In my Homeschool Planning Notebook post, I mentioned a chart (p. 15 of this PDF) from Write From History that I reference for narration and writing.
aimee asked “Can you talk more about the Write For History program? I looked through the free e-book. We’re trying to get a game plan for our history and writing as well. Can you talk about what works about it for you and Sprite?”
First of all I should explain that I don’t use the Write From History curriculum. However, I really like that chart as an overall goal setting device for grades 1-6.
Sprite is in sixth grade, and my writing goal for her right now is to complete one finished piece per month. That piece ranges from a single meaty paragraph to a full essay. It means that she has gone through all the six steps in the writing process and has even typed up the final copy. It takes several days to complete, possibly even spanning a couple of weeks.
Her regular written narrations (notebooking pages) do not go through this complete process and I don’t count them as the monthly writing assignment. Those certainly have a level of planning. There is of course a penciled draft (usually just one). And then she makes some corrections. But I don’t hold those notebooking narrations to the same level of polish as the monthly piece.
I anticipate that at some point I will raise the standards for the notebooking narrations. But then again, her writing gets better and better as time goes on. So I think it will naturally evolve. I don’t want to be continually nit picking everything. That’s one reason I ask for that one perfected piece each month. That one gets nit picked.
Her topic may come from history (or science or literature) or it may be a more general or personal theme, something you would typically write about in language arts class. I try to keep it varied and just go with what seems to fit the month.
I like the idea of sharing our topics here, so I will come back and update them each month.
2010 Monthly Polished Writing Assignments
- August — description of an invention that repairs old toys
- September — summary and evaluation of the novel Blue Willow
- October — research essay about cats
- November — essay about animals in ancient Egypt (scarab, cat, and hippo)
- December/January — (We went through major transitions & didn’t to a lot of school.)
- February/March/April — essay on why I want to be a neurosurgeon (Slowly working back into a routine.)
- May — analysis of a Gauguin painting
If you want to read more on the topic of writing, here are two excellent sites:
- In Our Write Minds 5th-8th grade writing (in the posts there are links for the K-2 and 3-5)
- Simply Charlotte Mason composition for all grades
Thanks for addressing my question! Over the summer I discovered Bravewriter and Truthquest history, so those are the new elements we’re trying out this year. I love the Bravewriter mindset of teaching your child to find their voice rather than just grammatically correct sentences.(happy with their grammar supplement as well). It was an expensive writing spine to buy, but I think it will end up bring worth it for the four young writers in the family. We’ve been doing free writes and notebooking with our history. And adding in more narration. I don’t know exactly what the path looks like from here, but we’re in a better place than last year which found us getting stuck with formula writing workbooks and jumping around history. Great lens on writing over at Squidoo Jimmie and great advice.
Hi Jimmie, I translated your ideas about Ancient Greece in my blog: http://laproffa.blogspot.com/2010/10/ancient-greece-from-jimmie.html
amy in peru says
I love your idea of having one polished writing piece per month in addition to written narrations. I’ve been wavering a little in what to have my boys do… that seems about right for now.
amy in peru
One polished piece … AWESOME!! 😀
I really like this writing idea Jimmie! I think I’ll “borrow” your idea if that’s ok.
Also, responding to your previous post. I think blogging should be uplifting to you and not become over-whelming. Do what you want to do and what’s enjoyable to you as far as posting. If it’s becoming stressful, I’d scale back. I love your blog and it is literally the ONLY one I read regularly. I like it because you seem real and while you’re informative, you’re do not seem like you feel you’re better than/more knowledgable than your audience (which I find to be the tone of most of the homeshcooling blogs I’ve read). You seem like the type of person that would be comfortable to hang out with! Don’t burn out, just scale back some if you need to…your readers enjoy your Collage! Just me 2 cents! 🙂