Writing - High School questions, Writing With Skill?

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Writing - High School questions, Writing With Skill?

Unread post by momof2gr8kids »

writing in highschool
Teresa in TX wrote:Does the high school level of MFW have a writing component already built in? We are planning to use it in 2 years and it will affect the writing choice I'm planning to make now because I'm about to commit to something that has levels that would carry us on through high school.
We are on our first week of the highschool program and my son has an argumentative essay that's due today. The writing program is built in with this curriculum, it's called A Guide to Critical Writing, Grammar, and Style, By Robert W. Watson.

But it is included in a larger book that has study guides that he will need for the year for all the different books that he will be reading this year, such as The Illiad, Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh and Greek and Roman Mythology.

As far as I can tell I think it will be enough and wouldn't need any other supplements. This program as whole is very in depth. My son seems to really like it but is much harder since it is highschool now.

Wendy~ ds 14 AHL/ dd 11 ECC
Julie in MN
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Writing - High School questions

Unread post by Julie in MN »

wendyjo wrote:I have just started looking closely at the high school curriculum and am so impressed and excited about it but do have a question I hope someone can help me with....................... my son will be in 9th grade............. I realize he will have to do alot of writing in high school but when I look at some of the MFW writing assignments, I think at THIS point he will have a really hard time with them.

Since this curriculum is for 9th-12th grade,is there a "grade appropriate" assignment? What I mean is are there some of these assignments that are meant for a 12th grader rather than a 9th? and should I adapt or even skip those that he finds are "beyond" him or do I make him try them anyway?? And if so,how do I grade if he just doesnt seem to be able to do the assignment?? I am nervous about teaching high school and could really use some help in the area of writing....it scares me!!!! It is not my sons biggest strength but I dont want to be weak in this area NOR push him too hard................. ANYy help is appreciated!! Thanks so much,Wendyjo
While you are waiting for one of the busy high school families to respond, I thought I'd start with some thoughts.

First of all, Ancients is designed primarily for 9th graders.

Secondly, my son will probably type all his writing assignments. Does typing seem more do-able for your particular child?

Third, remember that 9th graders produce 9th grade quality work. They don't produce 12th grade work, nor do they produce adult work. Consistent writing is a common thread in most high school programs, and the focus is on picking up skills and improving, rather than perfection right off the bat.

And finally, I am not sure how much flexibility is built into the writing in particular, but schools often allow several different approaches to major reports. Writing is part of all the approaches, but pieces of it might be allowed to focus on presentation in one way or another (diagrams, power point, speech, debate, display board, notebook, etc.). Possibly you could decide to provide some flexibility at least initially?

Waiting to hear from those experienced MFWers out there!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Unread post by cbollin »

You could call the MFW office as well and ask them too. Some of the staff kids are in high school years and their parents answer the phones and provide customer service with all kinds of the MFW programs. (They just don't also get a lot of time to type on the board.) Their kids are all at different skill levels and using the program.

Writing is a skill that our kids have to develop with practice. About grading -- think of it in terms of rubric grading where you are looking at content and how the paragraph is structured.
And look for progress over a year's time. Even when I was in college track high school courses (many decades ago) -- there were some kids in our classes who were more advanced in writing than others of us, but we were all in the same "advanced" classes with the same assignments. Some of us were B students in Advanced classes and that's ok too.

Depending what writing programs you have done up to now, you might consider the idea of adding in something like [Writing With Skill]. But I'd call the MFW office and talk a bit about that in addition to the chime in's you get over here. Looking forward to those chime in's.

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Unread post by DS4home »

Hello, I am a little reluctant to say much because we did the prepilot two years ago. The program was piloted again after us, so I'm not sure what might have changed or tweeked more, etc. But when we did it I found the writing doable.

You don't really see it specifically on the grid. If you are looking at the online sample, in the section labeled Literature and Comp. Supplement you see Greek and Roman Mythology lesson 9. Well when we did this, each of those lessons included some vocabulary, some comp. questions, and some writing instruction. So you were getting specific instruction every day to help with the paper you were writing that week. The whole supplement that MFW wrote was tweaked after us though, so I don't really know what it looks like now. Sorry, I feel like this really isn't much help for you. Maybe Lucy will chime in and let us know if the supplement still has all of these elements in it :) If so, I want you to know that the curriculum really teaches the student through that whole writing thing.

They don't have to know what an argumentative paper is before going into this :) That's part of what they want to teach them!

Celebrating our 30th Anniversary <3
Amber(HS Grad, Married), Carmen(HS+Col Grad, Married), Nathan(HS+College Grad), & Bethany(11th)
2020: high school US Hist.1
Completed the MFW cycle: Pre K-yr.5, AHL(pilot), WHL, US Hist.1
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Unread post by Lucy »


I will just add on to what Dawn has already said. We piloted last year so I am not sure of all the changes but it was enough but not too much writing for my daughter. It was her most challenging subject(besides math) and we just kept working through it. I agree that the instruction is good. The focus for the year is argumentative writing and we would reread that introduction each time we did a paper. It is a hard form ,but mostly the kind of writing that is expected in college.

They also do some more informal writing through the history program as well.

I agree with Dawn that I felt it was a very thorough, well rounded Lit. and Composition course, as well as grade appropriate.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
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Writing in High School

Unread post by hsmom3 »

LSH in MS wrote:Please give me an overview of the focus of the writing in each year of high school. Are the instructions on how to write detailed enough for reluctant writers and mom's who are weak in composition?
We are just about to finish AHL so I can only comment on the first year of HS. My son is definitely not a big writer so I was alittle nervous about this year. But I can say he's done quite well. This year focused on the Argumentative Essay. I felt like it gave good instruction on how to write this type of paper. This was totally new to him so it was a challenge but he was able to do it with the instructions given. I'm pleased with the outcome :0)

Bret Welshymer

High School writing overview

Unread post by Bret Welshymer »

luvschoolin2 wrote:There is no breakdown for writing assignments for the high school year 3. Anyone know what types of writing there is in that year? Is WRiter's Inc used again?
This is a bigger answer than you asked for, but I thought it may be helpful to have an overview of all the composition in the high school program. If you have more specific questions, you are welcome to call our office (573-426-4600).

During Ancient History and Literature composition focuses on the argumentative essay. The Ancient Literature Supplement will instruct the student step by step how to write a strong five paragraph argumentative essay. This essay will be written five times during the year to help the student improve their skills. Detailed instruction will explain how to format each of the five paragraphs, including how to write a thesis statement. Grammar related to this type of writing is also included. These essays pull from Bible, literature, and history to help your student mature in their understanding and ownership of a Biblical worldview. One prompt for an essay in response to Bulfinch’s Mythology is to compare and contrast the motivation of the Living God with that of the mythological gods in how they relate to mankind. When a student has to think through and write this type of paper they cannot help but grow in their understanding of their God. During this year students will also write original psalms and proverbs. Less structured essays will also be assigned from Exploring World History.

The other three units in the Ancient Literature Supplement are study guides for Bullfinch’s Mythology, Epic of Gilgamesh, and The Odyssey. Each unit includes vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking questions, and reading and writing assignments.

During World History and Literature a traditional research paper will be written during the first ten weeks of the program. The paper will include research and bibliography note cards, footnotes, and a bibliography. The student will also learn to write about 10 others types of composition in response to literature read during the program. Writers INC provides instruction for all the writing done during this program. It is also very helpful resource book for language usage.

In US History to 1877 American literature is analyzed from a Biblical worldview using reading and writing assignments in the American Literature Supplement. The Progeny Press study guide for the Scarlet Letter includes essays, vocabulary, and comprehension and critical thinking questions. US History by BJU will also assign essays. We also include a grammar review using Easy Grammar, grade 11.

In US History 1877 to Present includes one semester of modern American literature and one semester of speech. Each book read for English is analyzed using a standard book review format included in the Lesson Plans.

Each of the credits for English is approximately 150 hours of study for the student who reads at an average speed. Students using our programs through high school have been scoring well on the English portions of the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

The web pages for the first three years of the high school program include a tab to view samples. These samples include sample lesson plans and a grading plan for each subject. These grading plans may help you to see what is included in each English credit. The samples are PDF with multiple pages. You may be interested in viewing these links:

Ancient History and Literature - http://www.mfwbooks.com/inc/pdf/ahlsample.pdf

World History and Literature - http://www.mfwbooks.com/inc/pdf/whlsample.pdf

US History to 1877 - http://www.mfwbooks.com/inc/pdf/us1sample.pdf

Again, please feel free to call our office if you have more specific questions (573-426-4600).
Bret Welshymer

AHL Language Arts ??

Unread post by Bret Welshymer »

eduparent wrote:I didn't see any correlation between the AHL supplement and [the recommendation of adding the 8th grade writing book for students who need composition skills]. My ds is a very reluctant writer, so one program is going to be all we can manage at this point.

I have to say, we are midway through our first week with AHL and are so thrilled. This has been the best first week of January we've had in years.

So glad to hear AHL is going well. I would be happy to talk with you about options you have to help your son complete the English portion of AHL successfully. Options will be dependent on his past instruction in composition and his ability to write a strong paragraph. It can be difficult to "catch up" on the English portion of AHL if you are moving forward with the Bible and history. The literature fits in really well with the Bible and history as scheduled in the lesson plans. Feel free to give me a call at our offices (573-202-2000).
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Ancient Literature Supplement

Unread post by ls22221 »

My 9th grade son with a "pencil allergy" has successfully completed the argumentative essay that begins the AHL year! He knew for part of the summer that he would dive into the year with a writing assignment. I had wondered how that would go... I expected tears and shouts and not completing on time.

I did work with him: We read the guide together and I continued to help him by serving as his secretary through part of the rough draft writing process. Once he was able to decide what points to make (which is hard for all writers!) he was able to work quite easily. I think Mr. Watson's concise, clear, encouraging guide was a BIG part of his success!

I have seen that many people are considering other ways to do writing instead of using the literature guide provided with AHL. I would recommend you work through it WITH your child, modeling what good habits your child needs to learn, rather than scrapping it. I see as the year goes on that the grammar part of the guide is used to "fix" essays written for the various books read for AHL. This is a "real way" to use the grammar we have been pouring into our kids in the abstract. I know I don't want my son to miss this!

Thank you to Julie and Crystal for sharing all the wisdom of the years! Your encouragement is a blessing!

Linda in northern MN
Julie in MN wrote:Hi "up North" there, Linda!
So happy to read your post. I so agree with you about AHL. Thanks for the encouraging post!
Yay for pencil-phobic boys who've made it up to the high school level !!
Julie in MN
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Can WWS 2 be completed with AHL?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

TammyB wrote:My son is doing fabulously with Writing with Skill 1 and says it is the best writing program I could have possibly chosen for him. :) (That is not a light statement from him!)

I would really like the option of continuing this series. How feasible is this?
Hi Tammy
That's so encouraging to hear how well your son is responding to WWS!

First of all, if he still has another 1.5 years to complete WWS-1, I might wait and see. As for MFW high school, I guess I'd hold back on WWS-2 as you begin AHL, and I'd pick up WWS-2 if you see a need either that year or in the following years.

The thing I don't like kids to miss in AHL is learning to evaluate and compare ancient literature to the Old Testament, based on real facts and readings. This is just a first step in apologetics but I think an important one to prepare for the day when folks might say, oh, the crazy events in the Odyssey are no different than the pillar of salt in the Bible, and your son will actually have read both and written some preliminary arguments. There are approximately six argumentative essays in AHL, and they start off very gradually.

The other thing I worry about in AHL is that big leap to high school level work in all subjects, work that doesn't go away if it isn't completed. Adding more work in the beginning can sabotage success for some.

However, there are some less formal writing projects in AHL, such as the history essays, which could be done as a part of writing lessons as you see a need (I haven't used WWS-2, but I wonder if readings could be switched out, or else you could scale down the history writing assignments to short blurbs or conversations, in order to make room for extra writing assignments). The following years will have even more flexible assignments, in my opinion, at least as far as the requirements and format, so I wouldn't have many reservations about doing the other writing during later years. Just keep in mind that WHL goes through several literature topics and US1 goes through several worldview topics as part of their assigned writing.

I worked a lot with my kids on writing in high school and I'm not afraid to sub something when I see a weakness. I just like to wait until I know what I'm switching out and why. Does that make any sense? I hope some others will chime in, as well.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Re: Can WWS 2 be completed with AHL?

Unread post by TammyB »

Ah, the voice of reason! Thank you. :) Makes total sense. You will have to excuse me. I am in total freak out mode at the moment. :)
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