious, deliberate way through a lifestyle that all ages can profit from. The idea is that you start with what you know - intuitive spoken ability with your native language - and start making that knowledge conscious, instead of just unconscious, so you can wield it on purpose, and not just be at the mercy of "sounds right/wrong but I don't have a clue why". You build the ability to say, "sounds right/wrong, and here's what I did that caused it to be that way". You are building skill in writing from the inside out - starting with what you already have, and learning to use it in with more and more conscious skill and deliberation, learning techniques that will deepen your knowledge and increase your skill the more you use them.

 

But unlike more explicit rules-based programs, which want to build an external framework and practice it until you've internalized it (usually because they believe you are starting from scratch), BW wants to start with the internal framework that is already in place and build on it. It doesn't start with the explicit rules and such, but *ends* with the explicit rules, once you've fully internalized what that rule *is*. BW chooses to do so through creating a natural writing lifestyle - to introduce the new knowledge through the motivation of needing it to accomplish what you want to accomplish. However, you don't have to do it that way - you can add in more explicit teaching while still building on the internal framework. (Not to mention you can have a very "learn through doing real writing" approach while still coming from the perspective of building an external framework from scratch.)

 

I do believe that BW equips both parents and children to learn and understand and use explicit rules, but it doesn't do that by *starting* with a list of external concepts to learn and apply. First it teaches you to be comfortable relying on your own intuitive knowledge (while building up that intuitive knowledge), so you don't feel like you *need* that external list of rules in order to "write right" ;). Only *then*, when you understand that rules can be helpful but aren't the end-all, be-all of writing, when you know how to make the rules work for *you*, not you work for the rules, does BW start introducing explicit rules. And then it's more like giving a name to an old friend, instead of learning some strange new language. Only when you don't need the rules any more are you ready to use them in a constructive way ;).

 

But, if you still want the rules first, you can still use BW, but also first teach yourself the whys, or at least get yourself some good reference books on the whys and familiarize yourself with them enough that you can look things up as needed. That's what I'm doing, at any rate. Or you could use BW as your overall framework for LA - it's meant to create a writing lifestyle - and insert formal spelling/grammar/writing-exercises into the overall routine. Instead of teaching grammar strictly in context, you can do a formal grammar text, but within the overall BW framework that will help keep you focused on *why* you are studying grammar. Same for writing exercises.

 

Anyway, the point is, you want to know the rules yourself and you want your dd to know them. You can either learn them first, or learn them together. You can learn them through the BW approach of "learn how to harness your intuitive knowledge in a conscious, deliberate way", or you can learn the rules in an explicit way and consciously practice them until they make sense on an intuitive level, whichever way works best for you. And you can use that knowledge to do BW with your dc, or go through an explicit rules approach with your dc, or both.

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I have a dd7 that also hates writing. WWE is really designed for this kind of kid. Dd7 does not really like WWE, especially the writing part. But I have told her this is the easiest way to build up her writing skills. It only takes 10 minutes per day. It took a whole year before she stopped complaining about it. But I was convinced that everything else would be even harder. Sometimes she thinks it is too easy, but other times she thinks it is too hard.

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Seriously. I am not comfortable with this subject at.all. Actually, all of LA, starting with phonics (had NO idea all those rules existed!!!) to grammar (diagramming? What?) and writing, I do not have a clue how to teach any of it. I don't even know what methodology I like when it comes to writing. Do I want a structured, WTM style? Or will that snuff out any creativity? Or do I want something more organic? And risk quality?

I've looked at various writing curriculum recommended here...WWE seemed dull and repetitive. I like the idea of it, but my dd would absolutely balk at doing it over and over and over again.

 

 

Hmmm ... it sounds like WWE actually might be a really good fit.

 

I was worried that my dd would balk at the repeated copywork, dictation, and narration, but because it's so short every day, she really doesn't find it worth it to kick up a fuss. Is it her favourite part of the day? No, but neither has it snuffed her creativity or stopped her from writing. On the contrary, it seems to have given her the confidence she needed to use her free time to write for fun. (True story: While on a holiday in New York city this fall, she suddenly announced, "I'm 7! I NEED to write a novel!" And then it was all we could do to keep her interested in the sightseeing, because she had writing she wanted to do. This was after a year of WWE.)

 

The great thing about WWE for us as instructors is we don't have to be confident as writers (or as teachers of writing) to implement it well. It does a good job of hand-holding.

 

I haven't looked recently, but I wonder if there are samples that you could download to try out for a few weeks? It may not be as dreadful as you're imagining.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We've used various writing programs over the last 11 years of homeschooling, trying to find the perfect fit.  Right now we are using Essentials in Writing.  It is laid out step by step. The dvd's are short lessons that you watch before the student moves on to the worksheets. I like the fact that the worksheets are laid out so that the student can get their thoughts in order before moving on with a rough draft. You still need a grammar program, even though there is review in the early grades. For high school, we use Daily Grams. For the elementary level, we use Easy Grammar.  

 

(2014 EDIT:  I went back to IEW because it required more details.)

 

Just a side note on the programs we have used for writing:

Liked:
~Writing Strands 4th/5th grade (good starting point for reluctant writer too)
~Jump in Writing 6th grade (good starting point for reluctant writer)
~IEW DVD programs by Andrew Pudewa 7thth/& up 

Didn't like at all:
~Hake Grammar and Writing 5th grade used one semester (didn't like, not enough instruction for my liking)
~Lightning Lit 6th grade used one semester (didn't like, not enough instruction for my liking)
~Character Quality Language Arts 7th grade used one semester (overly complicated, time consuming)

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I've been struggling with writing all year...We tried Writing Strands, the free online Scott Foresman writing guide, journaling, etc. DD hated everything but the journaling...and even that was difficult to get her writing more than 2 sentences! I searched posts on here and read about this book: http://www.kid-friendly-homeschool-curriculum.com/Write-On.html

 

We just started it, but so far it is just what I was looking for. There is a bit of creative writing, but it also gets into paragraphs and essays. There are several lessons involving drawing which really appeals to my DD who is also very creative. Every 5th lesson is a more serious writing assignment that can be used multiple times (each time you help them a little bit less). The program is meant to be used for about 3 years.

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I've been struggling with writing all year...We tried Writing Strands, the free online Scott Foresman writing guide, journaling, etc. DD hated everything but the journaling...and even that was difficult to get her writing more than 2 sentences! I searched posts on here and read about this book: http://www.kid-frien...m/Write-On.html

 

We just started it, but so far it is just what I was looking for. There is a bit of creative writing, but it also gets into paragraphs and essays. There are several lessons involving drawing which really appeals to my DD who is also very creative. Every 5th lesson is a more serious writing assignment that can be used multiple times (each time you help them a little bit less). The program is meant to be used for about 3 years.

 

Yup this is what we are using for now. I want to teach some of the lessons a bit more explicitly, but do NOT want to SWITCH to the style of explicit and volume of lessons that is in the popular programs.

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