Teaching Composition

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • Shanna

    Does anyone use a particular program to help teach writing? If so, what? I am looking for an older student.

    My older girls have used/are using “Writing to God’s Glory” by Jill Bond. I think most of them like it! 😉 Actually now my oldest (21) is teaching her next three younger sisters. The oldest two would like me to get “Learn to Write the Novel Way”, which I told them I would when they finished their biographies for Writing to God’s Glory! 🙂



    What age student?

    I have had mixed feelings about the whole writing thing. For years, I would periodically panic over my oldest son’s (lack of) writing, and try some highly touted program, at which we’d all fail miserably, then end up right back where we started. So then I’d try just plain written narration again, and it wouldn’t go well, and then I’d panic again . . . .

    Anyway. Most of the things I’ve tried didn’t do much or, at worst, backfired and made things worse (we have a quite a family story of trauma after we spent WEEKS on a “simple” assignment in Writing Strands that has gone down in family history as The Great Duckling Trauma—and which ended in a poorly written, tearstained piece of paper titled “The Stupid Duckling Story My Mean Mother Made Me Write”)

    Anyway, for just plain, simple writing–I think my experiences would lead me to recommend just plenty of time for written narration to take root and grow–because it does need time for many children, IMO. Plowing about and trying to plant other seeds on top does not seem to work as well. 🙂 So first I think I’d recommend good experience in oral narration, followed by quite a bit of time in written narration.

    However, as my oldest progressed and I thought ought reasonably to be able to attempt some pieces that were more like essays, we began having trouble again. CM’s writings have some examples of some types of writing expected, like compare and contrast essays–and we were having trouble getting “over the hump” from simple written narrations to those sorts of papers. I finally turned it over to my ds and told him I wanted HIM to investigate and see what he thought would help–and he researched, and chose a product called Jump In, by Apologia, which was aimed at producing many kinds of writing. He loves it, he is turning out quite good work now, and there is a simple “step by step” sort of process in the book that I think we can use over and over again, while skipping the actual exercises, so it seems pretty durable and useful to me. We’ve been using it this year, 8th grade, and I plan on continuing it into at least 9th grade, and I’ll probably have my second son, 7th grade next year, begin it once I am satisfied with his written narrations (he’s in a “let’s see how short we can make it” phase, lol)

    I don’t know that all children would need a “program” like that, though. I’ve known many young people (nearly all girls, it seems to me) who can transition to essay form nearly effortlessly. I did this myself–my poor mother says I was writing persuasive essays when I was still playing with dolls—and so it has been hard for me to deal with children that not only didn’t want to write, didn’t seem to already know HOW to do it, but actually seemed traumatized by the act of picking up a pencil . . . sigh. Here all this time I thought it was MATH that was going to be hard to teach. 🙂

    Anyway. Others might have good insight, too, but it might help to know age/gender of child and what he or she is accomplishing right now.

    Michelle D

    I just remembered that I have some friends who really like the Andrew Pudewa materials–Institute for Excellence in Writing. I borrowed a dvd from a friend’s set to see what it was like–one thing I remember is that he doesn’t require creative writing to start with. He would use a story or paragraph and have a student summarize it, using “dress-ups”–he really walks them through the process. I guess it would be a narration of sorts! I think that might help a reluctant writer to be able to put his thoughts on paper, but also learn things that make it sparkle. I agree with Michelle, though–certainly having time of oral narrations would lend itself more easily to the transition to writing them. Most of the time! LOL!!! I, too, have girls that writing just comes easy to, one that is very “just the facts, ma’am, thank you very much” and one that hated writing and moans every Wednesday when her sister is ready to teach them, but as soon as the lesson is over I hear how “Neat and fun this will be”! So even *girls* aren’t predictible! 😀

    Anyway, just happened to think of the Pudewa materials–don’t really have any experience with it, but maybe some one in a homeschool group near you would, or someone on the forums here. My friend I mentioned was using it particularly with her daughter who is dyslexic, and she was doing fairly well with it. I don’t know if she *enjoyed* it or not! But I can’t think it would be too painful!




    First after reading this thread, I have to say thank you to Michelle for sharing so much wisdom from her experience. This encouraged me and made me realize that we aren’t alone. 🙂 I know that I’m not the first one to say this but I have to say how thankful I am for you wonderful women of God. Secondly, in response to Trischs post, we have used Andrew Pudewa IEW material. It was the first time my ds did’nt have a tear stained page.:) He didn’t have to think of something to write only rewrite a piece – a bit like a written narration only with more organization. The only problem with IEW is it is very expensive. I know that you can go to the web sight and get many of the articles and write up ideas free. http://www.writing-edu.com

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • The topic ‘Teaching Composition’ is closed to new replies.