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Where on earth to start - WWE & FLL


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Hi all, I have two boys, aged 10 and 11, who are way behind where they should be. Really unsure of where to start them with Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons, I'm new to the curriculum so don't know if they should start at the beginning and whizz through to make sure there are no gaps? That's what I'm leaning towards rather than trying to place them part way through the series. Any advice would be very much appreciated, thank you. 

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Do you have the instructor text The Complete Writer:  Writing with Ease?  

If so (and if you have been able to read through it so far) you'll notice that several weeks of each level are printed in the book (Week 1, Week 11, Week 20, Week 27, Week 36 for instance).  Each provided week represents a new section of the level where the directions and difficulty change slightly, so the lesson are printed in as examples. They are the same passages as you would find in the workbook.  The benefit for you is that the lessons skip chunks of each level which creates for you a set of "diagnostic" lessons.  You could get the instructor text, then work through the provided levels until you notice your kids struggling.  (The challenge will be to determine if they are struggling with the new format or the actual skills.) Level one is really very easy, and I think your older kids would get the hang of it rather quickly.  There are instructions for extra practice if you need to make up your own lessons (I would ignore the grammar suggestions and focus on learning the format of WWE).  I like the skills WWE develops, but I am using it as a supplement rather than as my full writing curriculum.  For my second grader every three weeks or so we do one of the level 2 activities in the instructor guide in a spiral.  I also tweak it for my own purposes.  We did level 1 more, but it is very tedious.  I also want to make space for creative, reflective and original writing in our learning.  My daughter enjoys it.  Doing so is not part of the WWE philosophy, but not everyone agrees.  

For FLL--it is a program for auditory learners.  I found myself creating visuals in my daughter's spiral to go along with it the whole time we used it until I eventually gave it up as not a good fit for her.  Your boys being older they may not like the format.  FLL 1 has the first three lessons and table of contents in the Sample pages--see if they like that format or if you like tweaking it for them.  

 

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I’ve used the first three levels of both programs, and I definitely don’t think you need to start from the very beginning.  You can find the mastery evaluations for each level of WWE here:

http://downloads.peacehillpress.com/pdfs/samples/wwe/wweevaluations.pdf


Each evaluation gives you an idea for what type of work is expected of the student at the end of that level; if the kid does well, move on to the next one, etc.  This should give you a good feel for where to put them.  

In terms of FLL, I’ll just say I put my ds9 (with no formal grammar experience) right into FLL 3 last year, and it was totally fine.  The pacing is a bit faster than that of other levels, but it starts from the beginning with nouns 🙂

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I also wanted to add that in FLL 3, a student workbook is introduced to go along with the regular text.  This helps give a visual component as the kid follows along and then applies what they’re learning in the written exercises (no colorful pictures though).

Edited by maptime
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On 10/6/2020 at 11:12 AM, priodfab said:

Hi all, I have two boys, aged 10 and 11, who are way behind where they should be. Really unsure of where to start them with Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons, I'm new to the curriculum so don't know if they should start at the beginning and whizz through to make sure there are no gaps? That's what I'm leaning towards rather than trying to place them part way through the series. Any advice would be very much appreciated, thank you. 

Are you sure that you want to use WWE and FLL? Since your kids are older, you might want to start with a grammar program designed for older children than FLL. FLL goes a bit slow because it's intended for younger kids. 

Grammar programs always start the beginning regardless of the grade. The difference between grades is that they go faster and add new material. 

What kind of grammar do you want? Old school with diagramming or a more modern approach? I assume you've read TWTM. Keep in min SWB is old school about grammar and not everyone agrees with her. There are many people who believe that grammar should not be taught isolated from writing. 

A good program for you might be Treasured Conversations which was written by one of the posters here (8fillthe heart). Here is a link to the FB page where you can buy it. It goes through grammar, writing sentences, and then moves to writing paragraphs. It's not a workbook program that would be done independently. It expects you to sit with your children and go through it. 

There are plenty of workbook based grammar programs that can be done independently at that age. An old school one is Climbing to Good English which is published for Mennonite schools. 

Your kids might hate WWE at that age and it might feel really strange to them based on their background. The child reads a passage and then narrates using 3 sentences and there is dictation and copywork. My kid hated it because it's dry. I think narrating is very useful but I don't think that is where I would start with a 10 or 11 YO. 

You can buy SWB's talks on writing for the logic stage for only a few dollars. They're excellent and provide an overview of what she sees as the process. But keep in mind that many other people disagree with her about teaching grammar and writing. To see the opposite view, you should check out Bravewriter. 

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