I was thinking about your post and finally got back to it. In addition to the great conversation you've already had, i thought I'd join in as another fan of Writing Strands and PLL/ILL.
klewfor3 wrote:I need advice and I am really concerned!
I'm glad you decided to post, and I hope you will again if you get stuck in future. This is our "teacher's lounge," as another mom used to say, and we homeschoolers need that!
klewfor3 wrote:Here's the basic story, my wonderful son does not like writing. He has no issues other than he is a healthy active 10year old boy.
I have one of those. Well, he's 18 now, but you can read posts in the archives dating back to when he was in 3rd grade. I've always said he had a "pencil allergy." Some of the things we did were marker boards, discussing out loud, and typing.
klewfor3 wrote:With ECC, we often skip the letter writing but I have still required the note booking pages. These are reviewed using my basic judgement/opinion only.
The notebooking and letter writing are a piece of your son's writing education. They get him writing something, and hopefully before he gets to high school, he will be writing a solid paragraph.
Your opinion as a reader is the very best thing you can offer him. To paraphrase what the Writing Strands author used to say, he needs lots of your praise and a little correction each time. A reader's opinion is the thing that no writing program can give him. Students can do every assignment in a writing program and still not write well. I have homeschooled two kids and they needed to work on 100% opposite things. I am so grateful that I could be there to read their writing and give them personal feedback. Even when my oldest child wrote papers in public school, I was his reader, giving him feedback, and personally I think that (and any feedback a teacher had time to give) was more helpful to his future writing than the actual assignments were.
klewfor3 wrote:Writing strands has gone to the wayside. I have no idea what to expect from him at this level. What are the rules for writing a basic paragraph and what should he be doing at his age as far as quality and quantity of papers? I still feel I really have no idea how to correct or grade his writing other than correcting his spelling and explaining again that he can not start each sentence with "Then...".
Start with the sentence before you worry about the paragraph. Public schools who race ahead can be full of poor writers. I was a tutor at a grammar-heavy program for five years and those kids were great at filling in blanks, but only a handful of the hundreds of kids I worked with could actually transfer those grammar worksheets to their own writing. I would have so loved to have sat with them and talked about writing using PLL, ILL, and Writing Strands. I've described some of our conversations that connected in my son's brain far better than asking him to be sure his sentences included subject and predicate, for example:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 129#p97253
In the next post after that, Shawna shared an actual conversation with her daughter and I can see the lightbulb shining brightly over her daughter's head
klewfor3 wrote:This year we have been doing ILL. There is not really any direct LA "language" that I could find directly relating to verb tenses, nouns, pronouns, basic sentence structure. I really enjoy MFW for everything else but was embarrassed that my son couldn't fill out a Mad Libs with me without asking me to remind him what an adjective is.
Like Trish mentioned, naming the parts of speech can be done at different ages according to different philosophies. I love that MFW waits until 6th-8th grades. For one thing, that means kids aren't going over and over it every year. For another thing, it means kids will be writing at a level that actually connects the grammar they are learning to their own sentences. Instead of early memorization, MFW spends the early years doing consistent copywork (practicing writing correct sentences), having conversations about how we write (using PLL/ILL), and finally practice with some of the details of writing (using Writing Strands).
Writing Strands in particular adds in little things kids might not pick up on their own, like building small sentences into bigger sentences, and playing around with tense -- starting with keeping tense consistent, but then later realizing that sometimes we need to be able to work with two tenses in one paper. He tries to do this with fun exercises, like the crazy long sentence one, or the tense one where two people are standing across a time zone line. I also did better with Writing Strands after I started using it as a tool and not a taskmaster
The risk with choosing other materials is that you will overlap in some areas and your day might be eaten up by language arts. So keep an eye out and remember that MFW will already include things like copywork and notebook summaries, some vocabulary and some handwriting, etc. But with that in mind, many people use other language arts with MFW.
Best wishes as you teach your precious child.