4littlehearts wrote:How would you start preparing your dc in 8th grade for the amount of writing in the first year of MFW high school? My dd is not a prolific writer by any means. She has struggled with this subject the most. Any suggestions for getting her ready for high school writing??? She is using ECC.
If your 8th grader is doing ECC, then there is a lot of opportunity for writing in the country summary area. Those don't have to be more than a sentence or so under each heading, but they could be more if you want to focus on writing. Or, use the longer country report book, and gradually build on that over the year.
MFW writing recommendations are also an excellent tool for working on different writing skills, and it is easy to overlook it when you get busy with 7-8th grade science, math, and grammar.
Each child has different strengths & weaknesses, so without knowing your child I'll share my focus areas with my recent 8th grader:
1. Write (or edit your writing) every day. You can even make this a part of your grid so you don't forget. Ds needed to develop some writing endurance
(He did all of this on the keyboard.)
2. Work on paragraphs. Get them organized -- that was my mantra in 8th grade, "Organize, organize, organize." Make sure they have a point, or a topic. What is the paragraph *about*? It should be easy to say in a word or two, "This paragraph is about a cat's paws, this one is about eyes..." Or, "This paragraph is about state parks, this one is about natural resources..." Then make sure it is all about that topic, and that the reader (you) can follow the ideas on that topic throughout the paragraph.
3. I discussed grammar as I saw a need. It's always a challenge for me not to correct every jot, but I'm sure it's best not to. Start with the basics -- punctuate the end of every sentence, only use capital letters for a reason (proper names, beginning of sentences). I think by high school they have to not be spending time on those elementary issues, so I'd force the issue. Then move on to picking one tense throughout the writing -- probably the present tense, because that's the usual expectation in essays (usually I have them write first, then go back and make it all the same tense). Next maybe make sure all sentences are complete (not missing a subject or verb) and, on the other hand, not run-ons (too many subjects/verbs without proper connections). You could go thru the basic topics in one of your grammar books and just have a topic of the moment to work, continuing on til you feel it's pretty well mastered. Or, choose topics as you see repeated errors. But again, I think the grammar focus is risky because it can destroy all love of writing. Probably best to make this a minor area unless you really feel the child is producing poor grammar. If so, often it helps when I tutor to point out that the child speaks with proper grammar, so they should read their sentences aloud to themselves (slowly enough to really read what they really wrote, not what they *think* they wrote) and they will often recognize where they went wrong without help.
4. We worked on self-editing. This is still a challenge for my youngest even in 9th, who just wants to wing-it for everything. I know he can hire an editor in college, but really in life it will help if he can boost this skill. One year, I wrote a sentence on a marker board each day and told my ds how many errors there were (ala The Great Editing Adventure), and that helped get him going on editing. But he's a kid who would rather think of a new idea than work on an old one
My older dd didn't have to spend as much time on this skill.
5. *After* the paragraph skill was pretty solid, I felt the next step was to work on having something to say -- a thesis sentence. This was *really* hard for my middle dd, and took us years, because she just wanted to say what she "should" say. I kept having to reinforce the idea with her that if we want to know what the encyclopedia says, we will just read the encyclopedia; you need to have a new thought in there that piques the reader's interest or helps the reader understand in a new way. I had different problems with my youngest -- he wanted to say all kinds of vague and random things, but needed to figure out what exactly he could support with actual *facts* and details, and what he could do within one or two pages. This is an advanced skill, and I would only work on it after the child can really organize his thoughts easily, at least at the paragraph level. You'll work on this more in 9th grade.