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Writing help needed

Mama Lynx

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My oldest son is near the end of 6th grade. He has always been homeschooled. We use Classical Writing, and are in the beginning of CW Homer B.


His phrasing and word choice are excellent. He has a very good understanding of how to structure a story. He has the beginnings of style. I'm very pleased with all of this.


However, he still writes in run-on sentences. It's driving me up. the. wall.


Help? We always go over his writing. I make him read it aloud, and guide him to fix the run-ons. What else can I do?

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I'm not much help because my oldest usually writes short, choppy sentences. Maybe we could get them together to even each other out??


Could you step back to copywork of model sentences that you would like him to emulate? Maybe a couple of rules like (1) for every long sentence you need 2 short sentences or (2) a sentence shouldn't be longer than 2 written lines? Just something to make him aware of his sentences and how they look and read in a paragraph.


I have my oldest son read his written compositions aloud in front of a mirror and instruct him to glance at himself when he gets to a period. If he's looking at himself too much, then he probably needs to edit his sentences by combining them and/or eliminating unnecessary information. This may work for your son too, but just have him edit his sentences if he doesn't look at himself at all...


These are just a few quick helps that came to me while I read your post. Hopefully, you will find something that works. I never dreamed writing instruction would be so challenging with my boys.

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For the next few assignments it must be written: "one thought, one sentence."


I learned to write for radio and that's the maxim.


That's sparked off a couple of ideas

1) have him write everything in dialogue. Maybe too tricky?

2) have him write it like a news report. It's really the same idea as Beth's--only when he's looking into the mirror he can pretend he's an anchorman looking into the camera.


Now, obviously, you do not want a child to write like this all the time, but if you make the pendulum swing to the other extreme for a while, it should settle down somewhere in the happy middle eventually.



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Drives me crazy!


My DD is in late 6th grade as well, and she cannot find a run on sentence to save her life.


Having said that, she has and uses an extensive vocabulary and also writes pretty complicated sentences and paragraphs. I have always worried that if I push her too hard on the punctuation issue, she will simplify her writing and really lose something.


So I pick certain written pieces that must be thoroughly corrected. These are all of the Rod and Staff pieces, and anything that she will hand in to someone else, and selected other non-fiction work. Then we proofread those together. I show her some of the run ons, and I also sometimes tell her that there are 3 run on sentences in the text and that she should find them. Or, sometimes I ask her to read the work out loud to me, and tell me where she slowed down when no punctuation told her to do so. For a while I used to read her her work as written--so I read very steadily past missing punctuation, which highlighted that there wasn't a signal in the text that would tell me to slow down. She really, really hates it when I do that, though. I think that she thinks it is phony. So I don't do this very often.


We also use Editor in Chief about once a week to give her some practice editing someone else's writing--that takes the embarrassment of having to correct your own mistakes away.


I can't say for sure that this all will work, but this kind of multi-facetted approach has been effective for other grammar issues as they have arisen, and so I'm optimistic that after a while this will work for run on sentences as well.


Good luck!

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