Jump to content


middle school writing--continue IEW? something new? no formal curric?


Recommended Posts

I have twins in 6th grade. One is a STRONG writer, one is an average writer. This year and last, we used IEW (themed books). Before that we did some MCT and some Brave Writer. All that to say, we've been a little random, but I still feel like we're on track and making adequate progress with writing going into middle school. I can't decide what to do next year, though. I feel like another year in IEW would feel stagnant. They've got a pretty good handle on those 7 or so units and formats. My inclination is to just assign writing across the curriculum next year using IEW style formats, but I'm just not sure I'd be consistent with that. That was my problem with MCT and BW and why I started IEW in the first place, for MY accountability. If you were in my shoes with my kids, looking toward 7th grade, what writing would you use? And if you'd forgo writing curriculum and just assign writing across the curriculum, any tips or tricks for making that approach stick and actually get done? 

Thanks in advance! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 6th grade DD has done a few theme books and this year is doing the SWI and next year will do the SICC and she is loving the change of pace of having Mr Pudewa teach her the units. She knows the units, of course, but having him as the teacher has motivated her to do better in the assignments and put forth more effort and include more details and become a bit more sophisticated in her writing. Before this year I would have said she was on the borderline between struggling and average, but she has improved to now be just a smidge above average. It's been a good way for us to shake things up and continue making progress without jumping ship.

They just released new editions and I don't think they're called SWI and SICC anymore though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, OKBud said:

Lively Art of Writing. I can not say enough good things about this old standby. It stretches him without confronting him with a wall of words about theory. There's a great workbook and TG available as a PDF, but we haven't used it yet just because we don't have a printer. 

Glad to see this confirmed as a good resource. It just arrived last night in from Amazon after I saw many, many references to it in a big stickied thread about writing without curriculum. I've not gotten a chance to look through it yet. 

Your approach sounds very practical to me. I'm going to look at Hake. Thanks! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...
On 3/6/2020 at 8:48 AM, OKBud said:


What we ended up doing for seventh:

  • OM History 7. This gives assignments for all different kinds of writing so he gets a good mix. I go over these assignments with him and we talk about them. This was my fix to not wanting to "assign across the curriculum." We get good writing assignments out of not very much reading, which is good because his days are otherwise very reading-heavy.
  • Lively Art of Writing. I can not say enough good things about this old standby. It stretches him without confronting him with a wall of words about theory. There's a great workbook and TG available as a PDF, but we haven't used it yet just because we don't have a printer. 
  • Hake 7. Just the big book. I had planned originally to have him use the writing portion too. The instruction there is totally fine, but I don't like the specific manner in which everything has to be juggled between the books. That not working out is how we ended up with LAOW, so all is well. He does the journal entries and dictation in the back of the book too. The grammar and vocab are great. I really don't know why Hake doesn't get used more often. If you just use the one book it's very straightforward and lessons are done in 10-20 minutes if it's not a dictation day. DS likes all the little facts spread throughout, and gets a kick out of the vocabulary.
  • He has an on-going novel-writing project going on. I am pretty hands-off on this, but I do read it out loud dramatically when he finishes a section, which helps him pick up anything that could be better on his own. Run on sentences or repeating the same word or whatever. I did get the book, Writing Magic. Creating Stories That Fly to help him in this. He read it and liked it but I don't enforce its implementation. This is all typed.

This sounds like a lot but in practice it super isn't. He divides his time for his OM work  for the week himself, but I assign everything else (including the story. He's in control of it but I do tell him to do it). This whole set of LA components takes up about a fourth of his sit-down school time and he only works four hours a day, total. 

We're all extremely happy with this set up. It's exactly the right mix of my involvement and his initiative. No one thing takes a huge amount of time. No special methods need to be memorized  (though I really heartily recommend reading The Writing Revolution just to have those tools in mind). Nor any special vocab to use. We set the schedule, but it CAN be scheduled iykwim... nothing is overly loosey-goosey. If he was resistant to the creative writing I would just drop it and not think twice about it.

What is OM History 7? - Never mind,  I figured it Out :)



Edited by Amccracken
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m joining in to give you yet another option.  Any of the above suggestions are great as well.  There are many good programs for teaching composition.

With my son, we worked through a couple of IEW theme books, and then the first two books of Writing With Skill.  From about eighth grade on, I’ve been more organic with writing.  In high school, he has had the skills that he needs to write across the curriculum.

Funny aside, he did an internship in computer programming last summer with a local corporation.  His first assignment: write and present a research paper.  IEW and WWS together left him fully prepared.

I also teach writing classes to other homeschoolers and have seen good results with this pattern with several students.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my most favorite writing resources for that grade is Igniting Your Writing. It's light yet surprisingly thorough. As it includes both regular and more challenging assignments I have been able to use it with my kids and co-op students with great success. It's open and go and very engaging for the students.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...