Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

JusDelenH

I Need A Writing Curriculum

Recommended Posts

I need suggestions for writing curriculums outside of IEW. My kid does not like the DVDs but I do like the results it seems to produce. What are our other options for things as structured but less dry? 

 

ETA: We do own Writing Strands Book 3 and 4 but she did not like the lessons and how they were structured.

Edited by JusDelenH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We switched to Writeshop and it is working very well for my son, however I hesitate to fully recommend it because it's disorganized so that in a lesson you have to jump around to different pages a lot. For us it's worth it because it's working and we both like it overall, but it can be annoying to figure out where you are.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You say your child dislikes the lectures, but not whether they were okay with the work. You could keep IEW, but continue to use the techniques with your own selections. That will add interest without having to listen to the lectures.  You could buy one of their topic based unit for a written scope and sequence and never have to watch the DVDs again. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You say your child dislikes the lectures, but not whether they were okay with the work. You could keep IEW, but continue to use the techniques with your own selections. That will add interest without having to listen to the lectures.  You could buy one of their topic based unit for a written scope and sequence and never have to watch the DVDs again. 

 

She did not like any parts of it. There was loads of moaning and groaning each day we tried it. I am thinking we may give the Writing Strands a try starting tomorrow.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JMO: Both my DSs and myself thoroughly disliked Writing Strands. Way too stilted and confining for us. I never owned IEW, but I was able to use the very basic ideas in IEW of key word outlines and breaking the writing of a paragraph into multiple smaller bites over a week in order to make the topic of writing much less onerous to DSs.

 

 

Essentials in Writing has daily video instruction DVD lessons by grade level that are directed to the student -- more like a daily teacher in a classroom type of presentation, working on one aspect at a time.

 

You didn't mention an age/grade or writing level, but if this is for a 4th-6th grader (or a delayed or struggling writer 7th-8th grader), Wordsmith Apprentice might be a fun and engaging break from IEW, and is done virtually solo. It can be divided up into as large or small of a "bite" at a time as works for your student, covers all 4 types of writing (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive), and has a fun "cub reporter" theme with some silly cartoons to introduce the student to "writing for each new department of the newspaper".

 

For a more formal, structured program, you might check into the Classical Academic Press (CAP) Writing & Rhetoric series; again, not sure where your student is in writing, but you might actually consider dropping back a little to get solid in the "building an argument" part of writing by trying Book 5: Refutation and Confirmation, or Book 6: Commonplace, which builds on from book 5. Lots of exercises to practice building up the steps of writing to longer writing assignments, and has the student work with lots of excerpts from classic works of literature.

 

For something in between Wordsmith Apprentice and CAP's W&R series, you might check out Sharon Watson's Jump In (gr. 6-9), or even The Power in Your Hands (gr. 8-12), again, depending on where your student is in writing skills and confidence. Both have an informal tone and are written to the student. Both have Christian content, but not so much that you couldn't skip over it if desired.

 

Jump In helps with thinking of what to say and how to organize the writing in not quite so formal a method. Covers the 4 types of writing. Jump In is written as a 2-year program, but that is by having the student switch to 4 weeks of free writing from prompts after each unit. We really disliked the repetitive and uninteresting prompts, and so we dropped that aspect and we were able to do all of of the program in one year with a struggling writer the year he was 8th or 9th grade. (It's getting too far out now for me to remember exactly when we did it.   :blushing: ) The Power in Your Hands is an early high school level, and is thorough coverage of a wide variety of writing (comparison, analysis essay, business writing, the research paper, etc.)

 

One final option in a very different direction: if your middle schooler is a creative writer, you might take a year out to let your student enjoy developing her personal writing with a program that also provides gentle guidance towards overall writing skills: Cover Story. Engaging video lessons, and a year-long program.

Edited by Lori D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Essentials in Writing worked better here (short videos, only 5 or so minutes generally). Here's a review I did back when we first started it. After that first year, the sound was better (we used levels 7-11).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JMO: Both my DSs and myself thoroughly disliked Writing Strands. Way too stilted and confining for us. I never owned IEW, but I was able to use the very basic ideas in IEW of key word outlines and breaking the writing of a paragraph into multiple smaller bites over a week in order to make the topic of writing much less onerous to DSs.

 

 

Essentials in Writing has daily video instruction DVD lessons by grade level that are directed to the student -- more like a daily teacher in a classroom type of presentation, working on one aspect at a time.

 

You didn't mention an age/grade or writing level, but if this is for a 4th-6th grader (or a delayed or struggling writer 7th grader), Wordsmith Apprentice might be a fun and engaging break from IEW, and is done virtually solo. It can be divided up into as large or small of a "bite" at a time as works for your student, covers all 4 types of writing (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive), and has a fun "cub reporter" theme with some silly cartoons to introduce the student to "writing for each new department of the newspaper".

 

For a more formal, structured program, you might check into the Classical Academic Press (CAP) Writing & Rhetoric series; again, not sure where your student is in writing, but you might actually consider dropping back a little to get solid in the "building an argument" part of writing by trying Book 5: Refutation and Confirmation, or Book 6: Commonplace, which builds on from book 5. Lots of exercises to practice building up the steps of writing to longer writing assignments, and has the student work with lots of excerpts from classic works of literature.

 

For something in between Wordsmith Apprentice and CAP's W&R series, you might check out Sharon Watson's Jump In (gr. 6-9), or even The Power in Your Hands (gr. 8-12), again, depending on where your student is in writing skills and confidence. Both have an informal tone and are written to the student. Both have Christian content, but not so much that you couldn't skip over it if desired.

 

Jump In helps with thinking of what to say and how to organize the writing in not quite so formal a method. Covers the 4 types of writing. Jump In is written as a 2-year program, but that is by having the student switch to 4 weeks of free writing from prompts after each unit. We really disliked the repetitive and uninteresting prompts, and so we dropped that aspect and we were able to do all of of the program in one year with a struggling writer the year he was 8th or 9th grade. (It's getting too far out now for me to remember exactly when we did it.   :blushing: ) The Power in Your Hands is an early high school level, and is thorough coverage of a wide variety of writing (comparison, analysis essay, business writing, the research paper, etc.)

 

One final option in a very different direction: if your middle schooler is a creative writer, you might take a year out to let your student enjoy developing her personal writing with a program that also provides gentle guidance towards overall writing skills: Cover Story. Engaging video lessons, and a year-long program.

 

We actually tried CAP W&R last year, she hated it so badly that she began hiding her workbooks around the house. It was a mess although I enjoyed it. I think she just generally hates writing. We just finished our very first essay and she did well after we went back and did loads of edits. I am not sure that we should still be there in 6th grade. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We actually tried CAP W&R last year, she hated it so badly that she began hiding her workbooks around the house.

 

lol -- but an after the fact lol. ;)

 

 

...I think she just generally hates writing. We just finished our very first essay and she did well after we went back and did loads of edits. I am not sure that we should still be there in 6th grade. 

 

I've been teaching homeschool Lit. & Comp. co-op classes to gr. 7-12 students for over 5 years now. On average, what you are describing is where the AVERAGE 9th graders are -- finishing their very first essays after loads of edits and my mentoring comments on their papers at each stage, talking them through what's missing and giving them ideas of how to address rewrites, as well as how to come up with a thesis statement and how to build a solid argument.

 

No way I would expect that of an average 6th grader, and certainly not from one who hates writing.  :eek:

 

DD's hating of writing and struggling with the longer writing suggests to me that she's not ready for what you're expecting. I'd suggest backing down a bit on the expectations and spend the year working on short, solid paragraphs of different types this year. And take several days to a week to produce that paragraph, so you can spread the stages of the writing process out into more manageable "bites" for her. 

 

Especially important: keep writing more *enjoyable* this year as she begins to transition into understanding how to put together paragraphs. I'm circling back to again recommend Wordsmith Apprentice, which is not so formal or structured, has a fun element to it, and can be done in as small or large of a "bite" a day as works for your DD. I do have to say: I had 2 pencil-phobic writing-hating DSs (and #2 had mild LDs so that writing was a tremendous struggle for him on top of hating writing), and both enjoyed Wordsmith Apprentice. :)

 

I totally understand that you, as the parent-teacher, click better with a more structured and formal program, but that doesn't sound like that's working for your DD right now. If you think DD needs to wait another year before trying any kind of program, you could go really unstructured this year, and just do a variety of paragraphs -- these resources all have ideas for different types of writing projects to let DD select from:

 

100 Writing Lessons (McCarthy) -- teaching lessons and assignment ideas in all 4 writing areas (descriptive, narrative, expository, persuasive)

50 Writing Lessons That Work (Miller) -- teaching lessons and assignment ideas; more scattered in approach

Unjournaling -- interesting prompts for short writing practice

Write On (Newell) -- wide variety of ideas for writing assignments

 

Another option that might appeal to your DD is either writing regular short blog entries (for a blog that has parent-restricted access to limited readers -- like certain relatives and friends). Another option that might appeal is if your DD is a bit more arts-minded, and would like to create a lapbook or a notebook on your History or Science or topic of interest to DD. Then the writing becomes short, weekly informational paragraphs -- for a lapbook, each paragraph is a little booklet that is incorporated into the lapbook; for notebooking, one page might be a 1-sentence caption and an illustration, while another page might be several paragraphs on the same topic -- but built up/added to slowly over 2 weeks. At the end of the year, there would be great satisfaction in having a large amount of output that accumulated a little at a time, and the writing would be on a subject of interest to DD.

 

Quality and solid foundations are the MOST important thing to get down FIRST, and I would NOT be worrying about "grade expectations" at this age -- like I said above, 6th grade is very early and unusual to be ready for doing multi-paragraph essays. No need to make Writing a fight or fuel a developing dislike of Writing this year by expecting a bigger jump than your student is ready for. ;)

 

Of course, that is all JMO. ;) BEST of luck in finding what works for your family and Writing this year. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did IEW for two years, then very briefly tried Writing Strands (DS hated it), then moved on to Essentials in Writing. It was (still is) a great fit, just as many posters had recommended to me back then. It’s incremental, short and doable chunks, short videos, and clear expectations of what is expected each day. It’s exactly the style my DS likes. :) We are on our second year with it and still liking it so far.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot about Essentials in Writing. That's also a program I recommemd and the only reason we stopped using it was we needed to switch to something non screen based because we travel. Now we are liking Writeshop. Someone else mentioned Write with the Best and I had forgotten about that one too. It's actually a great writing program. I think when I bought Writeshop I had forgotten that I had Write With the Best lol.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot recommend Sharon Watson's writing programs highly enough.  We love them!  

 

Jump In for jr. high, then The Power in Your Hands for high school.  There is a non-fiction course and a fiction course.  Both cover a year's worth of material.  

 

I have found that anything that requires us to watch a video -- no matter how short! -- just doesn't get done.  We all prefer written instruction.  Sharon writes to the student, so her courses can be fairly independent.  My preference is to work pretty closely with my kids, but on the days when I just can't get to it, they can continue independently.  Another benefit is that her courses are multi-age, so I can group several kids together.  

 

She breaks things down into manageable chunks and she uses humor to keep it interesting.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 7th grader is using Writing With Skill and he really likes it. My 9th grader is using Essentials in Writing and it gets done, she doesn't really like it, but it is doable. My high schooler is using Power in Your Hands and she really likes it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER & RECEIVE A COUPON FOR
10% OFF
We respect your privacy.You’ll hear about new products, special discounts & sales, and homeschooling tips. *Coupon only valid for first-time registrants. Coupon cannot be combined with any other offer. Entering your email address makes you eligible to receive future promotional emails.
0 Shares
Share
Tweet
Pin
×