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poppy

3rd grade language help. Maybe First Language Lessons?

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Need help, I spend a lot of time looking at curriculum options but I'm in the secular forums mostly, and not finding what I need for language!
I know way too many homeschoolers whose kids reads at a high school level early, but can't write a paragraph. Trying to avoid that.
I  am a bit overwhelmed and just need someone to hold my hand and explain-- in short words--- what's best.

My 3rd grader is doing
Story of the World 3
Beast Academy 3
Real Science Odyssey Chemistry
Plus some art (SQUILT, Artistic Pursuits)

Obviously the big gap is language. We've been doing Logic of English Foundations, but he took a big leap reading over the summer and can comfortably read short children's novels.
His handwriting is terrible, though, and he frequently reverses letters and words (we have had his vision tested).
I remember the woman who did story of the world also wrote a language curriculum, First Language Lessons.  SOTW is so well made so I'm hoping First Language Lessons is appropriate.
Where would I start for a kid who can read but not write?
And also what are the other common alternatives I should consider?  Parent intensive is fine. Workbooks are fine. The more complete, the better. Thanks for any help.

 

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What do you mean he cannot write? Can he form legible letters or words from copywork?

Have you considered pursuing diagnostic testing for his writing? Maybe there is something preventing him from doing his best. Is he able to narrate after a lesson/story? My son is 2E and has a specific learning disability: basic reading skills (dyslexia). He is reading well above grade level. If my child could still not write at 8/9 after I knew significant instruction had been given, I’d pursue testing, IMO. He could have dysgraphia. 

If you could share more about his and your needs maybe I could help more.

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53 minutes ago, arliemaria said:

What do you mean he cannot write? Can he form legible letters or words from copywork?

Have you considered pursuing diagnostic testing for his writing? Maybe there is something preventing him from doing his best. Is he able to narrate after a lesson/story? My son is 2E and has a specific learning disability: basic reading skills (dyslexia). He is reading well above grade level. If my child could still not write at 8/9 after I knew significant instruction had been given, I’d pursue testing, IMO. He could have dysgraphia. 

If you could share more about his and your needs maybe I could help more.

 

His vocabulary and comprehension are good, and he can narrate at grade level.  He can form letters but they are big, wobbly, like  a fledgling handwriter. I  have considered dysgraphia or "lack of practice" as options. His sister has dyslexia. (And autism, and an alphabet soup of disorders). Obviously dyslexia is genetic so dysgraphia is a possibility.  The dyslexia in the family is why I am using Logic of English, to give a strong grounding in phonics. But the phonics is sloooooow.  He is reading Neil Gaiman and The Hobbit and also learning this week about the phonograms /-ing/ and /wr/.  It's incongruous.  He needs more, I think.  And he actually really likes structured work.

The sister is the key thing here, I have been homeschooling a special needs kid who refuses bookwork and structure for 3 years.  We do tons of read alouds and journaling and experiments and projects but I can't make it look like school.  Now I have added this little brother who is neurotypical -- who is bright, curious, and wants all the curriculum I *hoped* I could use with my other child but gave up on! I'm just really rusty on this topic, so was hoping for some hand holding.

Anyway thanks to anyone who read all that.

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First Language Lessons is excellent. It's a grammar curriculum, primarily, though. You might want to pair it with Writing With Ease, which is the accompanying writing curriculum.

For FLL you could probably do level 2, but WWE may need to be level 1.

You probably want to add in specific letter formation practice daily as well.

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I second doing first language lessons and writing with ease.

The first 2 books of FLL are mostly oral so excellent for a child who isn’t a confident writer

WWE has a lot of scaffolding and does a terrific job of breaking up writing into manageable size. Especially good for a non confident writer.

 

have you tried doing some cutting just before writing something like the kumon craft book. That is what I am doing with my delayed twins.  The OT recommended cutting as a way to build fine motor skills to aid in writing.

something else that might help is chewing gum while writing.it helps stimulate the brain ( speech pathologist recommendation) helps my dyslexic children with reading.

 I would also recommend copywork. It really helps with building  writing confidence 

 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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Quote

 

I remember the woman who did story of the world also wrote a language curriculum,


 

 

 

Quote

 

I  am a bit overwhelmed and just need someone to hold my hand and explain-- in short words--- what's best.


 

 

SWB, owner of this forum, is the author of SOTW and FLL/WWE/WWS. In her notable book, The Well Trained Mind, she and her mother/co-author outline a clear path to writing fluency. You should check it out since you like SOTW. Indeed, you can use most of the WTM ideas with SOTW. She also sells audio files about her writing philosophy. 

FWIW, reading at a much higher level than you can write is common across the board, regardless of a child's school setting. 

If you're going to continue with LOE, Essentials does contain more composition and grammar instruction than Foundations. However, if the problem is the actual physical act of writing, obviously you need to build up that capacity before he will be able to write. Start where he is. 

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Writing with ease was good for us at that stage and also lots of copywork.  I would write a lot down that they told me orally then have them copy it.  First language lessons almost killed us and my kids retained very little.  This year we’re using grammar galaxy but I’m not sure on grammar for next year yet.

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 A good penmanship program like Handwriting Without Tears, might be helpful.

Learning Without Tears also has Building Writers for more practice.

Edited by acresoft

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On 10/17/2018 at 9:49 AM, poppy said:

 

His vocabulary and comprehension are good, and he can narrate at grade level.  He can form letters but they are big, wobbly, like  a fledgling handwriter. I  have considered dysgraphia or "lack of practice" as options. His sister has dyslexia. (And autism, and an alphabet soup of disorders). Obviously dyslexia is genetic so dysgraphia is a possibility.  The dyslexia in the family is why I am using Logic of English, to give a strong grounding in phonics. But the phonics is sloooooow.  He is reading Neil Gaiman and The Hobbit and also learning this week about the phonograms /-ing/ and /wr/.  It's incongruous.  He needs more, I think.  And he actually really likes structured work.

The sister is the key thing here, I have been homeschooling a special needs kid who refuses bookwork and structure for 3 years.  We do tons of read alouds and journaling and experiments and projects but I can't make it look like school.  Now I have added this little brother who is neurotypical -- who is bright, curious, and wants all the curriculum I *hoped* I could use with my other child but gave up on! I'm just really rusty on this topic, so was hoping for some hand holding.

Anyway thanks to anyone who read all that.

SO, the thing about phonics is that it needs to be very repetitive to stick for LONG TERM memory.  I have one dyslexic and I wish I had stuck with Intensive phonics through 3rd grade rather than slowing down and then stopping, because she was reading well above grade level.  It bit me in the butt, and I had to do a three year Synthetic Phonics later on.

So, I don't remember much about LOE but if it's just a slow moving intensive phonics approach I would definitely stick with it.  He needs three years of intensive phonics, for it to stick in his long term memory, and even more if you're possibly dealing with an LD...you are not sure at this point but since it's a maybe I wuold hang in there.  There is nothing more important than a firm foundation in phonics and math.  You can skip Science and history and all kinds of stuff, but phonics and math are very important.  Stay with LOE

That said, to address the handwriting issue, I would encourage you to do lots of hand strength work and - he's going to hate this- but- coloring.  Coloring (holding crayon properly) builds a TON of hand and arm strength. Make sure he is seated properly and holding it properly, and learning to color firmly but not hard and give him stickers and rewards for every page that is fully colored in.  Start little and increase gradually! Nothing works like coloring 🙂

But you should also do "daily time" with a hard clay, squeezy ball, and look up hand strengthening toys and exercises.  This usually has more to do with the hands being very weak than anything else.

Last but not least I would just get blank lined paper and have him start out with three and then work up to about two pages of copywork daily in the same style of handwriting that you've taught him.  Again, rewards with a sticker chart followed by a toy/ice cream treat after two weeks of working every day is in order.  It's very tedious.  If he says his hand hurts, that's ok, a little but you don't want to strain the tendons and ligaments either.  Just build up very slowly, because you don't want him to say "my hand hurts" and then you let him stop and then his hand will always be hurting. 🙂 Think ahead to avoid that scenario.  

So it would look like this:

Daily squeezie ball practice all year 

Daily coloring page for the first month or two, then replace with....

Daily handwriting practice (just simple sentences the point is to practice writing not to have amazing literature)start with only two lines, build up slowly over this year until you're at two whole pages of those large lined second grade style landscape papers.

.....If they're still super wobbly by the end of the year I'd get the ball rolling for some occupational therapy. Depending on your state you can get evaluated for free and services at your local public school.  It will take several weeks of being a squeaky wheel to get an appointment, then several weeks till the appointment, then an appointment to discuss your problem, then they will make an appointment for a formal evaluation with an OT and then finally recommend an IEP.  

Assuming your state does not offer homeschoolers any services at all, (not many really), you can talk to your primary who can refer you out but you'll pay out of pocket and should expect a budget of about 300/month of therapy.  You can also ask for a discount or to come during "off hours" as a discount.  

 

 

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Here was our method:  I bought the guides from School-Rite.  They're plastic, sturdy stencils that fit directly on the paper.  Lots of practice forming the letters inside the guides.  And I had a flat slate chalkboard with the same lines on it as elementary paper.  Lots of chalk time, because chalk slows down the hand with enough resistance to form the letters better.  He learned D'nealian and then cursive, because D'Nealian is nearly the same but not joined.  We're still working on cursive with using Spencerian to work on paying attention to letter size and slant again.

Our first writing curriculum was ELTL.  Lots of handholding.  Just copywork up until near the end of level 3 (or C, as it is now).  No expectation of being able to write alone.

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So, we were in a similar spot with my third grader.  He's an excellent reader, but I wonder if he has some dysgraphia or if it's just kids these days with less hand strength.  Anyway, we've been doing WWE and FFL (both Level Two) for about a month now (along with HWOT Grade 2).  I've seen a lot of improvement from him.  (We also encourage more outside play, play dough, etc.)

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I will also throw my bid in for WWE and FLL. It is a fantastic and easy to implement combo. The copywork will take pressure off of having to know what to write and will give the much needed practice of writing. He will complain about hand pain at first I am sure but should quickly build endurance. Work on making sure he is forming his letters correctly and using lower case letters (not a mix of upper and lower or all upper).

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