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Lady Q

Writing without a program

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Hello, everyone! I need some help thinking through writing plans for my rising eighth grader.

She's a strong natural writer who easily picks up instruction. In the past, I've used bits and pieces from Lost Tools, WWS 1, IEW, and other resources with her. Neither of us is good about sticking to a program; she usually finds the pace too slow, and I can't help but tweak every single writing curriculum I've used. 

So, I'm considering doing without one for eighth grade. 

Instead, I thought about getting a writing resource (such as Webster's Student Writing Handbook) and using that to assign different types of writing. My only fear is not preparing her adequately for high school. I'm pretty comfortable teaching writing in general, but my area of expertise is fiction not academic writing. I don't want her to have any major gaps. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about writing without a curriculum. Thanks!

ETA: Wow, my signature is outdated! The girl is question is now 12, going on 13. Going to have to figure out how to update this!

Edited by Lady Q

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I'm preparing my son on the examples from the Internet, he has problems with writing. i looking for best essay writing service , for example Paidpaper.net and buy a finished essay there. Then I sit down with my son and together we consider and analyze this essay. I think if he remembers a few in the future will mix it all in his work.

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9 hours ago, purpleowl said:

Have you seen this thread from a few years ago?

 

 

Ooh, thank you! I'll dig into it this weekend! 

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On 6/13/2019 at 6:54 AM, purpleowl said:

Have you seen this thread from a few years ago?

 

I hope you find something useful in there, and I hope that most of the links are still active 🙂

I always appreciate thread follow-ups, so here is mine:

My son would have been in 7th grade then, and he just graduated. We continued to homeschool through high school. If I recall correctly, we stayed with the path of writing without a curriculum through middle school. He took multiple Brave Writer classes in 9th and 10th grade and then AP English in 11th followed by AP Lit in 12th. 

I continued to come up with my own writing assignments for history in high school. He also started taking Dual Enrollment history classes at a four year college in 11th.

It all worked out just fine 🙂 

I don't know if the book Engaging Ideas came up in the thread, but that ended up being one of my favorite resources.

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I have similar questions to the OP. DD is currently going through MP's Classical Composition, Chreia. It is "writing," but it doesn't teach essays, research papers, literary analysis, etc. I feel at a loss for how to teach those other types of writing. (I love literature, but my background is in sciences, so I don't have a a good idea of how or when to teach the various forms/topoi of writing.) I also don't have a good sense for what kinds of expectations to have for writing output. 

I bought WWS and studied the first third of the program. DD is a strong writer, and I think the incremental-ness of WWS would drive her batty. I would love to find another resource that I could read that would teach me how to teach different types of writing, so I could assign appropriate writing assignments across the curriculum. We tried IEW in the past, but I found it difficult to use. 

I purchased Corbett's Classical Rheotirc for the Modern Student, and have ordered Engaging Ideas (thanks for the rec, @Penguin). However, those are college level texts, so I will they be of help for me at this stage? If I have limited time, is one better than the other?  Should I go back and re-study WWS and figure out how to adapt it to my DD? 

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12 hours ago, JHLWTM said:

I have similar questions to the OP. DD is currently going through MP's Classical Composition, Chreia. It is "writing," but it doesn't teach essays, research papers, literary analysis, etc. I feel at a loss for how to teach those other types of writing. (I love literature, but my background is in sciences, so I don't have a a good idea of how or when to teach the various forms/topoi of writing.) I also don't have a good sense for what kinds of expectations to have for writing output. 

I bought WWS and studied the first third of the program. DD is a strong writer, and I think the incremental-ness of WWS would drive her batty. I would love to find another resource that I could read that would teach me how to teach different types of writing, so I could assign appropriate writing assignments across the curriculum. We tried IEW in the past, but I found it difficult to use. 

I purchased Corbett's Classical Rheotirc for the Modern Student, and have ordered Engaging Ideas (thanks for the rec, @Penguin). However, those are college level texts, so I will they be of help for me at this stage? If I have limited time, is one better than the other?  Should I go back and re-study WWS and figure out how to adapt it to my DD? 

I think I would recommend that you buy SWB's writing audio lecture for writing in the middle grades. It's fantastic and details exactly how to go about writing without a program and also what to expect for output. It will also be very helpful in learning how to incorporate the skills from WWS without actually using WWS (this is what I do in my homeschool). In my opinion, essays, research papers and literary analysis are high school level skills (I know many will disagree with me) so you don't necessarily have to worry about those right now. 

The only difference in what I do compared to the audio lecture is that I continue having my kids write narrations/summaries through middle school. By the time they are in 8th grade (and sometimes earlier), they are writing about 3 paragraphs and then it's easy to transition to essays just by learning how to add an intro and conclusion.

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On 6/13/2019 at 4:38 AM, HeckerHall said:

I'm preparing my son on the examples from the Internet, he has problems with writing. i looking for best essay writing service , for example Paidpaper.net and buy a finished essay there. Then I sit down with my son and together we consider and analyze this essay. I think if he remembers a few in the future will mix it all in his work.

We are planning to do similar.  I found a book called Models for Writers: Short Essays for Composition by Alfred Rosa & Paul Eschholz.  I haven't had a chance to really dig in to it, but at quick glance it looks like it might be very useful.

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On 6/15/2019 at 10:14 AM, hollyhock2 said:

I think I would recommend that you buy SWB's writing audio lecture for writing in the middle grades. It's fantastic and details exactly how to go about writing without a program and also what to expect for output. It will also be very helpful in learning how to incorporate the skills from WWS without actually using WWS (this is what I do in my homeschool). In my opinion, essays, research papers and literary analysis are high school level skills (I know many will disagree with me) so you don't necessarily have to worry about those right now. 

The only difference in what I do compared to the audio lecture is that I continue having my kids write narrations/summaries through middle school. By the time they are in 8th grade (and sometimes earlier), they are writing about 3 paragraphs and then it's easy to transition to essays just by learning how to add an intro and conclusion.

Thank you, Hollyhock and jess 4879. I re-listened to SWB's middle grade writing talk. The Models for Writers books looks like an excellent resource for samples of different styles of writing. 

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I'm finally done digging through the linked threads and the resources. My Amazon wishlist has greatly expanded!

Modeling and mentoring is what I think will work best for my dd. Once she sees how a style or technique is used in a piece of writing, it's not hard for her to go practice it in a composition of her own. She gets impatient with anything that tries to hold her hand too much. And because of her experience writing and revising fiction, she's open to listening to and incorporating feedback. One of my proudest moments as a writer-mama recently was when she ruthlessly gutted and rewrote the last half of a short story. She can kill her darlings, if necessary. 

I just bought a bunch of books with different types of writing samples: a Norton sampler, the brief Bedford Reader, and the Webster's New World Student Resource Handbook. I got them all used and cheap, and I think they'll give me a good variety to start with. 

I already own Lively Art of Writing (for argumentative essays) and Windows to the World (for literary essays). For sentence-level craft, I have all three middle school Killgallon books and the final chapters of Lively Art. My older son is working through those chapters of Lively Art, and I'm so far impressed with the quality of the assignments. 
 

That's my plan for writing next year! I'll check back in once the school year starts and tell you how it's going. 🙂

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On 6/14/2019 at 10:43 AM, Penguin said:

I hope you find something useful in there, and I hope that most of the links are still active 🙂

I always appreciate thread follow-ups, so here is mine:

My son would have been in 7th grade then, and he just graduated. We continued to homeschool through high school. If I recall correctly, we stayed with the path of writing without a curriculum through middle school. He took multiple Brave Writer classes in 9th and 10th grade and then AP English in 11th followed by AP Lit in 12th. 

I continued to come up with my own writing assignments for history in high school. He also started taking Dual Enrollment history classes at a four year college in 11th.

It all worked out just fine 🙂 

I don't know if the book Engaging Ideas came up in the thread, but that ended up being one of my favorite resources.

 

I'm glad it writing without a curriculum worked for you in MS. It gives me more of a confidence boost. I've got Engaging Ideas in my wishlist and plan to read it at some point. Thanks so much for sharing. 

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This year I did something similar to what is discussed in Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle or 180 Days by Gallagher and Kittle (I didn't do the reading part, because my kids already do a lot of reading).  It features modeling and mentoring and feedback and writing time and time to experiment. 

I wish I could point you to the perfect website for a quick overview, but I haven't found one. movingwriters.org has so much that I hesitate to send you there nor to link to just a few articles for fear you won't get the wonderful picture that I did from the books. But I will risk it. 

 

https://movingwriters.org/2018/02/01/what-time-is-it-notebook-time/

https://movingwriters.org/2015/09/14/891/

 

 

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