Bible Notebook - Help with writing

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Bible Notebook - Help with writing

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:27 pm

How do you introduce writing sentences?
Happy2BMotherof3 wrote:Well my daughter has hit the section where she starts writing a sentence about the story she read from her bible reader. She is very stumped on this. Is there an easy way to explain to her how to do this? She's 7. Help! I don't know what to do.
Here is what I did.

*let my dd pick a sentence to copy from the reader.
*had her tell me something about the story. I would write it on dry erase or other paper and let her copy one sentence of it. With my more verbose child, I would have to trim her words down for her when she had long and complicated sentences.

I guess I'm saying I let my kids start by saying a sentence out loud and then helped them to write it down. If they couldn't think of anything I would ask a leading question such as "who was in the story and what did he do."

In the early stages I would help as much as was needed with spelling and punctuation and let them focus on getting the words out.

just one way to do it.


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Unread post by StarrMama » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:32 pm

I asked leading questions to help her get the "main idea" and whipped out our lined white board (teacher supply store). She would write a sentence on the white board, I'd correct mistakes and then she copied it.

Now that we're on to about 3 sentence summaries, we talk it over together, I write it on the white board and she copies it into her notebook. Sometimes I ask her to pretend she's calling Grandma and tell Grandma what the story was about. That seems to work for us. I pray you find something to work for your little one :)
Wife to Desi. Mama to Hope 8 (ECC), Owen 6(K), Emmaline 4 and Levi 2. Happily serving God in the inner-city of Denver,CO.

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Unread post by mom2boys » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:26 am

We did as others suggested and he would say a sentence out loud, I would write it on the white board and he would copy. We worked our way up to him giving me 3 sentences - tell me what happened at the beginning, middle and end, but he still only choose one sentence to copy on his paper.

I also agree with the others - do whatever it takes to help her succeed and it will build her confidence and she will improve with time.


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Unread post by Happy2BMotherof3 » Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:34 pm

Thank you guys soo much! I will lead her by asking questions because she can't come up with anything at all! She can't even just tell me what the story was about so I guess it'll be best to just ask her, like you mentioned, well who was in the story? what did so and so do? etc. Thanks a bunch.......I'll try this and let you all know how it all worked out! Hugs to all!

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Unread post by kellybell » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:09 pm

I agree; give her the help she needs to succeed.

It sounds like the hurdle for her is in the retelling. I'd focus on that skill first. Being able to narrate back a story is an important skill in learning.

One thing that helped my kids remember a story is to act it out (most of what we're doing in first grade are stories that CAN be acted out). Gather the kids (or do it with mom, dad, whomever...) and assign parts. A parent or older kid can read the story and the kids can act it out as it is read. After acting it out, I am thinking your first grader will be able to tell you the story back just fine.

After your child can tell it back without acting, you can move on to writing in the Bible notebook.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).


First grade summary question?

Unread post by cbollin » Tue May 22, 2007 2:09 pm

caod wrote:My dd is good at the oral narration. just have her write down what she is thinking is a LONG summary, longer than what I would expect one her age to be writing, and needs LOTS of corrections. At this point in the lessons Marie suggests having them write a longer summary and even use the back of the paper to finish writing it if needed. Someone tell me how they handled this portion of the lessons.

I can have her tell me what she wants to say, we talk through it, and then I ask her to write it. She can't remember what we talked about and begins telling lots of detail. I could easily write down what we discuss together but that defeats the point.

In my opinion it helps with the purpose instead of defeating it. Young children may still need more of a model to work from. Why not their own words?

I used that technique for a while with my kids. I'd write it on the dry erase board as a "rough draft". We would edit it together so that it was doable when writing. Then child would put "final" version on paper. Some children just aren't ready for writing down as quickly as they think. come to think of it, I can't type as fast as I think.

If she still needs those learning steps, then use them. Nothing wrong with that. :)


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this is what we did

Unread post by Heidi » Tue May 22, 2007 4:13 pm

My ds could orally narrate nearly word for word (still can); but, when it came to writing it down here is what finally worked for he and I , then for my daughter (only with her she needed to draw first, write the summary second, then orally narrate it to me):

1. I started with his long narration - let him have at it

2. a) I then would ask: "What is the most important thing that happened that if we said only that we would know what this story is about. " This would take a little while and when he would answer (no matter what the answer was) here is then what I would do

b) I would repeat word for word what his "summary" was ( I did not use this word until a little later) and then ask, "If this is what we said, would we know what story we had just read?"

c)) If his answer was yes, and it was accurate - I praised him then see next step

d) If his answer was no, and this also is accurate - I would again paise this too, and simply say, now we know what not to write, then encourage him to try again.

e) The few times where it came extra hard and he stared back at me with nothing to say I would give a starter help (one example sentence that summed it up, and one that did not and ask him which one tells the story); but, only after he had tried these 2 steps 2 times on his own.

3. When we reached getting the main point - then we worked at putting it into 1-2 sentences orally first - having him lengthen or shorten where necessary. (At the beginning, I only required 1 sentence, once he started to get the hang of this - I upped it to 2. Eventually, he was doing it pretty well and we had to keep it to 3 sentences to fit on the page and keep this excerise from take too long).

4. Once we had this 1-2 sentences orally - I had him get out "rough draft" paper and write it down as best as possible on his own. We used the same rough draft paper over and over until it was full - we used store bought first grade tablets.

5. Then we worked on editting it together - checking for capitals at the beginning of the sentence, periods at the end, spelling ( I made him look in his book for correct spelling of words from the story). Eventually, he learned how to use quotation marks too. He would write the final draft into his notebook.

6. We did the oral narration and rought draft process and the pencil drawing one day - the day we did the story; then editting, final copy and coloring the second day - the day the lesson was on the workbook stuff.
Julie in MN wrote:Heidi,
Even for older kids, I appreciate your explaining your technique. It's such an important skill to be able to summarize and discern. Great preparation for college writing :o) Thanks again for the good techniques,
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Unread post by caod » Tue May 22, 2007 5:19 pm


Your process has helped me. I have done something similar but have probably skipped a few steps in there. I read on day 94 (I think) that Marie makes the point of having your child write longer summaries. We talked about the story, and "arranged" a summary orally and she went off to write. She loved doing it and was quite proud of her work. Only she could figure out what in the world she had written (not a vowel included in any of the words but on the whole had appropriate sounds in there representing the words).

I realized I would need to "correct" the entire paper and somehow don't feel like that is the way to go. It felt like we missed a step in there.

Actually, I am doing the same with my older dd as well. She is 8. I did the same process with her and she ended up on the floor in tears. I decided I needed to go to game plan two on this. But I trust Marie and her expectations and thought maybe I was missing something and that most children would be able to follow these kind of expectations. Or maybe I was reading her directions wrong.

I do feel that there is a transition from narrating a story to SUMMARIZING a story. Those are two different skills. Summarizing is much harder to do. Even for adults. And to then put that summary on paper. We had been doing what you do and doing a one sentence summary which she then wrote on "practice" paper and the two of us went through and corrected together, talked through it and then she recopied it in her notebook. But I was trying to be good and follow Marie's directions today and it just all fell flat.

I think what I hear from you all is go back a few steps and that's okay. Even for the 8 year old. She is doing her notebook as well and practicing her cursive as she writes her summaries and then draws her picture.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts. If anyone else wants to chime in feel free.


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Unread post by Ariasarias » Tue May 22, 2007 10:38 pm

I found it took us a little longer for my dd to be able to do the summaries. I remember I warned her a week or two in advance that she would be expected to do it on her own. I think this helped her prepare mentally maybe.

There have been days that she can walk away and write a summary that takes that back of the page, with no help from me. There are other days she is blank and doesn't know what to write. Some days I have let her copy the story or parts of it. Other days I have sat next to her and asked the same kind of questions I would ask if she were narrating the story -- ones that would help draw the whole story out of her. As she answered, I would encourage her to write a sentence. In other words, I stepped her through each sentence and sat by her as she completed it.

I can definitely see her improvement in her being able to "summarize" the stories. It's been work, but it has been quite encouraging to me.
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Unread post by StarrMama » Tue May 22, 2007 10:48 pm

I too have used a lined wipe off board. My daughter did NOT want to pencil write it twice! So either she or I would write it down as she summerized it. I'd ask a lot of leading questions to help like someone else suggested. She really liked using the wipe off board and being able to erase and correct mistakes easily before doing her final draft in the notebook. I pray it gets easier for both of you!
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Unread post by Lucy » Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:30 am

Hello all,

I wanted to to make a comment about this stage of composition for a first grader. Although you may find that your child is not spelling correctly or does not use language mechanics properly at this time, remember what they can think and say is way above the instruction level that they have received in these areas at this time.

MFW suggest that you not correct or have a child rewrite something that they have composed at this time. Why? Simply put it will discourage most kids from writing and will interfere with the process of learning to compose at this time. There is so much to think about when we write. We must be careful not to try and make little adult writers of them when they are only just beginning. I speak from experience here. I did this early on and it took a while to get my kids writing again from over-correcting them.

So when do they work on spelling and mechanics? At this point in the process, copy work is one of the best ways to teach these skills. In MFW 1 this is done when they write the Proverb each week. This is the time to correct handwriting, spelling, and language mechanics while they are not having to use their thought energies to compose. Later, in years to come, there will be plenty of time for correction and rewriting.

I hope that for some of you this will relieve you of the frustration of redoing every summary.

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


Unread post by cbollin » Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:19 pm

When writing we (my family) try to keep the sentences at a level that is consistent with grade level reading material – not with their reading ability level, which is higher.

Just like MFW, I am NOT trying to make little adult writers out of my young children – especially in first grade or second grade. (who am I kidding ---- my 11 y.o is not an adult writer either. Y’all should see some of the writing from her state report.)

My kids need help to get their thoughts put into words and how to get those words onto paper. The more I have helped my 2nd child learn the process, the more she has been able to transfer it to her own writing as she gets older.

I do NOT make my kids go back and re-write a summary every time either. Glad to know I'm ok in NOT doing that :)

We also do not make them get every spelling word correct AS THEY ARE WRITING. However, with my older child, we do go back and proof read it. However, we do not make her rewrite the whole summary on it either. But I will circle or point out misspelled words. She'll just correct it over top and move on. But -- she just finished 5th grade and is much older. I don't do that with my younger child. But, when the 2nd grader catches her own spelling mistakes, she likes to correct them because she knows that is part of the process. But again --- not rewriting the whole thing. It's more of an edit job and early proof reading. Again --- at an age appropriate and non stressed level. They see me hitting the edit button over here on the board, so they know that it's ok to misspell something from time to time and it'll be ok. :)

There is a balance in it all. I don't want to slow the process of writing or to over-frustrate the beginning writer. I don't bleed red ink all over their papers or anything like that. I don't expect it to be perfect in the early years. It just happens that my kids need longer than others. That’s ok. We use more of a blending technique of copywork plus original composition.

Also, in the Adventures teacher's manual -- Marie suggests that in the early goings of notebook summaries that the teacher "on a sheet of paper, print your summary AS A MODEL for your child and have your child copy it." Marie is kind enough to provide samples of sentences for this. And no, they do not sound like little adult writers, but Adventures is for students older than first grade so the sentences are longer in those samples -- so don't make your first grader try to write like that either. The technique that Marie suggests works well.

In some places in Adventures, Marie continues to remind us that "after the discussion, see if your child can summarize the information in several sentences. Help him as needed. Some children will be able to give longer summaries, but have difficulty putting it into just two or three sentences. Be sensitive to your child's abilities and give help as needed."

So, there is nothing wrong with giving help as needed.

Lucy mentioned that with her kids she went too far with too much correction of their early writing. I'll mention that I went too far in the other direction and did not provide any correcting on my 1st child's writing and I failed on providing enough structure. We didn't do any copywork, or enough spelling with my 1st child. Hoping that by showing the two sides of our extremes that it might help to find the balance point for someone else.


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Stop for writing issues?

Unread post by Lucy » Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:43 pm

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:48 pm
I would continue with the MFW lessons. If there is not a problem, it may just be that forming the letters themselves maybe difficult. This was the case with my son and at age 12 his handwriting is still not very good unless he really works on it. At this point he types almost everything.

Writing is a difficult process and as someone said it may just be a readiness issue. Rejoice that he is reading well and that you nor he will have to focus on learning that skill so much.

I would continue in the bible notebook at this time and not move on to the other suggestions which Marie says are optional. Let him retell you the story that he has read that day. This really is the first step in writing. You may already be doing this. You may want to let him draw or decorate the picture first and then tell you what his picture is about. Then have him either tell you the sentences or write them to go with his picture. This will help to limit what he will write about from the story. It is o.k. to ask him questions or to help him think about what to say. If need be you can even suggest a sentence and then ask him something like what happened next. You can either have him copy them or just write them for him at this point. Another idea is have him write at least one of the sentences and you write the rest. This will encourage him to form more sentences.

Be sure that when he writes them not to correct spelling or punctuation at this time. This can discourage the young writer and be another thing to hold them back from writing. Correct and work on those things during his copy work from his Proverb each week. Break that up into 2 or 3 days if needed.

One more idea is to give him some play time or let him do something he really likes to do right after this writing activity so that he has a little something to work toward. I was amazed how quickly my son could be finished with an assignment when motivated by something he really wanted to do. This of course assumes there is not other problems preventing him from finishing his work.

I agree with Crystal that I would wait on the PLL until you are finished with 1st grade. Just focus on the Proverbs copy work and the bible notebook. If everyday seems to be too much maybe just do it twice a week with 2 of the stories at this point.

This is a very normal place for many young children, particularly boys, to be in the writing process.


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Tracing Words

Unread post by RachelT » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:32 pm

Encouragement through review,
but when to move beyond tracing?

My ds feels like he has to trace everything. He traces the Proverbs copywork (and at the beginning of the year, even this was a daunting task for him). Sometimes he still has to do it over two sittings, but now he does that without crying. ;) I let him start tracing these because that was just what he could do.

So, for our Bible Notebook yesterday I wanted him to try and write a sentence on his own, just copying from a white board that I had written on (instead of tracing mine). It resulted in tears and a 3 word title for "David and Goliath". At that point, I backed off of trying to get a longer sentence or two. Last week we did a couple of good summaries where he would dictate the sentences to me, I would write them in the notebook and then he would trace them.

Because of the tears yesterday, today I decided to read aloud through the whole Bible notebook today and I think it made him feel good to see what he has accomplished and share it with his younger sis.

I don't know how to help him move beyond tracing what I write for him to writing a sentence out on his own. And maybe I just should not expect that from him, yet? I know in general his fine motor skills have been delayed and ds has vision issues, so I think that has added to his frustration with writing. I don’t want to frustrate him, yet I want to challenge him to do his best.

We see the eye Dr. tomorrow. These very issues were my initial reasons for considering homeschooling, so I am glad that I am helping him through this. I just don't know what to do next? In the phonics workbook he can copy one word at a time and I try not to do too much correcting, but we are still working on spacing the letters, placing them in between the correct lines and just writing one word can still be hard for him.

Why does he think it is so much more difficult to write it on his own? (It is so hard for him and so easy for his younger sister. I know we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but I am not sure what is in the normal range!) Okay, so I am probably typing too many run-on sentences now, so I am going to stop! ;)

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Julie in MN
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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:27 pm

Hi Rachel,
Tomorrow I would ask the doc for his opinion on how much his eyesight affects his writing.

But in general, I would be fine with a first grade boy tracing all year. It's copywork with a bonus -- copying handwriting, too. He's still exercising his small muscles. He's practicing good sentences & spelling. If he's cooperating with copying, then I'd go with it.

Well, I would also make sure you're okay with the extra work *you* have to do.

Also, have you also tried writing with a highlighter or yellow pencil so he sees his own writing more prominently?

But I should admit -- I'm a better-late-than-early advocate!
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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by Lucy » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:56 pm


I can feel your pain! My son had lots of difficulty beginning to write. The problem for him as it sounds like may be with your son is not his ability to think of something to write but handwriting itself. This interfered with my sons ability to compose and he dictated to me for quite some time. He now types most all of his writing assignments and his handwriting is not very neat although he can write out his thoughts. Some children are just not ready to make that step of writing down what they are thinking yet.

So just letting you know, that if he is simply not able at this time that letting him dictate to you if fine. Does it frustrated him to copy over what he has dictated to you? This is easier since he does not have to think about how to form the letters.

So I will be praying for you as you try to decide what is best for him. I agree with Julie too about talking with the Dr. about it. Sounds like this could definitely be an issue related to his vision.

{{{{hugs}}} and prayers,

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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by mgardenh » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:14 pm

My dd just does copywork and she can't do a small t to save her life but capital T is fine. No wories, in time it will come and like Lucy says he can alway's learn to type. We are going to be teaching our dd how to type and probably that will be how she will do most of her work.
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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by RachelT » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:04 am

Thank you to all three of you! I wrote this message last night after reading another thread. At some point when I was reading that thread I felt like I was not doing enough by just letting him trace the dictated sentences. Thank you for reassuring me that this is okay! I just don't have other 1st grade boys and their written work to look at here and my dd is the opposite where writing is a real area of strength for her!

I really don't mind writing it out for him and most of the time I do use a light colored fine point marker.

Julie, Lucy, and Mike, thank you for helping me to breathe a sigh of relief! Although I read this message board almost daily, I don't ask for help very often and this is something that I've been concerned about on and off this year. I guess that I was doubting myself again and worrying that if we weren't doing each writing step as described in the TM that he won't be ready for Adventures next fall. Thanks for helping me to see that what I'm doing with him is right for now! And thanks for the cyber hugs and prayers!!

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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:02 pm

Rachel --
I may be too late on this, and could very possibly be way off base, so please forgive me if this doesn't compare.

My dd has to wear an eye patch (not drops) over her "good eye" and I always felt so sorry for her if she said she couldn't do something because of it. Mommy-ness set in, and I would give-in.

Our eye doctor showed me exactly what she can see with her "bad eye" last month, and I said, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING?!" The writing she could see was considerably smaller than anything we are using in MFW1. So now I know, excuses from her are excuses, not reasons.

That is OUR situation. I don't mean to suggest that it is the same for your precious ds, but it might help you know what he's dealing with if you ask the eye doc to show you what it is he can see with his "bad eye."

I've GOT to come up with new labels for these eyes!!! I even caught myself saying strong eye and weak eye, and I don't like that, either! The wonderful thing is, they are getting help for their eyes, and they are getting better!!!
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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by Poohbee » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:20 pm

Hi Rachel!
I was one who posted on that other thread about correcting spelling in the Bible notebook. I didn't mean to say that everyone should be doing it the way I'm doing it. Not that you said anything about that, but I just wanted to clarify that.

The Bible tells us that there is no condemnation in Christ, and we must each do what is best for our precious children. You certainly shouldn't feel like you aren't doing enough. You are meeting your son where he's at, and that's a good thing. :-)

This is something that came to mind about your situation, and perhaps you've done this already. I found that as my dd was copying, she was looking back and forth from the copy sheet to her paper for each letter she wrote, and it was extremely frustrating for her. I had to teach her that she should try to remember the next 3 letters or so of the word she is copying and say them to herself over and over and then write them down. Then she doesn't have to look back and forth quite as often. That could be a source of frustration for your ds, too...the actual act of looking back and forth during the copying, especially if he has one eye that does not see quite as clearly as the other. Perhaps I'm way off in that, too, but it's something that I thought about when I read your original post.

That's one of the many wonderful things about homeschooling. We can meet our kids where they're at and not push them too hard until they're ready. So, as Julie said, if he traces all year, that's okay. Eventually he'll be ready for something more. And, you don't need to feel bad about where he's at right now. :-)
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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:52 pm

After reading Jen's post, I hope I didn't come off sounding not very nice!

What I was trying to say was that knowing what my dd could and could not see with her lazy eye helped me understand what she was dealing with.

I know how difficult it is for her to force it to work, but when she does, she can see pretty well with her glasses on. It just helped my mommy-heart know that her frustration wasn't really related to not being able to see; then I could deal with the real issues.

Proper placement of the paper that she is copying is crucial.

I should have gone for another cup of coffee instead of trying to post messages today.
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Re: Tracing Words

Unread post by RachelT » Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:24 pm

Hello again! Lucy and Julie, I wonder how I will know when to try letting Joseph do more of the writing and back off of the copying? I guess I need to remember to just take it one step at a time and focus on this for now.

Hey, Cyndi and Jen, no worries! I think we are on the same wavelength! I did go to the Dr. and he said that he almost always likes to think of the vision and fine motor skills as separate issues because many children (boys) have fine motor delays anyway without any eye problems. So, I can deal with that, although I do feel like Joseph's fine motor delays were exaggerated during the time he was legally blind in one eye and began therapy which was at 3.5. Anyway, I still appreciate all of your words of encouragement!

Cyndi, the eye drops really work the same as your dd's patch, my ds would just never keep a patch on, so we've had to do the the eye drops . The good news yesterday was that it's still helping. I agree with you that I don't know what else to call these different eyes!

Jen, I understood what you were saying about the goal of these notebooks to be actually thinking of words and constructing sentences and learning the whole process of writing and I agree! So, I think that in my mind I thought, "you know, she is right and we just aren't anywhere near there yet, so let's try it" and that's the day that resulted in more frustration. So, I am just relieved that others chimed in and reassured me that it's okay to let Joseph copy or trace the words that he has thought of and let him stay with what's comfortable for now.
Poohbee wrote:I found that as my dd was copying, she was looking back and forth from the copy sheet to her paper for each letter she wrote, and it was extremely frustrating for her.
I'm glad you brought that up, because I think that's what he has been doing and helping him to see the whole word would help in this case.

These are the times when I am so thankful for this message board and the encouragement that I receive here!
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Bible Notebook Summaries

Unread post by melinda » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:56 pm

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:42 pm

I just start my girls off with by saying Adam and Eve saw a ___________. Most of the time they just fill in the blank and that becomes what they write. It also helps them to talk about the story before they put pencil to paper. Another that helped in the beginning is for me to write a one sentence summary. That way they saw the assignment modeled for them.

Enjoy! Once you get the hang for what works with your child, you will cherish this Bible notebook forever!


Unglued when writing

Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Wed May 28, 2008 11:33 pm

TammyB wrote:He still, however, comes unglued when he has to write the summary for the Bible notebook. Summarizing the story is no problem. His struggle lies in having to compose his sentence on his own rather than dictating it to me. His perfectionism renders him crippled at the possibility that he may misspell a word. No amount of reassurance eases his fear of personal failure.

All is well in every other area except writing (both the physical act of writing and composition). By the way, I would just like to say that I could not be more proud of this precious little boy God has blessed me with!
Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:22 pm

Hi Tammy :)
My son Max & your son would probably love each other...

Max is also of the "perfection persuasion." When we were doing dictation in MFW1, I let him tell me what he wanted it to say, then we wrote it out "together" on a separate sheet of paper. I asked him to spell the words he could & I spelled the ones I knew he couldn't. Then we talked about them. This was the solution we came to after many meltdowns. It worked for us. In our situation, the meltdowns were not worth it. IMO, dictation can be improved/perfected later. HTH! :)

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Unread post by Lucy » Wed May 28, 2008 11:34 pm

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:22 pm

Here is my take on it based the experience I have had with my son, who is now 12 (13 in April) and in 7th grade. I could not even get him to pick up a pencil in K, except to write his name. I had heard that this was a hard area for boys so I did not push him. It was not composing so much as the mechanics of writing. In other words he could tell me a story. In every other area he was K ready. So all year I told him that next year in first grade he would have to learn to write. He did but it was a struggle. He basically dictated to me through the middle of 3rd grade at which point I began to for lack of a better word wean him from my writing his compositions for him.

His handwriting is still not very good and try as I have he just has not improved much. When he tries really hard and writes slowly he does well but that is not much of the time. Most of his 4th grade year he wrote everything on paper and I only made him write when he needed to. He learned to type and that is how he composes almost everything now.

I know this is long but I share this with you not to tell you what to do but to say that my son's composition skills are at grade level at this time. Does he like composing? No. I was as gentle as I could be and not until last year did I start what I would call a structured writing program. We did history summaries, copywork and writing from ILL, with some extra instruction from me. If it were up to him he would never write and he is doing well in a writing class I have him in.

If you have not tried this already you may have him dictate and then have him write at least one sentence in the book and you can write the rest. Also, you are probably doing this already but, make sure he is telling (narrating) the story back to you before he begins composing. This retelling is a pre-writing skill. You are probably doing all that already.

Grace and peace to you,

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