I am trying to figure what to do with LA for my 10daughter. She struggles with Dsygraphia so writing has been a weak point. Tried LLATL for 3rd (was ok) 4th grade was a disaster. We do all about spelling, Handwriting without tears for cursive but I am stumped on what to do with creative writing and grammar. She is a strong reader and communicator. Looking at Primary Language Lessons which I have and printing out pages for, also have Intermediate Langage Lessons also but thought I should work with skills from Primary first. Someone gave me Easy Grammar and I don't know if I should try that or not. Over the summer I have had her read a small book and then do a notebook page about the book and talk about how she did. We go over concepts but they don't seem to always reflect in her writing. Any suggestions? Not real big on workbook pages, she can fill out the blanks but doesn't seem to learn anything from it. I think grammar and spelling is a weak point for me as well.
Language Arts, Lost on what to do?(6 posts) (5 voices)
I can relate to your struggles as I have an 11yo ds with dysgraphia. A great reader and excellent communicator, but really struggles with the writing. Like your daughter, he seems capable of using a workbook for skills, but can't seem to translate it to his writing. This was our first year homeschooling so I took it easy on him this year by doing as much as possible orally. I am looking at ILL, but also at Writing Tales. I have not decided which I prefer yet --I think they both have some really excellent points. I'm really looking hard at Writing Tales. I like that it's a complete curriculum, and that it focuses on one aspect of grammar for a 2 week period.
I will be keeping an eye on this threat.
I think both grammar and spelling at her age are a matter of diligent daiky practice whether through workbooks, prepared dictation, or by practicing words out loud over and over. Same with handwriting. The sandbox idea or hand strengthening exercises with fairly good clay may help some.
Something I'm doing with prepared dictation is to use a small marker board for the preliminary days practice. The only time we have a paper copy is once they've shown mastery of the words/sentences/punctuation. This is done with "best" handwriting for keeps. I haven't always done this, but it seems to be making a difference in neatness and in how many days they are taking to master the sentences. Somehow, I think the marker board makes it more "play" like vs. school type work.
Study these subjects for yourself, too, and use them "out loud" to build yourself up and it will become a habit for both of you. We used Easy Grammar one year. It was easy. But, it didn't seem to stick. It was good preparation for sitting and accomplishing the completion of a lesson, so it served a good purpose. Some actual learning of grammar concepts took place, but didn't necessarily transfer to written evidence.
Try learning one part of speech by using it to improve sentences for awhile. You'll see a change. Then, add another idea while continuing to use what you'vexalready learned.
Be encouraged. Consistent exposure brings improvement, especially if you are careful to watch for it and make a big deal over improvement.
Oh, at this age, you might still consider having them dictate a story to you, then copy it in their improving best handwriting. Because they are good communicators, you are helping get their thoughts out if their head, then out the end of the arm, through the hand. ;0) I've done this for my son at times between 10&11. He is now 12. It helped him speed through the process of "writing" because the hard part (handwriting) was taken off the "to do" list for him, taking pressure off. Then, he could write the paper he intended. Now, he is more capable of coordinating the whole process. But, it's still work with even sweat at times. ;0) I have decided that I should've started having him typing earlier. Just another thought. :)
My now 28 year old had ( & has) severe dysgraphia all his life. When he was younger I did a lot of transposing and dictation and narration with him and a lot of scribing his words for him. Now, he has graduated with a degree in Cultural Communications and he has told me the only thing that would have helped him is if I had forced him to do copywork every day! Yikes, I thought I was doing him a favor since he had so much to say and writing was so difficult. The issues he had carried on through college and at that level he had to undergo testing in order to be able to use a computer for his notes and exams. He missed being labelled as 'needing help' by about 2%. SO they allowed him computer in the class to take notes, and extra time for his written exams. At the end of the year his handwriting and his ability to write were vastly improved. He now says that while his writing will likely always be messy, at least he has the confidence to know he Can do it. I think this is one area where Charlotte Mason really shines. Copywork requires little to no 'creative output' but it requires concentration, and it trains the muscles and the mind to notice when something is well written and it builds confidence in the children when they can look at a body of work and say "I did that" and you can really see the improvement. I did it with all the younger siblings and it has paid off for everyone. They all have some level of dysgraphia, but their confidence is so much higher and they know they can do whatever they want to do despite their issues.
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