Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Simple Writing For Homeschool

I've been debating about writing and grammar ALL year long!

We had been doing Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons.
I liked the idea of it, but could never make it fit our lives.
I began to think that if we don't get it done it isn't really an effective curriculum.

I kept thinking of what I want writing and grammar to look like in our school and ended up finding dead ends when I looked at various curriculum. I gave up for sometime to process what I want this time of our day to look like.

Then two weeks ago it hit me... I want:
- Something simple.
- Something that works with what we are already doing ... that comes out of the literature we are reading each week.
- Something that is easy to level for each student.
- Something that doesn't take tons of time and that I can just do with out prior planning.

I realized no curriculum will give me that... and quite honestly, I was making writing and grammar too hard! 
I need to keep it SIMPLE!

This is what I came up with...

~ Weekly Writing Plan ~

Each Day
~ Read an excerpt or entire peace of literature from our SOTW #2 Literature List.
~ With each piece tell the title, author, illustrator and a brief summery of the book.
~ Ask comprehension questions based upon what is read and focus on summarizing and identifying the central ideas of the excerpt.
~ Use a composition journal for writing assignments and free journaling.

1. Have each child retell the story orally in their own words. 
2. Copy one section of the story into journal and draw a corresponding picture.
Or ... 
Write down one thing remembered from the literature excerpt/piece. 
3. Review grammar definitions found in First Language Lessons and identify a given part of speech in the excerpt. (Example: read a sentence and have the children identify a noun, pro-noun, verb, adjective, etc...)

- Journal ... Write about something!
(Journal prompts below)

1. Dictation of one phrase, sentence or excerpt of the literature piece. (Teacher reads it several times slowly, children write what they hear).
2. Make needed corrections.
3. Review the definitions of one of the following: nouns, proper nouns, pronouns, verb, sentence, use of punctuation, capitalization, contractions, quotations... or other things covered in First Language Lessons.

- Journal ... Write about something!

1. Complete the 5 Finger Retell: Characters, Setting, Problem, Events, Ending/Resolution and Main Idea
2. Summarize the excerpt in own words and write it... focus on the central ideas presented.
Or ... 
Complete a task from the list below...
3. Focus on one part of grammar: write an example in journal or circle an example in writing of that day.

Additional Skills/Topics to Cover...
  • Write a letter
  • Address envelope
  • Writing dates, months, years, seasons, days of the week
  • - How to form a paragraph
  • Titles of respect: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr. 
  • Abbreviations
  • Cause and effect
  • Make a personal evaluation on a book: what did you like/dislike, found interesting, learned, what would you change.
  • Picture narration: Ask questions about what might be taking place in the picture. Write a description.
  • Antagonist/Protagonist
  • Fiction/Non-fiction
  • Metaphors
  • Antonyms/Synonyms
  • Defining unknown words
  • Other ideas

Journal Prompts...
- Favorite Animal
- Someone/thing you love!
- Make up a new animal
- Something you are afraid of
- What was your best day?
- What did you do yesterday?
- Who is your hero?
- If you could do anything/make anything what would it be?
- Make up a new land
- A fairytale
- What is your favorite book/story?
- What is something hard you've overcome?
- Favorite food
- Favorite adventure


In my plan I continue to refer back to First Language Lessons for ideas, definitions of parts of speech, and examples of parts of speech. It's a GREAT resource! I've just simplified what we are doing into a consistent weekly writing/grammar plan that includes and uses the literature we are already reading!

It is working for us! That's probably all that matters. 
Perhaps it an be a framework that helps other homeschoolers do writing and grammar without pricy or unneeded extra curriculum? 


Kimberly said...

It's always nice to read what others are doing!
It was very good to meet you last night. Hope we can meet up again soon.

*the six of us* said...

I've been reading through your blog and anything I can get my hands on that deals with Ugandan adoption. I don't know how else to contact you other than through this, but my hubby and I have started the process and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS from moms who have been there. can I contact you, if you'd be willing to chat with me a bit? I hate to put my email address on here....

Thanks so much!