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Thread: Writing Program

  1. #1
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Writing Program

    Hi All!

    Haven’t posted in awhile, but still rowing (with my youngest)! My oldest has “graduated” from FIAR.

    I would like some advice/ideas on writing programs for my oldest. This year we have used an all in one grammar and writing curriculum. She has enjoyed the grammar part, but not the writing so much. She likes to write, but the program we are using has A LOT of planning, at least to her. The program we are using has a lot of planning before the actual writing. She understands that you have to have some planning, but she gets bogged down in the planning part. She just wants to write. She loves the different types of writing assignment that the program goes through. For example, she’s wrote a book report, personal narrative, compare and contrast, and a research paper. She would like some direction on writing, but not a ton of planning. I have looked at so many programs online until my eyes are ! So, is there anything out there that offers different styles of writing with straight forward planning?

    Thanks for the help!
    ~Julie~

    Loving life with DH, Sarah (12) & Lauren (8)

  2. #2
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    Julie, how old is she? What is the program that she dislikes?

    One program that hasn't been mentioned here for a while but my kids enjoyed was a simple, easy-to-follow program called Hands-On Essays by Bonita Lillie (a former FIAR mom). It's not for older high schoolers -- it's good for late middle school to about 9th grade. The DVD is kind of hokey (and comes with the program) but we found it a very simple and straightforward way to write different types of essays.

    But your dd may be too old for this or may feel that she needs something more advanced, I don't know.

    I also really like Windows to the World, which teaches the literary analysis essay using short stories and poems. It's teacher-intensive, though, and there is a lot of background material because you are also learning literature terms and doing reading along with the writing.

    Analytical Grammar also has writing programs that cover the research paper and literary essay -- but it sounds like she may be past this, as well. There is quite a bit of drafting and prep work because they are teaching it from the ground up.

    If she's past learning how to plan and develop an essay, does she even need a program, or can you just assign essays to her based on her other work in English or other subjects? That's another way you could go (that's what I usually do once they're past the "learning" stage of essay writing).
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 21 * artist dd 19 * motion-loving ds 16 * piano-playing ds 11
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  3. #3
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    Hi Reba,

    She's 11 going in to 6th grade. We have been using Bob Jones Press. She actually likes it, but when there is a writing assignment it goes through a lot of planning/steps before the writing. She does need the planning. This year (for 5th) is the first time we have ever used a grammer/writing program. I wish she was past learning how to plan and develop an essay because she would love to just write, but I feel like she needs a little instruction on planning. I could do it, but I would still like to have something that we can use.

    I've heard of Hands-on Essay, but haven't looked at it. I've never heard of Windows to the World. I'll take a look at both of these programs. Thanks!
    ~Julie~

    Loving life with DH, Sarah (12) & Lauren (8)

  4. #4

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    I used Hands' on Essay that Rebe mentioned in about 6th grade, I think. It was a bit cheesy but my boys can write an essay and she doesn't make them do a lot of pre-planning. They are basic 5 paragraph essays and an easy start to essay writing.

    Essentials in Writing is another good program if you feel like she needs more instruction.
    Steph~Blessed wife to David and mama to five fabulous boys:
    Caleb-20- Completing Business degree online thru Liberty University, Isaac-17- Completing Criminal Justice degree at community college, Elijah-15, Silas-9 and Jotham-7

  5. #5
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    Okay, so she's still young -- Hands On Essays might be perfect for her. She's young enough where the cheesiness won't irritate her as much (like it did my 9th grader -- he was too old for it but it did help him practice different essays). Windows to the World would be way too advanced -- save that to look at again in 8th -10th grade.

    The only other thing I can think of is to use whatever you want (even the one you currently use) and just tailor it for her needs. Have you tried that? Just adapting things where she doesn't have to do every single thing they tell her to do, only the parts you know she still needs help with?
    "Ree-bee," Mom to United States Marine ds 21 * artist dd 19 * motion-loving ds 16 * piano-playing ds 11
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  6. #6
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    I have no clue about actual programs, I was going to suggest the exact thing that Rebe just did -- adapt the instructions to fit HER needs. I definitely think that everyone needs some planning/basic outlining, but not everyone needs it to an extreme amount. Tailor her assignment to meet HER learning style.

    I've been teaching a high school English class at coop the last several years, and I encourage them (teach them) how to do a basic outline:

    Thesis________

    I. Topic sentence
    A.

    B.

    C.
    (and then carry on for each additional paragraph)

    Now, some of them keep it that basic, and some of them go even further and for their points A., B., and C will go ahead and write down their specific examples/"proofs" and may even go ahead and write down the exact quote from the book they want to use to support that point. I'm fine with either way -- it just depends on the person. If you go ahead and get all your quotes, you don't have as much work to do when you're actually writing. One way or the other, it gets done; it's a personal preference
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the great advice! The last time she did a writing project, I did cut out most of the "fluff" and just gave her the basics. She did like that much better. I was just wondering if there was anything out there that was more trimmed down.

    Thanks again!
    ~Julie~

    Loving life with DH, Sarah (12) & Lauren (8)

  8. #8
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    We used Writing With Skill after FIAR, but not at 11, that's likely a bit young & may be overwhelming. However, they do write a piece each week which my writer loved. He tried Cover Story after that, but it felt very weak in comparison so I put both my kids in IEW's Student Writing Intensive which we're enjoying
    Kendra, wife of Lawrence, mother of three.

    I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

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