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danielleisdz

High Schooolers that Started with WWE & WWS

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Hello!

 

I am from the elementary group.  I have been following WWE, but I am becoming acutely aware of the difference in writing between my daughter and kids at school :glare:

 

Please tell me what your path was like following this approach!

 

Thanks!

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DD is 13, in 8th grade, and started WWS I in mid-6th grade (it took us a while to find what worked for us). DD handled it because she is strong in language, but it was very time consuming and challenging; much more so than WWE, IMO. We began WWS II this year, but we are taking two weeks per lesson because it's just time consuming and she has her hand in too many pies to devote that much time to writing. So it will take her well into high school to finish through WWS III and I've decided I am OK with that.

I'm not sure what type of information you are looking for, but perhaps that will give you a starting point. How old is your DD? When you say that you are "Acutely aware of the differences between her and the kids at school" do you mean that in a bad way or a good way? What are yur specific concerns?

Edited by reefgazer
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I think the kids in schools are writing better than her.  She is 6 and in first grade level work, Writing With Ease I, but I already have some friends worried about her writing skills and I would like to nip this issue in the bud before the gap between her and the kids in school widens.  However, I really love SWB's concept and we enjoy WWE.

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PS in my area gets kids to write and write a lot. But they don't teach grammar or spelling. They are just filling a page.

Teaching the correct way first is so much easier than reteaching later.

This is my second trip through homeschooling as I have three adult children. Trust the process.

Edited by StartingOver
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It is impossible to untangle nature and nurture, but my daughter used WWE and WWS with excellent results. She is now in high school and has no issues with writing. She still needs to edit, rewrite, get feedback, etc. (as do all writers), but has no concerning issues. She's well past her grade level. She definitely has some natural ability, though.

 

I will say that WWE and WWS weren't all we used - not by a long shot. We did a HUGE mix of language arts in the grammar and logic stages. I also expected quite a bit from history narrations even from a young age. Again, there's the tangled web of nature/nature. Could she do it because I taught it and expected it or because of natural inclinations? The answer is, of course, both.

 

 

 

 

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I have three in high school and they used most of the first two levels of WWS 2, but also used IEW.  Whatever writing curriculum you use, for most of us classical-ish homeschoolers the writing comes later than most public schoolers.  Like StartingOver said, they don't focus on spelling and grammar errors.  Just filling a page.  I think that leads to ingrained errors that are hard to undo.  When I faced questions about not writing in early to mid-elementary, I simply said that classical education emphasizes grammar, spelling, and good literature to lay a good foundation.  That seemed to stop further concerns.

 

Whatever writing material you use, trust that your students will be fine as you are tailoring their needs to them as they progress through learning each skill involved in good writing. I am using WWE with my youngest (4th grade) now and she is much better at coming up with material to write about than my olders were.  I also started using Writing and Rhetoric Fable along side WWE 3 this year.  It is good too as it teaches other writing skills not in WWE, but the narration skills taught in WWE have great value, imo. I wish I had taught my older kids narration like I am with my youngest.  I can see how that will help her so much.  

 

Kids that I know in our co-op that did Sonlight and did a ton of narration over the years are some of my best writers in the classes I teach.  However, the amount of reading they did  was just as important.  Public schoolers typically don't read as much as homeschoolers, especially the classics.

 

 

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I have one graduated and in college and have two in high school. My STEM major college student gets complimented on his writing ability, although he struggles with using enough words. He is an engineer, so doesn't use many words as it is. What he does write is well crafted and grammatical correct with good word choice. The difference between he and his peers is that they use too many words, they don't know grammar rules and can't edit for themselves.

 

What we are seeing is that the public school may write more, but they don't write it well. Structure, grammar, quality of word choices, and clarity of thought are often lacking. WWE/WWS are excellent tools and SWB knows her stuff. Remember that SWB taught writing in college so she knows exactly what is needed.

 

 

I know it can be hard in the early stages, but comparing what your child is doing to what the ps is doing is fairly pointless. WTM is a completely different philosophy of education. It will never line up, thank goodness. You are taking a different path and the view is going to be different.

Edited by dhudson
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Unless you're planning to return her to school one day, this is definitely not something I would worry about. The thing with public schools is that they have children writing a lot, very young, but they do so without putting the proper foundation under them, so the writing is weak, with poor punctuaion, weak development of ideas, and poor grammar. My own children went to public school, one through fifth grade the other through third, and they were definitely writing more quantity wisw and were more "advanced", if you define advanced as writing essays and paragraphs above grade level. But the quality of their output was poor, and I have spent most of my DD's homeschool journey remediating the poor punctuation, grammar, and spelling habits that she solidified in elementary school. It has been easier with DS because he came out of elementary school in third grade, so he had not yet developed ingrained bad habits of writing. OTOH, DS isn't writing five paragraph essays yet like his peers and public-school are. I can live with that, and knowing that his foundation is much more solid than theirs. So what looks like advanced work at the public-school may just be the schools asking a child to do something for which they have not been properly trained.

 

I think the kids in schools are writing better than her. She is 6 and in first grade level work, Writing With Ease I, but I already have some friends worried about her writing skills and I would like to nip this issue in the bud before the gap between her and the kids in school widens. However, I really love SWB's concept and we enjoy WWE.

Edited by reefgazer
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I responded on your other thread but I'll add here that my oldest went to school from 6th-12th (she was homeschooled for one year after we adopted her), and I agree with others that while she did a lot more writing than I require of my younger two, always-homeschooled kids, the quality of that writing was poor. I read more poorly organized, poorly thought-out-out papers than I would care to count, and I was always shocked that she got A's and B's on them. Most of her written work was what I would consider C-quality at best, and sometimes D-quality. I read papers written by her peers, and most were no better; quite a few were worse. I attended several of her friends' senior-year presentations, and I was frequently confused by them as their speeches were scattered and meandering and lacked definite foci. I was also appalled by her teachers' poor understanding of grammar and writing conventions and their therefore poor and incorrect editing of my dd's papers. I used to be a professional editor before I had kids, and I can assure you that people are not coming out of high schools and colleges with excellent writing skills. Even people who think they write well often don't understand why their writing is flawed.

 

I am not a public-school hater or one who thinks the public schools do everything poorly. But I would not put much stock in the general public school approach to writing.

Edited by TaraTheLiberator
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I think what you READ (or have read to you) in the early years is a stronger predictor of your ability to write entering high school than how well you write in the early years.

 

We didn't do WWE because it did not work with my quirky kids' brains. My 8th grader is doing WWS1&2 this year in a condensed format. It is helping with her academic writing, especially in the area of organization. She wrote very little up until 6th grade, and then she tells me she wants to be an author! Her voice and sentence variety, her wit and use of poetic devices, are all excellent *because* of how much/what she read or was read to her. Now that she is ready to do academic writing WWS is helping.

 

I imagine that logic and critical thinking skills will be key indicators of how well she will write in rhetoric stage.

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My dd is not in high school yet but she just finished WWS2 after going through the whole WWE series (including 4 which some people skip) and WWS1.  She will be moving on to WWS3 after the holidays.  All of that said, dd is leaps and bounds ahead of her peers in writing.  For her, the system works well.  I'm not sure where she was in comparison in elementary nor was I worried.  We started formal academics late so she was always a little behind until middle school.  I teach at a university and my 12 yo writes better than 90% of my students.

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Trinqueta didn't write much of anything until she learned to type in 4th grade. Yes, I'm a bad homeschool mommy but it turned out fine. She started writing paragraphs to post to discussion forums in a literature class at Athena's. They weren't very good at first and we would sit down and discuss all of her errors. That process helped her improve immensely. Combined with more formal writing lessons in her English class at Landry and WWS at WTMA once she was in middle school, my early hit or miss approach worked well. She can crank out a decent 5 paragraph essay with correctly formatted citations without a major freakout. She's much more of a mathy girl than a writer so this is a major achievement. This year she's doing a high school level ancient literature course and the writing hasn't been an obstacle at all. She's gained a lot of confidence as she's had to write more often. She prefers to write in response to a specific question that requires her to form an argument, find her supporting detail and quotes and write down her argument. It's much easier now that she has something she considers important to say. Going forward, I'd like to concentrate more on word choice and making her writing more interesting but we have time to do this.

 

I would not worry about filling reams of paper with drivel in the early grades. It's much more important to discuss literature, history, current events, etc. and learn to formulate a coherent argument before you start writing it down. Being able to think is much more important than being able to produce word salad. The writing will come in time as your student has something to say, can structure it into an argument and write it down clearly. Learning the mechanics of writing an essay isn't any harder than learning to type. It takes a bit of effort and a lot of practice. Unfortunately, learning to form a coherent argument is vastly more difficult and requires years of effort. Learning that skill orally first makes it much less daunting for a student (and a teacher).

Edited by chiguirre
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We have been faithfully following Writing With Ease and my 6yo is almost done with the first book.  She has excelled with the book, she has learned to copy very well!  At her best, her handwriting looks phenomenal!  I am also very excited about her ability to recall information from reading.  She regularly remembers and recalls more than me in life; she remembers so many details, words.  It's great!!

 

BUT

 

When she writes original content she is not that fabulous.  She is on par with an average or below average 1st grader according to what I can tell by looking at other first graders' work!  This is bothering me SO MUCH!  My intention is to keep my kids at the same academic level (hopefully better) as what they would be experiencing in schools.  NOT OK

 

Please share you experiences with the WWE and WWS books.  Does it all come out ok in the end?  Are there cases where it hasn't come out ok? 

 

I mean, my daughter is NOT on track to be spitting out a 5 paragraph essay in a year or two like the school kids will probably be doing!?

 

Hello!

 

I am from the elementary group.  I have been following WWE, but I am becoming acutely aware of the difference in writing between my daughter and kids at school :glare:

 

Please tell me what your path was like following this approach!

 

Thanks!

 

 

I think the kids in schools are writing better than her.  She is 6 and in first grade level work, Writing With Ease I, but I already have some friends worried about her writing skills and I would like to nip this issue in the bud before the gap between her and the kids in school widens.  However, I really love SWB's concept and we enjoy WWE.

 

My son followed the advice in TWTM in the early grades before WWE was published, and then I took him through a year-long "review" in his Grade 5 year when the Instructor Guide of WWE was published, just to make sure I'd given him a suitable foundation.  Then he completed WWS as each level of that was published.  My daughter did the WWE instructor guide and then WWS (she's halfway through Level 3).  I did this all because what I'd read in TWTM made sense to me, and I had never been taught concrete composition skills.  Trying to write in high school was a huge frustration to me, and I didn't know why.

 

In elementary school, my son struggled hugely with putting pencil to paper.  It wasn't til the end of Grade 4 or so that he finally was able to write out two or three sentences of a narration of something he'd read.  I did let him learn to type that year, so things became easier.  But I wanted to make sure he was actually writing grammatically- and mechanically-correct sentences that actually summed up a piece of writing - THAT was where the brainwork happened, and THAT is mostly why it took so long for him to work his way up to those very short summaries.  On the other hand, my daughter LOVED putting pencil to paper (she also has written tons of stories - she loves doing creative writing).  So that part was easier for her, but she did have to learn the grammar/mechanic/summarizing skills.

 

Both of my kids put together great compositions now - sometimes several pages long.  They know how to research a topic and they know how to follow models for different types of writing (you'll see this in WWS).  Also, because of their grammar/composition/reading/spelling training in the early years plus all the reading they've done over the years, when they go through the composition-writing process, their sentences and paragraphs are clear or easily fixed because they know how to say exactly and logically what they are thinking.  I'm a huge fan of WWE and WWS.  :D

 

It is so true what others are saying about what usually happens in the classroom these days - kids are being allowed and encouraged to just fill up paper with whatever, and that does those kids no good.  I tutor other kids in reading and spelling, and now sometimes composition skills - I get so frustrated on their behalf when I hear about what they are doing (and NOT learning) in the classroom.  One 9yo brought me a paper he'd written in his school - he had to write from a turkey's perspective about how that turkey was going to convince a human not to eat it for Thanksgiving.  He felt bad about the paper because his teacher had marked all sorts of mistakes on it, but didn't go over them with him.  His mother was expected to help him do the corrections, which IMO would have taken them a long time after a long school day to do.  I asked him what he thought when he received the assignment - he told me he'd had no idea what to write because he's not a turkey, lol!!  I agreed with him.  Then I found an encyclopedia article about a subject he loves, had him read it aloud to me, and then coached him through (WWE style) writing a short narration about the subject.  He LOVED doing this process!  And he was so proud of his piece of writing he created, because it was correctly done, it made sense to him when he read his piece aloud afterwards, and it was a topic he enjoyed.  His mother totally agreed with me and borrowed my WWE IG.

 

In the early years, you do spend a LOT of time teaching basic composition (and grammar, spelling, and reading) skills.  But in the later years, those skills make more advanced reading and writing work MUCH more streamlined.  So, compared to other elementary school kids, you will probably think those kids are much more advanced than yours.  But have a look at what they are actually doing - are they learning or are they just making marks on paper?

 

Edited by Colleen in NS
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I think the kids in schools are writing better than her.  She is 6 and in first grade level work, Writing With Ease I, but I already have some friends worried about her writing skills and I would like to nip this issue in the bud before the gap between her and the kids in school widens.  However, I really love SWB's concept and we enjoy WWE.

 

The part I highlighted in red above is key for me.  Most first graders are still perfecting reading skills, controlling fine motor skills, and beginning spelling and grammar.  All of those are essential skills to becoming good writers later in life.  However, I find that when friends and family "worry" there is more at work than actual academic skills. In my experience, if the friends aren't homeschoolers this is one of the forms criticism of homeschooling takes place (if they are homeschoolers you may be experiencing a difference in philosophy).  You really need to make your own assessments of your child's skills.  Different methods of education will produce skills at different rates.  IMHO, writing is a skill that is being developed over the long term and judging results at age 6 is a bit early.

 

I began homeschooling my oldest before this series was in print so we experimented with a variety of curricula for writing, none of which was a perfect fit.  I have so enjoyed the approach of these books that my youngest will work through the series as his writing course.  Keep in mind that most kids write across the curricula-it isn't just restricted to writing class.

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I don't have a high schooler but DS9 is half way through WWE3 AND did a short 6 month stint in a public school gifted program.  I totally agree with Colleen about the nature of public school writing.  My son had the most ridiculous journal assignments that included topics like "Pretend you are a piece of playground equipment and write about your day" or completely abstract things like "Write about the nature of kindness."  He struggled coming up with the mandatory 7 sentences.  *I* would have had trouble writing on some of the topics they were given.  And seeing the other students work as well, I was definitely not impressed with the quality.  The prolific writers had pages of simple sentences in bad handwriting. There was virtually no writing instruction or feedback.   

Recently I asked DS to do some independent writing since I wanted to see how he did outside of WWE.  I asked him to tell me about an animal he knew a lot about.  He said "Octopus!"  I said "What's the most interesting thing about them."  He said "The fact that they can change color."  I asked him to come up with a topic sentence, then afterwards for a few more detail sentences WWE style.  This is the paragraph (with spelling help) that he came up with:
 

"Octopuses can change color with parts of their skin called chromatophores.  Chromatophores work by stretching and showing different pigments.  Octopuses can also change texture as well as color.  The reason they do these things is to hide from predators and make themselves look like sand, rock, coral, and other things."

It's not the most amazing piece of writing ever, but a solid simple paragraph for a 3rd grader to sit down and write on their own.  I'm just fine with where WWE is taking us.   At 6 I wouldn't even be concerned unless she has handwriting struggles and isn't able to complete copy work.  

 

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I've homeschooled four, with two graduated from high school and one from college; I used WTM with my olders before there was WWE/WWS, but have been able to use WWS with my youngers. I also teach WWS to a group of 20+ kids at a local co-op.

 

From my experience I truly would not worry about comparisons to public school writing. In public school the teachers are required to cover a curriculum a mile wide and an inch deep. It looks good on the reports. But, lucky for you, you don't have to. You are exposing them to good writing. You are teaching them to think before writing. This is foundational for strong writing skill later. How I wish that my co-op students had a year or two of WWE before WWS!  You might not see the results right away, but you will. It is a long term process that works well.

 

I'll also throw in that WWS has the added benefit of being helpful with the ACT. I don't know if anyone else has had this experience, but my kids told me that for the sections with the long passages they were glad to have had practice finding the main idea quickly, and give credit to their constant outlining with WWS for helping boost their scores in both the English and Science sections.

 

 

 

 

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