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What next for writing?


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We’re on the last couple of chapters of writing with skill 1.  While I think it was beneficial it was kind of torture to get through the amount of work in the last few chapters and the kids needed more hand holding than I like.  We’ve done IEW in the past and while I liked it I’m not keen to go back to it because I think we got a lot of the benefit we would get from going further?  The budget is kind of limited so bonus points for any suggestions that are cheap or free.  Ds grammar is still quite weak (his grammar is accurate but he has trouble naming parts of speech etc reliably) so one possibility is to take some time off formal writing to focus on a grammar program and just doing free choice writing.  I’m not sure how well that will work though because we do best with clear expectations and a bit of direction.  Plus I only have eighteen months more before he will move into distance ed and I want to make sure he’s really up to speed by then.

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As much as this board loves grammar, there's not a ton of evidence that understanding how to name and describe grammar actually helps students improve the quality of their own writing - especially at the level of writing most people will do in their lives. By high school, I generally say to drop it if they haven't gotten it. It's almost never a part of the high school curricula in schools.

What age? What is their writing looking like? Can you do something like Lively Art of Writing? Do an essay focused course using something like the Norton Sampler?

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43 minutes ago, Farrar said:

As much as this board loves grammar, there's not a ton of evidence that understanding how to name and describe grammar actually helps students improve the quality of their own writing - especially at the level of writing most people will do in their lives. By high school, I generally say to drop it if they haven't gotten it. It's almost never a part of the high school curricula in schools.

What age? What is their writing looking like? Can you do something like Lively Art of Writing? Do an essay focused course using something like the Norton Sampler?

This! I think homeschoolers, in general, spend too much time on grammar at the expense of writing; I know I used to do this, so it’s possible I’m just projecting!

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My DD and DS both enjoyed Killgallon's workbooks. DD is a strong writer, DS not so much. Killgallon teaches grammar but in a very writing-centric way; I'd say his approach is to give the name of the feature (participial phrase, appositive phrase, etc.) but to put the focus more strongly on using the feature to strengthen your writing. 

2 minutes ago, fourisenough said:

This! I think homeschoolers, in general, spend too much time on grammar at the expense of writing; I know I used to do this, so it’s possible I’m just projecting!

I teach a foreign language professionally, and to me it makes more sense to learn grammar to make learning a foreign language easier, not to improve English writing as such. I'm a decent writer and never had a grammar lesson in my life until I started using FLL with my kids. Knowing more about English grammar has definitely improved my ability to teach languages, and I've noticed that the kids in my classes who know grammar do better than the ones who've never studied it, but DD is finishing up GWTM this year and we're both looking forward to never diagramming anything ever again 😛 I hope our grammar studies at least give her a little advantage when learning French next year.

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1 hour ago, egao_gakari said:

My DD and DS both enjoyed Killgallon's workbooks. DD is a strong writer, DS not so much. Killgallon teaches grammar but in a very writing-centric way; I'd say his approach is to give the name of the feature (participial phrase, appositive phrase, etc.) but to put the focus more strongly on using the feature to strengthen your writing. 

I teach a foreign language professionally, and to me it makes more sense to learn grammar to make learning a foreign language easier, not to improve English writing as such. I'm a decent writer and never had a grammar lesson in my life until I started using FLL with my kids. Knowing more about English grammar has definitely improved my ability to teach languages, and I've noticed that the kids in my classes who know grammar do better than the ones who've never studied it, but DD is finishing up GWTM this year and we're both looking forward to never diagramming anything ever again 😛 I hope our grammar studies at least give her a little advantage when learning French next year.

Excellent point! Knowing formal grammar gives you a vocabulary to draw upon when teaching a foreign language. My 12 year old has just begun studying French and the first thing she noticed is that most adjectives don’t come before nouns like in English. It would be impossible to articulate this concept if you didn’t know what nouns/adjectives were! 

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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

As much as this board loves grammar, there's not a ton of evidence that understanding how to name and describe grammar actually helps students improve the quality of their own writing - especially at the level of writing most people will do in their lives. By high school, I generally say to drop it if they haven't gotten it. It's almost never a part of the high school curricula in schools.

I had my only comprehensive grammar study in high school (11th grade) with an elderly teacher using books from the 1960s. I think my class may have been the last to have these as he retired. I also learned a lot from foreign language study.

Janet Angelillo has an interesting book about teaching grammar (aimed at later elementary) that can be purchased as an ebook from Scholastic. I bought mine when it was on $5 sale, i think. She looks at how most instruction is ineffective.

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Being able to name parts of speech has no bearing on a person's writing ability in their native language. ( It is very useful for foreign language learning).

I would not do more formal grammar in English and just leave that for his FL. Just have him write. Neither of my kids used a " writing program "; they just wrote as part of their literature and history studies.

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