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waitingforoct
07-01-2010, 09:28 PM
Does anyone have a preference for a writing program for first/second grade? I'm trying to be proactive as writing is definitely my own weak spot, and my son is already fussing about it. (Background: he is 6, has been a fluent reader for a few years, but hates to write anything - we use HWOT, but I think we need a good writing program to get him over the hump, so to speak)

Thanks!

wild_destiny
07-01-2010, 09:38 PM
Jessica,
I have no idea about a writing program for second grade. (Sorry about that.) But I am curious if you have used the English for the Thoughtful Child before and what you thought of it. I have not used it, but the title sounds like something I would like.

Topsy
07-01-2010, 10:10 PM
You might want to look at the courses at Time4Writing (http://www.time4writing.com/). They have two courses for early elementary: Elementary School Grammar and Elementary School Sentences. My son has taken two of the middle school courses, and really enjoyed the format of them. They are completed online, and there is a certified writing teacher who oversees the courses and gives the students feedback on their assignments. My son LOVED getting daily feedback from his teacher (especially since that teacher wasn't mom!! LOL) The courses are a little pricey, but they really progress the writing skills forward!

StartingOver
07-01-2010, 10:35 PM
You seem to be following The Well Trained Mind so this may be a silly question, have you looked at Writing With Ease?

hockeymom
07-02-2010, 06:42 AM
I have the same problem. DS is a great reader but he hates to write (and his spelling leaves something to be desired). From what I keep reading over and over is that boys are often way behind girls when it comes to writing, so that helps ease my mind a little bit. After taking time off this summer from official LA, I'm going to introduce some basic spelling--I found lists from www.superteachers.com (http://www.superteachers.com) that come with the "appropriately spaced" practice lines so we'll use it for handwriting practice also. He did tell me that having lines makes it easier, so hopefully this will be helpful. He really needs the practice, so I don't want to do an online course. I also have him write "practical" things like grocery lists, letters, scientific data for his science journals, etc that makes writing useful. Having a practical use is important to him.

Good luck!

camaro
07-02-2010, 10:00 AM
Yep, 7yo (almost 8 now) DS here. And what do ya know...he hates writing! I've taken to getting him to write about topics he enjoys. It's not perfect as we still struggle with some parts ("But I don't know what to write!") but with some "leading the witness" we do get something done. Most recently he watched Toy Story (the original) so I'm having him write a bit of a review/summary of the movie.

Back in February my wife and I attended our provinces homeschool conference where the keynote speaker was Andrew Pudewa who runs his Institute For Excellence In Writing (http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/). He was an excellent speaker (most attendees agreed he was the best they've ever had for the conference) and also gave a talk on teaching writing to boys. If I remember correctly it was suggested to let them write about boy things. Mitchell once chose to write about a certain fighter jet. Another suggestion was not to worry too much about how it looks. Let them use a pen! Cross out mistakes, tuck in extra words or corrections. What you want is to get them writing first and foremost. So because of this advice I usually start Mitchell with an outline. Answer some questions about the topic with simple words or phrases. Then we move on to putting those into complete sentences and paragraphs. If necessary we make a final copy to make it neater.

It's not a perfect solution but it's made life a little easier for us. :)

elkhollow
07-02-2010, 10:57 AM
Did you mean handwriting or techniques of writing?

hockeymom
07-02-2010, 11:18 AM
Those are excellent ideas, David. We tried to have him write a brief "book report" on each book he reads to himself (just a few sentences to start) but I think it backfired and now he's reluctant to read! Argh! I have also found making outlines and "thought bubbles" helpful; sometimes we don't get past that, but at least it helps put his thoughts in order.

I'm curious, David, since you are in Canada too--do the ps teachers in SK encourage "kid writing" in the early grades? Here, in K and grade 1 the kids are told that they can't spell words correctly yet like adults, so to use kid spell instead. I was an assistant in a K class last year and was told--in no uncertain terms--to not help the kids with their spelling. If they asked me if words were correct (which of course they always did) I was to tell them "very good!" even when it was wrong. The teachers don't believe in correcting them--so instead they tell them incorrect spelling is correct and fine! ARGH!! We are still working that insanity out of DS's system. Anyway, I am curious if this a NB thing, a Canadian thing, or the new way of "teaching" literacy. Insight?

I think the idea of allowing writing to be "messy" is a good one for now. Do you use copywork at all? I'm thinking about introducing it this fall when we start up our routine again; I'm hopeful that it will encourage proper spelling and handwriting practice. By allowing him to dictate his words to me ahead of time, I hope it will take part of the process out of the equation and allow him to practice instead on the other parts while still using his own thoughts and words.

waitingforoct
07-02-2010, 04:25 PM
Jessica,
I have no idea about a writing program for second grade. (Sorry about that.) But I am curious if you have used the English for the Thoughtful Child before and what you thought of it. I have not used it, but the title sounds like something I would like.

Deanna-
You know, I picked it up because I liked the cover art, and stupidly didn't take the time to look at the intended grade level, which I just realized is 2-3. So, I may have started it too soon. However, we like it well enough (it has enough lessons for 2 years if you do it 2-4 times/wk I think - we had to split up some lessons - they were too long). We like the poem memorization and the lessons are simple enough in terms of content (it starts out with identifying a noun), however, it has too much writing for my son's taste, of course. The only criticism I have is that it jumps around a bit too much in skill level - for example lesson 22 is learning the names of the days of the week, but lesson 21 is to rewrite "The Lion and the Mouse" after having the story read aloud.
Anyway, I plan on finishing the second thirty lessons this year, regardless of what other writing/LA program we use. Also, I love that it is non-consumable.

waitingforoct
07-02-2010, 04:33 PM
Thank you so much, everyone, for your helpful comments, and I do plan on checking out all of your suggestions. His handwriting is fine since he finished the first 2 HWOT books this year, and we will continue with that program. And, yes, I know boys may be more naturally resistant to writing - We may do some daily writing with prompts too.

Thanks again!

camaro
07-02-2010, 06:04 PM
I'm curious, David, since you are in Canada too--do the ps teachers in SK encourage "kid writing" in the early grades? Here, in K and grade 1 the kids are told that they can't spell words correctly yet like adults, so to use kid spell instead. I was an assistant in a K class last year and was told--in no uncertain terms--to not help the kids with their spelling. If they asked me if words were correct (which of course they always did) I was to tell them "very good!" even when it was wrong. The teachers don't believe in correcting them--so instead they tell them incorrect spelling is correct and fine! ARGH!! We are still working that insanity out of DS's system. Anyway, I am curious if this a NB thing, a Canadian thing, or the new way of "teaching" literacy. Insight?

I think the idea of allowing writing to be "messy" is a good one for now. Do you use copywork at all? I'm thinking about introducing it this fall when we start up our routine again; I'm hopeful that it will encourage proper spelling and handwriting practice. By allowing him to dictate his words to me ahead of time, I hope it will take part of the process out of the equation and allow him to practice instead on the other parts while still using his own thoughts and words.

At least as far as Mitchell's Grade 1 year at public school he was required to spell correctly. It's really quite odd to think of a school telling its students that it's OK to misspell words. Why do they suddenly decide now that kids can't spell? I seem to recall that most could spell reasonably well (like most subjects, some better than others), including Mitchell who was usually quite good at it. Wouldn't it make it harder to introduce correct spelling later? I don't recall much spelling being required for Mitchell's K year, though. Looking over his phonics book it appears that it consisted mostly of learning the alphabet.

I haven't done much (if any) copywork with Mitchell. Like you, I have considered adding it as he does need practice with writing. He tends to start writing halfway across the page even when corrected, and still has trouble remembering to allow certain letters to hang below a line. He's an avid reader. I just wish he enjoyed writing as much!

SherryZoned
07-02-2010, 06:21 PM
My 5 year old hated PREK.. He wanted to read and they told him you are learning to read by me reading to you. Basically would not move him forward and then spelling was not an issue.

Now on to my soon to be 6th grader.. We are going into our first year of H.S. His handwriting is AWFUL. Now i get some people can not write super neat. However, they would NEVER correct him on his handwriting. His 8's look like q's in cursive. So now I am having to correct his horrible handwriting. I think that neatness should count!

When I was in school neatness counted. There was so many points for neatness etc..

hockeymom
07-02-2010, 07:54 PM
"At least as far as Mitchell's Grade 1 year at public school he was required to spell correctly. It's really quite odd to think of a school telling its students that it's OK to misspell words. Why do they suddenly decide now that kids can't spell? I seem to recall that most could spell reasonably well (like most subjects, some better than others), including Mitchell who was usually quite good at it. Wouldn't it make it harder to introduce correct spelling later?"

YES!! It's a crazy theory (maybe it helps explain why NB is consistently at the bottom of the educational tier in Canada?!). I am glad to hear that it isn't the new standard everywhere.

SherryZ: we had a similar issue with DS's K teacher telling him he couldn't read. I got so sick of it I finally sent him to school with a book to read to his classmates. She still thought he had just memorized it, so I kept sending books. She finally got it, but continued to try to hold him back. Grade 1 was no better. Why must schools try to fit all the kids into one tiny box when it's clear that everyone learns at their own pace--and should be encouraged to do so?

hjdong
07-02-2010, 07:58 PM
DS enjoys "real life" writing, like postcards to people, a journal when he wants to, what he calls his "super spy book," which is just things writeen down he doesn't want to forget (like, math facts and the like). Basically, if I suggest it, he doesn't want to write it. If he thinks of it, brilliance.