Writing! Some advice and reassurance please

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  • Ruralmama
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I have a rising 8th grader. He doesn’t like to write at all and has dyslexia. We have started some outlining and he writes short paragraph narrations. I have all the written narration books (know and tell, your question answered, hearing telling…). We also have 6 children. He has done oral narration for years.  I still feel like I need a writing curriculum though….not like 5 days a week all year but more like little lessons to practice like for a few months or like 2 days a week all year. I do like to teach writing by imitation….</p>
    For grammar we did season 1 of AG last year. He does fine with that. I’m somehow worrying about writing- both for him and his younger by  2 years sister.

    Any thoughts?

    totheskydear
    Participant

    I really like Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing With Ease and Writing With Skill. I tried to follow CM-style writing principles for years (name a narration or composition-based book, article, podcast, or forum post and I’ve likely read or heard it) before switching and wish I had just used it from the beginning. The promises of “your kids will have interesting things to say because they have read so many interesting books” and “reading good books produces great writers” didn’t come true in our house. Maybe for those natural-born storytellers. But even SWB says she has read many papers from kids who read great books and their writing was poor (both in the basics of spelling and grammar and the arguments being made). Anyway, my oldest who would refuse to write even a sentence is now writing quite a bit and it’s much better than what he wrote when the directions were “Write about so-and-so in XYZ book.” The book is written to the student so in 2 years of using it, I have only had to help him for maybe an hour total (excluding time reading his assignments). It is intended to be used 4 days a week but you could split it up and only do it twice a week. You might even be able to start him with WWE level 2, or skip a significant portion of the first level and just start where the longer writing assignments pick up. The first part of WWE 1 has a lot of outlining exercises.

    Ruralmama
    Participant

    You said WWE 1 and WWE 2 do you mean WWS 1 and 2?

    I will totally look at them again.

    totheskydear
    Participant

    Woops, yes, Writing With Skill! Sorry about that. 🙂

    Ruralmama
    Participant

    Ok in many ways I like he looks of WWS. It is well organized and looked like it does a good job with example based writing. However, I think my dyslexic writing adverse son might hate it. His oral compositions are quite good and we have done some outlining….he seems to have good things to say.

    I am not sure what to do…. I feel stuck and stressed by writing….maybe I can see WWS in person somehow.

    Twinsmomxtwo
    Participant

    I hate writing.  And I hate teaching writing even more.  But I have found success with The Lost Tools of Writing persuasive writing program by Circe.  It’s formulaic so it makes it easier for me to teach and easier for them to learn if writing is difficult.  My kids did this for a few years and now I will be teaching it at our co-op. It starts out very, very basic and then  builds incrementally to a longer, well-thought out persuasive essay.  It uses characters from literature and their decisions/actions as the basis for issues to argue for or against.  The majority of the process is the “invention” stage, which is coming up with the content – how to come up with an issue, how to come up with proofs for/against the issue, how to get it all out and organized, and how to choose what ideas to use as proofs.  The other two stages “arrangement” and “elocution” are the basically the outline for the essay and the written essay with some stylistic techniques added to make it more interesting, respectively.  When you purchase it there are free videos you can access via Vimeo for each essay and each lesson within each essay to help you better understand the process and teach it.

    If your son is very good at oral narration and has lots of good ideas, this may help him channel it and organize it well.

    Here is an example of an essay written by a student who went through this full program:

    https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/10965/

    I hope this helps lead you to a decision.

    Ruralmama
    Participant

    As I’m considering all this, has anyone done it without a “curriculum” or with brief part year composition curriculums?

    I want to get think about my options?

    Ruralmama
    Participant

    I’m looking at Writing with Skill and Lost Tools, but I’d really like to do this without a curriculum. I easily learned outlining and formatting and can teach that using the SCM history program for content, but what about “good writing”? I’m not quite sure what else to call it. Word choice, voice, description, easy to read…..

    Has no one reading this designed their own Charlotte Mason highschool writing program? Does everyone use another curriculum?

     

     

     

     

    totheskydear
    Participant

    Hmm. What about having him read “The Elements of Style”?

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