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Writing...HELP!

Writing...HELP!

I have been searching the internet and every other resource I can find, and I cannot come to a decision about writing.

A little background...

I have to admit that I have failed at staying with ANY writing program for too many years. I couldn't wait to teach our last 3 sons, and then it seemed that the past 8 years have been nothing but disaster. Our last 3 are 10, 12, & 14. They have very little writing instruction, but they are usually very willing and able to do what I choose.

We've dabbled in WS, IEW, EIW, & WWW, as well as other 'homemade' stuff.

I thought we would use IEW this year, but I feel so intimidated with all the papers here and there in their notebook. And, I am afraid if we go with that it will take too long to get through the writing genres that should have been covered by now for high school. Does that make sense? (I can send IEW back if we don't use it.)

As I searched for options, I keep coming back to posts about WWS (Writing With Skill). I looked at the ToC, copied the sample, and looked it over last night. It looks like it would be great for the 12 & 14 year olds. But I am so afraid to buy another curriculum and waste more valuable time if I am missing something. I want to be able to see the big picture (which I have trouble with with IEW).

Is there hope to cover all writing aspects in our last 4 1/2 years for our 14 yo?

Would WWS be a good pick for that?

Do you have a suggestion for LONG TERM....To the END?


Pam

re: Writing...HELP!

I have some others to suggest....as we have used al of the above EXCEPT IEW..... not for us ..and WWS....

BUT we have had good success with JUMP IN and also have on hand for when finished with that to try THE POWER IN YOUR HANDS...both are by Sharon Watson.

I have also looked at FORMAT WRITING by Freud Jensen.... looks interesting but not at the point we are at right now.

Wordsmith and the similar programs are also quite good BUT again Jump IN fit OUR situation better so that is what we are using. DO not be afraid to use it beyond middle school as it would work very well for someone who just is at that point in this skill...and it just works well for those reluctant writers. Marne

re: Writing...HELP!

I’ll suggest something different that is working very well here. My son is in 8th grade & will be 14 soon. He was in public school last year & they did a lot of writing! He was assigned an essay a week minimum. They followed such a specific formula though & it caused more harm than good imo. So this year my son is struggling with writer’s block and just organizing his thoughts well or in a timely manner (he’s trying to squeeze it all into the box he was taught in PS).

So we went back to square one & I’m solely focusing on outlining with him. We aren’t writing papers yet, just doing daily outlines. I use writing prompts from the web & SAT, ACT books. When we started, I would sit with him so he would see the process and not feel frustrated. I still help him brainstorm as needed. We first look at the question and then think of our thesis statement. Then we focus on a “grabber”, name a few reasons that support our thesis, and lastly, we list a few ways we can defend or support our reasons.

So our outline looks like this:

Grabber:

Thesis:

1) Reason 1
A) evidence or elaborate
B) evidence of elaborate
C) evidence or elaborate

2) Reason 2
A) evidence or elaborate
B) evidence of elaborate
C) evidence or elaborate

3) Reason 3
A) evidence or elaborate
B) evidence of elaborate
C) evidence or elaborate

Concluding Sentence:

I’m happy to share with you some of his questions and outlines. It has really made a big difference. In ninth grade we will focus on writing, but I feel mastering a basic outline first is going to help him tremendously.

For other writing, he has to write summaries of what he’s learning in history. Next year we will turn outlines into essays & focus on the different style essays that he will need to master for college.

My son writes well; the biggest issue with him has been organizing his thoughts when given a very specific topic. So I’m not sure if any of this will help you or not. I hope you find what you need. Hugs!

Oh, and you can start with outlining a paragraph, not a paper... if that’s easier. :-)

This post was edited on Jan 02, 2018 10:21 AM

re: Writing...HELP!

For older dc:
I have found Jensen’s Format Writing to be a help in covering basics up. In conjunction with what Eliza suggested, i would prefer this to most curriculum. I have used iew and for the right child it works but I’ve not gotten the same response from all my dc. FW starts with sentence writing and moves to paragraph writing to essay. Also includes other forms of writing.

I also like Elements of Style workbook. It has stretched my dd15 who constantly has writers block but is a big reader. She has been able to use this workbook to help her breakthrough I think due to “modeling” without the rules presented by iew.

re: Writing...HELP!

Needed to add for the younger dc...
I really love copywork even at 10 years old and 12 years old from quality literature.
Outlining for ideas like Eliza mentioned is an excellent starting place for a 12 yo even for paragraph writing. Once the notes are down, it’s just writing sentences and making good transitions.

For 10 yo, I generally do follow whatever writing assignments included in their language arts book...which this year is R&S grade 4 for my 10 year old. The basics are there and the copywork helps build skills.

re: Writing...HELP!

I personally would not recommend WWS. We tried it twice, and it was painful. The books are huge, with tons of reading. I really don't think it's going to cover your basics for highschool.

I would recommend Jensen's Format Writing. It's not horribly interesting, but it does go through the basics of every paragraph and essay. It sounds like that's the sort of thing you're looking for right now.

Another one to cover the basics would be Essentials in Writing. I know you said you've already tried it, but for highschool especially, it certainly covers all the different essays and stuff.

re: Writing...HELP!

I think I have owned and sold everything mentioned in this thread so far except for Write Shop. I was an IEW drop out. It was my fault. Like many people, I got stuck in units 1&2 and didn't progress. This year I pulled it back out because I wasn't going to invest in another writing thing. It is a success so far. I just put in the dvds and follow the schedule. Writing is getting done consistently. I especially like that every assignment is done in manageable parts starting with outlining, then writing, followed by the editing, and then typing it in the acceptable format. Here is a link to a video where Pudewa explains the "big picture". http://iew.com/tos-free-sso

By working through the nine units each year, your children practice pulling out important details (key words), oral presentations, organizing their thoughts, the elements of a story, what questions to ask to get more detail, and how to say what you think. The dress-ups help them improve the content by getting them to use the thesaurus and create better sentences of varying lengths.

I could be wrong, but I do believe that Susan Wise Bauer used IEW before creating her own program WWS.

re: Writing...HELP!

Some great things to think and pray about.
Thanks... And open to any other input!

Pam

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