I will have a newly turned nine year old student this year. I am thinking about a few overall goals that I have for her. It seems like at 10 years old there are quite a few big transitions (written narration, dictation, maybe adding in latin). My question is what would you suggest that I do this year when she is nine to prepare her for those bigger transitions when she is ten. Here are a few thoughts I have:
1. memorize addition facts until they are solid (you would think this would already be done, but this is a weak area. I have been inspired by a previous thread to give MY best effort as a teacher with math this year. It has been too easy to let things side b/c it is hard for her and there is resistance from her on this.)
2. Begin to transition from copywork to transcription.
3. Require oral narrations every day. (She is good at narration, but I have not been diligent in requireing it of her every day).
Do you have any specific suggestions for the above goals?
Are there any other areas you think would be important to work on this year in order to prep for the harder work of next year?
Thanks in advance. I appreciate this forum so much, there’s been a lot of good discussion here lately!
I have a 10 yo boy who just finished 4th grade, prepared for 5th grade. I can let you know what we used, as I think he will be ready for the jump in academics next year. New for 5th, he will have 2 dictations per week using Spelling Wisdom book 1 (picking up where we left off), start a book of mottoes with one entry per week required and more encouraged, start his own Book Of Time (or Book Of Centuries) with one entry per week required and more encouraged, written narration, and have an extra book to read independently each day. I will write more later about what we used this past year.
For math, we used RightStart. We played a lot of sum = 10 games like Go To the Dump. But what really helped him know his math facts was daily drill at xtramath.org. It is free and only 5-10 min. per day. But he really made progress when I finally got him to understand that it was more important to get the right answer than to be so fast. Then naturally he got faster, mastering addition facts in a few months with 3 second recall.TristanParticipant
For the transition from oral narration to written narration – are you consistent in your copywork? Does she struggle with handwriting (getting tired easily)? You want this to be automatic because written narration takes writing while thinking and organizing your thoughts. If the handwriting aspect is still a struggle then written narration is harder.
Thanks for your responses.
For math we got half way through right start level B. she was really struggling with mental math of large numbers. She has done xtramath for several months, she liked it at first, now it’s drudgery, but we are continuing on. I started her on math u see alpha. She’s been going through that this summer. We also got a subscription to dreambox, which I really like. I wonder if I just need to pull out the flash cards and drill that way?
We have been consistent in copywork. Shes got beautiful handwritting. Thanks for your comment about that, Tristan, I hadn’t thought about how that might effect written narration. I will keep that in mind with my six year old boy.
Do you usually start grammar at ten? We have talked about capitalization and periods informally as she has written. Not much else.
He was halfway through level C when I had him to Xtramath. So maybe she just needs some more time with strategies first. It can be frustrating if they are having a hard time coming up with the right answer in the first place. Xtramath has a good system to give them the right “flashcard” at the right time in the right order so they will get to know it. I was trying this for my daughter who is 7 and in the middle of level B. She did good at first, but then I could see it was too hard and she was not making any progress. I took her away from Xtramath for now until we get through level B because I think she needs more work with the strategies first. Maybe you should give her a break from Xtramath and just have her practice on Dreambox. She may learn strategies there since they use the 2 color abacus too.
Reading and oral narration – My son no longer needed reading instruction and I bumped up his reading to 2 books per day on his own. He is to come to me afterwords to give an oral narration. He is very detailed. Some day we are busier and he does not give me the narration. But most days he does. I know some who have the child narrate into a recorder for mom to play back later. I have “go tell mom what you read about” on his individual schedule. So he has some responsibility for it too. Next year I will give him 3 books to read in each day. For science, I will assign him independent reading and give him more responsibility to read through the experiment and get the supplies and work through it, with me nearby to help if needed. Tristan gave this advice on the science thread.
Dictation – we started on Spelling Wisdom 1. We did only one passage per week. Day 1 we talked about grammar in it. Capitalizations, punctuations, vocabulary, meaning of passage, etc. He picked out several words to work on spelling correctly. He used a notebook to copy the whole passage word for word (transcription) on the left side of a 2-page spread, with correct capitalization and punctuation. Halfway down the page I wrote the spelling words he picked to work on more and he wrote those three times each. Day 2 he pulled it out to study it over. Day 3 he studied it again and then gave me the Spelling Wisdom book to dictate from. He folded is notebook back and wrote on the right side of the 2-page spread. He did well with this and he really liked the passages. We got through about 25 of these this past year. Next year he will not have the day 2 review in between and we will do 2 passages per week.
Writing – He has great penmanship for manuscript and still prefers it to cursive. Besides Spelling Wisdom, I gave him daily copywork in cursive. We used mostly Presidential Penmanship. Length varies by grade. We also used some copywork I got at Currclick. Length was an average of about 6 lines. But he was not making correct form so I ended up having him do a cursive penmanship book the last half of the year. I used Christian Liberty Press Writing with Power. The first half of the book focused on each cursive lowercase letter. His cursive penmanship got much better. The last half of the year I also gave him one passage per week to write in cursive from reading in manuscript. He has an alphabet card I printed for his reference. And once per week, I gave him Draw and Write Through History to do cursive copywork with. I felt he was just barely ready for the length of these longer passages. They are Zaner-Bloser. So I was working on getting him used to writing longer passages in good cursive writing. Next year I will have him do one written narration per week. At first I will help by having him dictate it to me to write. Then He will start to write it and I will finish it. Finally, he will get to a point of writing it all himself.
BOC and BOM – I will help him get started with finding a passage to write in his book of mottoes each week at first. We are starting back at Ancient History, so I am giving him his own timeline book. I had him look at several available and let him choose the one he liked best. I figured he would be more likely to do it if it was in a format he liked best. We have done a family wall timeline together so that should have helped prepare him for his own book of centuries/timeline.
Grammar – We have not done a lot of grammar. When he was in 2nd grade, he did the Queens Language Lessons book, but he did not seem to retain any of the grammar. In 3rd grade, we did some Writing Tales, which we liked much better. It had him writing on his own some in it, which was the first he had done. I was pleased with that and he did retain most of it. We did not do anything for grammar in 4th grade other than review grammer in Spelling Wisdom. This is all I plan to do for 5th grade too, but some use Junior Analytical Grammar, Simply Grammar, Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Searle, English for the Thoughtful Child 2 or Rod and Staff English 5. If your state requires it, you could use one of those. I have Simply Grammar and it is for 4th – 8th grade. We may pull it out and work through some of it for part of the year. You could also do Madlibs and Silly Sentences games.
Wings2fly, I truly appreciate you taking the time to type up what you have done. That is so helpful, especially the specifics on how you have used spelling wisdom. Is most of what you wrote there what you did when he was ten years old? And the things you say you will be doing is when he’s eleven? Just want to make sure I’m understanding that correctly.
The independant reading…was that for specific subjects? Like a chapter from a science book, a chapter from a history book, literature? You gave him two books per day when he was ten, you are Upping it to three books per day when he’s eleven? Right? What type of science book? The adventures of….Thornton burgess books?
Thank you again.
He turned 10 in the spring of 4th grade, which is the school year just finished. So he was age 9 most of the school year.
A good rule of thumb is to teach the child, not the curriculum. So what we used will probably be different than what you will use. I looked for signs of readiness when I gave more challenging work. If I found that I assigned too much, I put some assignments on hold until he was ready.
Daily he read in a history book, from the modern times history period of books I have like The Story of the Wright Brothers and their Sister, Snow Treasure, Who Was Anne Frank?, etc. He read 1-2 chapters per day, depending on how short the chapters were. History is his favorite subject. He also read a chapter in either Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader book 5 or a literature book from the Sonlight grade 4 readers list like The Whipping Boy, Frindle, Henry and Ribsy. Next year for 5th grade (turns 11 in Spring), I will try giving him 3 books, but not to read all at one sitting. If he was reading more of these books on his own, I would not assign them. You have to know your child and decide how much reading is best to assign. In 4th grade, he did his readings from the two books during afternoon quiet time or he took them with us to read in the van on days we had errands in town. This summer he is reading 2-3 hours on his own, mostly the Happy Hollisters series. This is unusual for him to read so much.
Good advice from curlywhirly on this thread:
You may also find the SCM book Hearing and Telling Reading and Writing helpful. The pdf sample is on narration.
Great thread on written narration, especially comments by bookworm:
Thank you! I read the entire thread on written narration, very encouraging!
And really you should not be too worried about where you need to be next year and the next. Children may be slow to learn for a period and then all of a sudden they get it and learn quickly. It is hard to tell where they will be next year. But they will be where they need to be as long as they are consistently making progress and they put forth best effort at their lessons.
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