Prep for High School - Writing, grammar, more

Issues specific to teaching 6th to 8th graders, including the transition to Saxon math, Apologia science, Progeny Press guides, and grammar lessons
MelissaM
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Re: I want to talk writing programs.......

Unread post by MelissaM » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:02 pm

And I'm going to tag on one more thing for homemama and anyone who is considering subbing out one or another of the LA components MFW recommends. First, my disclaimer: We are getting toward the end of ECC, but the only other MFW program I've used is K. My oldest child just turned 10, and has had a mostly "Charlotte Mason approach" to writing and LA since Kindy - lots of narrations, copywork, dictation, good books to read and notebooking pages.

First - if you want to go with something other than MFW's recs, it is OK. You can do whatever you want. Just in case you're like me, and you sometimes need permission or validation of your choices. ;)

One thing to keep in mind is what I'm realizing more and more as we go through the year - that all of the LA recs really work together very well. Oh, I probably shouldn't say that - we don't use Spelling Power, I forgot to mention that in my disclaimer. But one thing that I really, really considered before using something else for spelling was - can I do it in the 4 days (or less) that MFW has "spelling" on the grid? Can I do my program in the same amount of time per session that a Spelling Power lesson would take? When I have considered subbing in a different writing program one of the major reasons not to has been the answer to "Can I do this in just 2 days a week, around 30 minutes per session?" I do not want to add in anything that's going to be very heavy or very different time-wise from ILL, Spelling Power, Writing Strands, copywork and dictation - all together they are a very complete, thorough LA program, but they're efficient and not overwhelming. There seems to be a mix of independent and together assignments - building toward more independence. And even though Writing Strands did not in any way start out as an independent program (no matter what it says in the front of the book, lol), as we get further into it, dd is able to take off with it a bit more on her own, which frees me up to pull the 2yo out of the trash can or toilet or whatever. (What? That only happens here? :-) )

I got interrupted in the middle of this post by my dd arriving home from choir practice to announce she got the lead part in the Christmas play - yay! So, apologies if this is even more disjointed and rambly than usual. ;)
:)
Melissa
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DS10
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homemama
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Re: I want to talk writing programs.......

Unread post by homemama » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:25 pm

Oh, thanks so much Crystal and Melissa for giving such a thorough explanation. ;) I won't go into my struggles with ds and writing, as I would take over the OP's thread ;) However, you all have given me lots of confidence that MFW does a great job with preparing kiddos in the writing area. Thanks again!

homemama

LSH in MS
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Re: I want to talk writing programs.......

Unread post by LSH in MS » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:06 pm

I haven't read all of the responses, please don't throw tomatoes at me. I have been on a long journey for several years trying to figure out how to teach my dc to write. Writing is my weakest subject. I do not know how to teach it. I tried several programs, including some that were time consuming and expensive.

When the samples became available for WWS I requested them. My 9th grader and 8th grader have done the lessons for several weeks now, and I am very pleased the outcome. My children are doing well with the assignments. If they get stuck and don't know what to do, the teacher's guide explains exactly how to help them and what the writing should look like. It even gives questions to ask them. I must say, for this writing phobic mama, WWS is an answer to my prayers.

For those of you whose children are 5th grade and younger, you have plenty of time! SWB says that WWS will not be appropriate for all 5th graders. She said to try a few lessons. If you get that "deer in the headlights" look, put it aside, wait a few months and try again.

[Editor's Note: MFW now recommends Writing With Skill for grades 7-8!]
Lori

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years

cbollin

High School Writing

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:28 pm

Jenniferhokie wrote:My son will be 14 this summer and will be starting the MFW High School curriculum in the fall. His reading and spelling are both extremely strong, and we are now focusing on making his writing stronger. I see that there will be a lot more writing in the high school years. What can I do now, for the remainder of this school year, to prepare him for high school writing? Any particular curriculum or techniques I should try?

Thanks!
jennifer
here are a few ideas....

make sure he knows how to organize his thoughts
have a paragraph be on one topic
quality topic sentences
ability to begin to edit/proofread his own work - but do remember there's always a good editor behind every good writer.
encourage use of new and stronger vocab.

and read lots of quality books.

-crystal

cbollin

English to prepare for AHL

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:21 am

Allison TX wrote:My son is starting 8th grade this year. The plan is to have him start AHL for 9th grade. I am trying to make sure that he is prepared for the writing/ grammar portion of AHL. I have thought about Writing Strands, but am not sure. We tried it years ago and didn't like it. I also would have no idea which level to use. He has had so much formal grammar that I don't want to focus on that too much this year. Thanks for any suggestions.

So, I thought I might put all my kids (8th, 7th, 4th) in MFW this year to make the transition easier. But I am still deciding between placing them all in 1850-Mod, or letting the olders continue to work independently. (I also have a baby due at the end of summer, so the more independent my kids can be this year the better :) ) Then the following year I would have the oldest start AHL, and the other two would use ECC (with the older one using the extensions & working more independently). The easiest option seems like it should be putting them all in 1850-Mod. However, they are very used to working independently in their own guides, so I'm hesitant to put them all together.
Allison
If 1850MOD - that will be plenty of outlining and expository paragraph experience to prep for AHL.
toss in something like Progeny Press guide - and that will help with writing a few sentences for literature analysis. the digging deeper questions in PP guides can help jr. high student begin to have opinions and form them. I think that's good skill for AHL.

I think the English basics to have down (no matter what materials are used) to get ready for AHL:

*ability to write a quality paragraph on topic

*read longer books , or at least able to listen on audio for length of time.

*work on some ability to process deeper thinking questions

*do something a little more on their own during 8th grade. some increases in staying on syllabus in something

cbollin

English/comp question

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:03 am

Peter wrote:We settled this year on BJU english 4 with Exploring Countries and Cultures. My son is comfortable with workbook format. I need the extra help with writing instruction. Would using BJU for english and writing be okay for Junior high? Trying to get a feel for the topics covered in Writing Strands for 6-8th grade to make sure we are not going to miss anything. Someone suggested using the grammar portion of BJU and using Writing Strands for writing. Any thoughts?
Here is Writing Strands scope and sequence
http://www.writing-strands.com/scope-and-sequence.asp

remember.. the "minimum" to cover in jr. high years would be the skills in WS 3 and 4.(edit for clarity.... I think? MFW says minimum book to finish in 8th grade is book 4 ? that might not be true. I don't work for them to know or care)

to throw in one more idea....same kinds of things to compare and contrast... check out the skills set for Essentials in Writing, 7th or 8th grade. that will cover it too and with easy to understand checklist and rubrics for evaluation, especially if you feel that as an editor and coach you need more help.

-crystal
Last edited by cbollin on Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: English/comp question

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:19 pm

Here's a thread with some more thoughts on getting ready for high school writing:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3003
Being lazy this morning, I see I wrote what we did at our house already on there :)

I'm not familiar with BJU language arts. I imagine you'll have the grammar covered, as you mention. My own thoughts on "writing" programs are:
1. Avoid depending too much on assignments like "write 400 words on X."
2. The greatest asset is not the writing program but the teacher or reader who gives personal feedback - that's you.


I like that link Crystal gave. I was happy to see it includes some of the things *I* thought WS-4 brought to the table, as good comparisons when considering another program:
-Learning about the types of narrative voice and choosing one to use
-Learning the appropriate use of tense
-Learning the different points of view: first, second, and third person
-Learning how character position determines what characters can know
-Learning how the attitudes of narrative voices affect a reader’s reactions'


In my experience, 8th grade is a good year to focus on your individual child's weaknesses in preparation for high school. My two homeschooled high schoolers have been polar opposites in the writing department, so I wouldn't give the same advice for both as far as programs or assignments, but both needed to spend some time on writing. I guess I'd add that I have another child who was never homeschooled (but we did plenty of editing at home), and he had different writing needs, as well. Maybe it's good to spend 7th grade interacting with your student through one program or another, with an eye toward using those assignments to try to figure out what your student's writing weaknesses are. And then build them up in 8th?

I know that's not as clear as "do BJU" or "do Writing Strands," but hopefully there's something helpful in there ;)
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

Peter
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:46 pm

Re: English/comp question

Unread post by Peter » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:24 pm

thank you both very much. I guess no one program is going to be the "answer" Just have to look at where he is at each year and go from there.

Thanks again for the help!

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

Starting with an 8th grader

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:39 pm

kugoi wrote:My step-daughter moved in with us about 4 months ago. She's been public schooled up until now and had some huge holes in her education. I was already doing CtoG with my 4th and 2nd grader, so there was no problem putting her in that. She didn't have much in the way of grammar education so I got her applications of grammar. She really struggled with it at first, but she's doing better. I also got her writing strands 4. For science, I got her general science and is doing well with help. When I gave her the placement test for saxon math she barely passed the 5/4 and 6/5 sections. So right now we're goign through singapore and just filling in the holes. It will probably be another month or two before she'll be ready for saxon 8/7. I also got her the progeny press Eagle of the Ninth, which she is slowly working through.

We will be starting the new school year in August, and she may or may not be done with all those at that time. I plan on having her continue what she's doing along with the 9th grade history/Bible stuff until she finishes them. Should I see about getting her the all-in-one english? I don't mind if she's doing General Science half way into next year. And she may not finish Saxon 8/7 until close to the end of her 9th grade year, and I'm okay with that. Is there anything else I need to do to get her caught up? I don't want to push her to the point that she gets frustrated (she's actually really enjoying math right now and she says she always hated it before), but I also don't want her to be so far behind forever in case she does have to go back to public school.
Wow, it sounds like you're doing everything wonderfully.

Let's see if there are any questions in there... Oh, if she's done Applications of Grammar, she won't need the easier intro done before that.

Anything else to get her caught up? Well, the thing we mostly talk about on the boards is writing. How is that going? Is the grammar transferring into her own writing? If she hasn't been doing much, then maybe some of her Progeny Press topics could become small essays? Or, maybe some of her CTG notebooking could be evaluated in terms of organization - is each paragraph on a clear, unique topic? Does her notebook page flow well? Each writer is so unique, it's hard to generalize, but some students may need more organization and facts, others may need to loosen up and try more creativity and her own conclusions, etc. But there are a few more thoughts along those lines in this thread: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3003

Again, you sound like you really jumped in and addressed all her needs. Blessings to you both,
kugoi wrote:Do you think if she's still doing Applications when she starts 9th grade it will add too much work? I've been working her pretty hard trying to get it all in this year, everyday she does Applications, Writing Strands and Progeny Press (though she's very slowly working through that). I'd say she spends about as much time doing Language Arts/Grammar stuff as she does science.
I think I'd just get as far as you can, and then set it aside while you take a break if needed and then start AHL as written. You will always have that grammar book if you need to pick it up again later.

I might also look through the grammar book and see if there are some units that are more important to you than others, or some that you see she needs in her writing more urgently.

And yes, English class often takes longer than Science class. Especially if you are working on writing plus doing some reading on a regular basis. Just keep an eye out for duplication of effort - if she's already doing some writing in Bible or History or even Science Lab, maybe she doesn't need to do a lot in Writing Strands that day, maybe just discuss a lesson or discuss her latest writing, or even do some Progeny Press questions orally (if you have time). Also, if you haven't already, this is the age where you evaluate whether spelling is no longer necessary - often the vocabulary in science and Progeny Press are enough to cover spelling for the year, unless there is a real need.

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

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

research, teaching about plagiarism, and bibliography

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:17 pm

hsm wrote:I wasn't sure how to title my subject line as I have a few related questions. My 6th grader is doing a research project for our homeschool group as well as 4H. She is doing her research paper/project on Jamaica so that she can combine her 4H intercultural project and use it for a country report for ECC as well as her HS group project.

She has never done a research paper before. We are not there yet. She is working through Writing Strands level 3. She does have experience with a 5 paragraph paper through public school, but this was very basic bare bones instruction. The guidelines for the hs group project are pretty flexible. They are leaving it up to the parent to set reasonable guidelines. The main requirement is a bibliography with the MLA works cited format. She is also using ILL and with this and in the past, I have noticed she basically copies and pastes from sources. This is only because she had never been told she can't do this. I explained this to her when I noticed and she had no idea. I had her correct the writing and she pretty much just re-arranged words.

I thought it might not be a big deal to just add that to their 4H projects but now I am getting worried. Maybe they aren't ready for this yet. I wonder if should not have them do this until we are at that point in our writing instruction. If you think that is the case, tell me that too. The rest of the experience seems great to me. They also have to give a short oral presentation about their project and present a project board. Those two aspects are fine for them because they already have been doing it for 4H. Sorry for the long rambling post. Help? :~
Hi Lori,
You know I always like to chime in on writing threads. However, I hope my (usually long) replies don't intimidate others from chiming in as well. I like group conversations :)
hsm wrote:1. What do you consider reasonable length and quality of paper for 6th grader with this level of writing experience?
My youngest did the EX1850 State Report around 6th grade or early 7th. To me, it was basically a series of paragraphs. He had a paragraph about the flag, one about the seal, one about tourist sites, etc etc.

I did have him choose one area to look more like a "report" than just a paragraph. He chose the "history" part of the state report. This history portion was not high school level writing, but it was a chance to work on organizing his writing in a logical sequence, balancing his writing so he had a similar amount of information on all of his topics, and bringing some supporting details into his writing.

His paper ended up being a lot of pages but not a lot of writing, if that makes sense. Every page had a large picture or a graph type of thing, which bulked it up. He also had a title page and a bibliography for the whole paper, but his references weren't standard format they were his own style. He did include every little source, even the MFW state page on Minnesota LOL.
hsm wrote:My 3rd grader is also doing a project. How much writing would you expect from her? She is doing her paper/project on rabbit care.
When youngest was about 3rd grade, we grouped several PLL lessons together for a report on his cat. He used Power Point and took photos of different parts of his cat.

I looked at his writing then as more a series of sentences. There was a sentence (or 2) about the cat's paws, her fur, her activities, etc. The photos helped connect the sentences together, so not sure how that would look in a text-only report, but the idea is just that the paper was a sequence of sentences more than developed paragraphs.
hsm wrote:2. How do I teach her how to write a research paper before we are there in our curriculum? I don't expect perfection at this point, just an introduction, I guess. A second question here would be in regards to bibliography cards during research. Have you used this method? I was thinking to have her take notes on index cards with the source listed on the card as well. But then....see next question.
You could use the EX1850 state report guide, which has an intro to the index card method, etc. There is also a similar project in WHL (10th grade high school), so it won't be the last opportunity.

To be very honest, my son has taken 7 college classes now and has not used the index card method at all. I don't really like the new ways, but now our librarians even send kids straight to the computer to do their research. My son had to specifically tell one librarian that he thought his mom wanted him to come out of the library with a book in his hand LOL. I do agree, though, that internet makes research easier with the copy-paste feature. And the material on the internet now is not just personal opinions any more; now, most scholarly journals and legit authors can be found on various websites, as well. So anyways, although I introduced my ds to the index card method twice, I didn't push it and he hasn't gone on to use it. I always tell him, though, that we each must find the study methods that work for ourselves.
hsm wrote:3. How do you teach what plagiarism is and how to avoid it? I had a professor in college that said we would be reported if we didn't cite even an idea or thought that was not ours originally.
This sounds similar to the orientations my son received at the 2 colleges he has attended during high school. Plagiarism is a huge deal in colleges and some professors run papers through 2-3 computer programs to check on it, even in Christian colleges. It's great you are teaching your child about this now.

As for how to tell about vague ideas, one of the colleges said that if you got an idea that did not come from inside your brain, even if it came from a conversation with your mom, then you should credit your mom. This made sense to me - just write your paper, and then make note of any time that you got an idea from outside your own brain and add it as a reference. The side benefit to this habit is that often college professors *require* you to have a lot of different sources, so remembering all these sources can actually help you build your "works cited" page effortlessly. Even the Bible or a TV show can be in your list of sources, and a large number of sources will make your work appear well researched!

Each of my 3 kids has been a completely different writer, and I have never wanted to change their "voice" so much as to help them use that voice so that others could understand their message. Anyways, I do have one child similar to your dd. My middle dd is my "encyclopedia quoter." Deep down, I think she felt she must be "correct" and that being correct couldn't possibly come from her own brain; good info had to be memorized accurately from a text.

This student was a headache until I had my youngest, and he was most comfortable just making stuff up, so then I went back to appreciating my encyclopedia quoter far more LOL :~

Anyways, I think a report is a difficult setting for breaking out of this mindset. Off the top of my head, just working on citing her sources may be the most productive way for her to deal with a "report."

Fortunately, very little college and even workplace writing is in the form of a "report." Occasionally a "summary" might be required, and then your dd's method of basically quoting various sources may work fine, as long as she cites her sources.

However, the vast majority of writing needs to have something original to say - a writer researches an issue, surveys various sources, and then comes to her own conclusion and tries to convince the reader why she is correct. That will be where your dd really gets pushed out of her comfort zone. I tell my kids that if I want to know what the encyclopedia says, I will read the encyclopedia. I am reading their writing to see what new light THEY will shed on the topic, what conclusions THEY draw from all the confusing ideas out there. Again your dd may have lots of quotes, but when she gets to high school essay writing, she will be forced to learn how to state her own case. Fortunately, MFW high school starts out gently in 9th grade and pulls the student up to this level. It isn't expected in 6th grade.

Hoping there is some reassurance and maybe a random helpful idea in there,
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

marmiemama
Posts: 3
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Re: research, teaching about plagiarism, and bibliography

Unread post by marmiemama » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:44 pm

Great thoughts, Julie! I'm looking forward to the writing aspects of MFW in the fall when I bring my other kiddos into the program. Up to this point, we have done a mish-mash of writing methods, with IEW at the core of it all. I received Writing Strands 3 and 4 last week, so I am going to bring my 6th and 7th grader into that starting tomorrow.
Thank you also, for sharing some aspects of college writing. So would you say that the majority of writing in college is essay writing? What is the average length expected per paper?
May the Lord bless your day abundantly!
Lisa...wife for 21 years to my wonderful Gerard
mama to...
Eloise...graduating 2014!
Sophie...10th Notgrass
Lily...7th Notgrass
Ruby...6th Notgrass
Joshua...K (MFW K)

Julie in MN
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Re: research, teaching about plagiarism, and bibliography

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:55 pm

marmiemama wrote:So would you say that the majority of writing in college is essay writing? What is the average length expected per paper?
Well, sort-of. Now my ds has limited experience as he only takes courses as dual enrollment during high school, and some of his courses have been math courses, but in general I'd say papers are more towards essays than reports, in terms of the writer having to make a stand on a topic (with supporting reasons), but not always your typical idea of an essay. And not "reports" of the style that just contain info anyone could look up.

Well, that's convoluted. Here's what I've seen:

1. Communication course had many personal learning summaries, how did this impact you, how did you see these techniques in the world around you, etc. This was a couple of pages every week and a 10+ page paper at the end.

2. Bioethics course had of course many lab reports, but also 3-4 papers where the student showed understanding of the science behind a group of biotechnology type issues (end-of-life issues, beginning-of-life issues, etc), and the ethical controversies involved, as well as making his own conclusions about best practices with supporting reasons (a Christian college, where the Bible could be one of the supporting sources).

3. Psychology course had papers researching specific areas of psychology, current treatments, etc., so sort-of like a report but with some personal observations, class & field trip information expected to be included, and essay-type conclusions.

4. Latin course had papers that more involved translations and interpretations LOL.

I would say the "average" length has been 6 pages, plus title page and works cited page. Professors seem to vary from very particular to very loose, but there occasionally can be points taken off for small issues such as margin size or line spacing; it may be hard to get an A if you don't follow the instructions exactly.

My oldest son went to engineering college and is an engineer now. He still occasionally sends me a paper to edit for him, sometimes one that he has to present in front of a group. Those tend to involve research on a new method or a recent event, but also definitely involve the conclusions that *he* has made, so they use basic essay techniques as well (thesis, support, conclusion).

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

hsm
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Re: research, teaching about plagiarism, and bibliography

Unread post by hsm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:12 am

Julie,

What you said was very helpful. Having her write a series of paragraphs (6th grader) and a series of sentences (3rd grader) is a great way to look at it. That is basically what I am looking for in this project. I am not looking for an opinion from them on the topics. They really just need to give us information on the chosen topic. Since oldest is doing a report on a country, I think I will buy Writing a Country Report. It sounds like it has what I am looking for...how to research, cite works, etc. They will also be putting together presentation boards which could be similar to the pictures your ds put in his reports. Can you tell me which PLL lessons you used for the cat report? I wonder if that idea would work for her rabbit paper.

I agree with you on not liking the new ways of doing things. I am old school in that I like to have them go to a real life library and use real life books to get their information. While it may be a dying technique, I want them to know how to do it. I remember doing my research in college with...gasp..encyclopedias.... you know, the real kind? ;) Being that my kids are growing up in the age of the internet sources, they are of course more comfortable using that for research which really is okay but I want them to at least have experience with the old school method.

Thank you so much for all of your tips. I think as far as writing a basic report she will be okay with some guidance. Based on what you said I think we will focus on the research aspect and citing sources. I wasn't sure about my dd8, but if I view it as a series of sentences that is much more manageable and less intimidating. She can handle that. And thanks for recommending the state report source. I hadn't thought of that. I thought it was only an info gathering resource. I didn't know it had more to it than that.
Julie in MN wrote:However, the vast majority of writing needs to have something original to say - a writer researches an issue, surveys various sources, and then comes to her own conclusion and tries to convince the reader why she is correct. That will be where your dd really gets pushed out of her comfort zone. I tell my kids that if I want to know what the encyclopedia says, I will read the encyclopedia. I am reading their writing to see what new light THEY will shed on the topic, what conclusions THEY draw from all the confusing ideas out there. Again your dd may have lots of quotes, but when she gets to high school essay writing, she will be forced to learn how to state her own case. Fortunately, MFW high school starts out gently in 9th grade and pulls the student up to this level. It isn't expected in 6th grade.
I meant to convey that she has the most trouble with the copy/pasting onto her paper when it is purely an informative paper. It seems like when she needs to state her opinion or view point she is able to do that at least a little better. I think where she struggles is taking someone else's words and summarizing it into her own words. I am glad to hear that MFW high school covers this. I was always considered a good writer in high school. So imagine my surprise when I went to a private liberal arts college and I really struggled in writing. I couldn't get outside of the formulaic method of writing like an encyclopedia which I had been taught. I obviously learned by necessity since nearly all of my assignments and exams were essay writing. Same goes for reading real, quality books and being required to analyze those intelligently and coherently via discussions and essays, but that is another story. Just glad I found this curriculum to help me better prepare my children.
marmiemama wrote: So would you say that the majority of writing in college is essay writing? What is the average length expected per paper?
marmiemama, I know Julie already gave you a great answer, but I thought I would chime in with my experience. As I noted above the vast majority of my college experience was writing. You would think I would be more confident, eh? Well, it was an eye opener for me as I thought I had writing down. The depth of what the college required was more than I was used to. Nearly every assignment and exam was a writing assignment. Most papers were expected to be around the 7-10 page range with a few 20 page ones. It was intense, but I suppose it might depend on the college. They didn't want us just spitting facts on paper either. And, as has been mentioned even a hint of plagiarism was a huge deal. I was scared out of my wits because I was never really taught much about it other than "don't copy word for word without citing". Hence, my nerves about making sure my dc understand it.
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: research, teaching about plagiarism, and bibliography

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:58 am

hsm wrote:Can you tell me which PLL lessons you used for the cat report? I wonder if that idea would work for her rabbit paper.
Woops, looks like it was in ILL (lessons 44-45), so 4th grade. I found a post I wrote back then:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 6102#p6102

I probably have that power point on my computer still which I could share, but I've been on more portable devices these past couple of days, so I figured I probably talked about it on the board :)

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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hsm
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Re: research, teaching about plagiarism, and bibliography

Unread post by hsm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:40 pm

Thanks, Julie. This gives me a nice outline to go from. :)
And, as Julie mentioned in her first response, I welcome any other comments to my original post. Can never have too many perspectives ;)
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

Julie in MN
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writing before high school

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:22 pm

hsm wrote:We plan to the MFW high school program when we get to that point, so I am looking ahead to make sure my daughter will be well prepared to do AHL. She is currently in 6th doing ECC, WS3, and ILL. She will continue with the language arts recommendations and we plan to continue the cycle in order for my youngers' sakes. So, that said, she will have finished WS 5 at the end of 8th grade. Will that be enough writing instruction to prepare her for the high school writing requirements?

I have read that the last cycle year does a lot with outlining with SOTW as well and I wonder if I should add a resource for to cover that since she won't do that year. Anything else I need to make sure she gets before high school? I know she won't get all of the content and that is okay but if there is something major she will miss, I would like to work it in somehow.

Also, since it is standard for 8th graders here to do a constitution and flag study I would like to cover this. Do you know of a good resource for those topics?
Writing
You know, I don't recall seeing this question phrased exactly like that before. Good question! So, what writing lessons from MFW will a student miss who's going from RTR to high school, correct?

Well, EX1850 spends the last 4-6 weeks on writing a State Report. So this is basically some practice in writing a report, or to me, it's practice in organizing paragraphs into a logical sequence.

As you said, 1850MOD gives some practice in outlining. To me, it isn't the type of high school outlining that I expected, but instead is practice in outlining a small segment of a reading, and just generally noticing some main points in sequence. Then the second semester involves writing *from* an outline.

ECC done in 7-8th grades involves writing a couple of Country Reports and several country summaries. The Country Report book is similar to the State Report book used in EX1850, so one of those books might come in handy.

So, those are some things to think about whether you want to plug them into the years you are doing. For example, having your student write about a country studied in CTG or RTR, and maybe outlining the life of Moses or Jesus or something along the way during your years before high school.

To me, the goal before high school is to move from writing solid sentences to writing an organized paragraph. I think MFW writing materials are solid as long as a parent is giving consistent feedback to the student. And finally, I feel when you get to 8th grade, it's a good time to evaluate how it's going and decide if a particular student has a weakness that needs particular attention.

Constitution and Flag
This is a tricky question because of course those topics are covered during American history, but you probably don't want to buy a whole program like EX1850 just to fish around for the parts on the constitution LOL. I looked on the Ideas board for what I wrote on our delve into the constitution and here's my post:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 993#p42993

As far as a flag study, that's tough. Flag info has all been questioned lately, no Betsy Ross studies any more, very sad. I know that my state has its own "state textbook" (Northern Lights, Stories of Minnesota's Past) that I can reserve at the library, so maybe your state has something you could use for that? Or maybe go to About.com and look at their Flag Day resources? http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/units ... lagday.htm Also, it's possible there might be a gem or two on this thread about holidays: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3439

HTH,
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

hsm
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Re: writing before high school

Unread post by hsm » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:26 am

Julie in MN wrote:To me, the goal before high school is to move from writing solid sentences to writing an organized paragraph. I think MFW writing materials are solid as long as a parent is giving consistent feedback to the student. And finally, I feel when you get to 8th grade, it's a good time to evaluate how it's going and decide if a particular student has a weakness that needs particular attention.
Okay, this helps me understand a little better where we need to be before high school. I think with the writing we are already doing, she should be okay. I may have her do a writing from an outline for that exposure, although I know ILL does this a little. She has been doing country summary sheets, but she has just been doing it "worksheet-style", more like fill in the blank. We printed out a template and she fills it in. I suppose I could have her write a summary paragraph on a couple of countries.

I just received Writing a Country Report in the mail last week so we will be using that for her research paper she is working on. That will be good practice and I think she will be doing another one next year as well, so I guess I am good there? Sometimes when someone else mentions all the things we are doing, I realize we are doing a lot more than I realized!

I will take a closer look at those constitution and flag links you posted. I know a hs mom here that ordered the school's social studies textbook off ebay just for the purpose of teaching the constitution stuff. So, your idea of looking at the library might work...I am pretty sure our library has the school texts.

Thanks for your response, Julie! I always appreciate your insight!
Lori-IL
K/ECC, CtG/Learning God's Story
dd-12, dd-9, ds-6

TriciaMR
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Advice for 8th Grade

Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:51 pm

JenniferB wrote:If you had one year (8th) left before tackling MFW AHL, would you do ECC? Or something else? For an independently working 8th grader. We are currently using Notgrass' Adam to Us for 7th.

Also, for those who have used AHL - what sort of skills are prerequisite to completing the high school level work independently? I'd like to use 8th to make sure we are up for it.
I would do ECC. It was great for my oldest before going into high school.

Skills for 9th grade: focus on writing a good paragraph would be the number one thing I would tackle. And learning to take notes (from whatever science you use).
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
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Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Advice for 8th Grade

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:14 am

I agree, ECC is a great year to spend together before high school, and it has some good skills built in, like writing a few country reports and doing your own research for those geography pages. I like that a little copywork and memorization are built into Bible time.

Building up "math muscles" by finishing a whole math text this year is important. Reading a science text and maybe a literature book or two that take a step up is good.

MFW's new 8th grade recommendation for writing should be a big help. Lucy recently posted about 8th graders jumping into Writing With Skill: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 61#p101061

I wrote out some things we worked on in the writing department in 8th grade. They all may be covered in WWS, which wasn't out then, but in case it helps I thought I'd point out that I didn't even start on topic sentences with my 8th grader, I was just trying to pull him into having each paragraph be "about one thing" and he still was able to write college essays in 11th and 12th grades :)
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 665#p74831
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 665#p76665

I think the main thing in terms of writing is to set aside some time by 8th grade to really sit with the student's writing and give feedback about things that are difficult for you to understand, as the reader. Even the very best writers can benefit from a reader's feedback. And personally, I'd set aside a lot of other subjects in order to be sure I spent some time giving feedback and teaching an 8th grader to edit.

Oh, and I love Trish's suggestion of starting to taking notes.
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

MFW-Lucy

Using 8th Grade English With AHL?

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:47 pm

far above rubies wrote:
Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:50 pm
My young student is starting 9th grade with AHL in the fall but is very weak in grammar. I looked at the catalog and it states that children weak in English should do the WWS1 and EG 8.

The person also has virtually no formal experience analyzing literature. We let this slide over the years, hoping that it would eventually take off, but it never did. And now here we are. We already have a couple of PP guides and books that she's already read, so she can go straight into the guides.

How would doing the 8th grade English program work with AHL? Do we work through the 8th grade options before starting AHL? Or would the 8th grade English options be done in place of the AHL English supplement? She'll be away this summer for camps and visiting relatives, so working through the summer isn't really an option, but we plan to begin our school year Aug. 1
Dear far above rubies,

You are doing a great job thinking through what your student needs to be prepared to begin high school. We want our children to feel ready and confident as they make this transition into high school, but sometimes we reach this point and realize our children may not have the tools they need to successfully make this transition. For this reason we have suggested that students who may not be strong in grammar or writing, take time to work on these skills before beginning high school level work.

You might consider a gap year, letting your student wait to begin high school until next year and taking time to complete 8th grade language arts, while using one of the Investigate Family Learning Cycle years.

Or you can begin school early, focusing primarily on 8th grade English skills. Because there are so many different things to consider, it’s hard to give specifics that apply to all families. We recommend you call us so we can discuss the best options for your family (573-202-2000).

Since you are able to begin in August, you could use that time to focus on English skills and start Ancient History and Literature in September. You may begin math and science if you like, but wait until September to begin Bible, history, and 9th grade English. Since your student would spend about 3 hours a day working through the 3 subjects in Ancient History and Literature (AHL) we recommend spending that time for the next 4 to 5 weeks following this suggested schedule:
  • Progeny Press Literature Study Guide—make a plan to complete one of these during this time. (We include this because you stated a need to develop literary analysis skills.)
    Writing with Skill—complete 1-2 lessons a day
    Easy Grammar Ultimate Series Grade 8—2 or more lessons a day in grammar
Once you begin AHL scale back to 1 grammar lesson a day (finish Easy Grammar) and 1 writing lesson a day (complete at least 1/2 of Writing with Skill) as long as there is no grammar or writing lesson assigned in AHL. This will add about 45-60 minutes to each day. These lessons are vital to high school success, but will not count as high school credit.

Your student will still need to complete all the English assignments in Ancient History and Literature to receive a ninth grade English credit. High school credits need to be about 150 hours per credit of high school level work. Our high school curriculum meets this standard, so each component will need to be completed in order to receive the English credit.

Blessings,
Lucy

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