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How much help to you provide your dc...

Hot Lava Mama

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This is a really good question.


If I take dictation, then spelling is usually not an issue. (I could sneak in the odd misspelling here and there, but I would have to start slow and say, probably a few times "2 words are misspelled. Make sure you find and correct them"



IF he has covered punctuation in his grammar program, then do not coach him after the first mistake. That's stuff he's already supposed to know. So, I'd back off on that. If he is quite weak in that area, though, you don't want to overload him, so you do some and let him do more and more. Sometimes I'll just say, "What does a sentence start with?" And (when he writes capitals when he isn't supposed to) "Are you starting a new sentence?" I almost never say "Fix that G" or whatever. Don't know why, just my style, I guess.


As for wording--absolutely. That's what you are there for--that's how you are teaching him. You are modelling it for him and showing him how to do it. As he gets more profficient at this, you'll do it less and less.


This is an area, though, where I *may* do too much. It's hard to know where to draw the line, isn't it?


Think of it as tutoring. You are leading him...not telling him.

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I think it depends on the child. At that age, my ds would not have done well if I had (made) him write a narration then corrected it. He is not a natural writer, and I think, for him, it took him time and a good writing program to help him get to where he can now a) write a narration draft on his own and b) accept correction without getting *really* discouraged.


If you leave your child alone to write the initial draft, does he handle it ok? At that age, mine would not. He would shut down, get teary, complain, etc. etc. It wold be worse if he managed to write something, then I pointed out his mistakes, kwim? So for us, at that age, I guided him.


But this is my ds, I know there are many kids out there who would do fine with narrations at that age. My ds just turned 10 and can now basically write his own narrations, which I only correct for major mistakes (and he fixes and moves on, without the tears, lol).





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I help my dd7 with the outline (she says it, I say try again, when it gets too wordy).

Next she writes it on her own, or I have her say it to me before she writes it down. On a good day I'll have her do it on her own, on a not so good one I help more (but maybe your ds doesn't have good and bad days). Often I'll then ask her to shorten it, because she doesn't like writing.

When I haven't helped with the writing I'll have her check it once on her own, where she hardly ever finds a mistake. Then we'll go through it together and I'll pick a few spellings from what she's done recently and anything that doesn't make sense meaning-wise.

We've been doing this for some time now and she's improving, becoming more independent.

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Well I may differ from the others here, but I think it's wise to defer WT until the dc can comfortably write his own narration. WTM suggests this be the goal for 2nd grade, to have them able to write their own, albeit short, narration by the end of the year. Then you start a writing program in 3rd. I don't see the point of doing a WRITING program, if they aren't ready to do the writing. I don't think you can look at grades either, but have to just go through the sequence of skills, looking at it as a progression. You do the 2nd gr skills in WTM, then the 3rd grade skills.


I would consider it normal to have to help in spelling, but not in wording and not in getting it down on paper. If he's not ready to write his own retelling on paper, then I would back up and focus on narration and getting those on paper. (He writes the first sentence, you write the rest, gradually increasing his work as WTM suggests.) Then I like a simple program like Imitations in Writing, pick any book you like, to do short retellings of a model. At that point he'll be all ready to jump into WT without trouble. See if a dc is still having difficulty getting it down on paper, he's going to have difficulty moving on to the next step of focusing on his actual WRITING and improving how he has written it, hence my suggestion the dc be able to comfortably write his own short narration before starting a writing program like WT. If you're having to do the writing for him, I would wait and work on those preliminary skills first, jmho.


BTW, my dd is on the young end doing WT2, and I see the thing I'm describing to you, where she's able to do the writing but doesn't have the maturity or interest to really invest in how she's saying it, how to make it more interesting, descriptive, etc. Probably to fit her maturity, she should have waited on starting WT2 a semester, but it didn't work out that way as I've been teaching it in a co-op class. And because I've been teaching several kids, I see the benefit of a bit of age and maturity on them when the do the writing. There's no rush to get into WT. Nail your basic skills (written narration, etc.) and THEN start into a formal writing program. They'll get more benefit that way and won't feel stressed. There's nothing wrong with doing WT1 in 4th and WT2 in 5th. Don't go by the grammar content. Their grammar studies can go on separately.

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good to get into the habit of spelling words wrong. We usually discuss the reading and then write important words up on the board (who? what? when? where? why? etc.) That way the names are always spelled correctly etc. If my 8 year old gets stuck on a word he can ask and I'll write it up for him. If I see, glancing over his shoulder, that he has a problem I'll correct him right then and there as long as I don't break into his thought processes mid-sentence etc. (That information was for narration)


For writing fables, we use the computer and that helps my 8 year old immensely.

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For history narrations, my 3rd grader gets to dictate to me. DD is happy and enjoying history again. I'm happy because the narration is better, and it gives us an opportunity to discuss anything that she didn't understand.


For writing, we use CW

We outline together. I usually just tell her when she needs to cut back on the number of words.

She dictates the rough draft to me without any comments from Mom, and I type it. I always make typos which I leave for her to find. Most of the time, I will deliberately make a few punctuation mistakes to see if she can find those as well.

I give her the rough draft to edit by herself first, and then we discuss it together and make additional changes (usually to writing style).


We use narrations primarily to show comprehension and correct sequencing of events. We use our dictation to work on penmanship, spelling, and punctuation. (For this I usually find the mistakes and ask her to tell me what's wrong.) We use CW to reinforce grammar and work on outlining, editing skills (independently and with me), and writing style. I know I could combine some more of this into the history narrations, but when we tried that last year she began to hate history. It works better for us to break writing up and set different goals for different programs.



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