Writing - Quantity expectations 1st-6th

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)
Lisa M
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:53 pm

Writing - Quantity expectations 1st-6th

Unread post by Lisa M » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:11 am

TammyB wrote:Those of you who have been on this board for a while have read posts from me in the past about the struggles I have had in teaching my oldest writing skills. We are continuing to struggle this year, and I have found myself really thinking and praying about how to proceed.

What would be extremely helpful to me is a set of guidelines or benchmarks to follow. Ideally these guidelines would deal with these types of issues:

1. How much copywork should a child be doing at each elementary grade level?

2. How much original writing should a child be doing at various grade levels?

3. What about dictation? Should a second grader be able to write two sentences at a time from dictation? What about a third and fourth grader? Should dictation be done daily?

I have got to get some concrete goals in mind so that I know what I am working toward. Anyone care to discuss this with me? Thanks,
Tammy
You will probably receive as many different guidelines as there are people on this board:-) But I'll start off the discussion with my opinion.

I appreciate where you are...I have been there. It is so hard to know if you are doing things "right". As a mom of four kids, I have had the benefit of seeing things work out over time. Remember the ultimate goal - for us, it is children who communicate effectively (including through writing) and reason well. They have 12 years to get there!

You really need to gauge it for your own child. If they hate to write, the important thing is doing something daily, and keeping it palatable. If they aren't very good readers and spellers, then dictation can be a brain-draining process. Keep it short. Copywork for 5 minutes, with beautiful handwriting and careful work, is so much better than 15 minutes of fighting with your child just because of someone else's guidelines.

Original writing is as simple as a letter to grandma. Original writing is COMPOSING. And composing doesn't need to be done on paper. So if your child is struggling with the fine motor skill of handwriting, creative ideas are not going to flow easily from her brain onto paper. Fortunately, you don't need paper to teach good writing. You need discussion, ideas, reading good writing, etc. Talk about the taste, smell, feel of the weather outside today; describe in detail the deer grazing in the backyard or the bird at the feeder. If it had a name, what would you give it? Can you create a story about why it is here right now and what it might be thinking and doing. All this is preparation for creative writing, without the fight of putting pencil to paper.

Remind yourself that you have a full 12 years of schooling to teach them what you want to teach them, and we don't have to keep on the same schedule as the schools. Sometimes we'll be ahead of grade level, sometimes we'll be behind. But we a tailoring schooling yearly for our own individual children.
DD 8 yrs homeschool; Junior in PS
DD 2017 10 years homeschool; graduated 2 of 70
DS 2015 Homeschool Graduate; Four year college tuition scholarship
DD 2013 Valedictorian of tiny PS; 10 years home school

cbollin

Re: How to determine expectations for writing skills?

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:00 am

Hi Tammy,
It was said already that you’ll find lots of opinions out there. Question 2 at the bottom. Question 1 and 3 here….
1. How much copywork should a child be doing at each elementary grade level?
3. What about dictation? Should a second grader be able to write two sentences at a time from dictation? What about a third and fourth grader? Should dictation be done daily?
well....Do you mean at the beginning, middle, or end of the school year?

What if the answer to your question isn’t really found in “quantifiable” things like:

An advanced 10 y.o should be doing X
An average 10 y.o should be doing Y?
A child with known delays in fine motor – less as needed.
And a super genius first born homeschooler should do X + 10?

What if the answer is:
Try a little bit more this week than you did last week?
Try to keep it to 15-20 minute time boxes.

For me, that’s hard to do because of so many years my children were in speech and occupational therapies where everything is in percentages and X tries per Y amount of time and all of that. But, you know what? It was always about progression of skills relative to their starting point. My daughters were making progress. Is Chandler’s testing showing progress? Then you probably are doing well.

Remember – we have a lot of years to improve and even in college they will do more/less etc.

Are you using ILL this year? I have found that even with my slow to average middle gal who isn’t super advanced in much of anything, is able to do the assignments in ILL in 15 minute segments. Even if we don’t finish all of it in that time, she is moving forward in her skills each week as long as we keep to the two guidelines that I listed above: let’s try to get a little bit more this week than last week, keep it to 15-20 minutes, and if she wants to do more later, she can.

I know in PLL, the first couple of lessons are not going to be able to be done by many children just entering 2nd grade. Use it as a guideline for the beginning of the year: how much did we do in a 15 minute lesson? Not: oh my gosh, my 2nd grader can’t finish that in 15 minutes. Then, build from there.

In other words, I use the guidelines in PLL/ILL for dictation and copywork amounts. I use the Bible verses that are part of the MFW manual. And I see progress over time.

P.s. A little bit more this week than last doesn’t always mean more words or sentences were written. It can mean – easier to get spelling this week, or fewer reminders about punctuation, or things like that.

In other words, I’d let go of the concrete numbers of sentences for now. It doesn’t seem to apply to my days in college. I wasn’t graded on the number of sentences. SAT essays aren’t about quantity over quality. It’s about balance.

and my oldest daughter just reminded me:
don't take it to extremes with counting numbers of stuff: don't say how long should those X number of sentences be, or how many letters in each word in that sentence, or how many new adjectives did you use?

ok....
2. How much original writing should a child be doing at various grade levels?
How motivated are they? Are they using MFW – it gives you assignments for various grade levels. Some children want to do more – let them.

Curious, have you asked the MFW office how any of them determined progress in keeping faithful to Marie's detailed instructive writing approach? I wonder if they might have an answer how it works in their homes to go from philosophy to application. If you are using MFW recommendations, maybe it's helpful to have those missing connecting pieces.

-crystal

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Re: How to determine expectations for writing skills?

Unread post by TammyB » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:52 pm

Hi, Lisa, Right now Chandler (fourth grade) is doing short copywork about two or three times a week (Hero Tales character traits, Scripture, some ILL) and doing dictation of sentences that I am writing based on his spelling words. He does one sentence a day about three times a week. He has done almost no written narration. (What was included in PLL we did orally.)


Hi, Crystal, Thanks for chatting with me. :) Sometimes this writing and spelling thing gets really discouraging for me. We are using ILL and have been spending about 20 minutes a day three days a week on it.

Hubby needs me. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: How to determine expectations for writing skills?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:29 pm

TammyB wrote:1. How much copywork should a child be doing at each elementary grade level?

2. How much original writing should a child be doing at various grade levels?

3. What about dictation? Should a second grader be able to write two sentences at a time from dictation? What about a third and fourth grader? Should dictation be done daily?
Tammy,
Agreeing with the others that these things are impossible to quantify. However, I'll give it a shot. My description is for a boy & he has never liked to physically write but deep down does have good language skills.

1. My ds has only done MFW Bible copywork & the very occasional other MFW-recommended copywork (a poem one year, science notebooking in another, etc). And sometimes he has spread the "pain" of this small amount of copywork out over the week, no matter what age he was. He doesn't like the pencil :~

2. My son has basically just done MFW recommendations for "composition," including PLL/ILL, Writing Strands, history notebooking, letter writing, science pages, etc. Sometimes I substituted (had him write what he learned in co-op or make a missionary page, but he rarely wrote down anything in PLL and skipped some science pages in ECC, etc.). But overall, I'd say I stuck with the general quantity of "composition" in MFW. This has worked well for us. Rather than add more stuff, we just spent more time on individual lessons in Writing Strands & such, if needed. I think it was in 5th grade that I decided ds must actually write down (or usually type) something every single day, but it could be from any subject during his day. Before that, I felt an oral composition was generally just as high quality as a written one, and I didn't have a lot of students to manage, so doing things orally worked for us.

3. Can't help you on dictation. Shhh... we've never done it. Kids who are good spellers & have good language skills can often spend their time on other things rather than some of the repetitious things, though doing this with dictation is a little controversial. I did have to backtrack & work on the alphabet & basic phonics because ds had learned to read by memorization, so it was nice not to do spelling or dictation during this time.

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

my3boys
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Re: How to determine expectations for writing skills?

Unread post by my3boys » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:39 am

TammyB wrote: Right now Chandler (fourth grade) is doing short copywork about two or three times a week (Hero Tales character traits, Scripture, some ILL) and doing dictation of sentences that I am writing based on his spelling words. He does one sentence a day about three times a week. He has done almost no written narration. (What was included in PLL we did orally.)

Tammy
Hi Tammy,
Your son is right about where mine was last year at the beginning of fourth grade. Now at fifth grade he is doing ILL (but orally when possible), oral narration for his notebook which I scribe and he copies, and several sentences/words for spelling dictation. This year he has also started doing WS3 independently (though I have had to make him go back and re-read a lesson and do it over because he didn't follow directions - I also don't mark spelling mistakes concerning his WS work). I don't make him write any original compositions as in 'write a paper or story about XYZ' - this would be too general for him at this point and he would be frustrated. I've tried a lot of products, but the thing that has really helped my ds is AAS - it has made a night and day difference in his frustration level concerning writing over the past year and a half. It was not an overnight difference, but when I look at the progress he has made over the past year I can really see it.
Alison
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR

TammyB
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Re: How to determine expectations for writing skills?

Unread post by TammyB » Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:55 pm

My computer time has been nonexistent today, so please forgive me for not getting back to the chat until midnight!

This thread has been most helpful to me. :) I so appreciate the time and thought each of you put into your posts. You've given me a lot to think about and have helped me get a better perspective. It really helps to step back and get others' insights.

When I was teaching in public school, I had benchmarks that I could follow to help me determine how successfully my students were progressing. Certainly every student was an individual, but I did like knowing what my target was. It helped keep me focused and gave me measurable objectives. Because I taught the same grade level for five years, I got proficient at recognizing where a student was and helping him get to where he needed to be (most of the time).

Homeschooling has been such a different ball game. Like most of us I came into it knowing NOTHING about teaching a child to read and write. (My Secondary English Education degree didn't prepare me at all. It prepared me to teach Shakespeare, modern poetry, and predicate nominatives!) I was confident classroom teacher: I knew my stuff. I don't "know my stuff" about developmental stages of writing in the elementary years.

Having had the experience of teaching confidently, I find it extremely frustrating to be floundering around with this whole writing thing. I know it doesn't have to be this way. If I could just get a handle on the general progression of skills that need to be acquired, I would feel like I could settle into a daily plan of getting there, so to speak.

What I probably need to do is sit down with ILL and outline the book. That would certainly help me see where I am headed with that. I would also like to set goals that I would like Chandler to reach by the end of the year. Having goals would help me use ILL more effectively. Rather than looking at it lesson by lesson I would be viewing it as a tool to help my ds reach particular objectives.

At this point what is most important to me is helping him in two areas: his spelling, and his ability to put his thoughts down on paper. When he tested at the end of third grade (last June...about three months ago), he showed no growth at all in his writing score. He was tested with the Woodcock Johnson, and that particular test requires a student to do original composition of sentences on various topics. Needless to say, I was disappointed. In spelling he progressed only five months, from first grade, second month to first grade, seventh month. This from a bright, inquisitive, articulate, verbal child. He has been blessed with a sharp mind. All I have to do is help him get it from his mind to his paper. :)

Once again, I sincerely thank each of you who has shared your experiences with me. I'm going to take some notes from this thread and begin working on a plan (coupled with lots and lots of prayer).

Tammy

cbollin

Re: How to determine expectations for writing skills?

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:18 am

For ILL:

about every 50th or so lesson, there is a review of many things that have been taught. Maybe that will help when you are studying the book and all of that.

If you are using Writing Strands -- go get Evaluating Writing to go with it. If you aren't using WS, then you dont' need Evaluating Writing.

-crystal

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Writing

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:08 pm

RachelT wrote:Hello! My ds is in 3rd grade. We are at about 138 in PLL. I'm trying to figure out how else to help his writing. I worry that I am cheating him by allowing him to go through PLL mostly with oral work, especially now that some assignments are asking him to do even more writing, like write a whole letter(145) or listen to a story and then write the whole story (141) and he isn't anywhere near being able to do those assignments. I also don't feel like I can add much else to our day, but is it okay to do most of PLL orally and focus on writing with Writing Strands next year? Then, I wonder about what to do with ILL. My ds has a high level of oral expression, so he does well with most of the oral assignments, I just wonder how much more writing he should be doing now and also next year. I also wonder about the handwriting vs. typing because so many people recommend typing to modify assignments for dysgraphic students. I'm just not sure what direction to go in.

Do any of you have any thoughts about this? Obviously, I don't have much trouble coming up with TOO much to write!! :-)
Rachel
Hi Rachel,
I just want to contribute from the perspective of raising a normal 14-year-old boy. My son has messy handwriting. My son has never used the pencil on more than about the amount of a Bible verse in one day. I actually only started requiring him to "write" something every single day when he was about in 5th or 6th grade - and that was almost always typed. My son still types almost everything in 8th grade. He doesn't even use "correct" fingering on the keyboard, but he was able to show me he is very fast using some timed computer gadget, so I let it go.

You may not choose to be as flexible as me. But I see two separate things to analyze and work on.

Handwriting is one issue. Legible handwriting is a good goal. My dh wishes he had better handwriting, so at dad's request we still work on it a bit in our 14yo. I went to a workshop this year about the SAT and learned that graders of the SAT are only given so many minutes to try to read students' essays, so they may have an unconscious bias against illegible handwriting. However, that said, my dh was successful in life and so are many doctors :)

Composition is the other issue. Composition is a critical goal, IMHO. Organizing thoughts and presenting them correctly will help in every single area of life. But these skills can be built orally, on a marker board, or on a keyboard.

That's how I reason out my own goals with my son.
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

jasntas
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Work expectations for a 5th grader?

Unread post by jasntas » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:12 am

sewgirlie wrote:Could you please share the level of work you expect from your 5th grader? We are doing ECC and I’m not sure if my dd is doing her best and needs help, is just lazy, or if my expectations are too high.

For notebooking/journal pages she only writes a few sentences and draws a picture in pencil. Do you require your child to write a certain number of sentences? I only require her to do journal pages when the TM specifically lists them. Maybe she should be doing them more often?

Also, she doesn’t do her World Geography pages until a few days before they are due and then rushes to finish them all at once. Do you assign a certain number of geography pages each week?

My general impression of her work is that she is doing the least amount possible to get by. I don’t know how to discipline her for this without the leverage of grades to use. Any ideas?

Thanks!
Carrie
I have a different situation. My ds is dyslexic so I have different expectations for him than I would if he were not but I do have a thought for you regarding the geography pages. I know they are not specifically scheduled so you might tell her to do them on certain days and/or date them. You might not just want to hand them to her and tell her to do them when she wants.

HTH at least some. :)
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.

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Work expectations for a 5th grader?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:21 am

If writing is not an "issue" (meaning she can write easily, is not dyslexic, etc), then a paragraph and a picture is fine. (My dd is 5th, but has writing issues and is dyslexic so I have different expectations/standards.)

Make sure you set expectations BEFORE you give her work. So, if you want her to write 2 paragraphs, tell her, "I want 2 paragraphs of at least 4 sentences each," or whatever your "standard" is. You might change it up some. "Be creative. Write this as if you were writing an advertisement trying to get someone who lives in the arctic to come visit the desert." (My dd has been very creative with her astronomy notebooking pages this year in RTR.) You want her to write what *she* got out of it, what she remembers, what will help her remember when she goes back and looks at it later.

For the geography pages - well, my dd was in 3rd when we did ECC, so we did them together. After a couple of continents, we found a few that were our favorites to do, and we just did those (but, my dd will repeat in 8th grade). I think if you feel she's rushing, spread them out and assign one to be due every couple of days, but also offer to work with her on them. Show her how to do the lat/long pages. Help her find information on the animals, etc.

-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

rebeccal2002
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Work expectations for a 5th grader?

Unread post by rebeccal2002 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:08 pm

My 5th grade DD is also my firstborn, so I'm learning as I go with her on how hard to push her. I pretty much settle for a good attitude and a strong attempt at her work and I'm satisfied. (I want her to do her best effort). If that means she could only come up with two sentences for something to write, I make sure she spelled everything correctly and wrote it neatly. She doesn't have any special learning issues, but she does get easily overwhelmed if I dump a lot of assignments on her. So I try to give her one page of the Geo pages at a time and have her work on it for 20 mins every other day until it's done. I don't stress if we don't get thru all the sheets before we leave the continent. (we're only starting week 10, ECC)

HTH,

Rebecca
HS'ing since 2006, MFW since 01/2011 :)
2015/16: ECC (2nd time around w/ 3rd, 6th and 8.5 grader), WHL (10th). Also 2nd half of K and 1st for 6 year old.

Finished K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850, 1850-MOD, AHL

and 4 year old helping!

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Adding the 2nd grader into the 5 year cycle

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:51 pm

my3sons wrote:We are doing RTR this year- just started today! So far, so good. However, my 7 year old is really struggling with the notebook. I talked them through what to write by asking him questions and then forming his answers into shorter sentences which I wrote down. All he has to do is copy them. It is, however, taking him a very l-o-n-g time to do this. He also had this issue with his Bible notebook last year and so I did not make him write very much, but was hoping he would be capable of a little more now. Doesn't seem to be the case.

I read the thread about adding in a 2nd grader on the RTR archived board ( http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3637 ), which was helpful, but I would like to hear more BTDT experience. What did your 2nd grader do for notebooking in the upper levels? Any other thoughts you could throw my way?
I'd look at where he was writing in the rest of his days that week. He of course needs to write, but doesn't need to write in every subject, and at my house I didn't even require ds to write with a pencil every day of the week until about 5th grade. Different families have different standards, but I'd look at all of his writing throughout the day as a whole before I decided my expectations in history writing?

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

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue May 01, 2012 8:25 pm

gratitude wrote:I am at the end of 2nd grade with ds8 and the end of first grade with ds7.

I am wondering, after reading another post, where should they be at with writing? [ http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 517#p86317 ] To this point the focus in MFW for both of them has been copy work/dictation/narration/listening to reading/reading/and some basic note booking. 'Very little writing of ones own thoughts'.

When I saw the other thread of a first grader 'writing' many sentences for a public school assignment, and the comments it received from others on the board, I began to wonder if we are incredibly behind in writing and I don't even know it. My first grader dictates to me for the note book, I write in on a piece of paper, and then he copies it into his first grade note book. So that would be the extent of his writing at the end of first grade. For my second grader he does write his own sentences for his note book without copying, but it is only one sentence. He likes to keep it brief. He is a boy through and through in this area. On a positive note the one sentence he will write is correct for grammar, punctuation, capitols, spelling, and done with very neat hand writing at this point. But it is still only one sentence at a time, and not every day. Outside of doing his own 'writing of one sentence' he of course does dictation, copy work, etc. in PLL.

Am I far behind the schools and don't even know it? Or, are we on the right track since it seems to be more about quality, rather than quantity. I would love some reassurance OR some suggestions of what I need to be doing differently OR suggestions if I need to be doing more than I am and didn't realize it.
Carin,
My dyslexic 2nd grader dictates to me and I write on the notebook pages (we're doing EXP1850) because there are no lines (and I'm to lazy to try to print lines onto the pages!). He really dislikes writing and his handwriting is not neat. My other 2nd grade son wrote this today:

When Samuel Morse was a kid he like to paint. When he was older he invented sumthing really cool! it was the Telegraph. it coude send a message through electric wire. He noticed that it made dots and dashes.

We haven't hit "could" in spelling, and I helped with the words "electric" (which he originally spelled alectrick), "noticed," "message," and "dashes." I decided to let the other words go because we knew what they were.

But, this kid is NOT dyslexic and likes writing. It wasn't very neat as there are no lines on the page, but he loves writing his own summaries now. At the beginning of the year he dictated to me, but a couple of months ago he took over his own writing. This is the kid who wrote a "get well note" all by himself (2 paragraphs) to a teenager at church who suffered a really bad concussion.

So, I think your kids are fine. Skills, ability, and desire vary wildly at this age. I would say with all the copywork and dictation in the MFW programs, he's doing fine.

-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

MelissaM
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by MelissaM » Tue May 01, 2012 8:39 pm

Copywork, dictation, narration, reading (and being read to), are the precursors to writing one's own thoughts. Your kids are learning to organize their thoughts into sentences and logical sequences; if they are orally narrating that is what Charlotte Mason called "oral composition" - it IS writing, even if it doesn't look like what we have been trained to think writing looks like. Also, with the copywork, they're being exposed to quality literature and high thoughts and ideas - these things will greatly influence their own writing when they start it later.

IMO, the public schools do too much, too fast with writing (and grammar) and many kids are burnt out long before high school - when they really need to start writing effectively. Also, there is often such an emphasis on "original" or "creative" writing that kids are not taught effective, eloquent communication.

I wasn't completely sure about copywork, narration and dictation when dd was a 1st/2nd grader, but I decided I was going to commit to the path and go forward. And I did, and at the end of 5th grade I am often taken by surprise by dd's writing skills - she has an excellent vocabulary, and she is able to write varied and interesting sentences.

Trust the process. Keep moving forward. I like to go back and read Charlotte Mason's own writings for refreshers on the "hows" and "whys" of all those pre-writing skills that are so important, whenever I start doubting or just feel like we're floundering a bit.

HTH,
:)
Melissa
DD13
DS10
DS5
DS2

gratitude
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Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by gratitude » Wed May 02, 2012 8:37 am

My oldest ds8 is the kid who read his first sign at the zoo at age 3 and wrote his first sign for his bedroom door (with spelling help) at age 4.

Yet, at the end of 2nd grade (and he could be at the end of 3rd with his summer Birthday) he is writing one sentence for summaries and is at less than a first grade writing level, including for MFW, according to Crystal's sample.

This is the kid who dictated 3 page stories to me at age 6.

Do I feel like I have failed him? Definitely. God called me to home schooling in 1995 long before kids or marriage; but I have been seriously questioning and wondering whether if He really intends for me to continue next fall.

Thank you for the CM encouragement.

cbollin

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by cbollin » Wed May 02, 2012 8:46 am

Carin,

you know I love you.... (((hugs))

don't go there with me. ;)

ok.. so he doesn't write the same as online samples and therefore you're evil bad failure and not called to homeschool. don't go there with me girlfriend...

So.. he's 8 years old. All I see if that maybe he could do a little bit more writing than he is now. It doesn't mean you've failed at homeschooling. It means he writes less than some children. This is where I'm hoping Julie chimes in with pencil allergy stories meet "classical educators of ancient days"

or I chime in with some Andrew Pudewa stories about boys and reluctant writers?

(((hugs))). how about this? you know me... I like to help if I can... I would venture that the only thing God is saying to you is "this is a little something to work on for next year to improve." It could be as easy to asking your son to do more.. or it could be "hey, let's all help Carin find a seminar out there that will help her with learning how to coach writing for the long haul."

describe the typical writing process with this son? Are you doing like Crystal did with oldest and say "well... just write it. you can talk.. so write down what you are saying." oh that didn't work.
then, I had to learn about something that I hear Trish call "double dictation"

child narrates
mom writes a few sentences of narration of child using the child's words.
child copies their own words from what mom wrote

next time... mom has option to show how to edit.
and if you do that for 2-3 years, it's ok. You'll be surprised by 5th grade.

what would you do if it were a piano student of yours? Think of writing as an art....

let's talk this out a bit.... don't be discouraged. let's talk about ways to tweak the teaching technique before tossing it all.

-crystal

cbollin

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by cbollin » Wed May 02, 2012 9:01 am

oh wow..
I just ran upstairs and found my ECC notebook from when oldest was 2nd grade...

LOL.... it looks less than the first grade MFW notebook sample.

and any language arts from then? we did easy grammar and a failed attempt at writing strands book 2.

I got better with 2nd child... and 3rd child? I don't know what happened... she is my "unschooling success story".... I just looked over and she copied the entire verse from veggie tales or sunday school or something... without being told.
then, she writes grocery lists. and on her own wrote a thank you card.. it was in the style of what she watched on the TV show Calliou, but it was on her own..... hmmm....

if I messed up that much with my oldest and barely deal with structured formal writing before 4th grade.... you'll be fine. and if nothing else... you can do like I did this year... Oldest had to take a one day intensive essay course with Andrew Pudewa. best $50 I've spent this year. took the pressure off of me. Oldest learned she had to outline (duh!)... and really liked Andrew. It was kinda weird.. the next day after the essay all day workshop, she and I were in a convention workshop with John Stonestreet and who walks in and sits next to me? Andrew Pudewa. My oldest smiled and waved at him. I thanked him for the class and putting up with my talkative daughter... (she talked his ear off....) this huge ballroom at memphis convention, and Andrew Pudewa was listening? huh? kinda cool to see some of these famous names in homeschooling when they are just and only parents.

and if nothing else? she writes really long stuff when at the computer..... there was this extra credit assignment in WHL... the girl sat down with a story in her mind and wrote it out. I liked it. it told adventure, faith? was it impressive enough for "the hive"? no! so?

my dh and I were talking this weekend while driving back from family stuff in another city..... he didn't bloom as a writer until 12th grade. and he was in public school "magnet" gifted, super genius programs. He says of himself he was kinda lazy about writing until 12th grade. Then... guess what? in college, grad school and on the job, he finally became known as the go to guy for "grant writing" and such... and he grades and evaluates our oldest daughter's writing.

don't quit now and don't get too worried about writing samples..... raise the bar gradually each month. and if you need a teacher's course for learning writing.... I have ideas... and books...

-crystal

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by gratitude » Wed May 02, 2012 9:07 am

cbollin wrote:Carin,

you know I love you.... (((hugs))

(((hugs))). how about this? you know me... I like to help if I can...

let's talk this out a bit.... don't be discouraged. let's talk about ways to tweak the teaching technique before tossing it all.
You know I love you as well.... ((hugs))

I know you would like to help, and somehow you do say the right things that do. As the recent thread said this is service for you and Julie and it blesses so many of us daily.

Yes, I do need help in this area. Marie taught me how to teach reading (thank you Marie! :-) ). Oh, how I did need the help in that area. Now I do need to know how to learn how to teach writing. I have been discouraged this spring, but I think part of the discouragement (when I take the emotions out) is that I am getting more serious with him turning 9 this summer. A lot more serious. I am 'thinking' about a plan for the next 6 years, while at the same time emotionally wondering if I should be continuing. Does this make sense? Or, does it sound crazy? LOL. I think at heart I am a better late than early, but never had the courage to do it fully; so we have done somewhere in between...probably more than I realize; obviously looking at writing samples, much more than I realize. It never dawned on me to have him write more than one sentence. :~

So here are some samples from his ADV note book (spelling is correct, but he probably asked for some help which I give phonetically. He missed a few capitols. The hand writing is very neat on 2nd grade lines from the student sheets)
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America.
Samuel Morse invents the telegraph.
A ton of people came to california once they found gold.
Abraham Lincoln made all the slaves free.
Betsy Ross made the first American flag.

So for him for MFW1 I let him dictate to me all of his summaries. I knew nothing about CM and it never dawned on me to have him copy the summaries. It also never crossed my mind to have him do short summaries. His MFW1 note book is full of long dictated summaries. His ADV note book is like the samples one sentence summaries that he did write without copying. His Apologia science note book for this year is the same. One sentence summaries that he did write without copying, but never more than a sentence. Then the parts without 2nd grade lines he dictated to me. Even though he can write small, he hasn't done much of it yet.

So my first graders, ds6, note book is sentences that he dictates to me and then copies. He makes them very short so he doesn't have much to copy. ;) (The hand writing is OK, but less than the first grade sample from MFW... much less) Here are some samples:
On day two God created Heaven.
On day three God created land and plants.
God put lights in the sky. Day 4.
God made the people and animals.
God rested.
The serpent tricked Eve. (written extremely neatly; I guess the hand writing improved. :) )

So.... what do you think? I thought it was fine for these ages. Are my expectations too low? At one point in my life I was one of those perfectionist straight A students. At this point God has changed me.. but emotionally I feel that competitive first born edge reeling its head this spring as emotionally I question my decision to home school.

Crystal, you may be correct that this is my 'writing' wake up call. We are taking a break this summer from June 14th - September 1st. We all need it. And I am really looking forward to looking at ECC in person on the 16th of June, at last.

Am I really expecting too little? Ouch...but good, VERY GOOD, to know if I am.

Ooops... I just realized I posted without reading Crystal's post that came in the mean time...well this will go a bit out of order then. I am looking forward to reading about her ECC note book.

Does anyone else ever feel like it takes us home school moms 3 - 4 years to learn how to teach???
Last edited by gratitude on Wed May 02, 2012 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by gratitude » Wed May 02, 2012 9:18 am

cbollin wrote:oh wow..
I just ran upstairs and found my ECC notebook from when oldest was 2nd grade...

LOL.... it looks less than the first grade MFW notebook sample.
Oh Wow Crystal. Just typing my kids samples helped...OK I am proud of them...it is a mom thing.

ALL that you just typed helped a lot. I didn't bloom as a writer until sometime in college (despite the gifted program; writing was my one B in it). Then I had a professor tell me I had what it takes to write books..ahh...maybe the next life season, certainly not this one. Thank you for the reminder that it takes time.

I may need a teacher's course for learning how to teach writing. I think I could use some more hand holding in this area, or know what I am shooting for. I have been trying to make a plan/set goals for pre-high school (LOL)... six years of goals (so how many will happen LOL). But the exercise is good, because it is making me think and realize how fast six years will go and put in the back of my heads academic marks to shoot for. The only thing I have cared about so far is our bull eye of Jesus. We choose that as our main parenting goal when our oldest turned 1 and it has influenced all the decisions since. Including not worrying much about academics, but then I have started to realize this spring that they matter too and it has brought a lot of emotions out from discouragement to uncertainty to a lack of confidence. By the way we see a lot of spiritual fruit that encourages me daily to keep focusing on teaching them Bible, etc. Academics? It has barely dawned on me in three years of home schooling. Strange, isn't it?

The kids are waking up....and I do feel better, a lot better. Thank you Crystal for your help.

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed May 02, 2012 9:29 am

Carin,

Don't feel bad. The only writing Charlie does is in spelling. He dictates everything else to me. But, I'm big on relationship over performance (almost messed that one up with Toni) in these younger years. Toni did double dictation through 5th grade. We still do it somedays this year as a 6th grader when she is having a bad spelling day. And she used to try to condense things down to just a couple of sentences so there wouldn't be as much for her to write.

What I might do in your case is tell your son that next year he is going to need to step up. So, after the first week of school, you're going to have to write two sentences. And then about 6 weeks later, 3 sentences. I think 3 sentences is good for a third grader. Say you'll always be there to help with spelling and such, and that it doesn't have to be perfect, he just needs to start writing a little bit more.

That's what I had to do with Toni. Next year I will probably start doing double dictation with Charlie. Then, hopefully by 4th grade or 5th grade (maybe even later) he'll be able to write or type his notebook pages. In fact, I'm going to try to get them all to learn to keyboard this summer, and take the pencil out of the equation.

-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

cherona
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:56 pm

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by cherona » Wed May 02, 2012 9:32 am

I just want to encourage you. I think your children's writing sample are wonderful! My girls are very behind in this area (lack of teaching on my part). But I am confident they can catch up! We are starting to work on it daily. Baby steps...

I am obviously no expert here, but just to throw out some ideas...Are you mostly concerned with improvement in quantity? They know how to write a sentence. Maybe starting today have them write two instead of one. Then in a couple weeks, or when you feel ready, bump it up to three sentences. And so on...

Don't give up! Homeschooling is much, much more than any one subject! It is home discipleship. Something that can never be taught in school. And so much more valuable IMO.

(((Hugs)))

Cheri
Wife to my hardworking husband, Seth, and Mom to...
Emma (12) CTG
Megan (10) CTG
Katie (8) CTG
Elsie (5) MFW K
Violet (2 1/2) MFW Toddler/Preschool

MelissaM
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:52 pm

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by MelissaM » Wed May 02, 2012 9:45 am

Carin, I always let my kids dictate long narrations to me, even after dd started writing some of her own - I would have her dictate most of it to me, and then write the rest on her own. But that didn't start right away, and we built up gradually.

My general goal was 1 sentence on her own in 1st grade, 2 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd and 4 or more for 4th. I thought it was more important for her to get all her thoughts out than to have to write them all out herself. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that was my feeling on it. Now she handles the assignments from Writing Strands 3 and the compositions from ILL with ease. One thing I will be working with her on next year is to improve her notebooking pages, as those seem to have become more simplistic summaries as she's improved her writing skills through WS and ILL. I want her to apply what she's learning there to her narrations for history and science, so I'm going to be working with her on that - but I'm not worried about it per se, and I refuse to think I've failed in this area. ;)

(Just don't ask me about math, because I'm convinced I'm the biggest homeschool failure ever when it comes to math.)

(((((HUGS)))))

They're still little. There is lots of time. It's a marathon, not a sprint. You CAN do this!
:)
Melissa
DD13
DS10
DS5
DS2

Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Wed May 02, 2012 12:39 pm

This is coming from the "what worked for us" file. (Trish's way of double dictation actually sounds better to me, I'm just giving more ideas.)

To begin with, my dd was too young to be doing ADV. When it was time for written summaries, she would get frustrated, but oral narrations would go on and on and on. So, one day I forced myself to scribble down *everything* she said. Then I wrote it neatly so that she could read it. I edited it aloud, saying things like, "These sentences are about the same thing, so they go together." Once I did a little of that, she took over and started editing and condensing on her own while I scratched things out and made notes. Then I typed her "summary" on the computer in a big font and printed it for her to copy. It was about 3-4 sentences.

If I remember right, we only did that two or three times. Her oral narrations became shorter and more to-the-point, and her written summaries organically became longer and better.

I know that you read great books to your dc. That is the baseline for developing great writers. I'm very proud of your ds for writing grammatically correct sentences, including compound sentences. It's awesome for a second grader to be using prepositional phrases - when not even knowing what one is! Think about it -- in public school, kids are taught what a phrase is before they are told to write one, and then they produce things like, "The cat sat on the fence." Your ds is developing his vocabulary and language skills while he's learning to write. It doesn't matter if he knows what the object of the preposition is if the sentence is twaddle. Your ds's sentences have meaning!

Teaching writing is NOT easy. I've looked at so many writing programs and I don't like any of them. Writing Strands appears to the be lesser of the evils. In the younger grades, I would just keep doing what you're doing and ask your ds to add another important point about which he is writing. "What else do you know about Abraham Lincoln that would be good to write down?" That sort of thing. In my opinion, you're on the right track already.
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL

3froggies
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:45 pm

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by 3froggies » Wed May 02, 2012 12:57 pm

Just wanted to chime in here and let you know that my dd went through a huge spurt in writing from 4th to 5th grade. (from age 9 to 10). At age 9, most of her written work was copy work, and she dictated the rest to me. After she turned 10, she began doing paragraph narrations with several sentences fairly easily. (she also began typing that year which helped) She is now finishing 7th and writes easily and well.

I agree with one of the pp about reading great books. I think this is the number one reason why my dd's vocabulary and writing style is what it is. Also, I second the Andrew Pudewa recommendation!

I think there is just something that happens developmentally at some point with writing. Yes, increase expectations, but gently and gradually without causing frustrations. He will get it and you are the best person to help him get there!

Beth :)

gratitude
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: 1st & 2nd Grade Writing?

Unread post by gratitude » Thu May 03, 2012 8:59 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies! Thank you for the wonderful encouragement, looking at what my children really are doing and giving me encouragement that we are on the right track, and goals to achieve. I haven't even thought about writing goals. Yet, it makes sense to have them. Several moms said 1 sentence for first, 2 for second, 3 for third, and 4 for fourth. It sounds likes the writing takes off quite a bit around 5th grade. It does help me to have a writing goal for next school year for both of them.

I have really liked the idea of learning good writing through reading good books aloud, copy work, dictation, and writing correct sentences. I have wondered, of course, if it actually works! Thank you for the encouragement and confidence builder.

Yesterday, my second son & oldest daughter were in bed sick most of the day, and my oldest missed having his play mates so very much. When they moved to the couch he picked up a book and sat with them just to be close to them. I can not imagine separating them up for school; they love being together. Of course those days do come, like the last few weeks, where I have wondered if I am doing the right thing. I am so thankful for this board and the encouragement. I needed it this month! Thank you!!!! :-) :-)

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