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dancingmama

Writing Bootcamp

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My 13yo did has asked for a writing bootcamp of sorts. I have tried a few different programs but I'd like to pull something together that helps me help her write. I'm looking for something that starts with the basics (how to write a proper sentence) and quickly progresses to meatier topics (essays, reports, etc). Anything out there? Kinda like a reference guide of writing or something?

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Looking forward to what folks post in response. My DD could use something like this. 

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I really hesitated to answer because I'm by no means an expert. But I will gladly share with you what worked well with my children. I hope it helps you.

 

In lieu of a curriculum, we simply use a method. To teach a sentence, we focus on turning a simple, boring sentence into something better. This is very similar to where we start:

http://mrshuffsstuff.blogspot.com/2011/03/turning-boring-sentence-into-exciting.html?m=1

 

I would write several simple sentences & have my children rewrite them a few times, not repeating any words used previously. Each child had a writing folder & at the front we kept a list of adjectives, verbs, adverbs etc. that they could reference. We specifically liked this: http://www.herne.hants.sch.uk/_site/data/files/documents/60D1192E662EA002E78E5B74A5C530BA.pdf

 

Now this method doesn't work with every style of writing, but it will certainly benefit the beginning writer.

 

Once the sentence was mastered, we moved onto a very basic introductory paragraph.

 

I'd usually ask them to write about something simple in the beginning, just to make it easier. So, for example, I might ask, who is your favorite person?

 

We would number the page 1-5

1) Answer the question

2) reason 1

3) reason 2

4) reason 3

5) restate your answer

 

So, it may look like this

1) My mom is my favorite person.

2) She is nice.

3) She takes care of me.

4) She is funny.

5) My mom is great.

 

Now, those sentences put together create a paragraph. However, we would turn those simple sentences into great sentences before writing it all out in paragraph form.

 

My children would stay at this stage until they could easily write a paragraph on just about anything (books they read, historical events or people, etc).

 

To go from a paragraph to a five paragraph paper, we simply added to our method. So looking at the very simple example above, it becomes:

 

A) Introduction

1) My mom is my favorite person.

2) She is nice.

3) She takes care of me.

4) She is funny.

5) My mom is great.

 

B) Paragraph 1

1) My mom is nice

2) Example

3) Elaborate

4) Example

5) Elaborate

 

C) Paragraph 2

1) She takes care of me

2) Example

3) Elaborate

4) Example

5) Elaborate

 

D) Paragraph 3

1) My mom is funny

2) Example

3) Elaborate

4) Example

5) Elaborate

 

E) Closing Paragraph.

1) Just a couple of lines restating that your mom is your favorite person

 

Anyway, this is all very basic. And this post is now very long :-)

 

Once you've mastered the above, I'd recommend Seven Sister's Homeschool ebooks for middle school students on writing. They're cheap & self explanatory. Here's a link to the essay one:

http://7sistershomeschool.com/products-page/writing-3/middle-school-guide-to-essay-writing/

 

My kids are 15 & 13 and both learned this method & write quite well. It served as a nice beginning point for us.

 

Hope this helps you!

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I don't think there's info on sentence writing, but many aspects of writing essays are covered in Thinking in Threes.  It's a cheap, workbook (though we don't write in ours), but makes the ideas very approachable.  Lessons include things like 3 steps for brainstorming, 3 hooks, 3 types of evidence, a thesis statement should have these three things.... etc.  

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