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  1. #1

    Default How to choose literature arts

    This will be year #5 for homeschooling. I should know what works and what doesn't, but I find myself still wanting to get it all! I can not decide between build your library, mosdos, moving beyond the page and arrows. Last year we did arrows and then some MBTP unit studies. We also do spelling and grammar. This year I want to simplify, but want to do it all. Obviously this is a complete contradiction. I have asked DD what she wants, but she doesn't really want to pick and just shrugs. Help!
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

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  3. #2

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    If you want to simplify, I'd say just read books. And, if you like, then discuss them, draw random copywork/dictation passages from them and, if you feel inspired, do a little project about them, but if you don't, then move on to the next book.

    It doesn't have to be more complex than that.

    I think all of those programs are fine, but that the heart of what makes them good is the books (or in the case of Mosdos, the stories) themselves, not the accompanying stuff around them.
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  4. #3

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    I agree with Farrar, just read books and write. She can write about the books she reads, create stories, essays/reflections about the world around her.

    IMO, languages arts is about developing an appreciation of the written word. And yes, be competent at it. One of the best ways is to read and write regularly about anything. Encourage her to look up words that she does not understand, find ways to use any interesting words she finds reading in her writing. Create art projects, plays or other interesting ways to reflect on the readings, if she wants and if she found the reading interesting.
    Choosing Our Own Adventure with DS 9
    Global Village School - Supporting our desire to teach social justice and global awareness
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  5. #4

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    We have done the "just read", and even be proactive about it a la Bravewriter style.... and I know the feeling of "its not quite enough".
    Thats what I like about Mosdos - its a lot more focus on the structure of stories. Foreshadowing discussed in War & Peace is all good, but having a good micro-short story selected for foreshadowing, then discussing it from Mosdos is a lot more efficient.
    Having a program with the questions and topics all laid out is comforting to me at least, because I dont know it all with regards to teaching language arts to kids.

    Maybe use Mosdos and literature (Arrows, BYL, etc)?
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  6. #5

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    Thanks guys -as always you are all so helpful. I do find I need things laid out a bit. I am not good at structure and need a bit of something laid out for me. She reads all the time and reading comprehension tested at 11th grade, but grammar was 3.5th grade and she is a rising 6th grader. Her writing is definitely not at 6th grade, it is immature. She is immensely creative and her writing reflects that, but the grammar and spelling can make it undecipherable. I feel like I really don't know how I should be teaching the writing, I have read all the brave writer stuff and agree wholeheartedly with it, but somehow can't translate it to her. It becomes the thing we don't do. I don't want that to happen this year.
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

  7. #6

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    Then, maybe, what you really need is a structured spelling curriculum and a structured grammar curriculum or something that combines both....and just leave her to read whatever she wants for literature.??
    mom to 3 girls: DD9, DD8, DD5

  8. #7

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    The profile of student you're describing is - in my mind - the stereotypical homeschooler. Excellent and voracious reader with weak writing skills just screams HOMESCHOOLED KID.

    I think you're attacking the wrong piece though. You've already accomplished the literature piece. She's a great reader. She's still only going into middle school so it's not like you need to be introducing the canon yet and doing formal literature studies. You just don't. Which is not to say that there aren't great books she could be reading in middle school or that doing a program that does ask questions would be a waste of time... you could do Mosdos or BYL or a pile of Boomerangs or Arrows or all the Glencoe Lit Guides you can cram into a year - whatever. She would probably get something out of it.

    But, on the other hand, you have already accomplished the primary goals of middle school reading - you have a kid who reads at a high level and likes reading. You're good. But you know her writing isn't great. So focus on that. Do that. Put your time into writing instead.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
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  9. #8

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    When you say her writing tested at 3.5 grade, what does that mean and what was she tested on? I don't feel that standardized tests reflect writing skills very well. Were they asking her to identify parts of speech?

    But when you say her writing is indecipherable, do you mean handwriting or do you mean that what she writes is in a jumble or incoherent?

    If ideas are jumbled or incoherent, I would suggest using some graphic organizers to help her organize her thoughts on paper. There are some free/inexpensive ones available for lots of frameworks. Poetry, essay writing, etc. There are generic ones that can be used for any topic.

    Has she used any other means to record her stories / ideas. Has she made a video or audio recording? With my 9 year old, he would record videos which is also composition. He has to organize his ideas to present them. That can aid in writing.

    If she is having problems with spelling, I would just use the words that she is trying to use as spelling words. Use the vocabulary she is already familiar with to help her develop her spelling skills.

    These are just a few ideas.
    Choosing Our Own Adventure with DS 9
    Global Village School - Supporting our desire to teach social justice and global awareness
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    The profile of student you're describing is - in my mind - the stereotypical homeschooler. Excellent and voracious reader with weak writing skills just screams HOMESCHOOLED KID.

    I think you're attacking the wrong piece though. You've already accomplished the literature piece. She's a great reader. She's still only going into middle school so it's not like you need to be introducing the canon yet and doing formal literature studies. You just don't. Which is not to say that there aren't great books she could be reading in middle school or that doing a program that does ask questions would be a waste of time... you could do Mosdos or BYL or a pile of Boomerangs or Arrows or all the Glencoe Lit Guides you can cram into a year - whatever. She would probably get something out of it.

    But, on the other hand, you have already accomplished the primary goals of middle school reading - you have a kid who reads at a high level and likes reading. You're good. But you know her writing isn't great. So focus on that. Do that. Put your time into writing instead.

    This is what I was going to say. I went into planning my ds's 6th grade year with a clear goal of more output, especially writing. He's the same, super accelerated as far as reading comprehension, his grammar is fine, as we've done MCT in the past, but his writing needs work. I just haven't pushed it. Anyways, I'll share what we are doing in case it helps:

    BYL grade 8. I like that there is assigned writing, because like you, I LOVE Bravewriter, but I had a hard time fitting it in. This is writing with the literature so I'm hoping it's harder for me to ignore. The book list is awesome, and there are a lot of books, but they aren't so challenging that it will take him a long time to read them. Plus they are very different than what he has been reading so I think he'll get a lot out of them.

    We are also doing MCT Literature of Language level. It's an intermediate level that was added as a bridge from the voyage level to the Lens levels. Julie Bogart does recommend hitting grammar hard once in elementary, once in middle and once in high school, so I figure this is our middle school grammar year.

    He loves creative writing, he's actually working on a sci-fi novel, but it needs a ton of mechanical corrections. I'm going to use that as much as possible, but I also think it's time for him to do a little bit of essay writing to get used to that kind of output.

    I guess what I'm saying is I'm concentrating less on "high quality literature" (although there is some in BYL) and more on him getting what's in his head onto paper in a way that the world will be able to understand. lol
    Amber

    DS age 10
    DD age 7
    DS age 7

  11. #10

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    Thanks! Her writing hasn't been formally tested, but she did the Stanford and her grammar was 3rd grade. We did first language lessons, so we have done formal grammar. She can diagram sentences, but the testing was look at the sentence is it grammatically correct or is there A, B, C or D that is grammatically correct instead. She just can't decipher which is the correct one - I think it is attention to detail and would correspond to her ADHD diagnosis. As far as indecipherable, it is spelling and grammar. She just gets all her ideas out in long, run-on sentences. On the plus side, she does seem to be able to do dialogue pretty well, which speaks to the benefit of copywork. She loves poetry and her poetry is decent. We are doing spelling mastery and will continue that. So what would you guys recommend to help improve the writing? This is definitely where we are stuck. We got Writing with Skill, but she didn't like it. We have also tried All Things Fun and Fascinating from IEW and it just doesn't seem useful.
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

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How to choose literature arts