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Happy New Year all!

Was wondering if you have any ideas for creative writing, grammar and spelling. I have heard about First Language Lessons and English for the Thoughtful Child, but havent really seen the books. DD is a very strong reader already, writes so-so, spelling prettty poor.

Any suggestions?
 

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My 8 year old ds is a very strong reader and speller. He is working on becoming a better writer through message boards and letters. You're dd may like having a journal. My ds kept one for some time and then decided it wasn't interesting anymore.

I take his lead with everything. We do little drills for spelling. Yes, this was his idea! He'll find words he wants to spell and then he will practice them throughout the week. He'll write them three times each, put them in a sentence, abc order, or say them out loud. At the end of the week he wants a test.

Last week we used words from a grocery list. We made a grocery list together. He did all the writing. When he was done he handed it to me and asked me to check his spelling. He spelled 5 words wrong so that became his spelling list. One of the words was Cappucinno!
 

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Maybe some word games like Scrabble, Boggle, hangman and Upwords would be fun and help to strengthen her spelling skills. If she's a good reader, maybe she can keep a small notebook where she writes down the spelling and definition of any new words she comes across. Have a family (or friends if you cna get them) spelling bee. Have her write about what she's reading, or write a lab report for science experiments. Listen to or watch the Grammar Rock from Schoolhouse Rock, and talk about it. Make up a silly sentence to do a simple diagram. I don't think they really need formal language arts at that age, you can do a lot through fun activities.
 

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I only have experience with me, and I can say that done wrong boggle and the like will turn her off to that category of games for life, and I still can't spell. I don't know what exactly I would do , seeing as her spelling would have to be pretty bad for me to notice!
oh on the creative writing front, try not having to write, using a computer or letting mom do it, depending on her typing skills. I was perfectly willing to come up with stories as a kid, just not willing to take pen to paper. My mom only managed to get my to write by doing the actuall work herself, while I was left to imagine.
 

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We used First Language Lessons when dd was 6yo. It has some nice features, like having copywork, dictation, and poetry memorization integrated right in (these are things we like to do). It does have some humor to it. But, really, I think you'd have to be really creative to use it with an 8yo without boring her to tears. Heck, it was sometimes pretty boring for a 6yo. I did things like combine lessons, use Montessori games intead of some lessons, use Waldorf ideas, use Schoolhouse Rock (dd was in a Schoolhouse Rock Jr. production during this time). It doesn't have spelling per se -- just the copywork and dictation.

For spelling dd likes Spelling Power. She was pretty bad at spelling, and really wanted to work on it. We tried a workbook approach, which she didn't like. I think she likes the feeling of success she gets with Spelling Power, since there are usually SOME words she can spell in any given list (you only study the words you can't spell). She likes checking off the various levels completed on the back of the little test booklet. We use the alternate spelling rules at Paula's Archives website -- goofy sentences like "pour war corn on your door before roaring" to help remember how to spell /or/, for example.

For writing, PrincessP's idea of dictating to you is excellent. Sometimes dd dictates to me, I write out what she tells me, then I give it to her to copy into her own handwriting. By starting small this way, she has started to gain confidence. She wrote an excellent thank you note to her grandmother for some Christmas gifts all by herself (well, I helped with spelling, and proofread for her afterwards). She's quite creative, and can come up with wonderful stories and poems, but balks at actually writing them down. That's why I'm such a fan of copywork and dictation -- it breaks the process down into smaller increments. Sometimes I read something to her, then have her tell it back to me in her own words.
 

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We use Shurley English with my 9yo for 2nd and 3rd grade. We used it loosely last year and this year we are using it more regularly. However, I do not use the writing part of it. Instead his writing lessons come through writing about science, history, and other daily life writing. SE is great for learning grammer, DS has always enjoyed it.

We do spelling on an occasional basis with Spelling Power. DS has learend a lot about spelling from reading tons and editing his own writing.
 

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My 8 year old does copy work, dictation, and narration. She picks out her own things for copy work. Dictation comes from an easy reader and I give her all the help she needs to get it right. Her only spelling words come from her own writing or from diction. Spelling isn't an emphasis for her now. We used to use WRTR (which is phonics based spelling) and it did wonderful things for her reading, but nothing for her writing/spelling. Dictation has helped her writing more than anything else. Narration is incorporated with history and science. We've used English For the Thoughtful Child off and on and she and I both like it, but we just aren't that big on curriculum right now.

OMG -- I've turned into the little Charlottle Mason Homeschooler and I didn't even realize it!
 
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