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This is what I needed to hear today. But may I ask, what is considered a "short well-organized expository paper"? (I guess I mean, how long should "short" be)

 

I don't know. Mine have had to write at least 6 5 paragraph essays starting in 7th grade. Intro paragraph, 3 supporting paragraph of the thesis given in the intro, conclusion paragraph.

 

thanks for the reminders nan!:)

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The best I could get out of my older one was about 2 paragraphs. He got a 4.0 in CC composition as a junior, and now can write a 2 or 3 page one (not double spaced) in 3 or 4 hours. That isn't exactly quick, but it is enough for the field he is going into. My youngest finds writing easier. He can write a 5 paragraph paper, with a bit of prompting. It isn't a great paper, but it is a very good start. I consider him ahead of the game, since I know both his older brothers couldn't at that age and learned fine in high school. I'm no expert, though.

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Just summarizing the last few threads GRIN...

 

I've been reading these boards for awhile, and I've listened to several of my children's friends complain about their teachers' threats and complaints at the beginning of 8th grade, and I've concluded that it is perfectly normal to spend the entire 8th grade year struggling to begin to learn how to:

 

-Write a short well-organized expository paper

-Produce work that has a heading and date, is legible, has full sentences that actually answer the questions, and isn't half question marks

-Use an assignment book to keep track of one's assignments

-Make and use some sort of study guides

-Show one's work in math (math becomes complicated enough that one needs to show the work now)

-Type

 

And it is normal to spend the rest of high school learning how to:

 

-Use more adult reference material

-Skim so one can sift through a greater quantity of material

-Write a longer expository paper

-Read at an adult level

-To do research

 

Eighth graders don't have to arrive at high school able to do the second list. It is ok to spend high school learning to do those things. High school is long - four whole years. Yes, it is nice to arrive knowing them, and lots of students do, but lots of other students' academic skills are slower to mature. They still will arrive there by college, when students do, indeed, need to have those skills in place. Lots of people say their children made huge leaps after the age of 16.

 

So... if your 13yo isn't behaving like a 17yo, IT IS OK. DO NOT DESPAIR. They keep growing after 13 or 14. In fact, they grow tons, just like they grow tons between the ages of 2 and 6. Part of that growth is a new awareness of themselves and language and the world around them and their own reasoning powers. This awareness, unfortunately, also leads to some of the less attractive 13-15yo behavior. They are two sides of the same coin. If my own children and their friends are anything to go by, they themselves are horrified by some of their own changes and tendencies, and just as glad when they ease off later on. Growth isn't always easy, fun, and pleasant. Remember the terrible twos (or threes)? They were learning to be children then. Now they are having to start all over again and learn to be adults. Please, please give them lots of sympathy and tolerance along with bolstering their still immature self-discipline and judgement. And talk to them, lots. And listen to them, really listen, to the new person they are becoming, not just the old one they were. And mourn the child that is disappearing, because they are, too. And help them to look forward to the nice adult things, like being able to drive and being able to get together with friends more easily. And remember that they are still young.

 

Hugs to everyone who is going through this. I'm going through it for the third time GRIN.

 

HTH

-Nan

 

(I've left off various science goals, like learning to make observations, to draw, to design an experiment, to keep up with current discoveries in a field, and to use lab equipment because I haven't heard them discussed enough to be able to tell where the 8th grade/high school line normally lands.)

 

:iagree:

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Excellent post. My current 16 yr. old made huge strides between the end of the last school year and the beginning of this one. The 15 yr. old looks like she is going to do the same thing. I can't remember the older two but I think that they made this forward progression about the same ages. Only two more to go!

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The best I could get out of my older one was about 2 paragraphs. He got a 4.0 in CC composition as a junior, and now can write a 2 or 3 page one (not double spaced) in 3 or 4 hours. .

 

this is very encouraging. so far I can only get 1-2 well developed paragraphs from my 14 year old. I now have hope.......

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Thank you for your post, Nan. Especially this part:

 

Please, please give them lots of sympathy and tolerance along with bolstering their still immature self-discipline and judgement. And talk to them, lots. And listen to them, really listen, to the new person they are becoming, not just the old one they were. And mourn the child that is disappearing, because they are, too.

 

 

sad055.gif

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this is very encouraging. so far I can only get 1-2 well developed paragraphs from my 14 year old. I now have hope.......

 

I know, isnt it a relief when you realise your child, who you encourage and make work really hard over the years, isn't the only one who can only do this? I see improvement, I see growth, but oh so much slower than I thought it would be, given he gets so much of my attention compared to my other one, for whome writing is a breeze!

 

Thanks Nan. I love your posts.

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Spell-check was the attraction with mine, too. My poor older one's reaction to learning to type was: "It took me years to learn to write. I can FINALLY do it easily. AND NOW YOU WANT ME TO START ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!! You have got to be kidding!" He likes it now, though, and word processors make paper writing so much easier.

 

Sounds like your son is over the hump! Yeah! There is this rather vicious circle of not being able to write fast and easily so you can't write enough to get good enough at it to be able to write fast and easily. Once you break out of that circle, things improve more quickly. If your son wrote two 1-page papers in one week, it doesn't matter whether he wrote them well or not, because he has broken out of that circle and can now write enough volume to improve. The fact that he is willing to listen to you also proves it. When it is very hard just to do something at all, one is unwilling to listen to suggestions which sound like they are making the process longer or more complicated. One just wants to get it done. That is great! I remember how relieved I was when we reached that point.

 

-Nanbg

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Thanks for the reminders, Nan! I keep alternately feeling like my 14yo, 8th grade son is making good progress or failing miserably, depending on whose posts I'm reading that day. My oldest child was that precocious academic I read about in so many posts. She was just always ahead of the curve and I never had to worry about her academic skills. My son just isn't. He is bright but has difficulty writing and has struggled with learning to take direction from adults. It's good for me to remember my middle daughter who also struggled with language based skills and barely wrote a couple of paragraphs in 8th grade. She subsequently got very high marks on her writing during freshman year in college after truly beginning to blossom academically at about age 16.

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I alternate, too; I know what you mean. It is only now, towards the end, that I can see where we really succeeded, where we really failed, and what the limitations of this particular child really are/were. And the last one will be different and we'll have to figure it out all over again.

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Thanks, Nan. I didn't know all of this. I was thinking of how much my dd had lost when I chose not to wage the writing battle (choosing my battles was imperative--still is). But, in fact, she's having to learn what most gr. 8 kids are learning. I'm going to print your post and let my dh read it as well. Our gr. 8 years were long ago and far away...

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And the last one will be different and we'll have to figure it out all over again.

 

Don't you just love it? Just when we think we've got the parenting, educating, whatever figured out, we get a new version of the human operating system to learn. I'm on version number 3 and though there are great similarities to versions 1 and 2, there are also significant differences. And the manufacturer didn't give me the bullet point handout with a quick review of all the new features!

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Don't you just love it? Just when we think we've got the parenting, educating, whatever figured out, we get a new version of the human operating system to learn. I'm on version number 3 and though there are great similarities to versions 1 and 2, there are also significant differences. And the manufacturer didn't give me the bullet point handout with a quick review of all the new features!

 

So true. Mine were all different from the moment of their births. Actually, in utero they acted differently, too. But I'm past the point of thinking I have anything figured out with parenting ;).

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I listen as I drive my children's public schooled friends around. They always complained bitterly the first few months of 8th grade and were happy to expond on their complaints to me. I was grateful to have something to compare mine to, since compared to many of the posts here, I knew they were "behind" in anything involving written work.

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I hope you get a sticky, because this and a few other sage posts of yours and others are what keep my eyes from becoming permanently crossed. :D

 

Thank you.

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Thank you.

 

My dd just discovered the word count feature, and wondered how no one mentioned it to her for so long. :001_smile:

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This was an excellent post! I am horrified at times when I see so much pressure put on an 8th grader to do almost college work. Even Omnibus is not suited for many 8th graders. It is difficult enough to do with a high school student at times. I give many accolades to those 8th graders that can do it, but if your 8th grader can't then go to something else!

 

Oh how I long for the more simple Charlotte Mason approach with my students. It seems many of the "rigorous" books have killed the joy of learning with my kids. One of these days I'm going to buck the system and just use real books for about everything -- even high school biology! Gasp!!!

 

Jan

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Real books for high school biology is called Natural History, and we did that GRIN. MODG even has a curriculum for it. I am glad we chose to do that because it made the bio much more applicable and useful and real.

 

And about great books: I only pick things on TWTM/TWEM great books list that I think my children will enjoy. The lists are so long that you can't do everything and have to pick somehow. Why not pick the things that are relevant and enjoyable? You might as well pick according to your child's interests. You can pick mostly stories (we did this) or mostly history or mostly philosophy or mostly politics. I picked mostly stories because I could be pretty sure they would be a success that way, and we wouldn't wind up spending half a semester struggling through something we barely got and wasn't useful in our lives.

 

 

It is comforting to me to have you say something similar, Jan.

 

Sorry about the funky formatting. It got messed up somehow when I switched from quick to advanced.

-Nan

 

 

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You can pick mostly stories (we did this) or mostly history or mostly philosophy or mostly politics. I picked mostly stories because I could be pretty sure they would be a success that way, and we wouldn't wind up spending half a semester struggling through something we barely got and wasn't useful in our lives.

 

 

-Nan

 

 

 

Thank you, Nan, for stating this so plainly. I never saw it that way before. I just saw these *LISTS*, and no way to narrow them down.

 

You know, if there were time, I would like to study philosophy - but I'm envisioning "spending half a semester struggling through something we barely got"!!! And, I'm not sure my ds will appreciate it the way *I* would.

 

It was all the novels I saw in WTM that really drew me, but I've been scared if I choose just stories, we'd be missing out. So, thanks for setting me straight!

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And about great books: I only pick things on TWTM/TWEM great books list that I think my children will enjoy. The lists are so long that you can't do everything and have to pick somehow. Why not pick the things that are relevant and enjoyable? You might as well pick according to your child's interests. -Nan

 

 

 

Yes, we're going to do this for sure with the novels. My eldest will not do Don Quixote, but my 10 yo will probably love it when she's older (she sure loved the kids' version--her kind of humour, although my eldest is more likely to get the word slips by the squire.) We'll do it with the great books as well. I think interests, relevant, more enjoyable are helpful. Not that they'll necessarily like every choice, but I'm going to do what I can.

 

My eldest is going to study the history of mathematics & the history of science since that will tie history to her interest in science, but I doubt my history loving second will do much of that. Not sure about ds yet, but he's so far away from all this and has just started to like to read, which makes me soooo happy. I was wondering if he'd ever like it.

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I have a 12yo. Can somebody please tell me what it's OK to spend our entire 7th grade year on? :D We are already really working on #s 2 and 5 on the 8th grade list so at least we are on track for that...

:confused:

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I would suggest you first consider your goals for 7th and 8th, and then observe your student. And then it will become apparent "what to work on"

 

:)

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I have a 12yo. Can somebody please tell me what it's OK to spend our entire 7th grade year on? :D We are already really working on #s 2 and 5 on the 8th grade list so at least we are on track for that...

:confused:

 

Ah, seventh grade. I didn't even worry about literature or assigned fiction in that grade. Or writing essays, book reports, lab reports. However, my 13 yo has no trouble writing fiction, has good grammar, syntax, etc, so I left that for this year when I'm holding her hand and guiding her through essay writing in literature. This is a big switch as she likes to work independently.

 

I should tell you that dd did seventh grade at 11, eighth grade at 12, but isn't ready for the high school load yet, so she's doing an 8/9 year. But for seventh grade we focused on...focusing on school work. She does not have ADHD or ADD (believe me, if she did, it would have come up with the teachers during her K-2 stint in ps) as she has a tremendous ability to focus, just doesn't like to do academics uness it's Chemistry or Biology. Of course, this has been her biggest problem from the time she went to ps--focus. She lollygags, draws, writes stories, cleans her nails--anything other than her work, although she's much better now (still not that great until the pressure is on to be finished in time to go to swim practise).

 

Math

English

Science

 

She also did History, art, German, Latin and several other things, but not with the same focus and intensity as we did on the three listed above. Math and English because they're essential, Science because she loves it, and everything else because those three are not enough.

 

I think it depends a lot on your dc. The reason my dd was not able to start high school this year is her lack of focus on school and self-discipline and the fact that she's not socially ready for high school (even though she's at home, I felt that in her specific situation this was important in thinking about when she starts university--she'll need until 18. Also sports--she wants to swim on the local high school team and could use another year of physical growth and development plus another year on the team she's on to help her with that.)

Edited by Karin
typos

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Nan,

 

This is the first chance I've actually gotten to sit down and read your post.

 

I want to thank you for sharing the wisdom that comes from having already been there. This is something I really needed to hear.:grouphug:

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(((Nan))) Thanks for the encouragement. This is my 2nd child, and for some reason, it seems more difficult this time around. :001_rolleyes:

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ok,

I'm frustrated. My now 13 year old still looses the majority of her work if I dont take it when she's done.

 

I really don't think, ok I know she is not really getting physical science.

 

Daily she tries to negotiate the assignments i give her. Can you imagine dealing with let's make a deal every day?

 

 

 

can I do lesson B instead of lesson a?

 

Is 3/4 page paper enough instead of a full page summary,

 

Can i read this book instead of the book assigned?,

 

Can I skip this assignment since I lost it after I did it?,

 

can you just use my PSAT score instead of having me do any more writing assignments this semester?

 

...

 

So I really needed to read this post. Instaed of getting upset today I reflected on the improvments this year:

She doesnt protest and fear outlines and summaries anymore.

with mathusee she doesnt cry over math anymore

she loves doing latin even if I have to remind her to study

she loves history and Greek mythology

she loves being able to discuss topics she's read/studied with older hs/college students.

She's inspired after taking the PSAT at 12 and scoring in the 50th percentile.

 

Perhaps I wont have to reminder her to keep working 10 times today.

Or maybe I will. Either way I think things will continue to improve over the next 3 years. I'd like to see her be able to remind herself to complete her work BEFORE I let her go off to college.

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Just summarizing the last few threads GRIN...

 

I've been reading these boards for awhile, and I've listened to several of my children's friends complain about their teachers' threats and complaints at the beginning of 8th grade, and I've concluded that it is perfectly normal to spend the entire 8th grade year struggling to begin to learn how to:

 

-Write a short well-organized expository paper

-Produce work that has a heading and date, is legible, has full sentences that actually answer the questions, and isn't half question marks

-Use an assignment book to keep track of one's assignments

-Make and use some sort of study guides

-Show one's work in math (math becomes complicated enough that one needs to show the work now)

-Type

 

And it is normal to spend the rest of high school learning how to:

 

-Use more adult reference material

-Skim so one can sift through a greater quantity of material

-Write a longer expository paper

-Read at an adult level

-To do research

 

Eighth graders don't have to arrive at high school able to do the second list. It is ok to spend high school learning to do those things. High school is long - four whole years. Yes, it is nice to arrive knowing them, and lots of students do, but lots of other students' academic skills are slower to mature. They still will arrive there by college, when students do, indeed, need to have those skills in place. Lots of people say their children made huge leaps after the age of 16.

 

So... if your 13yo isn't behaving like a 17yo, IT IS OK. DO NOT DESPAIR. They keep growing after 13 or 14. In fact, they grow tons, just like they grow tons between the ages of 2 and 6. Part of that growth is a new awareness of themselves and language and the world around them and their own reasoning powers. This awareness, unfortunately, also leads to some of the less attractive 13-15yo behavior. They are two sides of the same coin. If my own children and their friends are anything to go by, they themselves are horrified by some of their own changes and tendencies, and just as glad when they ease off later on. Growth isn't always easy, fun, and pleasant. Remember the terrible twos (or threes)? They were learning to be children then. Now they are having to start all over again and learn to be adults. Please, please give them lots of sympathy and tolerance along with bolstering their still immature self-discipline and judgement. And talk to them, lots. And listen to them, really listen, to the new person they are becoming, not just the old one they were. And mourn the child that is disappearing, because they are, too. And help them to look forward to the nice adult things, like being able to drive and being able to get together with friends more easily. And remember that they are still young.

 

Hugs to everyone who is going through this. I'm going through it for the third time GRIN.

 

HTH

-Nan

 

(I've left off various science goals, like learning to make observations, to draw, to design an experiment, to keep up with current discoveries in a field, and to use lab equipment because I haven't heard them discussed enough to be able to tell where the 8th grade/high school line normally lands.)

 

 

Thank you SOOOO MUCH for writing this!!! :grouphug: I really needed to hear something like this....and DD14 really needed me to read it too!

 

 

Thanks again!

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