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Pulled my kids mid-March, need a little advise.


Guest sumerd36
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Guest sumerd36

I pulled my kids from public school in March. I have a first grader, fourth and fifth grader. I started my fourth and fifth grader in Rod and Staff 5 for grammar. It is my understanding that this program also has enough writing involved as to not need a formal writing program. My fourth grader is a very reluctant writer. I am wondering if I should be supplementing Rod and Staff with Writing with Ease 4 or something else to help him get more comfortable with writing. He told me he hates to write. My fifth grader is doing well and is really "getting" the Rod and Staff program and she is a decent writer, however my fourth grader is struggling a bit, he's been in tears a few times. He just overall dislikes grammar and writing. It's not the program itself, he disliked it in school as well. I would like to continue with both of them on Rod and Staff, he did say to me "I can do it Mom", but I just know that his writing skills are lacking and in need of some help.Is doing Rod and Staff along with a formal writing program too much? Neither of my older children have ever done dictation and narration was probably called comprehension in school (I am guessing) and they did very well with that skill.  Any advise would be appreciated!

 

Thanks

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You wouldn't start on WWE4, it would be far too much. Also the 4th level is optional and even kids who have done 1 to 3 can struggle with parts of it. It would probably be ok to start with level 2 or you could buy the text which covers all level (may be a stretch in your first year though).

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I pulled my kids from public school in March. I have a first grader, fourth and fifth grader. I started my fourth and fifth grader in Rod and Staff 5 for grammar. It is my understanding that this program also has enough writing involved as to not need a formal writing program. My fourth grader is a very reluctant writer. I am wondering if I should be supplementing Rod and Staff with Writing with Ease 4 or something else to help him get more comfortable with writing. He told me he hates to write. My fifth grader is doing well and is really "getting" the Rod and Staff program and she is a decent writer, however my fourth grader is struggling a bit, he's been in tears a few times. He just overall dislikes grammar and writing. It's not the program itself, he disliked it in school as well. I would like to continue with both of them on Rod and Staff, he did say to me "I can do it Mom", but I just know that his writing skills are lacking and in need of some help.Is doing Rod and Staff along with a formal writing program too much? Neither of my older children have ever done dictation and narration was probably called comprehension in school (I am guessing) and they did very well with that skill.  Any advise would be appreciated!

 

Thanks

 

Oh, you do *not* need to supplement anything if you're using R&S English. Adding more writing to everything that is involved in R&S's lessons would be way too much writing.

 

Really, your dc are still recovering from school. I would take it easy on them for the next few months. 

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For writing I would suggest the gentle use of narration. Build confidence by letting them read and then "tell back". This is oral composition. You could take down the narration or record it initially. Then slowly begin to move to written narrations. Keep it simple and build confidence right now.

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Agreeing with jelbe5--

Narration will help teach summarizing/main idea, and knowing which details to emphasize.

Then you begin outlining--the "big ideas" (the I,II, III parts of outlining) are easier to find (or to produce) since the kiddo has been practicing that all along. So, structuring a paper becomes a less intimidating task.

 

Rod and Staff is considered a fairly intense grammar program, and it is not at all unusual to use it one or even two years below grade level, esp if a child hasn't had all that much grammar (as is common in ps, but YMMV). I'd say ditch it for your younger child and go to either the 3rd or 4th level, depending on what he's had before. No need for tears.

 

Honestly, if you are just finishing this year, you could just take grammar off his plate entirely until next year, and just do narration for composition. Start next year with R&S 4 or 5. Don't know if you are using SOTW, but the 4th level activity guide has  wonderful beginning outlining instruction that would prob go well with the skills of your child. It is definitely suitable for both your children next year if you wanted to go in that direction.

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Me, I would drop R&S 5,( never thought I would say that!!!), for the 4th grader. Go ahead and continue with the 5th grader. Let the 4th grader do nothing for grammar for the tiny portion of the year, or do narration as suggested above. That will build those writing muscles. I am literally talking muscle building in the fingers! Next year, start him in R&S 5. Honestly, if you drop back to 4 for him next year, that would be fine. 4 is much easier than 5. But, I'll bet doing it without big sister will be help him to do better. Being younger and it not being his subject might make it a little too daunting for him, even if he doesn't realize he is feeling it. 

 

And, R&S has excellent writing instruction. You really do not need to add another program. You DO need to add additional writing assignments in other subjects. Just keep it simple and try not to go too far past what they will have covered in their knowledge of how to write....Don't assign a research paper when all they have learned to do is write a paragraph.

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My kids and I went round and round with writing until we discovered IEW's Theme Based Writing books this year (IEW= Institute for Excellence in Writing.)  We were using Rod and Staff but it didn't break down how to write in the itty-bitty bites we needed.  IEW did that for us.  

 

Here are the theme based books.  When you're on the IEW website, you need to click on the word Category on the lower left hand side and click on Theme Based Writing to find them.

 

Here's how it works:

 

The student reads a passage.  Then they are taught how to take simple notes based on the passage.  Next they retell you the passage out loud, based on the simple notes they took.  Finally, they re-write the passage in their own words, based on the notes they took.

 

Each lesson is basically like that, but each lesson also adds in more and more "dress ups."  They are taught how to add adjectives when appropriate, how to use strong verbs (instead of "he went" write "he tiptoed"), how to begin a sentence with an -ly word (Additionally,...), etc.

 

My boys went from tears and blank sheets of paper to writing with no fuss over this past year.  They even said the longed-for words, "I like writing."  

 

Some people say that IEW is too strict and doesn't allow for creativity.  I'd say those people are almost right, which is why we'll move on to something else after this coming school year.  If you had a child who loved to write, they would be frustrated by having to add the dress ups when they were told to.  They would naturally add them on their own.  But when you have a child who cannot write *at all* IEW can be what breaks down the wall to get a child started.  

 

So...to answer your question:  We use Rod and Staff Grammar for grammar.  But we skip the writing lessons because we use IEW instead.  If your oldest child is thriving with Rod and Staff, then that is all you will need for her.  But when I saw my children struggling with writing, I chose IEW over Rod and Staff.

 

P.S.  IEW offers another writing curric other than the theme based books, but it was way too expensive for me.

 

 

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