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Curriculum advice for 15 year old son who isn't at High School level for Writing/Grammar

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He can read and comprehend at a High School Level.  But, his writing and grammar skills are not at level.  We have been using Monarch for the last year and they are not improving. (I know Monarch isn't a great curriculum. But, unfortunately, I had to go back to work full-time this past year.  We were trying to come up with some kind of compromise to get work done while we all adjusted.)    I'm looking for advice on curriculum that could help him get caught up.  A curriculum that is easy to implement and doesn't have a lot of extras.  Does anyone have any thoughts? 


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JMO, but the best way to get up to speed with a core high school subject such as Math or Writing is with a local in-person mentor/tutor. That also provides accountability to an outside person so that the student is MUCH more self-motivated to get it done, if they have to look an actual person in the eye and explain that they did not get the assignment done. (:P

If that is cost-prohibitive, or there is not a good local tutor available, then I'd suggest an online writing course -- again, the outside accountability tends to motive students to get the work done. Some possible options:

- Time for Writing
8 week courses; $119/course, includes grading -- I'd suggest these 2 classes for your first semester: Writing Mechanics, followed by Paragraph Writing And if writing is clicking, then move on to Essay Writing and Research Paper in the second semester. Otherwise, repeat Paragraph Writing and try Essay Writing for the second semester -- OR, get some variety and try a different course provider -- see options below:

- Write At Home
includes assessment of student writing assignments; courses & costs

- Lantern English (formerly SoVerbose)
individual courses in Grammar and Writing: $60 each for 8-week course;
also offers complete English courses (vocabulary, grammar, writing, literature) for $330/32-week course

- Home to Teach
$85, 6-week course, no grading

- Bravewriter
pricey at $239 per 4-week course, but lots of good, supportive feedback; probably would want to start with the 3-course Essay Prep series: Dynamic ThinkingReading the Essay Prep, Research & Citation

- Schole Academic Tutoring
choice of prices for level of individual attention and # of hours

- Essentials in Writing curriculum + Scoring Service 
video-based writing lessons for home-based learning, and definitely get the $97 optional scoring service


As for the Grammar -- what exactly do you mean "not at level"?

If you mean "can't diagram sentences" or "doesn't know parts of speech"... well, it is possible to live without knowing those things (although, learning a foreign language is hard if you don't have an understanding of parts of speech), as long as you can speak and write grammatically correctly. If that is the case, then you may not actually need a Grammar program -- just focus on *using* Grammar skills in the Writing (as part of the regular revising and proof-editing stages of the writing process).

Or does "grammar... not at level" mean something like:
- Does not understand what is needed to write a complete sentence?
- Weak in the grammar usage area (i.e., Improper subject/verb agreement, proper use of verb tense, etc.)?
- Doesn't proof-edit (i.e fix spelling, punctuation, capitalization)?

If so, those are much more closely tied to writing and the writing process, and a program that includes grammar concept review with regular proof-editing practice can help strengthen those areas. Perhaps something like Fix-it?

Edited by Lori D.
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I recommend Essentials in Writing or Write At Home. High school isn't too late to work on these skills--you can do this! (And I agree with Lori that a tutor or outside scoring service can really make a difference--sometimes kids just hear things differently when it doesn't come from mom! However, I used Essentials in Writing before they had an outside scoring service and it was still beneficial.)

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You could try Brave Writer’s Help for High School if you need a more affordable option than the classes. And Essentials in Writing is definitely easy to implement.

But overall, yes, seconding Lori that feedback and real attention to the writing is the number one piece needed, so getting a teacher or tutor is a good idea. It’s not so much about the program in high school, in my opinion. It’s about getting the attention on quality feedback.

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