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How to undo public school educational damage?


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I am fighting against how the public school taught writing. In public school, by first grade, the children were simp;y expected to write a page of whatever. Content did not matter. Handwriting was never taught. Spelling was not taught and did not matter and neither did grammar. All that mattered was that a page of words landed on the paper. This was brought up during parent teacher conferences. My son hated it in first grade. By third grade, he got very adept at putting meaningless junk on paper. I regret not pulling him earlier. 

 

So at home, I am trying to teach him some sort of process. But he cannot follow directions! I let us take a short break from learning writing. And then I skipped forward to poems figuring they have never done poems in public school at all. Part of me wonders if I should be sitting back and doing no writing at all for a year or so until he can "deschool" the rotten way they write.  Maybe I should pick up "Writing With Ease" even though he is already in 3rd grade and 9 years old. Or maybe Killgallon Sentence making or something. No idea what to do. Would love help on this though.

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

I am fighting against how the public school taught writing. In public school, by first grade, the children were simp;y expected to write a page of whatever. Content did not matter. Handwriting was never taught. Spelling was not taught and did not matter and neither did grammar. All that mattered was that a page of words landed on the paper. This was brought up during parent teacher conferences. My son hated it in first grade. By third grade, he got very adept at putting meaningless junk on paper. I regret not pulling him earlier. 

So at home, I am trying to teach him some sort of process. But he cannot follow directions! I let us take a short break from learning writing. And then I skipped forward to poems figuring they have never done poems in public school at all. Part of me wonders if I should be sitting back and doing no writing at all for a year or so until he can "deschool" the rotten way they write.  Maybe I should pick up "Writing With Ease" even though he is already in 3rd grade and 9 years old. Or maybe Killgallon Sentence making or something. No idea what to do. Would love help on this though.

I'm all about deschooling.

Have you seen "Understanding Writing"? I think that's the most deschooling kind of writing in the world. :-) The children learn how to use strong nouns and verbs (as opposed to littering adjectives and adverbs across the page), to identify their audience, and to write letters to people. They don't learn how to write paragraphs; that is, they learn to divide their letters into paragraphs so their recipients can understand them better (as opposed to learning that everything must be in paragraphs with  an opening sentence, a closing sentence, and at least X number of supporting sentences). There's an amazing amount of actual writing instruction in writing letters to friends and family members. :-) Of course, it's much more comprehensive than just writing letters, but it's just so different from every other product I've seen that I think it could be really helpful for your situation especially.

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I think that it will be very kid-dependent.  For my kids, the MCT series has been fantastic.  It uses silly stories to help kids see what you need in a sentence and why.  I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed it as a kid, but the basics of writing were natural for me.  Despite being very different in most things, both of my kids are reluctant writers and this has helped them learn to write coherently.  

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Writing with Ease isn't a bad idea.   Thanks to a parent-fail, DD is behind in WWE.    We hadn't noticed that WWE was meant to be done with FLL, so she got a late start.  So, DD is 8-years-old and doing WWE1.  But, it is very quick.   We consider one week of WWE to be a lesson.  So, Day 1 and Day 2 will be done at one sitting in the morning.  Then Day 3 and 4 will be done at one sitting later in the day.  So every week, DD does 4 weeks of WWE1  and 4 lessons of FLL 2. 
 

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If you want easy, try Writing Tales.  It starts in 3rd/4th grade and seriously walks them through every single step in the progymnasmata style:

-retelling stories.  They don't begin to write their own until they do narrations, and they ease into it - "change a detail", "add a description", etc.
-grammar.  The first book has them memorize the parts of speech.  There is no diagramming.
-spelling is pulled from their work.  You can add a separate spelling if you want (I would, and do something like Spell By Color or SYS if he really needs work)

It's hands on (active games, cutting apart sentences to re-order them), each day is short, and you can go into WWS after completing the two book set. There is no room for nonsense word writing.  Each activity is directed and easy to teach.

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6 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

I had experience very similar to yours. No spelling, no grammar, cutesy crap creative writing in GT language arts. 

IEW cured it here. And made her more than ready to go into WTMA Rhetoric later. Big IEW fan when it comes to deprogramming crazy public school creative writing cult damage. 

DO you think it would be best to give it a break for a little bit? Or do one of the themed ones? Or writing intensives?

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We are only up to lesson 5 but we are finding W&R fable fairly painless so far.  Of course ds9 has had a year to get over school trauma and never did get the hang of filling pages with nothing much.  I did get a lot out of the TWSS but ultimately I didn't think IEW right for ds at this time.  Doing the workbook for WwE orally may be a good deschool have writing though as he can practice skills without physically writing.

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Another to consider is CAP's Writing & Rhetoric series. Start with fable. The series is a gradual release of writing. They start by reading and narrating. Move on to summarizing. Then adding a few details here and there. Then ultimately they write their own fable. The entire series follows a similar pattern.

Around here, they didn't teach grammar in public school, but they gave assignments like write a sentence with at least 7 words. So my ds added very and really as many times needed. I have since taught him grammar and I tell him to write a sentence with an appositive phrase. Same purpose, but the resulting sentence in much better. All this to say, grammar instruction may help with this. We use MCT. It has been great and they retain it all.

MCT + CAP has been a wonderful combination.

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