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What writing would you recommend for this Grade 5er? W&R, TC, Wordsworth, IEW...?


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I’m looking for advice on how to get my new-to-homeschooling dd10 up-to-speed with her writing.  She’s an enthusiastic and humorous writer, but needs to build her foundation skills.  Everything from punctuation, to word choice, to organization, to sentence structure, to her whole ‘tone’ (which is very informal). She also has a hard time teasing out the important information. She loves to write and will go on…and on…with no end, lol.  If I limit her space for writing she will just write smaller and smaller so she can fit more in! It just seems that she hasn’t had much writing guidance in her 4 years at ps

For Language Arts this year, we have been working through the whole MCT Island curriculum. ‘The people’ at RFWP recommended we start at the beginning Island level despite her older age. She’s been doing SoTW 1 along with dd7, however I’ve supplemented her reading with notebooking assignments and more challenging/age-appropriate reading material.  I’ve actually just switched her to History Odyssey Level 2 Ancients though…which is geared for grade 5 and looks to give some guidance on building summarizing skills and then outlining (she loves the checklist style of each lesson.)

My GOAL is to build-up her writing skills from now through the summer, and hopefully have her moving towards a more grade appropriate curriculum in her grade 6 year (2021-2022).  I’m thinking I would like her to be on track to do WTMA Expository Writing for grade 7. And of course I want to maintain and grow her love for writing…and just help her to really fly with it!

Should I do an accelerated WWE mash-up of all the levels? Just do WWE 3? Treasured Conversations? Wordsworth Apprentice? W&R Fable or Narrative 1 or higher level? Killgallon Sentence composing? Outlining 5-8 by Remedia Publications? ...IEW? Thoughts please!

Also, I’ve been reading SWB’s TWTM and searching this forum extensively. I do feel I need a bit of hand-holding with teaching writing.  I’m not ready to ‘write across the curriculum and find my own narrations etc.  Not yet at least.

Any thoughts and advice is very appreciated. And if you made it this far, THANK-YOU for reading my long post! 

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Here is a sample of her writing from SoTW in case anyone can read it and offer suggestions. I realize there is another place to post writing, but it seems to make more sense to place it with this post. 

 

 

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Well, I don't use curriculum, so I might not be the person who you want to hear from... but if she loves to write, I'd let her write. And then I'd work with her to structure her writing to be more organized and coherent. But I'd keep the projects hers and the voice hers, because I do think that increases the chances of a kid still loving to write as they get older. 

But that's probably not what you're looking for 🙂 . 

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1 minute ago, Lovinglife123 said:

If you chose WWE I would probably go with level 3 or 4, and no, definitely not do the other 2.. 

Don't start with WWE4, it is a significant step up from 3. 4 is generally considered optional.  3 would be good, though.

Her writing looks good! Killgallon might be fun, you could alternate blocks or weeks. We did a fair amount orally. 

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20 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Awwww, she sounds so enthusiastic! Do you think she'd be willing to consider something like that a rough draft and for you two to gently reorganize this into something a tiny bit more formal and structured? 

               She is definitely enthusiastic and loves the material!  I just don't know how to teach her without taking over.  I need a refresher myself on how to 'think' about writing.  It's been a decade+ since college and my writing days. I'm hoping some curriculum will refresh me, and then perhaps I can fly solo. Thank you for your response...I will try that still! 

20 minutes ago, Lovinglife123 said:

If you chose WWE I would probably go with level 3 or 4, and no, definitely not do the other 2.. maybe let her other writing be her own.. that’s probably how I would approach it.  Pick one writing program and only really work on structured writing during that time.  WWE 3/4 or writing and rhetoric Fables would be a good place IMHO.  Neither one of those is probably any better than another, so start with the one that is easiest for you to understand.

            Thanks for your advice!  I have started WWE I with my youngest daughter and in a spontaneous moment last week bought the other WWE levels too. I could start WWE III with dd10 and see how it goes. And good to know that Fables would be the place to start for W&R...I wasn't sure if I should choose a higher level.

14 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Don't start with WWE4, it is a significant step up from 3. 4 is generally considered optional.  3 would be good, though.

Her writing looks good! Killgallon might be fun, you could alternate blocks or weeks. We did a fair amount orally. 

           Thanks for the input! Appreciate it! It seems that Killgallon is very well regarded here. Do you think she would start with Killgallon Sentence composing for Elementary?  Not middle school?

 

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If you were to do WWE I would get the hardback instructor text so you can pinpoint and work on just the skills she needs. Or if you really want to do a whole level there is a placement test. 

Treasured Conversations is great for building strong paragraphs. Killgallon shines at the sentence level. I might run one of these at a time alongside WWE work daily? 

Some of the skills you mentioned will be covered better by a grammar book. First Language Lessons or Junior Analytical Grammar are good for 5th. 

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8 minutes ago, SilverMoon said:

If you were to do WWE I would get the hardback instructor text so you can pinpoint and work on just the skills she needs. Or if you really want to do a whole level there is a placement test. 

Treasured Conversations is great for building strong paragraphs. Killgallon shines at the sentence level. I might run one of these at a time alongside WWE work daily? 

Some of the skills you mentioned will be covered better by a grammar book. First Language Lessons or Junior Analytical Grammar are good for 5th. 

         Thanks Moon!  We actually did the placement test for WWE and she was floundering right from the beginning. Mistakes on the copywork etc...so according to the placement test she should start with level 1!  However I know of course, that would be silly. Perhaps it would be helpful to have the  instructor text to sort out the weaknesses very specifically! 

 Thank-you for clarifying the strengths of Treasured Conversations and Killgallon.  Isn't First Language Lessons for very young children though? And I read that it is best for auditory learners which dd10 is NOT...she is very visual.  Good point too about focusing on the grammar alongside the writing. I will look at Junior Analytical Grammar...I see it on Cathy Duffy's reviews and it looks great too!  She just finished MCT Grammar Island and while she enjoyed it (it's funny!), I don't see any of it being applied to her own writing.

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First Language Lessons has four levels. 3 and 4 aren't babyish. They have student workbooks for them to read and write as you're teaching from the IG. My youngest will use level 4 in fifth grade this fall. There's a logic stage set from WTM now too, though I'm not familiar with it. (It wasn't written for my older kids and my younger ones have a closet full of options.)

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1 hour ago, Demeter said:

 Thanks for the input! Appreciate it! It seems that Killgallon is very well regarded here. Do you think she would start with Killgallon Sentence composing for Elementary?  Not middle school?

I don't think it is critical. Killgallon repeats the content with longer selections taken from age level books. So doing the younger level is not a big deal. Sentence Composing does use the correct grammatical term to refer to the parts of the sentences, so that may tie in with your grammar studies  and add some review.

Do be sure to watch Dictation with Dan before you get too wrapped up in errors she is making or how many times you have to read a dictation model before it gets written correctly. WWE should really be a focus on the process and gradual improvement rather than completing any single lesson without errors.

The most apparent benefit we got from FLL was having various definitions in our memory banks.

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1 hour ago, SilverMoon said:

First Language Lessons has four levels. 3 and 4 aren't babyish. They have student workbooks for them to read and write as you're teaching from the IG. My youngest will use level 4 in fifth grade this fall. There's a logic stage set from WTM now too, though I'm not familiar with it. (It wasn't written for my older kids and my younger ones have a closet full of options.)

        Ok, great info.  So one option is  WWE 3, with TC or Killgallon alongside....and then grammar to tie in too (either FLL or Junior Analytical Grammar).  

16 minutes ago, SusanC said:

I don't think it is critical. Killgallon repeats the content with longer selections taken from age level books. So doing the younger level is not a big deal. Sentence Composing does use the correct grammatical term to refer to the parts of the sentences, so that may tie in with your grammar studies  and add some review.

Do be sure to watch Dictation with Dan before you get too wrapped up in errors she is making or how many times you have to read a dictation model before it gets written correctly. WWE should really be a focus on the process and gradual improvement rather than completing any single lesson without errors.

The most apparent benefit we got from FLL was having various definitions in our memory banks.

           Good to know!  She does have her grammatical terms down pretty well after MCT Island and it would be great to apply them. I have watched Dictation with Dan and will watch again as soon as we start dictation.  Auditory work is tough for her, so I will have her do copywork for just a couple weeks first I think...she really needs some visual reinforcement with capitalization and punctuation.  She is a bright girl though and I know she will move quickly with the right approach. Thank you!

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4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Well, I don't use curriculum, so I might not be the person who you want to hear from... but if she loves to write, I'd let her write. And then I'd work with her to structure her writing to be more organized and coherent. But I'd keep the projects hers and the voice hers, because I do think that increases the chances of a kid still loving to write as they get older. 

But that's probably not what you're looking for 🙂 . 

...also thanks for mentioning the importance of keeping the voice hers. Even though her writing/grammar skills need some work, I do have to consider that perhaps her zest and joy for writing has partly to do with the lack of instruction 🤔 😂.  

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I'll stir the pot a bit... 😉

re: Writing
Since she is a natural writer and loves writing, I'd be very careful about killing that love with a lot of heavy formal writing programs. If you do go with something more formal and dry like WWE, then make sure you also include a day a week for fun writing, and writing on her choice of topics.

Wordsmith is light, but less formal, written to the student, and covers all 4 types of writing (Descriptive, Narrative, Expository, Persuasive), and moves the student from paragraphs into multi-paragraph short essays. Grammar is embedded as it pertains to writing.

WriteShop (level F) might also be a less formal option. Here is the scope and sequence, and a sample lesson. No personal experience with WriteShop, but it does look like it contains a lot of moving parts, which would require more time / organization / oversight by a parent.

re: Grammar
Another option for the Grammar to keep it a bit lighter and focused within the context of writing and fixing her own errors might be IEW's Fix It or Caught Ya! Grammar (both have grammar concept review and focus on punctuation, capitalization, usage, homophones, etc.). Or even just proof-editing practice with something like Editor in Chief, or, Take 5 Minutes: 

re: 6th grade
If she enjoys creative writing, I would definitely consider Cover Story (gr. 6-8) for her in 6th grade, or possibly Adventures in Fantasy.


ETA 
Forgot to mention -- I LOVED her writing! You will want to be careful to not crush her love of writing or shut down that great voice of hers with a very formal or very pattern-based type of instruction... Just my 2 cents worth! 😄 

Edited by Lori D.
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4 hours ago, Lori D. said:

I'll stir the pot a bit... 😉

re: Writing
Since she is a natural writer and loves writing, I'd be very careful about killing that love with a lot of heavy formal writing programs. If you do go with something more formal and dry like WWE, then make sure you also include a day a week for fun writing, and writing on her choice of topics.

Wordsmith is light, but less formal, written to the student, and covers all 4 types of writing (Descriptive, Narrative, Expository, Persuasive), and moves the student from paragraphs into multi-paragraph short essays. Grammar is embedded as it pertains to writing.

WriteShop (level F) might also be a less formal option. Here is the scope and sequence, and a sample lesson. No personal experience with WriteShop, but it does look like it contains a lot of moving parts, which would require more time / organization / oversight by a parent.

re: Grammar
Another option for the Grammar to keep it a bit lighter and focused within the context of writing and fixing her own errors might be IEW's Fix It or Caught Ya! Grammar (both have grammar concept review and focus on punctuation, capitalization, usage, homophones, etc.). Or even just proof-editing practice with something like Editor in Chief, or, Take 5 Minutes: 

re: 6th grade
If she enjoys creative writing, I would definitely consider Cover Story (gr. 6-8) for her in 6th grade, or possibly Adventures in Fantasy.


ETA 
Forgot to mention -- I LOVED her writing! You will want to be careful to not crush her love of writing or shut down that great voice of hers with a very formal or very pattern-based type of instruction... Just my 2 cents worth! 😄 

Please stir away!!! 😆 Thank you for all that! I think she would love the Fix It style of grammar! I had been looking at Wordsmith Apprentice too. I haven't heard of Cover Story or Adventures in Fantasy, but will  look them up.  Much to consider.  Thanks for the 2 cents.

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5 hours ago, Demeter said:

Please stir away!!! 😆 Thank you for all that! I think she would love the Fix It style of grammar! I had been looking at Wordsmith Apprentice too. I haven't heard of Cover Story or Adventures in Fantasy, but will  look them up.  Much to consider.  Thanks for the 2 cents.

lol, well then here you go:

We used Wordsmith Apprentice (WA) and then Wordsmith.

WA was loads of fun, and I'm betting your DD would enjoy it. You can divide it up to do as big or as small of a "bite" per day or per week as fits your student and your schedule. I had 2 writing haters, and they both enjoyed WA. Both finished the program in less than a full school year -- and 1 DS also had mild LDs in spelling/writing, and had to take it at a slower pace. WA is very informal in tone and written to the student and can be done largely independently. WA has the fun "cub reporter" theme of having the student write in all the different departments of the newspaper, with each new department introduced in a silly 1-page comic of the Editor in Chief explaining and something silly happens.

Wordsmith does not have the comics and the amount of humor, but it, too can be scheduled how best fits the student, and it is easily finished in less than a year.


In re-reading your original post, I now realize you are looking for something to finish out this school year, and also are planning on doing writing over the summer... Based on the writing samples, she is already writing more volume than Wordsmith Apprentice, BUT WA could be done just for fun over the summer just to keep her hand in at writing in some way, possibly without feeling resentment that mom is making her "do school" over the summer. 😉 

For an accelerated review and practice for the end of this school year: I think Treasured Conversations will definitely give you the most bang for your buck -- grammar integrated into the writing; it takes you from complete sentences through paragraph structure; and note-taking/research and using your notes to write a short essay. So all of the guidance in how to tackle writing, and practice in the *thinking* required for writing. And, it would give YOU a good starting point for how to teach/guide writing without taking over her writing. 😉 I don't know as though any of the other writing programs mentioned in this thread, with the possible exception of WWE, would do that for *you*.

AND... along with TC, I would consider also doing Fix It as the practice of proof-editing and review of grammar concepts in a more engaging format that a traditional/formal Grammar program. If you felt you needed more in-depth grammar in 6th grade, then you could do one of the other grammar suggestions with the start of 6th grade...

So there's another 2 cents worth... for what it's worth... 😉 Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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8 hours ago, Lori D. said:

lol, well then here you go:

We used Wordsmith Apprentice (WA) and then Wordsmith.

WA was loads of fun, and I'm betting your DD would enjoy it. You can divide it up to do as big or as small of a "bite" per day or per week as fits your student and your schedule. I had 2 writing haters, and they both enjoyed WA. Both finished the program in less than a full school year -- and 1 DS also had mild LDs in spelling/writing, and had to take it at a slower pace. WA is very informal in tone and written to the student and can be done largely independently. WA has the fun "cub reporter" theme of having the student write in all the different departments of the newspaper, with each new department introduced in a silly 1-page comic of the Editor in Chief explaining and something silly happens.

Wordsmith does not have the comics and the amount of humor, but it, too can be scheduled how best fits the student, and it is easily finished in less than a year.


In re-reading your original post, I now realize you are looking for something to finish out this school year, and also are planning on doing writing over the summer... Based on the writing samples, she is already writing more volume than Wordsmith Apprentice, BUT WA could be done just for fun over the summer just to keep her hand in at writing in some way, possibly without feeling resentment that mom is making her "do school" over the summer. 😉 

For an accelerated review and practice for the end of this school year: I think Treasured Conversations will definitely give you the most bang for your buck -- grammar integrated into the writing; it takes you from complete sentences through paragraph structure; and note-taking/research and using your notes to write a short essay. So all of the guidance in how to tackle writing, and practice in the *thinking* required for writing. And, it would give YOU a good starting point for how to teach/guide writing without taking over her writing. 😉 I don't know as though any of the other writing programs mentioned in this thread, with the possible exception of WWE, would do that for *you*.

AND... along with TC, I would consider also doing Fix It as the practice of proof-editing and review of grammar concepts in a more engaging format that a traditional/formal Grammar program. If you felt you needed more in-depth grammar in 6th grade, then you could do one of the other grammar suggestions with the start of 6th grade...

So there's another 2 cents worth... for what it's worth... 😉 Warmest regards, Lori D.

Yes, I like all this! And Treasured Conversations was on my radar as an option. Glad to hear you think it's a good fit.  Does it touch on summarizing?  We are struggling with that now. It seems so obvious to me what the main points are in a paragraph or reading, and I don't know how to guide *her* to figure it out for herself. 😕  

Thanks for the comments on Wordsworth Apprentice too. Sounds like a great option for summer.  And I suspect my dd7 has a LD (really struggling with reading still...but slow, steady progress), so Wordsworth Apprentice might be a good option for her too in the future.

We watched the sample for Cover Story last night and dd10 LOVED it. She was hooked. All your suggestions will be helpful in shoring up her (and my!) skills so she can be successful with that program come Grade 6. Thank you again.

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4 hours ago, Demeter said:

Does it touch on summarizing?  We are struggling with that now. It seems so obvious to me what the main points are in a paragraph or reading, and I don't know how to guide *her* to figure it out for herself. 😕  

I just wanted to say that even though we've just started it, W&R has been fantastic in helping my 9 year old to "find the main idea". The basic idea of the program is that when writing you can either expand/amplify an idea/story by adding more details, or you can summarize/shorten it by removing details. They have you actually cross out the words and sentences in a story that are not pertinent to the main action of the story, and that has been so very helpful in showing her what it means to find the main idea.

We have used Wordsmith Apprentice and Wordsmith also, with good success. My struggling writers did phenomenally well with IEW and I love it, but it hasn't been the best fit for my natural writers.

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54 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

I just wanted to say that even though we've just started it, W&R has been fantastic in helping my 9 year old to "find the main idea". The basic idea of the program is that when writing you can either expand/amplify an idea/story by adding more details, or you can summarize/shorten it by removing details. They have you actually cross out the words and sentences in a story that are not pertinent to the main action of the story, and that has been so very helpful in showing her what it means to find the main idea.

We have used Wordsmith Apprentice and Wordsmith also, with good success. My struggling writers did phenomenally well with IEW and I love it, but it hasn't been the best fit for my natural writers.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with those programs...very helpful!  I was wondering too about a program like IEW, but the consensus seems to be that it can be stifling for natural writers.  Maybe an option for my dd7 though, who I think will struggle with writing.

Is it the W&R *Fable* level that helps  to find the main idea? 🤔

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14 hours ago, Demeter said:

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with those programs...very helpful!  I was wondering too about a program like IEW, but the consensus seems to be that it can be stifling for natural writers.  Maybe an option for my dd7 though, who I think will struggle with writing.

Is it the W&R *Fable* level that helps  to find the main idea? 🤔

Fable is where we started, yes.

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On 3/13/2021 at 11:35 AM, Demeter said:

We actually did the placement test for WWE and she was floundering right from the beginning. Mistakes on the copywork etc...so according to the placement test she should start with level 1!

I think you can see in her writing that she's having trouble with working memory. I would *not* place her so far back in WWE but would instead use games and activities to build working memory while working her progressively through something for grammar. I agree with the JAG/AG suggestion, but I also really liked Abeka grammar with my dd. 

 

21 hours ago, Demeter said:

We watched the sample for Cover Story last night and dd10 LOVED it. She was hooked.

I haven't used it, but this will be fine. Your dd's *voice* is showing in her writing and she's getting out her thoughts in a coherent, organized way. Her level of detail is appropriate and her narrative flows. 

https://mindwingconcepts.com/pages/methodology  Here's a chart that shows the stages of narrative development and how they connect to expository. She's fine and she's on track. She needs to begin outlining to build her sense of structure, but her narratives for where they are are FINE. 

I agree with the suggestion to do the sentence combining workbooks from Killgallon. Also look at what she's reading and see if you can give her literature on audiobooks that will stretch her language. WTM recommends fairy tales for 5th and they could be GREAT. WTM has a list, but also ask your local librarian. 

Since she likes working from lists, she might respond well to IEW. I wouldn't let that replace joyful writing, but it could be that tool that gets her doing some structured writing, quick and dirty. I used Paragraph Writing Made Easy at that age with my dd, which was quick and dirty, learn the types of paragraphs, boom. I also had her outlining interesting articles so she could see how excellent writers built their arguments. We were using articles from Muse magazine, but see what you can find. This gave my very ADHD dd a lot of lightbulb moments on structure.

Has your dd been taught cursive? Can she type? Given that her working memory is probably low and that her hand is slowing her down, I would be looking to teach her a smoother handwriting (cursive, italics) or typing or both. She's at a GREAT age to be doing this, and cursive is something the ps seem to be largely dropping without evidence or rationale. Cursive or a smoother hand like italic would speed up and automate her handwriting. Most adults write with a blend of cursive and print and she is not there yet. She could pick her own script, something she enjoys and likes the look of. 

To work on working memory, you can play games, use digit spans, or even do free activities with a metronome app that you throw on your tablet or ipad. Heathermomster has posted instructions for metronome work over on LC. You can do it and as the movements become easier begin adding in digit spans, distractions, etc. For games, you can do them visually with games like memory or auditorally where you give fun commands that she repeats and does. I suggest mixing it up, doing it a variety of ways.

WWE is torture for kids with poor working memory and it's not really instructing them on the things that are difficult. It won't make her hand more fluent, won't teach her structure, and is connecting something she enjoys (writing!!) to her weakness (working memory). So you separate them and play games to work on the weakness and let her keep enjoying writing. Don't kill her joy of writing because you're worried. Some of what you want to see will come together with time and patience and filling some holes on your part.

And then for a story. My dd, diagnosed ADHD at 12, had those long verbose narrations, a funky hand, difficulties with working memory. She swore and swore she didn't like writing, even though she clearly had it in her and did it for pleasure. We did those things like metronome work, getting her handwriting more fluid, teaching her to type (not easy in her case!), etc. She blosssomed around 7th/8th and went from having me worried to being very wow, doing DE classes, doing 300 level philosophy classes with papers her freshman year, and getting top scholarships!

So worry less and be patient more. What you want to see WILL COME. She clearly has the ability. One, don't kill it with worry. Two, look for foundational skills and seeds you could give her. Sentence combining is good. Literature rich environment is good. Typing is good. Learning about her Executive Function, getting things diagnosed, etc. is good. Let it come together. 

Edited by PeterPan
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21 hours ago, Demeter said:

We watched the sample for Cover Story last night and dd10 LOVED it. She was hooked. All your suggestions will be helpful in shoring up her (and my!) skills so she can be successful with that program come Grade 6.

I missed it, why are you waiting? Hahaha, lesson NUMBER 1 of homeschooling--don't wait!! When you find something and it's right, do it. 

So many times I would get stuff and think oh that's for fall, and by the time we got there my dd had outgrown it. No, if she's liking it, make it happen! Yeah, looking at the samples, I don't see the issue. If her reading level is there and she can read the samples and do the work, it's FINE. 

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15 hours ago, Demeter said:

I was wondering too about a program like IEW, but the consensus seems to be that it can be stifling for natural writers.

Well I don't think she'd find IEW very *hard* and she would probably embrace the dullness, add her flare, and be FINE. 

Seriously, why are you letting every worry from people out there decide your curriculum? Don't do this! My dd did a class in a co-op where they were doing an IEW-like approach. It wasn't IEW, but the teacher had her models and was doing something similar. It was FINE. My dd enjoyed the structure and the clear plan. She enjoyed editing and giving feedback to others. There are many reasons why it can be good! You just do it FASTER with a more creative dc and you don't belabor it. You know why you're using it and you focus on what you want out of it. 

So I'll tell you a secret. As long as you:

-make it easier to get her writing out (ie. smoother hand or typing or both)

-build working memory 

-start outlining interesting sources (well written magazine articles, whatever)

it doesn't MATTER which curriculum you use this year. You could use TC or W/R or IEW or Cover Story or any of those. You have some basic things that need to happen to get her ready to launch. I would do something for grammar, something for sentence combining, something that helps her see structure, while working on those foundational pieces. But really, no matter what you use you'll look back and say it was fine. And next year, you'll balance out and push more another direction because you'll have the foundation to do that. 

I'm looking at the list of writing they do in Cover Story. If you go with that, would probably have her outline one Muse magazine article a week. Won't take long or suck her soul too dry. Then in 6th look into National History Day. She would do GREAT at it. 

https://www.nhd.org/

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I think you can see in her writing that she's having trouble with working memory. I would *not* place her so far back in WWE but would instead use games and activities to build working memory while working her progressively through something for grammar. I agree with the JAG/AG suggestion, but I also really liked Abeka grammar with my dd. 

First of all....a big thank you!  Your thoughtful response is very much appreciated.

How interesting regarding the working memory ! You can tell that from her writing? I will look into this.

We just worked through MCT Grammar Island. We are switching to something more structured, and will keep MCT as a fun supplement. Thanks for suggestions!

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I agree with the suggestion to do the sentence combining workbooks from Killgallon. Also look at what she's reading and see if you can give her literature on audiobooks that will stretch her language. WTM recommends fairy tales for 5th and they could be GREAT. WTM has a list, but also ask your local librarian. 

Has your dd been taught cursive? Can she type? Given that her working memory is probably low and that her hand is slowing her down, I would be looking to teach her a smoother handwriting (cursive, italics) or typing or both. She's at a GREAT age to be doing this, and cursive is something the ps seem to be largely dropping without evidence or rationale. Cursive or a smoother hand like italic would speed up and automate her handwriting. Most adults write with a blend of cursive and print and she is not there yet. She could pick her own script, something she enjoys and likes the look of. 

 We will be getting Killgallon. She will enjoy it too I think! 

 Thank you for mentioning the reading material.  I did a major clean-up of our literature recently.  Good-bye 'Babysitters Club', hello 'Sleeping Beauty'! We are now using the 'Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading Program' as a guide. I will look at the WTM list too.  She loves to read and she is just fine with the *stretch.* She's starting to use her on-hand dictionary and thesaurus too.  

I should probably mention that she was in French Immersion PS from Grade 1- Grade 4.  Everything was in French.  We don't speak French, so when she came to homeschooling this past October it was a big change.

No she has not been taught cursive. We actually have Getty-Dubay Italic (better for her left-handedness apparently) and will being it this week. And we have been alternating between writing and typing to get a sense of what works best. 

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Since she likes working from lists, she might respond well to IEW. I wouldn't let that replace joyful writing, but it could be that tool that gets her doing some structured writing, quick and dirty. I used Paragraph Writing Made Easy at that age with my dd, which was quick and dirty, learn the types of paragraphs, boom. I also had her outlining interesting articles so she could see how excellent writers built their arguments. We were using articles from Muse magazine, but see what you can find. This gave my very ADHD dd a lot of lightbulb moments on structure.

I just found out she liked working from checklists...just this week actually.  She hasn't been diagnosed ADHD, but I suspect....so that you for your sharing your experiences of what worked for your daughter.

 

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

To work on working memory, you can play games, use digit spans, or even do free activities with a metronome app that you throw on your tablet or ipad. Heathermomster has posted instructions for metronome work over on LC. You can do it and as the movements become easier begin adding in digit spans, distractions, etc. For games, you can do them visually with games like memory or auditorally where you give fun commands that she repeats and does. I suggest mixing it up, doing it a variety of ways.

WWE is torture for kids with poor working memory and it's not really instructing them on the things that are difficult. It won't make her hand more fluent, won't teach her structure, and is connecting something she enjoys (writing!!) to her weakness (working memory). So you separate them and play games to work on the weakness and let her keep enjoying writing. Don't kill her joy of writing because you're worried. Some of what you want to see will come together with time and patience and filling some holes on your part.

This is all new to me!  Thank you! Maybe the working memory games will help me too 😆

Very helpful information in regards to poor working memory and WWE style narration. I definitely want to maintain her love for writing. I just started WWE I with my younger daughter who I actually suspected of having poor working memory....and the narrating back IS torture for her. 

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

And then for a story. My dd, diagnosed ADHD at 12, had those long verbose narrations, a funky hand, difficulties with working memory. She swore and swore she didn't like writing, even though she clearly had it in her and did it for pleasure. We did those things like metronome work, getting her handwriting more fluid, teaching her to type (not easy in her case!), etc. She blosssomed around 7th/8th and went from having me worried to being very wow, doing DE classes, doing 300 level philosophy classes with papers her freshman year, and getting top scholarships!

So worry less and be patient more. What you want to see WILL COME. She clearly has the ability. One, don't kill it with worry. Two, look for foundational skills and seeds you could give her. Sentence combining is good. Literature rich environment is good. Typing is good. Learning about her Executive Function, getting things diagnosed, etc. is good. Let it come together. 

Great advice! I truly appreciate the time you took to respond.  Wonderful to have such a helpful community here. 

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I missed it, why are you waiting? Hahaha, lesson NUMBER 1 of homeschooling--don't wait!! When you find something and it's right, do it. 

So many times I would get stuff and think oh that's for fall, and by the time we got there my dd had outgrown it. No, if she's liking it, make it happen! Yeah, looking at the samples, I don't see the issue. If her reading level is there and she can read the samples and do the work, it's FINE. 

Only waiting because Cover Story is geared for grade 6-9.  She's on the younger end of the recommended age and I think taking the time to work on a few foundational skills will help her be successful and enjoy the program more.  I haven't looked at it closely yet actually.  But good to remember that these kids grow/change fast! 

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18 minutes ago, Demeter said:

How interesting regarding the working memory ! You can tell that from her writing? I will look into this.

Well I'm not a psychologist, but look where skills drop. She has a lot of thoughts going so then beginning caps go out the window. The more excited she gets, the more drops, lol. Some of the spelling is just immaturity. She'd lose her thoughts so she doesn't stop and ask how to spell the word. That's all working memory.

Or put another way, to write and punctuate and spell correctly and organize requires lots of working memory. :smile:

22 minutes ago, Demeter said:

She loves to read and she is just fine with the *stretch.*

Sounds good! And potato chip reading is good too. Maybe just broaden her exposure. You could try the young adult section of the library and look for historical fiction. It might give her that teen/social aspect she's looking for while building more language. 

23 minutes ago, Demeter said:

She's starting to use her on-hand dictionary and thesaurus too.  

Love this! My ds uses Siri and Alexa (apple and amazon devices) to ask for spellings. She's at a great age to begin to use tech like this. She might like to do her outlining using Inspiration software. 

24 minutes ago, Demeter said:

I should probably mention that she was in French Immersion PS from Grade 1- Grade 4.  Everything was in French.  We don't speak French, so when she came to homeschooling this past October it was a big change.

Oh that's interesting!! What is your plan to keep up with this? You could get fairy tales and books in both languages. So maybe your gut is right that it's time to move forward her *english* language development. The more complex syntactical structures are used more in literate english, in writing, rather than spoken english, so to get that exposure she's going to need to be reading it. But that immersion experience was such a blessing, it will be good to run them in parallel and keep the french going!

27 minutes ago, Demeter said:

And we have been alternating between writing and typing to get a sense of what works best. 

I used Mavis Beacon typing with my dd and paid her for progress.

27 minutes ago, Demeter said:

I just found out she liked working from checklists...just this week actually.  She hasn't been diagnosed ADHD, but I suspect....so that you for your sharing your experiences of what worked for your daughter.

You might come over to LC and ask for book lists on ADHD. Just assume and do some reading, kwim? Structure is THE buzzword with ADHD, and that's what she's asking for with those lists. You dn't have to have a diagnosis to use strategies.

28 minutes ago, Demeter said:

 I just started WWE I with my younger daughter who I actually suspected of having poor working memory....and the narrating back IS torture for her. 

Check out that Mindwings/Story Grammar Marker link I gave you. It's your best resource. They have helpful videos on youtube explaining the methodology. It's gonna bump you forward leap years in how you work on narrative language. 

 

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I don't know that I'd make assumptions about working memory from a few writing samples. If you want to know how her working memory is, you can probably do a test. That could be what's going on. Or it could be something else. It's hard to say. 

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15 minutes ago, Demeter said:

Only waiting because Cover Story is geared for grade 6-9.

While you use a Mensa book list with her... :biggrin:

ADHD does not = dumb. It = achieves best with high structure and supports. It's misplaced attention, not inattention. It can be high ability with enough supports. 

You're seeing high ability in that narrative and the fact that she did well in an immersion program (did she?) shows ability. So trying to shove her square peg into a round hole of some sequence might not be the best way to get her going forward. Big projects, something engrossing, but still high structure might unlock her better. That's why I suggested National History Day. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

I don't know that I'd make assumptions about working memory from a few writing samples. If you want to know how her working memory is, you can probably do a test. That could be what's going on. Or it could be something else. It's hard to say. 

But it's very dangerous advice, suggesting someone play Memory and Simon Says with their dc.

Yes, it's easy to test working memory. They just look at digit spans and n-backs. 

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Seriously, why are you letting every worry from people out there decide your curriculum? Don't do this! My dd did a class in a co-op where they were doing an IEW-like approach. It wasn't IEW, but the teacher had her models and was doing something similar. It was FINE. My dd enjoyed the structure and the clear plan. She enjoyed editing and giving feedback to others. There are many reasons why it can be good! You just do it FASTER with a more creative dc and you don't belabor it. You know why you're using it and you focus on what you want out of it. 

So I'll tell you a secret. As long as you:

-make it easier to get her writing out (ie. smoother hand or typing or both)

-build working memory 

-start outlining interesting sources (well written magazine articles, whatever)

it doesn't MATTER which curriculum you use this year. You could use TC or W/R or IEW or Cover Story or any of those. You have some basic things that need to happen to get her ready to launch. I would do something for grammar, something for sentence combining, something that helps her see structure, while working on those foundational pieces. But really, no matter what you use you'll look back and say it was fine. And next year, you'll balance out and push more another direction because you'll have the foundation to do that. 

I'm looking at the list of writing they do in Cover Story. If you go with that, would probably have her outline one Muse magazine article a week. Won't take long or suck her soul too dry. Then in 6th look into National History Day. She would do GREAT at it. 

https://www.nhd.org/

I appreciate you letting me know your concern about using WWE with her.  

Thanks for sharing your daughters experience with that type of IEW program. I see what you are saying about IEW helping to give structure.

Your concise outline of the skills we should focus on at this time is helpful.  I was having a difficult time determining what her weaknesses were and what programs were available to address them.

I haven't heard of Muse Magazine before, but I just looked it up and I'm so happy you mentioned it.  She will enjoy that!

Once again, thanks for your time and considerate responses. All very helpful.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Oh that's interesting!! What is your plan to keep up with this? You could get fairy tales and books in both languages. So maybe your gut is right that it's time to move forward her *english* language development. The more complex syntactical structures are used more in literate english, in writing, rather than spoken english, so to get that exposure she's going to need to be reading it. But that immersion experience was such a blessing, it will be good to run them in parallel and keep the french going!

I used Mavis Beacon typing with my dd and paid her for progress.

You might come over to LC and ask for book lists on ADHD. Just assume and do some reading, kwim? Structure is THE buzzword with ADHD, and that's what she's asking for with those lists. You dn't have to have a diagnosis to use strategies.

Check out that Mindwings/Story Grammar Marker link I gave you. It's your best resource. They have helpful videos on youtube explaining the methodology. It's gonna bump you forward leap years in how you work on narrative language. 

 

She loves French and was doing well! (Except Math was a struggle).  I don't know how we are going to keep it up yet.  I need to think about that too! Fairy tales in both languages is a great idea!

She actually loves to practice typing and I will look at that program.

I will go peruse LC! Yes...I'm starting to get that about Structure. It's like she needs the structure to *rest* on. 

I'm off to look at Mindwings! 😃 

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44 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

While you use a Mensa book list with her... :biggrin:

ADHD does not = dumb. It = achieves best with high structure and supports. It's misplaced attention, not inattention. It can be high ability with enough supports. 

You're seeing high ability in that narrative and the fact that she did well in an immersion program (did she?) shows ability. So trying to shove her square peg into a round hole of some sequence might not be the best way to get her going forward. Big projects, something engrossing, but still high structure might unlock her better. That's why I suggested National History Day. 

This comment about the Mensa book list made me LOL for real! 😂

Yes, she DOES have some real strengths.  I think her mind thinks very big, but it's difficult for her to get it out. And she's consistently inconsistent (if that make sense).  So your suggestion of 'Big Projects' with structure could be the ticket for her.

Actually, even though she isn't diagnosed ADHD, a Dr. once suggested we read a *Girls with ADHD* book.  He obviously suspected she might have some ADHD challenges.  

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't know that I'd make assumptions about working memory from a few writing samples. If you want to know how her working memory is, you can probably do a test. That could be what's going on. Or it could be something else. It's hard to say. 

I'll look at doing a test.  Yes, it could be a combination of factors.  She says she's never been taught punctuation or capitalization in school...buuuuut I'm not so sure that's the case 😆.  We will definitely work some review in regardless. 

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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

But it's very dangerous advice, suggesting someone play Memory and Simon Says with their dc.

Yes, it's easy to test working memory. They just look at digit spans and n-backs. 

It’s not dangerous, I just wouldn’t make assumptions before trying to do more sleuthing.

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I like her writing. very fresh, and I can see how she is mimicking the style of the books she is reading.

If this were my child, I would not do ANY formal writing curriculum. I would let her read liberally, a wide variety of genres and periods, and have her write, and write, and write. Go over some of her writing and correct language mechanics, word choices. Focus on one aspect each time.

I pulled my kids out of PS in 5th and 6th grades respectively and never did any writing "curriculum". We read LOTS. Both became excellent writers.

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5 hours ago, Demeter said:

I'll look at doing a test.  Yes, it could be a combination of factors.  She says she's never been taught punctuation or capitalization in school...buuuuut I'm not so sure that's the case 😆.  We will definitely work some review in regardless. 

Oh definitely review! Anything that is automatic means they don't have to drain so much working memory and mental RAM to do it. Also consider giving her a straightforward, brief sentence as dictation. As her to punctuate it completely, capitalize completely. So then you're starting to see what is there as a skill when the demands and stress are down. 

If she can punctuate and capitalize with a brief dictation sentence (or find the errors when editing), then she know how and has the skill and is just having it jumble when she has to do ALL THE TASKS at once. 

I didn't have time to mention this earlier, but there are some inbetween support strategies too that she could use right away to see if she can get these errors down. She could give her dictation orally using a voice recording app on your phone, ipad, tablet, chromebook, whatever you have lying around. Then she can go back and slowly type her narrative from the audio she dictated. This way she doesn't have to worry about losing her thoughts.

She could also create what IEW calls a keyword outline. Most of the progym based programs are probably going to do something similar. She just needs some chicken scratch, a map, something she gets down fast. You can write those key words or she can. Nuts, they can be pictures! Again, we're trying to create some supports and structure so that she's not having to hold so much in her brain at once. 

And of course another strategy is, well I'm not sure the polite term because a trained writer used a horse manure term about it. But let's just say she can write a horse manure draft, ugly draft, whatever she wants to call it, and then go back and TIDY her draft. It's a normal thing for people who are going fast to turn out UGLY drafts and then TIDY them to get to their final pretty version. So that's where maybe hand written isn't serving her well except, hello, it was in PENCIL, lol. 

I think it's ok to use motivators. Like have a bowl of m&ms in front of you and when she brings it you go wow you did so great, was there anything you wanted to edit/tidy? And for each thing she edits you hand her an m&m. Boom. Now editing your draft is awesome and punctuation is rewarded. :biggrin:

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3 hours ago, Lovinglife123 said:

I have to agree that the curriculum doesn’t matter much.  Since you are new to homeschooling, I would just pick something and give it a good 4 months at least.  If you are not interested in doing WWE and feel MCT isn’t enough, These are two programs I use that are open and go.

Rod and staff would probably be the safest bet for getting her up to grade level, you both would understand it clear as day, and you can do MCT on the side, a little WWE as you feel inclined.  However if all you did was Rod and staff, it is enough on its own.  Pretty quick and easy to do.  Includes writing and grammar.  Can be almost completely independent.  My one child who likes things broken down, really likes it.  He knows exactly what to do, and how long it will take.  He does have some adhd/asd type issues.  For him, he can not have a “creative” assignment at this point without melting down.  He does not mind the writing in rod and staff.  Grade 4 is a good place to start.  It used to be the gold standard to writing and grammar, SWB used to recommend it until she wrote her own.  Heart of Dakota uses it as part of their curriculum, and there may be others.   Based on your goals for wanting her to have a good foundation, this has been around forever and works really well for that.  It’s also very affordable, you can get the teacher manual and student textbook used for very little, even new is still very affordable.

If you want something fun with some structure, more spiral- The good and the beautiful level 4 has grammar and writing in it, with art, geography, and spelling included as well.  I haven’t used their new one, but looks much improved over their old one.  This one would appeal to some of my children (not the rod and staff child).   More artsy, has little check boxes to mark off as you go, visually appealing, but it may or may not catch her up by a certain grade level like rod and staff if your child needs a mastery drill and kill type program.  Since it’s free you can download and print off a few lessons and see if it’s a good fit.  Many children use it a level below grade.  They will have a new updated level 5 out in the fall.

A simple checklist helps too for mom and child distraction , he gets his adhd from me🙃

 

image.jpg

Thank you for your posts! So helpful to have different perspectives.  Rod and Staff are on my radar too.  My daughter would like the directness of the program.  I have been trying out all manner of organizing and checklists for myself too.  Keeping myself organized and focused is a huge part of the equation actually.  I'm adhd too, and have managed just fine for decades. But the homeschooling is realllllllly stretching me  🙃  And I seem to be choosing every teacher intensive program on top of it. 😆  Thank you for sharing the demo checklist.

41 minutes ago, Lovinglife123 said:

I also would not discount WWE based on something about working memory.  If you understand it and it’s in your home already there’s no reason not to try level 3.  You have MCT and WWE, both are phenomenal programs.  Sometimes it just takes sticking to one thing.  If she’s in tears after WWE every single day, regardless of level, then I’d say try something else. “Fear of missing out” happens to all of us 😞.  There’s just too many options!

This is true!  FOMO is real! 😆 

The reading passages in WWE are so lovely...I can't resist them. I will try them out with her...she's always game for anything Language Arts related. I agree that sticking to one thing is the most beneficial.  We've *stayed the course* since the Fall and now I see where I want to adjust.  I do want to stick to one thing for the next while, so I'm trying to be smart about my choice.  Thank you again!

 

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54 minutes ago, regentrude said:

We read LOTS. Both became excellent writers.

Amen. She will sound like what she's reading.

 

5 hours ago, Demeter said:

I'll look at doing a test.  

Have you ever played Ticket to Ride? Low working memory will be glaringly obvious with this, because they have to plan out their train routes, figure out how many of each color ticket they need, hold that in their mind while strategizing what cards to take... It's an ADHD and low working memory nightmare! Same gig with Catan. But conversely, that means playing the game is a way to BUILD working memory.

Working memory is very much use it or lose it, and you can always have more. So yeah, if you go to Walmart and buy Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride London ($20, very fun!!), you can call it school. :biggrin:

She sounds very self aware, with the way she's telling you she likes lists, etc. You might ask her what other things she notices about herself or has noticed she needs to do well or has noticed are hard. Like my dd made the comment at one point when she was trying to scrapbook that she wanted to and liked to but had such a hard time focusing. She KNEW, kwim? 

If you were to go to a psychologist for evals, usually for ADHD they're going to do an EF (executive function) survey and maybe a sustained attention computer test. Some of that, if you think hard enough, you already know. I'm all for evals, been down that path a lot, lol, but you are already seeing it. The biggest jolt for me was the processing speed. That I knew nothing about and didn't anticipate. She did everything so FAST that I really had no clue how affected her processing speed was. That just varies with the kid, but it's something to notice too. It caused the issues with math, because her brain would bog down in the processing. They can quantify it and it's a disability. It responds to meds btw. I probably should have medicated a bit early than we did (16). If I had realized the things it would improve on her, I would have medicated earlier. It wasn't really about behavior or being bad, because her behavior was good. Her math and ACT scores went up dramatically with the ADHD meds.

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3 minutes ago, Demeter said:

 Rod and Staff are on my radar too.  My daughter would like the directness of the program.

We did it orally for a while. It's fine. Fwiw, sometimes with these kids, less is more. So whether it's R&S or Abeka (which honestly are pretty similar), she might not need to do Every Single Exercise. We ended up doing 3 tasks in a section and if she nailed those we moved on.

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5 minutes ago, Demeter said:

 I have been trying out all manner of organizing and checklists for myself too.  Keeping myself organized and focused is a huge part of the equation actually.

Oh my lands, this is SO real. Cathy Duffy calls our mistakes tuition in the University of Home Ed. LOL I had to learn about myself and how to tell myself to deal with structure. I was so idealistic out and there and flighty and creative. I still am crazy, but now I'm like ok just find a sorta ok spine that can work for a while and work it. Make the plan, work the plan. And then when we finish the plan, make another plan. 

I don't seem to do too well being someone else, with the whole 180 days of lovely file folders of tasks. I would love to be that, lol. Nope, I make a plan, work it, then make another one. 

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

I like her writing. very fresh, and I can see how she is mimicking the style of the books she is reading.

If this were my child, I would not do ANY formal writing curriculum. I would let her read liberally, a wide variety of genres and periods, and have her write, and write, and write. Go over some of her writing and correct language mechanics, word choices. Focus on one aspect each time.

I pulled my kids out of PS in 5th and 6th grades respectively and never did any writing "curriculum". We read LOTS. Both became excellent writers.

Her writing always makes me smile...always. ❤️

Thank you for sharing this!  It sounds like your children benefited immensely from their literature exposure.  It's encouraging for me to hear of others taking their kids out of public school at this stage. 

Yes, my daughter is definitely mimicking the style of the books she's been reading.  We are broadening the scope of her literature and  she's thriving with that change!  😀

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19 hours ago, Lovinglife123 said:

I totally agree but her goal is to be able to do WTMA.  🤷🏼‍♀️  Some parents don’t know how to “go over” writing (including myself). WWE looks pretty gentle.

The WTMA is a sort-of goal. It's only a goal if it works for her.  I guess I just want her to be in a place where she *can* take online courses for her age level.  And yes, some "going over" writing strategies would help me out 😄 

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Oh definitely review! Anything that is automatic means they don't have to drain so much working memory and mental RAM to do it. Also consider giving her a straightforward, brief sentence as dictation. As her to punctuate it completely, capitalize completely. So then you're starting to see what is there as a skill when the demands and stress are down. 

If she can punctuate and capitalize with a brief dictation sentence (or find the errors when editing), then she know how and has the skill and is just having it jumble when she has to do ALL THE TASKS at once. 

I didn't have time to mention this earlier, but there are some inbetween support strategies too that she could use right away to see if she can get these errors down. She could give her dictation orally using a voice recording app on your phone, ipad, tablet, chromebook, whatever you have lying around. Then she can go back and slowly type her narrative from the audio she dictated. This way she doesn't have to worry about losing her thoughts.

She could also create what IEW calls a keyword outline. Most of the progym based programs are probably going to do something similar. She just needs some chicken scratch, a map, something she gets down fast. You can write those key words or she can. Nuts, they can be pictures! Again, we're trying to create some supports and structure so that she's not having to hold so much in her brain at once. 

And of course another strategy is, well I'm not sure the polite term because a trained writer used a horse manure term about it. But let's just say she can write a horse manure draft, ugly draft, whatever she wants to call it, and then go back and TIDY her draft. It's a normal thing for people who are going fast to turn out UGLY drafts and then TIDY them to get to their final pretty version. So that's where maybe hand written isn't serving her well except, hello, it was in PENCIL, lol. 

I think it's ok to use motivators. Like have a bowl of m&ms in front of you and when she brings it you go wow you did so great, was there anything you wanted to edit/tidy? And for each thing she edits you hand her an m&m. Boom. Now editing your draft is awesome and punctuation is rewarded. :biggrin:

Good advice for determining what her skill is using a straightforward  dictation.  To be honest, from what I have observed, she doesn't  knows any rules. I think she is just guessing from her experience with reading.  

I'm *getting* that she needs extra support and structure. Thank-you for the variety of strategies to help with that structure. And I love the M&M rewards.  She would love that. 

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Have you ever played Ticket to Ride? Low working memory will be glaringly obvious with this, because they have to plan out their train routes, figure out how many of each color ticket they need, hold that in their mind while strategizing what cards to take... It's an ADHD and low working memory nightmare! Same gig with Catan. But conversely, that means playing the game is a way to BUILD working memory.

Working memory is very much use it or lose it, and you can always have more. So yeah, if you go to Walmart and buy Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride London ($20, very fun!!), you can call it school. :biggrin:

She sounds very self aware, with the way she's telling you she likes lists, etc. You might ask her what other things she notices about herself or has noticed she needs to do well or has noticed are hard. Like my dd made the comment at one point when she was trying to scrapbook that she wanted to and liked to but had such a hard time focusing. She KNEW, kwim? 

If you were to go to a psychologist for evals, usually for ADHD they're going to do an EF (executive function) survey and maybe a sustained attention computer test. Some of that, if you think hard enough, you already know. I'm all for evals, been down that path a lot, lol, but you are already seeing it. The biggest jolt for me was the processing speed. That I knew nothing about and didn't anticipate. She did everything so FAST that I really had no clue how affected her processing speed was. That just varies with the kid, but it's something to notice too. It caused the issues with math, because her brain would bog down in the processing. They can quantify it and it's a disability. It responds to meds btw. I probably should have medicated a bit early than we did (16). If I had realized the things it would improve on her, I would have medicated earlier. It wasn't really about behavior or being bad, because her behavior was good. Her math and ACT scores went up dramatically with the ADHD meds.

We DO have Ticket to Ride Europe, but haven't played it.  We can try it....it looks just as painful as you described, but we will give it a go! 😄 

Interesting what you are saying about ADHD.  Sounds like your daughter could really compensate well enough that the issues were tough to detect.  I'm glad to hear how well she's doing and that the meds helped so much. Nice to hear positive stories about medications!  

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

We did it orally for a while. It's fine. Fwiw, sometimes with these kids, less is more. So whether it's R&S or Abeka (which honestly are pretty similar), she might not need to do Every Single Exercise. We ended up doing 3 tasks in a section and if she nailed those we moved on.

Good info!

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Oh my lands, this is SO real. Cathy Duffy calls our mistakes tuition in the University of Home Ed. LOL I had to learn about myself and how to tell myself to deal with structure. I was so idealistic out and there and flighty and creative. I still am crazy, but now I'm like ok just find a sorta ok spine that can work for a while and work it. Make the plan, work the plan. And then when we finish the plan, make another plan. 

I don't seem to do too well being someone else, with the whole 180 days of lovely file folders of tasks. I would love to be that, lol. Nope, I make a plan, work it, then make another one. 

Hahah!  Yes!  I am having to learn so much about myself and my children!  It's crazy.  But so worth it.  I'm making the plan 😄  

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5 hours ago, Demeter said:

I think she is just guessing from her experience with reading.  

AKA studied dictation. So you give her a nice model, you analyze it for the punctuation of the week, then you dictate to her.

Have you thought about doing a basic editing program? I had a couple I used with my dd around that age. 

https://www.teachercreated.com/products/take-five-minutes-a-history-fact-a-day-for-editing-3051  This was GREAT for dd. I printed the whole book, wrote the number of errors for each task, and cut it into strips to fold and put in a jar. That way each day she could just pull out one and do it independently.

https://www.criticalthinking.com/punctuation-puzzler-run-ons-b1-ebook.html  Punctuation Puzzlers were also good with my dd.

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I just want to say a big THANK-YOU to everyone who replied to my post. There are some great options for curriculum here 😀 ...and you've all helped broaden my understanding of how to *think* about our writing journey in homeschooling. I've appreciated all the comments, perspectives, advice and support!

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On 3/14/2021 at 3:58 PM, Demeter said:

I was wondering too about a program like IEW, but the consensus seems to be that it can be stifling for natural writers.

My DS8 loves to write & IEW has been great for him! I think a lot of people overdo the checklist side of IEW, making it more rigid than it ought to be & losing sight of the actual intentions of the program. Then it becomes arduous & monotonous.

Units 1 & 2 focus on pulling key words from individual sentences in a source, putting them into an outline, then rewriting from that outline. It hands them what to write about so they can focus on how to write. 

Unit 3 has them continue to look for key words, but now they are answers to specific questions & retelling with far less information from the original source. 

Unit 4 transitions to finding key facts that answer their own questions & further narrowing the number of ideas they are selecting directly from a source. 

Unit 5 has them begin to pull from their own minds to describe images & adding context before & after. 

Unit 6 expands upon Unit 4, having them now pull from multiple sources & tying facts from each into a cohesive whole. 

Unit 7 is inventive / creative writing. 

Unit 8 & Unit 9 are found in later levels. They introduce formal essay models (both the basic “5-paragraph” model & others that are longer or shorter) & literary analysis. 

These offer a lot of variety & can be covered at different paces to suit your needs. At the same time, you’re introducing & practicing stylistic techniques (one at a time, until “easy”). Everything from word choice to sentence length / organization to literary devices. 

It’s not meant to be the only way they ever write. The techniques they learn aren’t meant to be the definition of “good writing”. You’re simply providing tools (& experience using those tools) that the student can later pull from as desired to suit their audience & purpose. It’s all meant to be outgrown. 

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On 3/15/2021 at 4:44 PM, PeterPan said:

If you were to go to a psychologist for evals, usually for ADHD they're going to do an EF (executive function) survey and maybe a sustained attention computer test. Some of that, if you think hard enough, you already know. I'm all for evals, been down that path a lot, lol, but you are already seeing it. The biggest jolt for me was the processing speed. That I knew nothing about and didn't anticipate. She did everything so FAST that I really had no clue how affected her processing speed was. That just varies with the kid, but it's something to notice too. It caused the issues with math, because her brain would bog down in the processing. They can quantify it and it's a disability. It responds to meds btw. I probably should have medicated a bit early than we did (16). If I had realized the things it would improve on her, I would have medicated earlier. It wasn't really about behavior or being bad, because her behavior was good. Her math and ACT scores went up dramatically with the ADHD meds.

Thank-you for bringing up psych evals.  When my daughter was in Montessori preschool/kindergarten her teacher noticed a few *red flags*.  The psychologist said she was a bit young for a PsychEd test, but the school offered to use some funding to pay for it so we went ahead.  I just found some of my scribblings of her results.  Everything was high-average (working memory, processing speed, visual/spatial, fluid reasoning)....everything *except* verbal comprehension (50%) and they said specifically 'verbally expressing concepts.'  Their recommendations are very much in line with some of yours (like her getting concepts better in isolation, keeping things simpler/shorter, keeping learning visual and/or written). Oh, and they said she had some 'Emotional-Attention disregulation', but not ADHD.  When my daughter went on to French PS for grades 1 to 4 the teachers said she was doing just fine and that she had been too young for the PsychEd results to be meaningful 🤔.  And honestly, I was totally overwhelmed by the report... and since the public school disregarded it, I kinda did too!

Soooo....I guess now I'm going to find her report and pop on over to the LC board to do some sleuthing!  Hoping I can glean some more tips for maximizing her success in all learning.  Really glad you brought up that *something* might be going here! 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 4:16 PM, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

My DS8 loves to write & IEW has been great for him! I think a lot of people overdo the checklist side of IEW, making it more rigid than it ought to be & losing sight of the actual intentions of the program. Then it becomes arduous & monotonous.

It’s not meant to be the only way they ever write. The techniques they learn aren’t meant to be the definition of “good writing”. You’re simply providing tools (& experience using those tools) that the student can later pull from as desired to suit their audience & purpose. It’s all meant to be outgrown. 

Thank-you...this was very helpful!  I'm considering the program... just a bit apprehensive due to the combined cost of the Structure and Style for teaching AND student.  It's a bit of a leap!

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31 minutes ago, Demeter said:

Thank-you...this was very helpful!  I'm considering the program... just a bit apprehensive due to the combined cost of the Structure and Style for teaching AND student.  It's a bit of a leap!

Yeah, we don’t use TWSS or the SSS - we jumped directly into one of the Theme Books. My order came with temporary access to a set of video workshops (about 24hrs of material) & those were plenty to get going. 

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15 minutes ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

Yeah, we don’t use TWSS or the SSS - we jumped directly into one of the Theme Books. My order came with temporary access to a set of video workshops (about 24hrs of material) & those were plenty to get going. 

Oh gosh...clearly I need to explore the program more.  I didn't get past the TWSS or SSS and thought you *had* to do those first.

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On 3/20/2021 at 1:16 AM, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

My DS8 loves to write & IEW has been great for him! I think a lot of people overdo the checklist side of IEW, making it more rigid than it ought to be & losing sight of the actual intentions of the program. Then it becomes arduous & monotonous.

Units 1 & 2 focus on pulling key words from individual sentences in a source, putting them into an outline, then rewriting from that outline. It hands them what to write about so they can focus on how to write. 

Unit 3 has them continue to look for key words, but now they are answers to specific questions & retelling with far less information from the original source. 

Unit 4 transitions to finding key facts that answer their own questions & further narrowing the number of ideas they are selecting directly from a source. 

Unit 5 has them begin to pull from their own minds to describe images & adding context before & after. 

Unit 6 expands upon Unit 4, having them now pull from multiple sources & tying facts from each into a cohesive whole. 

Unit 7 is inventive / creative writing.  Starting from the fifth grade, it is also possible to give as an assignment, writing essays. For convenience, you can use eduzaurus if it is difficult for a student to cope with the assignment.

Unit 8 & Unit 9 are found in later levels. They introduce formal essay models (both the basic “5-paragraph” model & others that are longer or shorter) & literary analysis. 

These offer a lot of variety & can be covered at different paces to suit your needs. At the same time, you’re introducing & practicing stylistic techniques (one at a time, until “easy”). Everything from word choice to sentence length / organization to literary devices. 

It’s not meant to be the only way they ever write. The techniques they learn aren’t meant to be the definition of “good writing”. You’re simply providing tools (& experience using those tools) that the student can later pull from as desired to suit their audience & purpose. It’s all meant to be outgrown. 

Thank you so much for your recommendations. They helped me, I am 29 years old, and I am learning English writing. Your answer is the quintessence of practice with these programs. I immediately felt it. I decided not to send to school in the US but to learn to write on my own. Yesterday I tried your recommendations, thank you very much!

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