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4th Grade writing and Grammar


Letitia
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I would appreciate some advice on my writing and grammar curricula.  I have rising 4th grade boy/girl twins, both of whom are avid readers.  (They are big fans of the Rick Riordan books.)   Last year was our first year of homeschool.  For Grammar we used FLL Level 3 and for writing we used WWE Level 2.  They did well with these, but only got about half way through both, thanks my lax scheduling.  They also did a fair bit of writing in their workbooks for Story of The World.  My question is which levels of those curricula should I purchase for this year?  I'm afraid that what we are doing is too elementary for them.  Were I to augment the writing program just a little, do you have any recommendations?  I plan to return them to their private school in 5th grade because the teacher for that level is stellar and I don't want them to miss his year.  However, I'm worried that they will find themselves unprepared to take notes on his art history lectures and to write outside the context of a workbook.  Thanks in advance for your input.

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Further to my post, here is a narration my daughter did last November when she was 8.  It is not concise, but it will give a sense of her abilities to anyone willing to offer me advice.  My son's narration on the same book is a full page longer than hers and has even more detail in the way of names etc.   

Julius Caesar by Rachel Firth.  Narration for comprehension by my daughter (age 😎.  November 1, 2019.  Dictated to me.  I typed this word for word.

Julius Caesar was born in an important noble and modest family in Rome.  He really wanted power.  He came across a young woman named Cornelia.  She was rich.  Then her father died.  After that, a general named Sulla got a lot of power.  He listed his enemies that he was going to kill on a big paper.  Caesar’s uncle was a bitter enemy to Sulla and so was Cornelia’s father.  One night Sulla came to Caesar’s house and said to him “Show me that you are loyal to me by divorcing Cornelia.”  Caesar said “No way!  She’s my wife and I love her!”  Sulla said “then you’ll have to be killed,” and the next day he put Caesar on his list.  In the middle of the night, Caesar fled from Rome.  Then finally he was pardoned, but he still didn’t trust Sulla,  not even to be with Cornelia, so he stayed away from Rome.

Then one day, Caesar decided he would go to Rhodes to the most famous speaker in the world, but on the way, pirates captured him.  However, he was treating the pirates more like they were the captives.    When the pirates were paid, and he was freed, he said to them “I will come back and I will execute the LOT of you!”  

Then he went to war in Gaul.  Gaul captured!  Then he went to Germany.  He didn’t even have to fight.  From the sight of him, the Germans fled from the town.  Then he went to go fight Britain.  He did not have so much success there, but he still had glory because he was the first Roman general to set foot on British territory.  

Back in Rome, the senators were telling Pompey, a powerful general, that he should not be on Caesar’s side.  Pompey finally agreed.  They made him consul.  Pompey told Caesar to come back across the Rubicon to Rome otherwise he would be considered a traitor.  Caesar knew if he came back alone, then he would be executed as soon as he reached the gates, and if he brought his army, then that meant to Pompey that he meant war.  Tired and weary from battle, Caesar decided to come back across the Rubicon with his troops.  At the sight of Caesar’s army, even though Pompey had more men, he fled to Greece.  Caesar was hot on his heels already.  Caesar arrived at Alexandria.  Meanwhile the king knew of this creature, Julius Caesar.  He was scared of Caesar and decided to have Pompey killed, so Caesar walked in, and to his surprise, he found a bucket with Pompey’s ring and head inside.  He was sort of sad that they killed Pompey, but life was easier. 

Caesar made himself comfortable in the palace in a little apartment.   A slave came in and unrolled a rug and out rolled a beautiful woman.  It was the queen.  She and her brother were rivals.   They both wanted to rule by themself.  Since she was very pretty, Caesar promised to help her.  He arranged a meeting.  When her brother came in, he found that she was already there.  Then, later, her brother was so scared of Caesar, he jumped into the water and tried to swim to a ferry boat that was departing that afternoon.  On the way, he drowned and died.  The palace was all to Cleopatra, the queen.

Caesar had very good times with her, but then he left.  

One morning, he woke up very early and his wife was pacing the floor.  She said “Pleeeease don’t go today.  I’ve had a terrible dream that you were stabbed 24 times.  Oh, please don’t go.”  Caesar said “I’ll be fiiiiine,” and he left.  And, to his surprise, he was stabbed 24 times.  His last words were “Et tu, Brute,” which means “And you, Brutus?” who was his good friend.  Good day.

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On 7/24/2020 at 1:03 PM, Letitia said:

unprepared to take notes on his art history lectures

Yes, this is something WTM starts in 5th, so you will need to bump it up. I think continuing FLL till you finish 3 and 4 would be good. It sounds like you need checklists and structures to help you accomplish your goals. Your dc are at an age to begin to work independently from lists so you want to facilitate this.

Odds are the art history teacher is teaching them how to take notes, not just throwing them in the deep end. Any child who has done key word outlines and learned to outline a source will be fine with taking notes. I would make sure whatever you do for writing has them generating key word outlines and learning to outline a source. Then practice it with something fun or lite once a week. Notes in church, whatever. But don't stress. He's probably doing it to be instructive, meaning he'll help them get there.

Her narration is wonderfully long and complete. You might add in some work on editing (I like the Take 5 Minutes editing) and sentence expansion (Killgallon). Going further in the grammar will also help her sentence structure, so again keep going with the grammar and don't slack.

https://www.teachercreated.com/products/take-five-minutes-a-history-fact-a-day-for-editing-3051  This is the one we used, but there are several. Does she type or write her assignments?

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Peter Pan, I so appreciate your advice.  I've had a good look at Killgallon and the Take 5 Minutes editing and I have ordered them both.  My children do not yet know how to type.  I will start them on that this year, but I would like to make sure that their handwriting doesn't suffer from negligence.  Do you have thoughts on balancing this?  

 

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  • 3 months later...

Hello Peter Pan!  I wonder if you could give me some more advice.  It is now the end of October, so I'm several months into the school year with my fourth grade twins.  For English language we have WWE Level 3, FLL Level 4, Take 5 Editing (thank you for that recommendation - my kids love it), Spelling Power, and Killgallon's Sentence Composing.  Of all these, my favorite is Killgallon, so I give it a more time.  The Take 5 is no big deal and a great way to start the day.  Spelling is easy to knock out.  But . . . I never seem to get to WWE, which should happen four times a week, and the FLL is getting short shrift as well.  In addition, my two haven't produced any creative writing or non-fiction this year beyond the exercises involved in these text books.  My understanding is that SWB advises against having kids write stories and essays until they actually know how to write.  Well, I've taken her to heart on this, but now I'm second guessing the advice.  I've got this nagging feeling that I'm derelict in my duty.  Any advice on prioritizing this?  Many thanks in advance.

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Welcome! I see by your post count you are new. 😄

You might try posting this again on the WTM K-8 Curriculum board, as very few people use this board -- it is for people to post a sample of their child's writing, and then get feedback on the piece of writing. 😉

8 hours ago, Letitia said:

...I'm several months into the school year with my fourth grade twins.  For English language we have WWE Level 3, FLL Level 4, Take 5 Editing (thank you for that recommendation - my kids love it), Spelling Power, and Killgallon's Sentence Composing.  Of all these, my favorite is Killgallon, so I give it a more time.  The Take 5 is no big deal and a great way to start the day.  Spelling is easy to knock out.  But . . . I never seem to get to WWE, which should happen four times a week, and the FLL is getting short shrift as well.  In addition, my two haven't produced any creative writing or non-fiction this year beyond the exercises involved in these text books.  My understanding is that SWB advises against having kids write stories and essays until they actually know how to write.. Any advice on prioritizing this?  ...

As Peter Pan says, your student's sample narration is rich, length, and well structured -- complete sentences, paragraphs that each focus on a single topic, and a logical chronological order of events. That is super! That is strong enough that I don't see why you *have* to finish the WWE -- level 4 is meant to solidify those basic skills, and it looks like your students have nailed that.

Your students clearly know how to actually write, so no need to continue with the WWE, which would allow you to switch to something else for more variety and that might be more independent so that it is easier for it to happen whether mom is available to participate or not. If you are liking/using the Killgallon, you could keep on with that.

And I would suggest an easy open-and-go supplement: Evan Moore Daily 6-Trait Writing = grade 4, or grade 5  depending on how the sample pages match up with your students' abilities; or maybe both, if your students are strong writers, so when you very likely finish up one, just move on to the next.

The 6-Trait Writing is great as it covers the topics your children will see next year at a brick-and-mortar school, but it also has a wide variety of writing assignments in covering those topics -- news article, story, how-to paragraph, letter to the editor, descriptive paragraph, biography, etc. etc.


For grammar...
If the FFL *is* what you want to go with, then schedule it first thing in the morning, do it, bam, done for the day, and move on to your other subjects.

Is the FFL not "clicking" for you all?
Are students reluctant to do it?
Is it too parent-time-intensive for you which makes it hard to get to?

If it's really not that enjoyable for you or for the students, or just too hard to work into your schedule, then there's no reason why you can't switch to something that is a bit more independent working. Maybe Spectrum Language Arts (parts of speech; sentence structure; punctuation/capitalization; grammar usage; even a short unit on the writing process), or  Growing with Grammar, or maybe Junior Analytical Grammar.

BEST of luck in finding what's a great fit for Writing/Grammar, and in your 4th grade homeschool adventures! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Edited by Lori D.
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Oh my goodness!  Lori, thank you.  I'm taking a look at Evan Moore now.  I actually like FLL, so I'm going to knuckle down with that.  I think the Evan Moore will address my big concern.  And I'll switch boards.  Really appreciate your feedback.

 

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