Hello,cjgrubbs wrote:I have done IEW's writing plan with my children over the last 3 years. My 5th grade son has gradually internalized the concepts of "dress ups" (using strong verbs, clauses, transitions and adjectives, etc) and actually writes well. However, my 8th grade son, while a voracious reader, is a terrible writer. A good part of it is laziness and after many edits and me prodding him he can come up with a decent paragraph.
My concern is really moving into next year - will he be able to handle the composition work of the AHL program? Since there are no samples to view (MFW Office has explained the copyright issue there) I'm just not sure he is going to be successful with the program. He's a smart kid with above average test scores on his last SAT in every category except Language, where he got average scores. His plan at this point is something science or computer related but I know he still needs to be able to write a decent essay for college purposes.
I'm drawn to the program bc everything is laid out and gives me guidelines for grading covering history, English and Bible.
I'm scared to spend a large chunk of money to find out he's not prepared and then us be several months into high school needing to make major changes.
I'm looking for those who have used AHL with kids who weren't good writers at the start.... how did it work for you and your child?
Well, I was trying to let someone else chime in, since I feel like a board hog on writing threads because I just am passionate about the topic of writing, but here you are lonely and so I'll jump in
I'm curious what you mean about your 8th grader being a terrible writer. Is he a terrible IEW writer, meaning he doesn't have enough dress-ups and sentence variation? Or is he poor at grammar and making errors in sentence structure? Some people want more creative writing - is that where he struggles?
I do agree that writing is a good focus for 8th grade. MFW spends 7th & 8th getting grammar down, so depending on where he's at with grammar, you could consider the MFW grammar materials (more basic parts of speech in the 7th grade book, or more advanced sentences in the 8th grade book).
To me, a solid sentence needs to be first. I wouldn't bother with anything more until you are comfortable that the majority of his sentences are correct - not fancy, not any specific style, but just without errors.
After the sentence, work on the paragraph. I think a solid paragraph before high school is the goal. My mantra for my youngest's 8th grade paragraphs was organize-organize-organize. He really wanted to do stream-of-consciousness paragraphs, and I wanted to move him towards editing those thoughts into an organized, planned sequence.
Not sure if I hit anything that matches your needs?
Well, each child will have weaknesses and you may well be working on those weaknesses all through high school, at least if you're like mecjgrubbs wrote:Well, I want his content to flow, have varied sentence structure and "dress-ups" for interest. On his own he will write a paragraph with every sentence starting with the subject, lack of adjectives, strong verbs, etc. If I push him to edit and redo he can eventually come up with a good paragraph but he dislikes it and struggles to get it done.
So do you feel if he can easily pull off a good paragraph by end of 8th grade he will be ready for the writing in AHL?
The focus in AHL will be the argumentative essay. This helps push a lot of kids out of their comfort zone because they must come up with their own idea and their own supports, so they can't just do the old accurate-but-dull description type writing. Because of the age group, sometimes hesitant writers even enjoy the chance to put their own opinions out there, but even if that's not the case, they will need to learn how to be convincing. It might be a good thing for your ds.
The skill starts gently and builds slowly, so with your feedback and by the parent allowing the student to be a 9th grader and not a 12th grader, I think it's doable for most 9th graders. There are also lessons after the essay, encouraging the student to improve the essay even more, such as avoiding subject pronouns.
Does that help you picture the year ahead?