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Hi! I'm looking for some ideas to help my 9 year old (10 this summer) with her writing/spelling. I think the main problem is that she just doesn't have enough practice. We read a lot but I don't have her write things up, and I don't assign her any sort of schooly assignments like "Write about what you did at the weekend." It seems a bit pointless, I know what she did at the weekend - I was there!<br><br>
She'd left a note for my dad and my brother the other day that said "There is sum cac left for you." Which was supposed to say "There is some cake left for you." They are on my case now saying that her writing and spelling are really behind. My mum just left me a message on msn saying she was very concerned that my children are falling far behind schooled children their age, they are missing out blah blah. (All my family hate that the children aren't in school - you'd think that they'd be used to it by now - it's been 5 years!)<br><br>
I'm looking for some ideas to help increase the amount of writing she does. And just to help with spelling/handwriting/writing in general. Preferably free! Butl I don't mind spending a bit of money if I have to. So far I have thought about having her start a blog where she can write a little bit about her day, and I am going to set her up an account on Shelfari where she can log her books she's read and write up a review for them. She has some penpals she writes to, but usually she tells me what she wants to write, I write it then she copies it out. I think I will get her to start composing her own letters a bit more. What else can I do?
 

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Its funny that I'm answering this as I am currently struggling trying to figure out what we are going to do next year as we took a year off homeschooling this year and it seems to have totally destroyed my self confidence at winging it, but back to your question.<br>
The year Allie was 8/9 we started book reports. This was easy as she is/was an avid reader. She would read between four to eight books a month, and either I would pick or I would let her pick one to write a report on. Have a good selection of historical fiction around for her to read and you've covered history/social studies with the same assignment. If she is easy going you could have her do a first draft focusing on the content she wants to share about the book and check her spelling/grammer and discuss your corrections, and then a second draft in which she can focus on her spelling and handwriting...I admit my dd was reluctant to do this so we most often didn't.<br>
Good Luck
 

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What about a penpal? That way it doesn't feel 'schooly' but an actual real-life application for writing<br><br>
Also, I LOVE the book Games for Writing. They have fun stuff like making a monster cafe menu and of course I can't remember what else right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
hth!
 

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<span>One possibility that might help out would be a good program of <a href="http://www.superkids.com/aweb/pages/reviews/writing/" target="_blank">kids' writing software</a> - they can offer easy inclusion of graphics and lots of other fun activities and features. One of the best things about this kind of program is that it can be all <i>hers</i> - she could work/play in it on her own and come up with all sorts of creative projects, some of which she may want to print up and send to family. Although, for some strange reason, that kind of software is not being produced as much now, so you'd have to check computer compatibility.<br><br>
But, on a side note, I hope you don't feel too bad about your family's reaction - they're only seeing one small bit of time in the big picture. Whether she's "behind" whatever is only meaningful if she's in a classroom full of children she needs to be keeping in stride with. Writing and spelling can kick in quite fast once she gets underway with more practice in using the language and reading. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian<br><br></span>
 

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for Ds 9<br><br><br>
1.I have him write in a blog once a week. I feel the spell check and stuff actually helps improve his spelling overtime. I can send you his blog link to look at it if you want. I usually tell him to write about what the most exciting thig he did this week.<br>
2. Once a week have him write a letter to someone. Sometimes it;s a favorite, Authour, friend, relative, company whose products he likes/ dislikes. yoiu would be surprised at how many companies will write him back! (he likes that)<br>
3. We also use this <a href="http://rainbowresource.com/product/All+Things+Fun+%26amp%3B+Fascinating/044599/1275566040-1065411" target="_blank">http://rainbowresource.com/product/A...566040-1065411</a> it has fun easy wriing exersizes that are very interesting<br><br>
in the curic thread there was a program called Draw Write Now that I think I am going to purchase as well
 

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I, too, was going to suggest a pen pal. My girls have enjoyed corresponding with another child in England (we live in the US). There isn't the language barrier b/c they are both English speaking countries and it has been interesting to learn about other cultures. I came across this site: <a href="http://www.ks-connection.org/" target="_blank">http://www.ks-connection.org/</a> where there seems to be some possibility for finding an international pen pal.<br><br>
I also liked the pp's suggestion of a blog. How about a diary or journal if writing a blog is too public?
 

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In my opinion 9 is a very good age to gently introduce formal grammar and spelling with copywork for handwriting. You said you were mostly interested in free. Google books has some very good old books to view for free.<br><br><a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=zpQAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=wheeler+speller&ei=BMVpS_DMHJ-mNYb08OsK&cd=6#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_blank">Here</a> is a Spelling book which introduces words by sounds. I'd start with Lesson 2. You wouldn't need to do the copywork that goes along with this at all with this unless you wanted. I personally would save the copywork for the Grammar. If you have a whiteboard or chalkboard here's what I suggest. You write the words on a piece of paper for yourself. You use the whiteboard. holding the list say each word, giving a sentence if the word is a homophone (ie. spelling word is night, so the student doesn't confuse night and knight the teacher says the sentence with the spelling word-night. The moon comes out at night. night.) otherwise just say the word. The student spells the word on a piece of paper. The teacher writes the word on the board. The student checks their spelling, immediately correcting any mistakes. Do this for each word. This should only take about 15 minutes at the most. If the student missed any words you can add them to the next days list of words. I'd recommend doing Spelling 3-5 days a week.<br><br>
You can gently introduce Grammar and use it as your copywork/handwriting practice. Again this should only take about 15 minutes a day. You could do this anywhere between 2-5 days a week, totally depending on the teacher and student. <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=NpcAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=language+lessons&lr=&as_brr=1&cd=24#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_blank">Here</a> and <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=JzIXAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Emma+Serl%22&lr=&as_brr=1&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false" target="_blank">here</a> are a couple of the Language Lessons books available on Google books. There are more if you search them. You can use whatever of the lessons is appealing to you. You can skip any memory work and/or cut down on the copywork if you want.<br><br>
For writing I'd also suggest you check your local library for the book Writing With Ease by Susan Wise Bauer. You can get an idea of what she suggests for developing writing skills. I love this approach. It is gentle and my children actually enjoy it. Basically you read a passage from a book one day and ask them a few questions, asking them to answer in complete sentences. You are leading them to summarizing the passage. The second day they do copywork from the same book the passage was from. She lays out certain things such as proper nouns one day, dates one day, names of months one day, to look for in the copywork so that the child is also reinforcing Grammar learning. You wouldn't have to follow those guidelines and you could choose the books yourself, reading a picture book or a passage from a chapter book. Then do the question/answer session and you choose one or two sentences for the child to copy down. I'll give you a little piece of advice on the copywork. Definitely start with one small sentence. Also stay right there while he is copying it helping him do it correctly. Let him know right away if he is making a mistake, needs to capitalize a letter, needs to stay within the lines, needs a period, etc. I made the mistake of giving my son copywork and walking away. I was left wondering why his handwriting and following of rules was not improving. The very day I stayed with him, gently guiding him through was the day his handwriting began improving.<br><br>
If you wanted to spend money I would suggest Sequential Spelling for Spelling ($11.50) with a full years worth of spelling lists all laid out for you in a sequential way that builds upon itself. Either Primary Language Lessons ($10.50), Simply Grammar ($18.50), or First Language Lessons ($14.95 also my library has this one) for Grammar. Again use what you want of this books paring them down however you like. For Writing I would still suggest Writing With Ease. Although there is a workbook which conveniently lays out all the passages, questions, and copywork for you for the year. It is the most pricey thing at $27.25. The prices I quoted are from Rainbow Resource. Also I bought lots of books used on the Well Trained Mind forum. I got Sequential Spelling for $4, Simply Grammar for $10.00, Primary Language Lessons for $7.00, First Language Lessons for $8.00, Writing With Ease workbook 1 for $14.00, Writing With Ease workbook 2 for $12.00, all those with the postage included in the price. Your info says you're in the UK, so I'm not really sure how that would affect your price on things or how easily it would be to find them, but the freebies should work nicely too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I teach writing in my homeschool co op using the Bravewriter approach to language arts. You can learn more about it at <a href="http://www.bravewriter.com" target="_blank">www.bravewriter.com</a> . There is a lot of information on her site that you can obtain without spending any money so it's worth checking out.<br><br>
I have never done a formal spelling program for my son. He is 10 years old. He is a decent speller I would say. What I do is have him do copywork and dictation. One or two days a week, he will copy down a passage that either I've chosen for him or he has chosen. Usually it's from a book he is reading. The purpose of copywork is to make it neat so while he may only write a couple of sentences...they have to be neat!<br><br>
Dictation is taken from a book he is reading for class. I point out to him the literary qualities in the passage and then read it to him while he writes it down. Last year (in 4th grade), I did French dictation where I gave him a sheet of paper with the passage already typed on it but that had several words missing and blank lines in those spots. He had to listen to me read slowly and then fill in the missing words. I was able to focus on words that he might be struggling with this way especially homonyns.<br><br>
On a seperate day, I would have type up the words in Word and the spell checker would tell him if he spelled them wrong, He would right click and find the correct spelling so it wasn't me telling him he had done wrong -- it was the computer. This past year, he has written a paragraph from dictation and then the next day typed the whole paragraph up to find his spelling problems. It seems to work really well.<br><br>
For writing, I would have her write about whatever she is interested in in life. My son loves Pokemon so recently wrote all about them. Writing should be set apart from the mechanics. Celebrate the uniqueness of what she puts on paper. Praise the descriptions or funny things she writes. Praise...praise...praise!! After she has done one freewrite a week for 9 weeks, then have her pick one of those to take through the revision process.<br><br>
At that stage, you can sit with her and just ask questions. Revising is all about more. So just ask questions -- why was the baby sad? How did you know she was sad? What did the mother do to help her? What was the baby wearing? What was the weather that day? Where were they going on their walk? How old was the baby? and so on. Just get more out of her but don't overdo it. Maybe tackle a couple things a day for a week.<br><br>
The next step is the editing stage. Now you worry about the mechanics -- punctuation, capitalization, spelling, etc. Go over some rules with her, ask her to correct as many things as she can, and then call it good. You clean up the rest of the errors without making any issue over it.<br><br>
With time, it will all come together! Just don't make writing a chore or you will ruin her writer's voice and love of writing.<br><br>
Hope that helps a bit.<br>
Kellie
 
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