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elizawill's Avatar elizawill 06:56 AM 11-21-2010

what do you use for writing? my daughter is 9 & we currently use WWE 2, copywork, dictation and some narration. is this sufficient? what do you use with your child/ren? also, if you use narration, what does that look like. oral? written? both?  please include your child's age. examples at your blog would rock too.




ETA - we also have writing strands 2 & incorporate that sometimes. i'm looking at buying "ignite your writing" at some point...but i'm not sure...still investigating that option.

inky leeuhhh's Avatar inky leeuhhh 07:43 AM 11-21-2010

my dd is almost 7, and we are just using HWOT and copywork at this point. her handwriting is not good (she's on the spectrum, and i've heard this is common for spectrumy kids?) , so we are really going to be working at it in a couple months when i quit working. i'll be keeping an eye on this thread for more ideas!

elizawill's Avatar elizawill 12:33 PM 11-21-2010

thanks. we used HWT as well with my daughter. i can tell you the end result has been wonderful.  her manuscript isn't great, but her cursive is beautiful!  she copies a short paragraph each day to practice her cursive.  we do that 4 days in a row, and on the fifth day we do it from dictation.  


this is just my annual freak-out about writing.  this subject gives me a headache.  

tammyw's Avatar tammyw 12:39 PM 11-21-2010

I sympathize. My dd is almost 8 and I too think about this a lot. For writing, we've never done a lot - she's always resisted. We've only done HWOT (we are currently on the first cursive book). I just recently bought WWE1 and that is going fine. My goal is to figure out fun and creative writing for her without it becoming a chore. Last week she hand wrote two cards to friends who had sent her mail a few days earlier. She likes that. I'd love to think of some kind of journaling activity without it being too much like work. Maybe a journal that has "starter" subjects on the beginning of each page? e.g. a starter story and then they write whatever they want with it? Don't know if that would be fun or low pressure, or if something like that even exists. Sigh. This is definitely an area where I feel inadequate, so I'm hoping there are some neat ideas posted :)

yllek's Avatar yllek 02:01 PM 11-21-2010

Amy, what are your goals for writing? If you're following a WTM framework, it sounds like you are on track for 3rd grade. I've listened to SWB's writing audios, and she makes a compelling argument for the scope of writing that she recommends for the primary grades. However, having been an English/Language Arts teacher (don't let all the typos and errors in my posts color your opinion of my professional position too much rolleyes.gif), I really do want my kiddos to practice many different modes of writing. I probably wouldn't "grade" creative pieces, but I would probably point out different features that are typical to different types of writing -- the conventions and discourse... I do agree with SWB that the emphasis on creative writing for young students is not at all necessary, but I wouldn't forget about it altogether. 


We mix up "narrations" here quite a bit. I don't think I could stand having my ds do a strict CM-type narration for all the things we read. Simple discussion often works. Sometimes he likes to put on a puppet show. Sometimes he makes a cartoon panel. Lately, our favorite activity is to videotape him with our built-in video camera on the computer. Holy cow, he goes into a lot of detail for the camera! Sometimes he narrates to me, and I scribe a little book of what he has learned. Most recently we did that with a space science unit. We now have a bound, hand-illustrated book about the planets, moons and other space stuff sitting proudly in our science bookshelf. He will still occasionally pull it out to read his book. 


Now for all these activities, the emphasis is mostly on comprehension (which I thought was mostly the point of narration???), but I also sometimes ask for complete sentences, and sometimes I ask ds to write out some of his narration as copywork. My ds is young (just 6) and a very, very reluctant writer (that word "reluctant" is such a euphemism here). However, his oral language is very expressive, he has a rich vocabulary, and already he seems to have a good intuitive grasp of grammar. We'll see...


Honestly, I have never seen a writing program for elementary-aged kids that I like much. If you can find a detailed language arts scope and sequence that syncs with your own goals, the writing prompts that you come up with will probably work so much better for your family. By third grade, I imagine I would want my kids to know the features and conventions of an informal letter, be able to write an organized paragraph or two, be able to write a descriptive passage, know how to write a short "report," understand enough of the writing process to utilize the appropriate steps when necessary, and probably write a short story, a cartoon, and a poem, just for fun. I'd want them to know enough grammar that they are not writing fragments or run-on sentences, and I'd want them to be punctuating and capitalizing appropriately most of the time. 


I personally have assigned writing journals, and looking back on that experience, I don't think I would require it of my children (shake.gif major teacher guilt here). But I can think of a lot of journal-type activities that my son would love. The added bonus is that he'd be writing across the different disciplines too. Making little folded books seems to be really fun for younger kids. We did a chicken story last year, where ds described a little incident that happened to our chickens (since bird behavior was involved here, I count this as a science lesson too shine.gif). We're going to do a folded book weather journal this winter. I'm also going to have him help me write captions for our blog. Actually, writing captions for any pictures that document your activities is a pretty great way to keep a journal, and I bet most kids would really get into it. (I should add that for my 6yo, I would scribe most of his "writing" for him, and he would copy or trace a few select passages unless he was really into doing it all by himself).


Anyway, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I'll be very interested to see what other ideas come up here. Thanks for bringing up the topic!


[edited for typos...]

inky leeuhhh's Avatar inky leeuhhh 02:24 PM 11-21-2010

thanks for the ideas kelly!


i must add to my previous post that while dd's handwriting leaves a bit to be desired right now, the hwot has helped improve it greatly.

elizawill's Avatar elizawill 05:39 PM 11-21-2010

thanks for the responses! smile.gif  kelly, i have SWB's audio teachings and love them! i have listened to her teachings on elementary writing a few times.  i honestly thought my daughter was rockin it out with writing....but last sunday i had an "uh-oh" moment.  i started assisting in her 3rd grade sunday school class. it is an actual bible study, where they read and answer questions on worksheets, etc.  the other kids could follow along easily, but i felt like my daughter seemed lost.  we read the bible at home & she can navigate through it easily. i just felt like her ability to form answers and put them on paper were rather delayed in comparison to her peers (i hate comparison, but i couldn't help it!!hide.gif).  these were what i would consider simple one line answers...i'm not sure why she was so lost.  anyway, thus my current freak-out.


for our school time, my daughter currently does WWE2 4x week (one lesson a day).  she also copies a small paragraph from simply spelling 4 days & on the fifth day she writes it from dictation (this is all in cursive & the main point of it is penmanship...although it reinforces spelling & grammar too).  we also use spelling plus & their dictation resource book, which she writes in manuscript, but it is all done through dictation only (again, it's a paragraph in length).  lastly, she writes a summary a day from her science reading from christian liberty nature reader.  we started this with her narrating it to me, and we're slowly changing it to where she writes the summary independently.  she has started to write creatively, which was a huge road block just last year.  last month, she wrote a full story about halloween....very funny & well done imho.  we also do a lot of discussion regarding our family devotional, history readings, etc.  it's been really awesome & i can tell that she is really growing.  i was feeling really great about this.  but i would be a liar if i said i feel okay with my daughter seeming quite lost in sunday school.  the task seemed very reasonable for her age, and now i just feel like a big fat failure.  my daughter has no special needs, so i can't help but feel like the only person to blame is ...well...me!  so here i am with my annual freak-out.


anyway..advice? hugs? help?


ETA - we do include R&S english 3 mostly orally, so her understanding (and application) of grammar is coming along nicely.

yllek's Avatar yllek 09:45 AM 11-22-2010



Writing is hard. Teaching someone else how to write is even harder. 


Amy, is it possible that your daughter is simply not familiar with filling out this kind of worksheet? If she's doing daily summaries, she has got to be able to read for information and answer questions about what she has read, right? I'm thinking that with one or two quick lessons about this kind of assignment, she'll doing whizzing along with the other Sunday school kids. One-line responses isn't really a writing issue... Summary is a much more difficult writing task. And filling out worksheets isn't exactly the most useful skill to be practicing (although those ps kids do get a lot of practice with it). 


As for curriculum, I think I get what has exasperated SWB about most elementary writing programs. They mostly suck. And they don't really teach kids how to write. They just give writing assignments. Asinine ones. The WWE approach is all about modeling and some analysis, which is good, but I really do think kids need to practice putting their ideas on paper too. And WWE just focuses on one type of writing. That's a pity, in my opinion, because writing is too important a skill to be relegated to academics. It really can be fun. It should be.


Sorry to rant. I have issues here.


Anyway, the WWE approach has a slow start with writing, but definitely a strong finish (although a very academically-minded one). It's a good program. I'm using elements of it, but I also adapt and supplement. My ds has all kinds of issues that make writing a particularly hard task (vision processing, language processing, SPD, yadda, yadda), so Leah, I totally get where you're coming from! I hope more ideas show up on this thread. I'll be back to post more resources. Kids are calling.

elizawill's Avatar elizawill 10:54 AM 11-22-2010

thank so much kelly. that makes me feel better.  yes, my daughter has no signs of struggling with our current assignments.  she can handle WWE2 easily & narrating has never been an issue.  perhaps it was the approach used in sunday school (not too mention, she is working with time constraints that do not exist at home).  i'll try to find something similar to the approach they're using at church to familiarize her with it.  thanks again.


i'll continue to keep my eye on this thread.  i always feel inadequate in this subject.


thanks again!



PancakeGoddess's Avatar PancakeGoddess 06:23 AM 11-24-2010

I really like the people at bravewriter.com - really nice to have the interaction with an instructor and other students and parents.