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Elizabeth86

Still researching writing curriculum

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Writing is the one part of homeschool that has me really stressed out.  I am NOT a writer.  It's the subject I always struggled with in school.  It's the class I got my first C in lol.  My dh has agreed to do the writing portion of our homeschool because that is his strength for sure. I just have to supply him with curriculum.  He doesn't know what's out there, but will teach whatever I choose. I feel I have looked at every option out there and I still just do not know what I want to do for my son.  He just turned 8 at the end of September.  He and dh are working on Memoria Press Introduction to Composition this year.  From all dh is saying, our son is doing pretty good.  I just feel that I need a good solid plan for the next several years.  I do not want to be jumping around trying different things.  I know I may have to if we try something and it doesn't work, I just really want to think about it as much as possible to hopefully get it right the first time.  I've posted before and got a lot of information.  I've researched a lot of suggestions.   

I guess my biggest question is the what is the difference between a progymnasmata based program and the WWE/WWS curriculum.  I kept hearing progymnasmata over and over and what a great method it was.  I had looked at MP and CAP.  I believe I had read that MP was more handholding and step by step than CAP.  Now I could have this ALL wrong.  I've read so much I just am not sure anymore. I was thinking we would just stick with MP CC all the way through if it works out, but it just makes me feel nervous.  It seems so foreign to me which is probably a good thing, the traditional writing we did in school didn't help me any. I hadn't ever spent much time thinking about WWE/WWS.  I don't know why.  I wish I had started ds out with WWE when he was younger.  I've read the chart that show the 4 different paths you can take using WWE/WWS, but what do you do if you are starting out with an 8 year old.  Where do you pick up?  I also hear so many say WWS is overwhelming.  I know I'm not there yet because it starts in 5th or 6th.  It just looks more "normal" to me?? Maybe not?? I don't know.  We started FLL 3 this year for the first time.  We are loving it, so I am starting to lean more toward WTM curriculum.  

Also, I cannot really figure out what type of student would be better suited for each type of curriculum?  What type of child would do better with something like MP CC or CAP W& R vs. WWE/WWS?  My son doesn't seem to mind writing for fun, but when it comes to having to do it formally, I don't really think it is that natural for him.  He writes little stories and things for fun all the time, but it's nothing outstanding. 

I see IEW mentioned too.  IEW appeals to me, but it seems I hear many often say they don't like the type of writing you get with students using IEW.  

Another thing on my mind is that when I look at traditional programs such as EIW or BJU, things that look like what I learned in school, I can't help but feel lost looking at curriculum like MP CC & CAP W&R.  I've been told if my son does well with the progymnasmata that the traditional school writing would come easy to him.  Do any of you do a simple traditional writing program here and there to supplement a progymnasmata curriculum? 

I've got all year to think about what to do next, but I feel so frustrated and lost.  I hate writing.  I hate curriculum choices.  I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record with this.  I read and read old posts here discussing similar things, but I'm just not sure.  I feel we are on a great path with all our other subjects.  DS is excelling with all his classes.  We had a rough start this year, but now that we are in a good routine we are loving our choices.  I don't want to screw him up with writing.  I guess I just need to know what kind of parent and child would be best suited for each curriculum choice I'm considering.  Pros and Cons of each.

Progymnasmata - MP or W&R

WWE/WWS path (I don't what else to call it)

IEW

Traditional - EIW, BJU, other

Anything else???

I hesitate to post because I ask and ramble over and over.  I know you all are tired of me.  I guess I just have to jump in and try and change what does not work.  

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Make your life easy. Use IEW SWI-A. When a child is learning from any writing, you are going to have stilted writing. Trust in time as they mature that their writing will, too.

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45 minutes ago, Paradox5 said:

Make your life easy. Use IEW SWI-A. When a child is learning from any writing, you are going to have stilted writing. Trust in time as they mature that their writing will, too.

I'd suggest IEW too. The rubric really helps to know what to expect, whereas with other programs, unless you've seen a lot of children's writing at a similar stage you might have no idea of what to expect/what's age appropriate output. 

Writing was my biggest stressor when we pulled oldest out to homeschool. I really resisted IEW for a bit due to the expense and also that it got a lot of negative commenting here, but I wish I'd gone with it sooner. It was such a sigh of relief for me the way its done and the rubrics/checklists. It's also nice for the kids because it's not asking them to hit a mystery target and creating original content, with proper syntax and grammar all in the same assignment. And I could not agree more with what Paradox says about writing maturing. It does.

You have PLENTY of time. He's 8. Honestly I don't even make my 8 year old write anything original right now. 

You could go opposite end of things and go Bravewriter and just encourage story telling and tea times and things like that and be less formal. That's really age appropriate, but it's a little too free flowy for some. 

But honestly it sounds like you would like some structure to destress, and because of that I'd point you towards IEW. It will be less stressful for both of you, because he will know what is expected and you will too. It's either there or it's not. There's no "but is he behind on XYZ". You just work on the one skill until they have it and then you move on to the new one. Easy+1. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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5 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

I wish I had started ds out with WWE when he was younger.  I've read the chart that show the 4 different paths you can take using WWE/WWS, but what do you do if you are starting out with an 8 year old.  Where do you pick up?

The way I placed my oldest in WWE, when we started at age 9, was to use the example lessons in the Instructor's Guide as placement tests.  I started right at Year 1, Week 1, and then did Yr1/Wk4, then Yr1/Wk11, and so on, till we got to a level that was a good fit (which, in our case, was the beginning of Level 2).  If your library has a copy of the Instructor's Guide (mine did), then I'd rec using it to fine-tune his starting level.  If your library doesn't have it, it's probably not worth buying just to use as a placement test.  In that case, I'd rec using the end-of-year mastery tests as placement tests.  If he has no problems with the WWE1 mastery test, then he's ready for WWE2; if he has no problems with the WWE2 mastery test, he's ready for WWE3, and so on.

5 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

Do any of you do a simple traditional writing program here and there to supplement a progymnasmata curriculum? 

Somewhat related, WWE is quite gentle and fairly quick, and so it would be quite doable to supplement it (although I didn't, even doing it "behind", WWE2 in 4th and WWE3 in 5th).

~*~

5 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

what kind of parent and child would be best suited for each curriculum choice I'm considering.  Pros and Cons of each.

WWE: awesome for kids who love literature.  I started it with a very reluctant writer, and it was the lit selections that made it not just tolerable but enjoyable for her; the lit-centric-ness keeps it interesting.  (And it exposed both dds to a wide variety of literature, and sparked their interest in new books - we used the WWE selections as a book list.)  And it's awesome for parents who aren't sure how to teach writing, because it's totally scripted (but, once you get the feel of it, it's easy to ignore or paraphrase the script if you want).  Other pros: because it's lit-centric, it manages to both break writing skills into parts and teach the parts separately, while also keeping those parts embedded in a meaning-centric big picture.  And I feel like teaching from it helped teach *me* how to teach beginning writing.  Cons: Not a traditional program (that can be a pro, too); not a lot of output (sentences and paragraphs, not pages - was also a pro for us); doesn't have a wide variety of writing assignments (focuses on narration, copywork and dictation).

I originally went into WWS with oldest (in 6th), but ended up stopping after six weeks or so because parts of it were too hard for her.  Originally I figured I'd try again in 7th, but I ended up dropping it entirely because I decided I liked the philosophy of LToW better.  In general, though, I've been very impressed with how SWB makes each step explicit in the WWE/WWS series.


IEW: I've just done SWI B (as a bridge between WWE and LToW), but I liked it and it did what I wanted it to do.  I watched the videos with my student (one every two weeks, if you are doing it over a full year), pausing as needed to come up with our own answers or to make comments or to answer questions.  Then we did the writing project for that lesson.  It was broken down into logical steps, that were consistent from lesson to lesson, and I assigned and evaluated and helped as needed with each step.  It provided a chance for us to move into multi-paragraph writing and was an introduction to outlining and writing from an outline.  Plenty of hand-holding.  People who like their writing programs really free-form probably wouldn't like it, but we all appreciated the step-by-step directions.  Again, like WWE, I learned with the kids - the videos taught us both what to do, and taught me enough that I could reteach and otherwise help the kids through any difficulties.

Edited by forty-two
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11 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

I guess my biggest question is the what is the difference between a progymnasmata based program and the WWE/WWS curriculum.

I wrote a massive post on this topic many years ago back when I was researching writing programs. My kids were older than yours, but I'm not clear by how much.  There were lots of contributors and I kept adding to the thread over many years. Mostly targets 5th through 12th grade. 

Ruth in NZ

 

Edited by lewelma
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12 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

Make your life easy. Use IEW SWI-A. When a child is learning from any writing, you are going to have stilted writing. Trust in time as they mature that their writing will, too.

I understand that IEW SWI-A is for grades 3-5.  What I am unclear on is how it is scheduled.  Is SWI-A a one year program? Do you divide it up over those 3 year?  

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5 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

I understand that IEW SWI-A is for grades 3-5.  What I am unclear on is how it is scheduled.  Is SWI-A a one year program? Do you divide it up over those 3 year?  

You can use it at any point during roughly those three grades. That’s what the source content is aimed at grade wise. It’s pretty much a 1 year program but you are working at the child’s pace, so that can vary. I couldn’t see it taking multiple years with an NT kid unless you were going very, very slowly. 
 

I will say that the folks and IEW are extremely helpful to call and talk to if you want to dive in more. When you aren’t familiar with it I know it can seem kind of confusing where to go. You could alternatively buy the TWSS and a theme book and do that for 3rd. 
 

I learned a LOT about all around teaching from the TWSS. Not just teaching writing. Everything. I feel like IEW is a fantastic hand holder for the insecure teacher and that’s exactly what I was when we started. It meets a kid where they are at and makes it hard to fail. Whether they’re advanced or LD. You can alter it. 
 

I don’t think it’s the only program by a long shot. But I think for a parent who is unsure of things in the LA department it’s top notch. And I haven’t seen the criticisms (which are often lobbed by people with a competing curriculum) bear our personally. My dd did a couple of years of IEW and then went into WTMA Rhetoric courses and aced them. I did throw in some Bravewriter courses in jr high and early high school too and she enjoyed those as well. Just again reiterating you have plenty of time and you aren’t stuck with what you choose now. 
 

IEW also has a fantastic return policy, so although it’s pricey, you won’t be stuck with it if you get it and hate it. They’ll fully refund it. Now. Next year. Whenever. They’re great. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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@Elizabeth86 I am going to suggest something really radical. When your DH is teaching your ds this year, right now, sit in & try to do the same exercises as him. It is ok if you answer questions silently in your head, but try to do the same writing that he is doing. It will not only help you with your own writing, but aslso figure out what you like & don't like about writing programs. Plus, your ds will see you learning along with him & he will tell you what he likes or doesn't like. This will help you decide going forward.

I hate teaching writing. But when my kids & I have to do the same assignments, we can share what worked, what we wish would have gone better, and what we can do to improve (picking one thing at a time to work on). This is *hard work* for me because I have to set aside time for this "homework." Easier, maybe for you, because your DH can hold you accountable. :)

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1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

@Elizabeth86 I am going to suggest something really radical. When your DH is teaching your ds this year, right now, sit in & try to do the same exercises as him. It is ok if you answer questions silently in your head, but try to do the same writing that he is doing. It will not only help you with your own writing, but aslso figure out what you like & don't like about writing programs. Plus, your ds will see you learning along with him & he will tell you what he likes or doesn't like. This will help you decide going forward.

I hate teaching writing. But when my kids & I have to do the same assignments, we can share what worked, what we wish would have gone better, and what we can do to improve (picking one thing at a time to work on). This is *hard work* for me because I have to set aside time for this "homework." Easier, maybe for you, because your DH can hold you accountable. 🙂

That's not a bad idea at all. I want to say a million excuses why this won't be an easy thing, BUT I know I should.  

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I also recommend IEW, starting with SWI-A and moving into the themed books for a few years after that. I also suggest using WWS, but not starting until the 7th or 8th grade. 

That's the progression we took and it's worked out well for us. IEW gave my kids a great foundation, and taught them to "structure and style" as advertised.  Because of that, WWS wasn't so overwhelming and they are able to fully utilize all the skills that SWB teaches at a deeper level. 

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34 minutes ago, Elizabeth86 said:

That's not a bad idea at all. I want to say a million excuses why this won't be an easy thing, BUT I know I should.  

If you don't want to do it then definitely DON'T buy the TWSS from IEW, because that is how it works as well. You go through the training, before you have your kid do the SWI, and do the writing assignments step by step to learn the process before you teach it ideally. 

With RootAnn's way it adjusts it for any program and I hadn't thought of doing that-  I think it's a great idea. 

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It isn't easy, but it is worthwhile. I would say that I only succeed at 50%-80% of this when I do it. But my kids and I both come out better for it bith in the short & long term. (I've tried all sorts of programs & outsourced writing a ton. I've been around the block on this.)

You will have a better grasp on writing, how writing is taught, how writing is learned, and how your kid needs to learn it if you try this, if only for the rest of this school year.

Alternatively, you can buy a bunch of programs to try out or read about the differences in all these programs (lewelma's thread is a good start). But you will learn more writing and more about your kid's writing needs doing the assignments alongside him, independently, and then talking about it.

Lewelma had at least a year if something like this, but with math, with her older son. They learned the math together, both working on problem sets. She was able to model how a struggle could become a success. It set her son up to learn well on his own when needed. The very fact that she was learning alongside him  (not already at mastery level with all the material) was actually part of the greatness of their journey together.

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36 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

If you don't want to do it then definitely DON'T buy the TWSS from IEW, because that is how it works as well. You go through the training, before you have your kid do the SWI, and do the writing assignments step by step to learn the process before you teach it ideally. 

With RootAnn's way it adjusts it for any program and I hadn't thought of doing that-  I think it's a great idea. 

Well I'm not opposed to learning and watching the training DVD's with my husband.  It's just the time dh works on writing with ds is NOT a good chance for me to do that.  I would be willing to do the lessons, it's just a struggle with the little ones.  Dh does writing while I'm prepping dinner and keeping the little ones entertained.  Keeping the little ones happy during the day while doing school is about all I can do.  Dh gets home at 3 and does writing sometime between then and dinner.  I am all about the iew teaching videos.  I thought they would be helpful to me for sure.  I just imagine d watching them during our summer break or something.

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6 minutes ago, Elizabeth86 said:

Well I'm not opposed to learning and watching the training DVD's with my husband.  It's just the time dh works on writing with ds is NOT a good chance for me to do that.  I would be willing to do the lessons, it's just a struggle with the little ones.  Dh does writing while I'm prepping dinner and keeping the little ones entertained.  Keeping the little ones happy during the day while doing school is about all I can do.  Dh gets home at 3 and does writing sometime between then and dinner.  I am all about the iew teaching videos.  I thought they would be helpful to me for sure.  I just imagine d watching them during our summer break or something.

That's what I did. I'd watch them at night after the little kids went to bed over a couple of weeks. What's funny is they were still young when oldest dd started on this- I want to say they were maybe around 3& 4 or so, but my ds was fascinated by Mr. Pudewa - and would stand behind my oldest and watch the DVDs sometimes. I always thought that was cute. I'm thinking of doing SWI A with him next year when he's 9- I think he'll like it. He still needs some more time on the reading in comparison to your son. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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54 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

That's what I did. I'd watch them at night after the little kids went to bed over a couple of weeks. What's funny is they were still young when oldest dd started on this- I want to say they were maybe around 3& 4 or so, but my ds was fascinated by Mr. Pudewa - and would stand behind my oldest and watch the DVDs sometimes. I always thought that was cute. I'm thinking of doing SWI A with him next year when he's 9- I think he'll like it. He still needs some more time on the reading in comparison to your son. 

Cute about the little one watching.  This happens at our house with vp self paced history and bju math.  They all want to watch.

We won't be starting until next year, so my son will be 8 turning 9.  He will likely take off with it.  I'm th nervous one. He so far as excelled at everything I put in front of him.  I'm the one that needs to step up.  So, yeah I just need something that makes me feel confident.

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PSA: IEW is about to release a new set of what looks like SWI's on 20 November. I suggest you wait until they do to see what the changes are.

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9 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

PSA: IEW is about to release a new set of what looks like SWI's on 20 November. I suggest you wait until they do to see what the changes are.

Thanks.  We won't be buying anything until February or March.  I'm just trying to decide now.  Thanks for the heads.

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22 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

PSA: IEW is about to release a new set of what looks like SWI's on 20 November. I suggest you wait until they do to see what the changes are.

Oh wow, I wonder if they finally redid the videos like they did TWSS?!?

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1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Oh wow, I wonder if they finally redid the videos like they did TWSS?!?

This is my guess. I can't wait to see!

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On 11/14/2019 at 8:13 AM, RootAnn said:

Lewelma had at least a year if something like this, but with math, with her older son. They learned the math together, both working on problem sets. She was able to model how a struggle could become a success. It set her son up to learn well on his own when needed. The very fact that she was learning alongside him  (not already at mastery level with all the material) was actually part of the greatness of their journey together.

Wow! You remember well. Yes, that is exactly what we did. 

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24 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

Can someone tell me the abbreviations please? What are WWE/WWS? AND LToW?


Writing With Ease
Writing With Skill
Lost Tools of Writing
🙂

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