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JessBurs

Can you walk me through good elementary school writing programs?

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So I posted this last night in the Writing Workshop subforum, only to realize that forum is for actual writing samples... so sorry about that. I am new to the forums so unsure if there is some way to get that thread deleted.

Anyway, I am hoping someone can help me here:

So my daughter is a young second grader. We are using Writing Strands 2 this year and I have been feeling a bit ehh about it so far (of course, my feelings might change as we progress through the year, haha) but I was hoping people could help fill me in WRT some of the writing curriculum they have seen their children thrive with. I keep seeing people discuss different curriculum options and honestly have trouble tracking which ones are middle school vs. elementary school, what all the acronyms stand for, etc.

Background: Elsewhere for language arts we are using English Lessons Through Literature L2 and we are really enjoying it so far (my daughter has really liked the reading selections so far). We also use Spelling Workout and she actually says spelling is one of her favorite subjects, so I do not need anything that incorporates grammar/spelling really.

My daughter also loves to read and write. She learned to read early and loves fantasy books, adventure, etc. She also has a very active imagination and has notebooks filled with her own stories that she has created (many of them adopting characters from her favorite books and shows and crafting new adventures for them).

Anyone have any curriculum that they would highly recommend? I am looking for something now that will nurture her natural writing and storytelling skills, ideally a curriculum that will mature through the ages and teach more academic writing later on: ie persuasive essays, research paper, etc. Thanks a lot!

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Well, you might look at IEW.

I'm curious as to why you're using two full writing programs: ELTL and Writing Strands are both meant to stand alone.  They're both gentle in their approaches, and they are vastly different in their philosophies. 

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2 hours ago, JessBurs said:

So I posted this last night in the Writing Workshop subforum, only to realize that forum is for actual writing samples... so sorry about that. I am new to the forums so unsure if there is some way to get that thread deleted.

Anyway, I am hoping someone can help me here:

So my daughter is a young second grader. We are using Writing Strands 2 this year and I have been feeling a bit ehh about it so far (of course, my feelings might change as we progress through the year, haha) but I was hoping people could help fill me in WRT some of the writing curriculum they have seen their children thrive with. I keep seeing people discuss different curriculum options and honestly have trouble tracking which ones are middle school vs. elementary school, what all the acronyms stand for, etc.

Background: Elsewhere for language arts we are using English Lessons Through Literature L2 and we are really enjoying it so far (my daughter has really liked the reading selections so far). We also use Spelling Workout and she actually says spelling is one of her favorite subjects, so I do not need anything that incorporates grammar/spelling really.

My daughter also loves to read and write. She learned to read early and loves fantasy books, adventure, etc. She also has a very active imagination and has notebooks filled with her own stories that she has created (many of them adopting characters from her favorite books and shows and crafting new adventures for them).

Anyone have any curriculum that they would highly recommend? I am looking for something now that will nurture her natural writing and storytelling skills, ideally a curriculum that will mature through the ages and teach more academic writing later on: ie persuasive essays, research paper, etc. Thanks a lot!

Writing Strands will always be my favorite. :-)  And it does fulfill everything on your wish list.

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Just me, but I'm not a fan of formal writing programs for most children under 3rd or 4th grade age. And not a fan at all of Writing Strands (dull and dry, and did not fit either my teaching style or my DSs' learning style). English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) came out after our DSs graduated from homeschool high school, so no experience with that one.

Esp. with a young elementary student who loves creative writing and is imaginative -- be very careful to NOT stifle her joy and imagination by overloading with too much formal instruction too young. This would be a perfect time to just let her enjoy writing her own stories this year, and practice narrations with ELTL. At most, you might like some resources to give her more ideas to choose from:

Complete Writing Lessons for the Primary Grades (Franks) -- OOP; while it sounds formal, it is unusual ideas for prompting creative writing
- Games for Writing (Kaye)
- Journal Buddies website (free): 2nd Grade Writing Prompts30 New 2nd Grade Writing Prompts39 Fun 3rd Grade Writing Prompts
- Education.com website (free): Second Grade Writing Activities; Third Grade Writing Activities (really, for elementary ages up through 5th/6th grade)


I'm seeing very few writing programs designed to start in grades 1 or 2 -- most start at grade 3-4 as the first level, which is much more developmentally appropriate for the typical child for starting composition (formal writing instruction). But for the future, here are a few ideas that might be a good fit for your family:

A more creative writing program for the future is Wordsmith Apprentice (gr. 4-6). It has a "cub reporter" theme and guides the student through all 4 types of writing (Descriptive, Narrative, Expository, Persuasive), through writing in the various "departments" of a newspaper. It is designed so you can assign as big or small of a "bite" per day as best works for the student, but even a struggling writer will likely finish in less than 1 year -- a student who enjoys writing would probably enjoy this as a fun, light break 1-2x/week from doing a more formal/traditional program. It is informal in tone and written to the student, and can be done largely solo by the student.

One program you might look in a year or two is Treasured Conversations (1 year program geared for students in the gr. 3-5 range), created by WTM forum participant 8FillTheHeart. (See sample & review here; purchase here.) It is probably a bit similar to ELTL, in that grammar and writing are intertwined, since that is really how those subjects are *used* in real life. A grade level below Treasured Conversations, and from the samples looks to be just as sweet, gentle, and fun as Treasured Conversations, is Writing Tales, which has 2 levels: level 1 (gr. 3-4) and level 2 (gr. 4-5). 

The Writing & Rhetoric series from Classical Academic Press is a writing series that has come out more recently and has received some good reviews by posters on this board (although, not a fit for everyone). It is a writing instruction series for grades 3-12. Fables is book 1 of the series, designed for grades 3-4.

BEST of luck in finding what best helps you nurture your DD's love of writing at this early elementary age! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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You might like moving beyond the page language arts.  It is separate from the other subjects starting with the 7-9 level.  It is all literature based.  There’s a lot of variety and plenty of room for creativity.  My oldest is in his fourth year with it and has only had one book he didn’t like so far.  It goes up through early high school and teaches all the schoolish/modern forms.  Lit and grammar are integrated.  The spelling is kind of a lame add-on (we don’t use it), so you could just stick with SWO if you wanted.  The reading level is a bit advanced compared to age, which sounds like it would work well for you.  Most wtm-ers would probably find the volume of writing too much in the early years and the grammar drill too light; I think the writing volume is on par with public school.  It is also pricey but can be purchased in individual units to dampen the blow.

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Learn to Write the Novel Way is great for people interested in learning to write stories.

There is also the Writing & Rhetoric program from Classical Academic Press.

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Brave Writer is great for kids who love to write the way you're describing (and for kids who are super reluctant writers). It's less great for kids who need the steps all broken down.

I second what Lori said about how you don't necessarily need a writing program at this age.

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Read "Know and Tell: The Art of Narration" by Karen Glass and you'll never need to buy another writing curriculum ever again. I really wish I had read it before I ever started homeschooling! (Into my 8th year homeschooling now...)

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I just received Just Write 1 in the mail and it looks great.  Of course we haven't started it yet, but I really like the looks of it: https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/Just+Write+Book+1/015545 .  We are going to do WWE2 twice a week, and supplement with other writing resources including this one.

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On 10/12/2018 at 8:16 PM, strawberryjam said:

Read "Know and Tell: The Art of Narration" by Karen Glass and you'll never need to buy another writing curriculum ever again. I really wish I had read it before I ever started homeschooling! (Into my 8th year homeschooling now...)

I hope I am brave enough to stay the course on this! I love Karen Glass. 

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