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Transitioning to ALL WTM methods this upcoming year


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I'd love some tips/recommendations for our upcoming year. After using Waldorf and CM for the younger years and grades, I'm certain my oldest would prefer and do best with a classical WTM education. He loves memory work, thrives on structure, and seems to enjoy a challenge. Plus, with my younger starting first grade in fall, I really need things more planned out for us so my oldest can work through his checklist more independently.


I've spent time this week re-reading the WTM and so many things make more sense to me. But, I'm still wondering how you WTM'ers handle a few things:


1. Language arts: I'm not sure we need a formal writing program. Ds has been doing Copywork and oral narration since 1st grade and his reading comp is excellent. However, he doesn't enjoy writing much. We're implementing a few written narrations and he keeps them to about 3 sentences. Would a writing program really help? Also, his spelling is only ok, but he did only start reading his lesson work on his own this year, so I know it will naturally improve with time. Would Soelling Workout be best for him? We haven't used a formal spelling program, though we have done spelling informally and it's been fine. As for grammar, we've been using the CM recommended gentle Daily Grams 3. Not sure if I should do the WTM more rigorous grammar recs or not. It's going fine so far...


2. Do you use separate binders for Lang arts, history, and science? I love the idea in WTM for block scheduling history/science subjects for 90min 2xs per week. Do any of you do this?


3. For language arts reading: is this your literature assigned reading/written narration?


4. How many written narrations do you require per day for 4th grade? Roughly how long are they?


5. Are there any boxed curricula that follows the WTM/classical method and covers all of these things? Without busy work? And secular?


6. Is your penmanship in addition to grammar exercises, spelling, and written narrations? Are your children working in all cursive by this point? Ds did cursive Copywork for several months and asked to stop once he'd felt he mastered it. He can read my cursive without problems but still chooses to write in print.


Thanks for any guidance!

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What edition are you using? The first edition is quite different than the third.



I own both editions, but have only read the third...I bought the third edition first, then happen to see the first edition at a used book sale last year for a few dollars, so I picked it up...I didn't realize they were that different...You make me want to pull out the first one and see the differences...

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The first edition uses a lot of trade books instead of the Peach Hill Press textbooks. I find it easier to tweak for older students that need to be remediated. I find the instructions are often able to be used with any trade book, not just the one suggested.

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You may want to take the time to read through this big ol' thread--it lays a good case for working on the foundational skills laid out in WTM; I also find SWB's audio lectures (the writing lectures, lit. analysis lecture, and the Great Books lecture in particular) very, very helpful. I agree with Hunter (and others); I find the general guidelines given in the first ed. of WTM more adaptable to what I have on the shelf. We do use separate binders as WTM suggests; it is easy to set up and keep going--and some years we have been very happy with block scheduling, and others years done a little bit of everything every day. *I* work better with block scheduling in history/science, but two of my boys do not...we compromise.

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Writing program - If you continue with copywork, oral narrations (rather than have him write all of a narration, have him write the first sentence and you write the rest; eventually have him write two sentences .... until he writes the whole thing by the end of the year), and add in dictation, I think you are fine w/out a writing program at his current age. These are the skills that WWE works on (copywork, narration, dictation). In fourth grade, my oldest wrote narrations at most only once per week (2-3 sentences) and only for history. She was also doing a formal writing program (Writing Tales 1) that required a lot more writing. My dd#2 did a written narration in history once per week (3-4 sentences) and 4-6 sentences once per week in science.


We don't do a formal penmanship program after they know how to form their letters. Our handwriting is integrated into our spelling program (Spell to Write and Read). I teach my kids cursive first, but for rough drafts & daily work (not including spelling), they can choose to write in either cursive or print. My oldest generally prints. My others almost always write in cursive for everything.


I have no advice on grammar.


Have him reading aloud to you every day and give him time to do independent silent reading each day (mixed of assigned & free read). I assign some reading to go along with history or science. I don't have my kids do any narrations or written assignments with these at the lower grades. (If you want to see what type of things you can do with literature-tied-to-history, check out CHOLL. It is free & WTM-based.)


If you have a natural speller, you could choose to continue to do spelling informally. Some people add in a spelling workbook just to cover their bases. It is up to you.


Binders & Block Scheduling:

We don't use the binders. I do block schedule history & science in the elementary level. My oldest did "a little of each" most days because she didn't like the big time span on only one subject when she was working on her own.

You might find some providers for history (History Odyssey) and science (Elemental Science) that do things the WTM-way (more 1st edition then 3rd edition), but they might not fit your family.


Boxed curricula (classical/no busy work/secular):

I can't think of any that fit all of your criteria.

- Memoria Press is pseudo-Classical, but will include some busy work and is definitely Christian. It also doesn't follow WTM's four year cycle.

- Easy Classical is Classical, but builds Bible in its "complete" programs.

- There are some that are secular (K12, Calvert), but aren't classical ... and there will be busywork.


What I have found is my kids don't necessarily fit into the classic mold for everything, so I just piece my own together.


Good luck!

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