Writing - Encouragement for reluctant writers

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
cbollin

Re: WS - Is this enough?

Unread post by cbollin »

my3boys wrote:Also have finished with WS3 this year and though my ds is not minding doing the assignments I have not seen any improvement. He still doesn't know how to write a good sentence or paragraph and I'm afraid I am not very good at teaching this. Any thoughts?
agreeing with Julie and Trish.

I'm curious. How are you determining that he doesn't know how to write a good sentence? (sometimes when I hear moms saying that, I think -- what standard is being used to determine it? Is the mom having someone else sometimes look for progress over time? Or what's going on? Is it mechanics and can't remember to use capitals or punctuation, or does it still sound like a sentence written in Kindy?)

One crazy method I use to look for improvement in my average 5th grade daughters writing is to type it in Word, then use the "readability stats" in spell check. I work under a crazy assumption here: if it requires a 5th grade reading ability to read her sentences and she is in 5th grade, then she is doing ok with her level of sentence writing.

Last week, we were in WS 4 working on paragraph lesson. Her first draft off the top of her head was needing 4th grade reading level to read her sentences. We used our checklist to improve the sentences and paragraphs, and with one revision her paragraph was needed someone at beginning of 6th grade to be able to read it.

She's my average kid. She is not a strong academic nerd.

-Crystal
RachelT
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: WS - Is this enough?

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi Alison!

My son is a bit younger, he just turned 9. You said that your son has a writing disability and I'm wondering which one because it might be part of the equation. My son is dyslexic and dysgraphic. So his dyslexia makes it very difficult for him to spell words that he wants to write and his dysgraphia makes it mechanically difficult for his hand to actually do the writing. I wondered if you have tried to modify any of his writing for his learning disability? My son still does mostly copywork, can dictate short sentences with limited vocabulary (according to what he can spell), and is working on his handwriting. He also does most of Language Lessons orally, but I think we are moving in the right direction. With learning disabilities, I think it is sometimes a challenge to adapt the curriculum or the assignments so that these children can work at the their developmental level, but it is important. I think sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to do something a little bit different than what is recommended for that grade level. I know I have to give myself permission to change things.

Rachel
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/
cbollin

Re: WS - Is this enough?

Unread post by cbollin »

my3boys wrote:I think part of it is that I am not very knowledgeable about grammar and writing - I wish I had a 'for dummies' guide :) Though I don't know exactly what to look for I can tell that there has been very little improvement in his writing this year. He suffers in the areas of structure, organization and mechanics. Organization is really an overall life problem with his LD.
One idea that I commonly share with using Writing Strands in the context of using MFW has to do with the concept of Writing Drills. Writing Drills is simply my term for what WS suggests when we "take a week off to read and discuss" combined with "areas to improve".

In WS each lesson, we have the opportunity to let our child tell us which sentence was really good, which sentence was something that I can work on, and then how to work on it. However, missing from WS for many homeschooling parents is the "how do I help my child improve that sentence."

This is where my "writing drill" suggestion comes in. During the 3 days of English in the MFW grid, I encourage you to take a 5 minute drill to work on specific mechanics or word usage with your student. For example, if you see the need in your child's writing to work on punctuation -- then practice on the dry erase board for up to 5 minutes. You can write a sentence and let your child find your mistake and let them correct it. You can let them copy a sentence from a book you are currently reading in the MFW program.

If you are needing online exercise to help a child in grades 7-12, or for a parent who needs to review his/her own grammar, try the online exercises at Purdue University. Those exercises are not for elementary age students. Dont' try it with them. It is for teachers to have a reference point with older students.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/

If you need help with basic rules for elementary aged children, I suggest Language Lessons and its review sections. Type them out as a reference chart. It is perfectly ok for a writer to have a reference chart to help them look it up when it it tough to remember. ILL lessons 51, 100, 150, 195, 248, 301 are the reviews of rules.

Offer to be your child's editor of writing. Have them sit with you as you go through a checklist:
check for spelling
check for capitalization
check for punctuation
keep the review lesson out with you and teach your child how to use those lists. Don't just put red marks on his paper -- show him that this is what to look for and how to correct it. don't bleed on their papers. I found it helped my child to type in Word and let Word tell her what was spelled incorrectly. I let the grammar checker help her too.

children with various learning differences can benefit from a very structured approach to how to edit papers. They still need a coach to show them. The idea isn't a perfect paper, but rather to process for better.

some of them benefit from charts that encourage Graphical Organization of thoughts. They need a writing resource notebook to help them go through the steps. They need pictures to help organize thoughts.

-crystal
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: WS - Is this enough?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Like Crystal, I was glad to hear more about what exactly is troubling you. Maybe digging into that will be the cure. As I may have mentioned, I'm not a believer in a book that will be a magical fix :)

If your son isn't capitalizing or punctuating, so his writing looks childish, then he is part of a large and growing crowd. With all the texting and such, even teenagers are skipping these important parts of the sentence. I think there are 2 parts to this problem. (1) The child doesn't know where capital letters and punctuation go, or (2) the child doesn't use the skills although he actually knows them. Workbooks & programs like Language Lessons can help with #1 but they won't help #2, because doing it in an assignment isn't the same as doing it in his own writing. My son was in category #2 until about 7th grade, if that is any comfort to you!

(Side note: There is a third issue of (3) not being good at editing or correcting "someone else's mistakes" on a worksheet etc, but that is more a skill needed for college testing and such.)

If by "structure" you mean he doesn't have the correct grammar in his sentences, then maybe he is coming up with sentences such as, "The balloons is in the sky," or even, "On the couch in the living room," which is incomplete and often means the child is confusing a short pause with the end of a sentence. Sometimes when English is your native language, these problems can be fixed best by reading the sentence aloud -- "hearing" the proper verb forms or "hearing" where you pause for a comma vs. a period. After all, writing is just communicating your thoughts. Filling in a workbook doesn't always translate to your own thoughts.

The "organizing" problems are usually at the paragraph level and would be done after sentences are mastered. Writing Strands definitely works on this, and you can use those particular WS lessons in many ways, if you need to.

Well, just some random thoughts to help you pinpoint what you might decide to tackle first.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
cbollin

Help me decide on language, please

Unread post by cbollin »

homemama wrote:DS is 9 and we will be starting ECC next year. We have worked in Abeka for language and ds wants to stay with it. I think he is drawn to the colorful pictures in the book and "filling in the blank" is easy for him to do. He does well with it except for the creative writing part and that's where he is at a loss for words to write. We do have writing strands and I will be starting spelling power (this will be new as well).

I thought of trying Language Lessons because I thought it would help in the writing area. However, I don't think I'd be comfortable giving up grammar totally. Should we make the leap or stick with Abeka? I really am divided on this issue. Thanks for any advice!
Grammar is covered in Language Lessons -- but not in the definitions of parts of speech.

Some of the grammar in LL will be done via "copywork" and other fill in the blanks with subject-verb agreement, capitalization, punctuation.

We also identify things like "nouns" and "verbs" --- but in a different way. We have the kid name 4 parts of a car (or wagon) instead of saying "give me 4 nouns that are parts of a wagon"......

so even in LL -- there is grammar. We just don't do rote memory of definitions of parts of speech. It is a very application over identification.

If you go with LL, and need some teaching tips... there is a real teacher's guide out there. But I wrote one a few years before that one and it is designed as homeschooling mom to homeschooling mom. I'm happy to send that draft. I put notes such as "here's how to update the lesson" or "use this link for model how to address an envelope", or "this is a hidden grammar lesson in adjectives".... stuff like that.

-crystal
homemama
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:48 pm

Re: Help me decide on language, please

Unread post by homemama »

Crystal, thanks for the description of Language Lessons. I needed to know all of that about the book. It sounds really gentle, which is a good thing! I will look at samples again. I have looked at curriculum sooo much that I'm ready to make a decision and move on. I think sometimes you just get to that point!

Since, so much neat stuff is put into ECC, it's hard for me not to trust the language choices and any other 3 R's suggested! :)
Thanks again for the help!

homemama
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Help me decide on language, please

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Have you looked at Writing Strands for the writing part? That will give you even more to work on than Language Lessons will, as far as writing goes. If your son will be in 4th grade, it might be a good time to add in Writing Strands level 3.
homemama wrote:Thanks Julie, when I assign him a creative writing assignment, he clams up. Maybe, it's just the topics. He's had a lot of trouble getting together thoughts and putting them on paper in the Abeka workbook. So far, he hasn't had trouble with the WS, but he's in the 2nd book.
You know, I had one child like that and one child who's just the opposite. I've learned that both can be obstacles at times. My son who can easily think of things to write has to be reined in from just stream-of-consciousness writing that doesn't even have accurate facts at times. It makes me think I should have appreciated the years with my careful, clammed up dd more :)

So, it may be a lifelong trait for your child. Or he may grow out of it. He's awfully young yet.

I don't know what ABeka's writing assignments are like, but I hope they aren't the "write 500 words about X" sort of assignments. Writing Strands tends to have very precise instructions, and it always states the goals of the assignment up front, which I really like.

If he clams up, I'd help him brainstorm ideas, lots of ideas, so he can find things to say. And find things to encourage in what he does come up with. When my ds does have a writer's block day, he usually writes about his snowboard or his computer... :~ Having a back-up topic like that can help move things along. When he was younger, he often wrote about his cat. It's surprising how many writing lessons can be applied to a cat -- compare/contrast, vivid description, different perspectives, different tenses... Another thing ds will do is imitate something we've read recently or he's seen in a movie or the news. I grit my teeth and try very hard to resist commenting on how his writing isn't exactly following the instructions... After all, imitation is a fine way to learn, isn't it? And someone surely makes a living writing about snowboards all day, don't they??? Well, whatever my son has written, we can still work on building his skills, and that's the goal of writing class. The goal is too important to me to spend the time on a "learning to follow directions class." If I really feel we didn't get to work on one of the important skills in the lesson, we might do the lesson a second time with a different emphasis, or add more to it tomorrow. But meanwhile we have a piece of his writing that we can encourage a bit and improve a bit.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
homemama
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:48 pm

Re: Help me decide on language, please

Unread post by homemama »

Yeah, it has been one of "those" assignments. :~
So, I guess, that's when I should just stick to the writing strands. If we keep the Abeka, we could just not do all of their creative writing assignments or etc.
I like the ideas you gave me Julie about interesting topics. DS has written some about his dog. I didn't give him credit for that, LOL!
I think I have just been following Abeka's plans to heavily. It's hard for me to "not" to do that. I'm a former public school teacher (no tomatoes please!). However, homeschooling is teaching me sooo much more than I ever knew! ;)
Thanks again!

homemama
cbollin

2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by cbollin »

melissamomof3girls wrote:She loves to read but it's like pulling teeth to get her to write. I have tried to question her as to why and all I get is "it frustrates me when you make me write long sentences". So, maybe if we start easier we can build up? She's smart and can read like crazy! I am not sure if it's just a matter of not wanting to sit and do the work or what.

Also, I haven't really been doing the English because of this and I want to have her do it. :(
Do most of it orally, she's 2nd grade.

Have her say one sentence. You write her sentence. She can write one of them down as "copywork". This is a legit thing to let her do some writing and it is her words. she just needs a few extra hand holding and security stages. so what?

oh, where is Julie's recent post on how it all worked out with her pencil allergic son. Ah ha! Here.
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6587&p=67077#p67077

-crystal
melissamomof3girls
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:47 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by melissamomof3girls »

Thank you! I will try to adjust it accordingly. Funny thing is, she does better writing if I allow her to do it in her bed at night before going to sleep...I honestly believe it's really hard for her to concentrate with her siblings around during the day.
Melissa
DD1 ~14
DD2 ~ 12
DD3 ~ 10
DS1 ~ 7
DD4 ~ 3

Looking forward to Exp to 1850 this fall :)
TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by TriciaMR »

My dd has always had "writing issues," even now. Part of it is spelling. Part of it is the physical act of writing is so hard for her. She has to focus so hard on how to form the letters she forgets what she's writing. In 2nd grade, do a lot of English orally, and then do double dictation for any "original" work - meaning she speaks, you write, she copies. Start with one sentence, then up it to two. Then maybe by the end of the year 3 or 4. My dd is now in 5th. She can write more now, but I we end up doing a lot of her dictating and me writing, then typing... Just easier on her brain...

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
Wendy B.
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:27 pm

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by Wendy B. »

I recently wrote a blog about my 8yo and his "5 finger summaries".
Five words or less has become Sam's motto for writing: http://wbbeachbum.blogspot.com/2010/07/ ... oblem.html

Does that sound like your dd? I viewed my ds "five finger summaries" as a sign that we had a problem with our writing plan. Although I guess you could build up from there? IDK. I did not want him to get in the habit of doing as little as possible in writing and it being acceptable.

For my ds, I decided that his frustrations in writing were coming from the fact that he was having difficulty doing all the steps in writing at one time.
(1.) Thinking of something to write,(2.) "holding it in his head" long enough to (3.) put the words on paper (4.) in a recognizable form that (5.) had correct spelling, (6.) correct punctuation (7.) correct grammar and sentence structure.

I want to spend the next year (or longer if needed) working on each individual step. Each day he practices Step 1 while doing his oral narrations. Step 2 during dictations, Step 3 and 4 during copywork. We choose copywork and dictation selections so we can focus on Step 5. spellings, Step 6 punctuations or Step 7. correct grammar and sentence structure.

For example today, he did oral narration (CM style) with our MFW reading and another oral narration (SWB style) with his writing. He also did copywork from MFW and dictation from our spelling program. He was able to practice creating original complete sentences. He was also able to practice writing a longer more complicated sentence with copywork and then practice a shorter easier sentence from dictation. This is something I can have him build on easier that a written summary of George Washington that was "He was a tall man."

He is happier now than before although I wouldn't say he loves writing by any means. Shhhhh.....don't let him know he is actually writing more than before. Breaking writing into in simpler components has really made a difference in his attitude towards writing. He feels that he is capable of creating original complete sentences ( during his oral narrations) and capable of actually getting words down on the paper in a recognizable form ( during dictations and copywork). Capable is far better than frustrated.

Although I do understand "do most English orally" it does not address the problem that a lot of children have with "getting the words on paper". Getting the words on the paper is a worthy goal for early writing. IMHO.

What does she dislike about writing? If you can figure out where she is getting frustrated then maybe the board can help you brainstorm ways to help her with those particular skills.
melissamomof3girls wrote:Funny thing is, she does better writing if I allow her to do it in her bed at night before going to sleep...I honestly believe it's really hard for her to concentrate with her siblings around during the day.
If she will write before bedtime, let her! If that is all it takes to get her writing be thankful!
TriciaMR wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:47 pm Wendy,
It all depends on what the problem is. In 2/3 grade my dd could come up with great sentences and remember them - it just took forever for her to write them.

For her, she has a hard time remembering how to form the letters. Really, we've done the write in the air, the write in the sand, the writing-eights (Dianne Craft), dictation, All-About-Spelling, etc.... (What helped her most was HWT). She'll sit there at her desk (even now in 5th grade) and say "/th/-/th/-/th/" (like at the beginning of "there"), several times before she can remember that it is a t and then an h that make the /th/ sound. It's like there is some block in her brain that won't let her connect what she writes to the sound coming out of her mouth. (And all my friends say she has beautiful handwriting, they just have no idea how difficult it is for her to write.)

The point is, for my dd she knows *what* she wants to say, she just can't make it come down her arm and go out onto the paper very easily. I figure it's better (faster?) for her to dictate to me and me write it or type it and then let her copy rather than sit there and wait for 5 minutes for one sentence to get onto the paper.

Yes, it is important to be able to write, but for some kids it's just not going to happen.
-Trish
Trish,
I do understand completely where you are coming. My oldest dd has the same very problems as you describe. My current 8yo actually struggles much more with the physical act of writing than she did. I believe it is a worthwhile goal for him to struggle to get the words on the paper. Although it is painful to watch your 10yo struggle with spelling and writing, know that there are others who have gone through that process!

My oldest dd is currently 19. She prefers typing over writing and spell checker is her best friend. We also worked through every spelling program available to us and she is an atrocious speller. She still has to be able write notes during class, fill out applications, etc. She was very much at the stage your own dd is at age 10 but she just made a 98 in English comp 2 and wrote a 170K novel for fun this summer. She could not have done either of these if she had to dictate to me and then copy it. I let her spend the 5 minutes per sentence and struggle when she was ten and it has paid off. She is capable and used to putting in the hard work to get what is in her head on to the page. She knows what her particular weaknessess are and how to find and fix the problems with her writing.

Of course, please disregard if it is not useful!
Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.
cbollin

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by cbollin »

Wendy B. wrote:Although I do understand "do most English orally" it does not address the problem that a lot of children have with "getting the words on paper". Getting the words on the paper is a worthy goal for early writing. IMHO.
Some children need the extra step by step. Say it out loud. See their own words written and then copy those words. I think at age 8 it's one of the common ways that some programs do this variation on copywork and dictation (it's a double dictation so the student sees how to do dictation from watching teacher). And very similar to what you are describing in your blog that you are doing, or at least what I read of the entry you linked to with copywork and dictation stuff.

-crystal
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Wendy B. wrote:My oldest dd is currently 19...
She was very much at the stage your own dd is at age 10 but she just made a 98 in English comp 2 and wrote a 170K novel for fun this summer. She could not have done either of these if she had to dictate to me and then copy it.
Wendy,
I don't think anyone here is trying to say a 19yo should dictate to a parent. But I do think some of us do that with 2nd grader, or a 10yo, or we do oral discussion of language, or use a marker board instead of paper, etc.

Somewhere between birth and age 19, the child does need to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in order to put something on paper. I agree with that. But I do think there are options as to when it is time to push. I'm glad we can both give concrete examples of kids using different methods. My son is the one that Crystal linked to above, so as you can see, I've been a better-late-than-early gal. It doesn't mean my homeschool isn't actively engaged in learning in the early years; it's not a matter of "do the work or skip it." Rather, it's "do the work this way or do the work another way." I choose different things to focus on at different times, rather than lightly focusing on everything all the time.

I know there are risks (either way) and I haven't always known if I've chosen the right path. But last year (in 8th grade), when my dh said that ds's handwriting was not up to par and he worried it would be an embarrassment to him in his future :~ , ds was old enough to understand that and to put effort into the alphabet practice that Marie scheduled at the beginning of the year (which many 8th graders probably skip!), and to listen to my advice about the importance of letter formation to avoid confusion.

He still doesn't have lovely handwriting, but he made much more progress than when I told him these things at a younger age. And if needed, I will start having him use the pencil for lengthier writing in high school, in order to prepare for those in-class college essays and an occasional handwritten application that I agree are very important to prepare for. However, happily I've recently seen him writing full pages on his own!

Just trying to help explain another option,
Julie
Wendy B. wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:14 pm I am aware no one was actually suggesting a 19yo dictate. :-) I was trying to share our saga with a reluctant writer and how it all turned out. Nothing more. I certainly wasn't assuming that my way to address this particular issue is the only way. In fact, I stated that I hope someone else chimes ins and offers some advice!

Actually I think we agree 100% on this topic.

One thing I have started to notice, is that the encouragement to "do stuff orally" is starting to be interpreted "there is little need to get the words on paper". I don't think anyone actually recommends not doing any physical writing ever.

We personally do quite a bit orally, but we also spend time each day practicing getting words on the paper. I am certainly not advocating pushing a child to do something before they are ready! For example, I think I would have pushed my 8yo by forcing the issue of written narrations, so we backed up a bit to focus on copywork with a little bit of dictation from spelling.

I'm more of a CM kinda gal myself. Somewhere on my blog I went through her volumes and put her plan in a form that I could refer too easily. here it is http://wbbeachbum.blogspot.com/2008/03/ ... ework.html

I am not saying this is the only way or the correct way. I merely saying this is how I decided to do it. I was also trying to share how this method worked out with my oldest dd and how this method is working with my younger kids. I love hearing stories about how other families use totally different methods successfully in their homeschools!

Respectfully submitted,
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
cbollin

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by cbollin »

Wendy B. wrote:One thing I have started to notice, is that the encouragement to "do stuff orally" is starting to be interpreted " there is little need to get the words on paper". I don't think anyone actually recommends not doing any physical writing ever.
I can't imagine that was anyone's intent either, based on how much we talked about helping them get it on paper. But maybe on other forums or in local groups the balance is out of swing. I appreciate your insights on that into how some one could have misunderstood what Trish, Julie and I wrote.

Since I was the one on this thread who said to do English orally, I'll interpret my own words. :)

I was referring to Language Lessons exercises in general. That it would be better to do some of it orally instead of not doing it all all, as the Original poster said "Also, I haven't really been doing the English because of this and I want to have her do it"

sorry for the side track.
-crystal
TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Wendy,
Sorry for the misunderstandings. My dd certainly does copywork and dictation and other things. She does some writing everyday. But, when I'm also trying to teach twin first graders and don't want school to go to 5:00pm... well, it's just going to be better for all of us if we do double dictation on English or notebook pages. I'll have my dd write an English assignment if we're NOT doing Writing Strands that day. But, if we have Writing Strands, English, and a notebook page on the same day (plus spelling, which includes dictation), something has to give on the writing, so we do the English assignment orally. If we get tears, my dd stops learning, and getting her back to not being upset can take a while. So, I try to avoid tears.

I think for this particular situation, getting a HWT book for her dd to do handwriting practice in until writing is more automatic and doing English orally would be a good place to start. Then gradually add in more writing, especially in the form of copywork.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Wendy B. wrote:I certainly wasn't assuming that my way to address this particular issue is the only way. In fact, I stated that I hope someone else chimes ins and offers some advice!

Actually I think we agree 100% on this topic.
Great, Wendy! I like chatting through things so I hope our chat is helpful to others thinking thru the issue in their daily lives with their children.
Wendy B. wrote:One thing I have started to notice, is that the encouragement to "do stuff orally" is starting to be interpreted " there is little need to get the words on paper". I don't think anyone actually recommends not doing any physical writing ever.
I agree with the underlying idea that we can take any method too far. And when we skip things, we can forget to do things in a different way, and just not do anything at all, which doesn't help our child.

But really pencils weren't used to teach English very often at all at our house in the elementary years, and ds still tested well every year (required in MN). My son copied Bible verses once per week for his English pencil work, and did cursive. Of course he used a pencil for math problems (although some could be done orally or on a marker board), plus there was a colored pencil for labeling maps and some of those ECC science notebook pages, so we did have pencils in the house ;)

Even when there were writing skills to be worked on, we didn't necessarily use a pencil. My son taught himself to type fast (not using proper technique) because he didn't want to rewrite his drafts, so he did Writing Strands on the computer.

One year, ds scored poorly on punctuation on the Iowa Basics, so for maybe six weeks, I wrote a sentence on the marker board each day and told him how many errors to find. I realized that his problem was not being able to edit a written test, rather than not understanding punctuation. The marker board solved the testing problem. These days, now that he uses more complex sentences, he's a punctuation fanatic :) but he didn't learn it with a pencil...

So maybe I'm at the extreme end. He's my youngest, after all %|
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
gratitude
Posts: 675
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Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by gratitude »

Julie in MN wrote: Great, Wendy! I like chatting through things so I hope our chat is helpful to others thinking thru the issue in their daily lives with their children.
Julie
It was helpful to me! I have been thinking through some of these issues lately and it helped me to read the discussion! :)
RachelT
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by RachelT »

Well, I'm just catching up here on the message board and coming in on this thread a little late, but I thought that I would agree with this idea from Trish.
TriciaMR wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:49 pmI think for this particular situation, getting a HWT book for her dd to do handwriting practice in until writing is more automatic and doing English orally would be a good place to start. Then gradually add in more writing, especially in the form of copywork.
Most of you already know that my son is dyslexic (reading/spelling disability) and dysgraphic (handwriting disability). Dysgraphia is more of the physical act of writing and the mechanics of doing it, while dyslexia is a range of difficulties with spelling and reading. He was only able to copy things in 2nd grade and 3rd grade. (He had to trace written words in 1st grade). Handwriting Without Tears is the BEST writing program for any student who is challenged with handwriting and the mechanics of it. It has been great for my dd who has no problems with writing, too.

We did almost all of Language Lessons orally. I felt guilty about it, then I saw in some material from our Barton Reading and Spelling system (designed for dyslexic/dysgrachic learners) that Mrs. Barton doesn't even recommend beginning an English or Language Arts program until her students have completed Level 4, which we are nearing the end of now. Then I finally felt like I HAD done the right thing! For once, "I felt a little ahead of the game" because the oral lessons have been pretty easy for him! He is right "on track" in his English lessons. That is one big reason why MFW has worked so well for us, because we can do English, history, geography, music history and appreciation, art appreciation and science all together and I can read anything for him that he can't read on his own, yet, although that has also improved tremendously! (I am not saying that your child has either of these disabilities, but that HWT and oral Language Lessos really works!)

This year, I chose to order a workbook version of Language Lessons with room to write directly in the book. After having him work on a typing software program for about 2 years, he also prefers to type over writing by hand. It works for him and he can edit his work instead of having to use an eraser. We are still using HWT for cursive handwriting instruction and practice. In the long run, though, I think he will type most things and in this era, more and more work needs to be done on computers anyway. So, I'm also putting my "plug" in for getting tying instruction at an early age, for any kind of learner. I think it is really necessary and for some students it will be a way for them to communicate their thoughts much more effectively than struggling to write long paragraphs or papers by hand.
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
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jasntas
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Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by jasntas »

RachelT wrote:Well, I'm just catching up here on the message board and coming in on this thread a little late, but I thought that I would agree with this idea from Trish.
TriciaMR wrote:I think for this particular situation, getting a HWT book for her dd to do handwriting practice in until writing is more automatic and doing English orally would be a good place to start. Then gradually add in more writing, especially in the form of copywork.
Agreeing with Trish and RachelT and also chiming in late.

My ds loves to write in cursive and likes to do his spelling words in cursive. At least the ones that he knows all the cursive letters. He has stated that he can’t wait until he can write everything in cursive. He has not learned all the letters yet as we were using another program last year that he didn't seem to learn anything from but now that we are using HWT he is retaining it and really enjoying it. He even has decent handwriting when he uses cursive.

My ds and RachelT's ds have similar issues (dyslexia), but typing for him is like pulling teeth. I don't know if it's the program he is using or what but I think I'm going to change it and see if that helps. Maybe it's the same as with the cursive program and just an issue of finding what works for him. I think I'm going to try something that is suppose to be good for people with dyslexia called Keyboarding Skills By: Diana Hanbury King. I do think typing is an essential skill to have today.

As RachelT stated as well, I am not implying that your dd has any disabilities of any kind. The gist of my comment is just to say that we get the opportunity to tweak our dc's work so that it works for them. For now, maybe it's just letting your dd have more handwriting and spelling practice and doing more of her work verbally until those skills are better mastered.
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
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The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
momsflowergarden
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Re: 2nd Grader Hates to Write

Unread post by momsflowergarden »

I haven't read all of the posts here but wanted to tell you about my ds. He was a bit younger but HE. HATED. TO. WRITE! I was so frustrated. Someone advised me to have him dictate the answers and i would write them in for him so I started doing that. I told him that he had to tell me the answers but I would do the writing. I also told him if he ever wanted to write some of it to let me know. Well, every once in a while he would ask to write a word or two and then hand the pencil back to me. This went on for about 6 months.

Then one morning he took the pencil and started to write in the answers. I kept expecting him to stop and hand the pencil back to me as this was about the longest lesson we had done but he just kept on writing. When we were all finished I praised him profusely for the great job he had done. He leaned back in his chair and said, "I thought I would give you a break, mom."

Well, from then on he has done most of his writing. When I sensed that he was getting stressed I would offer to do it but now he does it all. If there is over kill in the writing department we do some or all of an area orally but the major fight seemed to be over.
Be Blessed
Sandy
Mom of 5
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MelissaM
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Writing Strands work?

Unread post by MelissaM »

abrightmom wrote::-) For longer writing assignments do you type for your child? My son will learn to type in the next 1- 2 years but I can see that on some assignments he may get bogged down in the physical aspect of writing but his BRAIN can do the work required. I think if I type for him on SOME assignments (only especially long ones) that it will help the process along without frustrating him or tiring him out unnecessarily. Thoughts?
I think it's fine to do some of the typing (or writing) for your ds - you know him best, whatever you think is best is ok to do. The way we avoid fatigue here is to keep the writing sessions short (though my dd has the capacity to keep writing longer than some kids, but if it goes on too long, the quality of both her handwriting and her content suffers), and pick up the next day when she's fresh. Don't worry if it takes more or fewer days than the suggested number of days in the book to complete an assignment, just go at his pace. When one assignment is done, go on to the next one. (Or take a day off from writing and start the next assignment next week!)

Does this help?

:)
:)
Melissa
DD13
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DS2
TriciaMR
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Re: Writing Strands work?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

We did "double dictation" through 5th grade with my oldest. She would say what she wanted me to write. I either wrote it on the white board or on paper, then she would copy it into her spiral notebook. WS was the one thing she really wanted to use a spiral notebook with.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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Julie in MN
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3rd grader's hand still hurts when writing?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

gratitude wrote:My ds9 (going into 3rd grade) says that the physical act of writing is still painful. I told him that perhaps he was holding his pencil too tight (his grip is correct). His response was that if he held it more loosely his handwriting would be sloppy instead of neat. It does take time to learn to write as fast as we can think, and this too I know is another part of the equation. He wants to be able to write it down neatly, at the speed he is thinking it, and he can not.

The physical pain from writing has been an issue since K. Each year I have had a different solution. In K we did handwriting for his letters once a day. All of his math, spelling, and phonics we did orally. For MFW1 he would take 2 to 4 days to copy his Proverb. I would set the timer and at the end of 10 minutes he was allowed to be done for the day. Usually he had completed 3 - 5 words in that 10 minutes. All of his math we did orally. He did write his spelling tests in the blue student note book. He dictated his Bible note book, and usually gave some pretty lengthy narrations as a result (more CM style for that age). Last year in 2nd grade I had him write everything. By the end of the year he went from loving school to hating school. Writing out math, ADV note book, PLL, and science was painful for him physically. I had him dictate one paragraph summary of a book he read and it was fabulous. So he can 'think' the sentences to write, but it hurts him to write it down and it is painstakingly slow for a kid whose brain and body moves at lightening speed.

What do I do? As the year looms ahead I am dreading this aspect to teaching him school. I think the other issue is I feel like I am holding back the development of his abilities due to the fact writing is painful for him to do. We accomplished about half the math last year by doing it with pencil instead of orally; yet doesn't he need to learn to do it with a pencil? I am also not helping him develop his writing abilities, that would take far too long with a pencil; yet he is ready for paragraph writing in his head. What do I do?

P.S. Julie, I saw a paragraph once on the board that your son wrote in 3rd grade, and he did not like pencils either. It was very good. Did he dictate that paragraph to you? Or, did he write it down? I don't think my son could physically write that much down in a single day. I bought him a squeeze ball to strengthen his fine motor muscles, but he still say the writing hurts. What did you do?
I'd have to check to be sure, but I can say with relative certainty -- he typed it.

My family is very computer-savvy and Reid has long known his way around a keyboard. He has never really used proper form. I had him do a proper typing program in about 3rd grade, but the next year I think it was, he "proved" to me that he didn't need to type in proper form, by finding an online speed test and beating the clock in typing the alphabet.

Over the years, sometimes even typing wore the poor pitiful boy out, so I'd take over for a while. It depended on my goals, but if I wanted him to keep going and the only thing holding him up was the typing, I might chip in. I'd be sure to type it as he said it, or I'd stop and act befuddled by what he'd told me to type when it was grammatically incorrect. I've even done this with my grandson on my lap, or in between dialysis machine alarms, so it isn't as time-consuming as it sounds.

I realize this isn't the way everyone chooses to do things, and I'm sure there are those with more success than I in developing writing endurance. I realize Reid has had a mom who is a bit wimpy being that (a) he's the last one, (b) he's had to put up with a sick dad, and (c) he's tolerated homeschool as my choice and not his. However, in defense of this kind of coddling :) my other son, a very independent oldest, did have me type up some of his public school papers, and edit some of his college and even his early engineering work papers. I know another mom who typed all her daughter's college papers. Even back in my day, I occasionally was paid to type college papers for classmates. I also worked temp jobs during college for many executives who never used a pencil or a typewriter, or did so very poorly. So in my mind, the physical act of writing isn't the most important skill.

And I can reassure you that my youngest son who was coddled in this way was able to hand-write his timed, proctored college admission essay this spring (meaning he had to go in and hand-write the essay himself in front of a witness without any notes or other help), and it was accepted.

Lastly, I want to say that even though I didn't push the physical part of writing, I did push my son in the area of writing. Sometimes folks assume that if you do things orally or in other ways (marker boards etc), you are basically skipping through them, but for us it's been almost the opposite, often freeing up more time to delve further. Probably the student is spending less time thinking things thru on his own, but he's spending more time picking the brain of an adult, so I think it comes out at least even, educationally?

HTH,
Julie
P.S. Yesterday at Reid's college orientation, they mentioned that some kids even take notes using a laptop, rather than a pencil...
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
jasntas
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: 3rd grader's hand still hurts when writing?

Unread post by jasntas »

I was also going to mention that maybe your ds begins learning to type. Both my dc started learning to type last year. My ds was 10 and dd 7. They are both still not proficient yet but my ds can't wait until he is so he can start typing his work instead of writing it.

He has dysgraphia in addition to dyslexia so he writes very little. He either narrates to me and then he copies it a little at a time or he just narrates verbally and I count the work as done. I used to get really frustrated but now I know that it's another area he really struggles in. There are other areas he really excels in but writing just isn't one of them. HTH
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
http://tammiestime.blogspot.com/
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.
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