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    FLL and WWE

    Hi, Tanya. Can you tell me how MP has incorporated the topics/methods from First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease into your programs? I have this nagging thought that I should use FLL and WWE, but I also think that we are already getting these methods through your copybooks, through narrations we do in our comp & sketch book, and through literature guides, etc. We're also going to get the same level of grammar in your grammar books.

    But what about things like letter writing and dictionary skills which are in FLL? Where are these introduced in MP's program if you're not going to use R & S anymore? Am I being overly paranoid that we'll miss something or do you feel that everything covered in those two programs are also covered along the way with just using MP's Latin and Grammar?


    Shaina Seville

    Hi, Shaina.

    We do have the same philosophy that Susan Wise Bauer is a proponent of in her WWE book. I remember the first time I read it, I recognized that these are concepts we teach at our school. So, we decided to embrace our similarities and use Susan's book as the reference for explaining our philosophy on teaching writing. Since she's already written it, there's no reason for us to rewrite the same info!

    If you read WWE and then look through the enrichment section of our lit. guides, you will see the same kinds of exercises. And, we made a more deliberate effort to really follow her book in the writing section of our new 3rd grade grammar book.

    Just answering comprehension questions in all of our literature guides is a great way to teach the concepts of writing: reading the questions aloud before reading the chapter, discussing the answer orally, coming up with a good oral sentence to answer the question, the teacher putting the sentence on the board, and the student copying the sentence. All of this takes time, but it trains the student by modeling, and it really does pay off in the end. Our students begin making the transition to more independent work by 4th grade (though there is still a lot of modeling going on there too!). This manner of teaching doesn't overwhelm the students because they are only being asked to think about one thing at a time. They don't have to think about spelling and punctuation while working orally, and when they are ready to write, they don't have to think about their answer because that part is already completed - they only have to think about capitalization, punctuation, and spelling at that point.

    We cover dictionary skills in Rod & Staff spelling, and some of our lit. guides have letter-writing exercises in them.

    I'd say it's just a matter of personal preference if you want to use First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease. I think they are both excellent courses and get the job done - especially for people not doing Latin and not using tools like our literature guides. We are just trying to streamline what we spend our time on because there seems to be so much to do. And our students have Latin from 2nd grade thru 12th, so they are getting lots of grammar work!

    I hope this makes your decision easier.



      FLL and WWE (LONG)

      This post is just an effort for me to think aloud, so bear with me.

      I have been trying to think through my personal goals for grammar in our homeschool. I listened to the talk on MP's website last night from Andrew Pudewa and I agree with much of what he said. I know students get a lot of grammar through studying other languages and I think that is a great way to reinforce in a "relevant" way the grammar that students are learning. I think that knowing how to write clearly and edit are extremely important as well, and that you don't necessarily need to know analytical grammar in order to write well (at least not the parts of speech, though you must know the rules of punctuation and capitalization obviously). I always did very well at writing and using grammar correctly in school, and was one of few who received A's on my papers in my college writing classes; however, despite all of that I still do not fully understand the parts of speech. I even took a grammar class in college where we diagrammed sentences, but I now don't remember how. I took 4 years of French and can't speak any of it, nor hardly read it, write it, pronounce it, or understand it when listening to it. I think one of the main reasons for this is that I got so hung up on the grammar terms that I couldn't move on to the French. I think this is a very common problem.

      I once heard a talk by Bruce Etter from Veritas Press about Spanish, and he said that the students from Veritas who had been using Shirley learned their Spanish much more quickly than students he had had at other schools and he believed it was because of their firm grounding in analytical grammar. I know Andrew Pudewa said that his daughter could recite it but didn't understand what it meant, but to me that is ok b/c I think eventually she would have when she hit the dialectic stage and it all began to click in her brain. I like Shirley, but it is time consuming and I don't think I could manage that with several children.

      So, the conclusion I came to was that we would use Essentials from Classical Conversations, as it covers pretty much all the things in Shirley, runs from 4th-6th grade (with all my students in those grade levels doing the same thing and with three years of immersion to let it slowly but thoroughly sink in). Then you came out with your grammar book and I'm thinking that that is great preparation in third grade for Essentials and also will be great to fill in the gaps since Essentials only runs for 24 weeks out of the year. (I would do more than one lesson a week with them during the weeks off). That would reinforce what they had learned in Essentials and also keep their skills sharp instead of having a whole summer off with no practice. Perfect, right?

      But then I began to look at Prima Latina, which I want them to do in second grade, and that I want them to enjoy and not be scared of. I don't want the grammar part to get in their way, but to be a reinforcer and make it relevant for them as I said before. I want the Latin to be the focus and the grammar to be a review. That is why I'm considering FLL. I already own level 1, which I bought previously so I'm thinking I'll just try that with my son who is 7 and see how that goes. If it is too much grammar I can always stop it. I may try it with him for a week or two and then order a higher level for my daughter. I would start in K since it is mostly oral anyway and then be finished before Essentials so they aren't doing two programs at once. I would not do Advanced Language Lessons until after 6th grade if they needed to keep grammar fresh. FLL lessons are short and easy from what I see, so it shouldn't take as long as Shirley would and adds in other great things like poetry memorization and picture narration.

      My problem with WWE was that the copywork was not Scripture or poetry. Your copybooks seem much more worthwhile. But I like some of the process of WWE. With the literature guides I feel it is holding us back from more reading to have to write out the answers together, even though I feel that kind of exercise is worthwhile. I think that if we answered the questions orally (to check for comprehension, my main goal), then she will enjoy the books more and have more time for reading itself, as I have a long list of books I would like her to read and that she wants to read. Therefore, I think what I might do is use part of the year to work through WWE and part of the year to do your copybooks because we do the verse and illustration all in one day so we fly through the books. And for literature starting in second grade we will do the guides orally as much as possible (in addition to the activities). Starting in 3rd grade they have a lot of the q/a writing work to do in their study guides, which I'm wanting them to do mostly independently. I think this better meets our goals. But if it gets too much to accomplish in one year we will have to re-assess.

      Any thoughts on this plan?




        I think your plan is fine, and you will be able to tell if you are spending too much time in grammar.

        As for the lit. study guides, lots of people just do them orally, but it would be nice if you had time to at least write out the answers to a couple of questions each day. This would help your students see the entire process - not only finding the answer to a question, but getting it written down in a concise, well-structured sentence.

        Other than that, I'd just try your plan and see how it goes. The great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility to adjust your plan as you need to!




          Maybe not....

          Hi, Tanya. So we've been using FLL and WWE for awhile now, 2 lessons/day of each and we are halfway through the books. Due to financial constraints all I could do was use Level One with both of my older kids b/c we couldn't afford to get higher levels for my daughter. Now there has been nothing wrong with them and we are enjoying them (mostly b/c of the literature samples in WWE that my kids enjoy listening to). but it is a lot of writing and I'm not sure I can sustain it long term when I add in more kids (eventually we will have 6 kids 6th grade down to PreK). We are almost done with the Sarah Noble guide that my oldest is doing (only has the book report left to do) so I picked up the Beatrix Potter one to look at and found there were language lessons (grammar) in there that weren't in Sarah Noble. And I just received the first grade lit books this past week for my son and didn't realize there would be grammar in there too. I don't have the Mr. Popper's Penguin's guide or the Little House in the Big Woods guide yet so I don't know if there are language lessons in there as well. I think I just wasn't aware of how much grammar they were going to get b/c I wasn't seeing it in the Sarah Noble guide (which was the only one I had at the time). So now I'm thinking that b/w the grammar they will get in Latin and your lit guides they should be fine to start Essentials in 4th grade with a solid grammar background and continue their grammar practice in the summer with your grammar books that you are producing.

          So my two questions are:
          1. Is there any grammar in the other two second grade guides?
          2. How should we practice the skills they learn in the lit guides to make sure they retain those lessons?

          My comment is that I think it would really help if MP put a sheet in the front of the teacher lit guides detailing what grammar concepts are going to be covered and a reference page in the copybooks so that when it says to give a language lesson we have something to go from. I've been skipping that with the copybooks b/c I'm not always sure why a comma is there, etc. (though instinctively I do I can't articulate it well).

          Also, before we were talking about dictionary skills and you said that is covered in R&S spelling. Maybe we could also use those skills for the vocabulary sections of the lit guides. Do you have any suggestions for that? We use a different spelling program but I do happen to own R&S 2nd grade spelling book which I picked up used once. I was thinking of having my daughter look up the words from the vocab section of the lit guide in the dictionary but that seemed like maybe it would take too long so sometimes I just have her go ahead and look at the answer and copy it down if she doesn't already know the word. There is no explanation in the 2nd grade lit guide so I wasn't sure how to teach that.

          I think I will have them do just the reading during our literature time and let them work on their lit guides instead of WWE and FLL in their writing time after their handwriting or copywork is done. My daughter is doing NAC 2 and my son is going to start NAC 1 this week! I think my kids were feeling like they spent most of our reading time writing and I want them to get to read, read, read!

          Thanks, Tanya. I should have listened and realized there was enough grammar without adding more but at least I figured it out

          Shaina Seville


            Hi, Shaina.

            Beatrix Potter is the only lit. guide for 2nd grade that has language lessons in it, and that is because of the nature of the guide. We give a week to each little book. It is unique. The other 2nd grade guides have enrichment activities where the students have to write paragraphs and letters, but those are all done as a class orally, the teacher writes them on the board as the students come up with the sentences, and then the students copy the work from the board. It is the same philosophy as WWE for young students.

            That is a grammar lesson in itself. Just like in our copybooks, the language lesson is mainly to make students aware of end punctuation, capitalization at the beginning and in the use of proper nouns, and other basic grammar - nothing complicated or time-consuming. Our goal is for students to master a good sentence, and we practice that in all subjects. That, with our Latin study, is a pretty thorough grammar study for young students.

            They do write a lot within all of their subjects, so adding more writing and grammar does seem overwhelming. When our students work through Prima Latina in 2nd grade, our teachers take the opportunity to pull out the novel the students are studying in lit. and have them turn to a particular page and find all the proper nouns or action verbs or whatever it is that they are studying in Latin. That just helps them to see that what they are learning in Latin transfers to English - the rules are the same.

            You can definitely use the vocabulary section of the lit. guides for your spelling work and dictionary skills. I wouldn't make the students accountable for all the words, but just choose some good ones that would benefit them most and make those their mastery words to look up in a dictionary and to learn how to spell. One of our 6th grade teachers calls the mastery words that he requires his students to know 'beautiful words.' They have a 'beautiful words' notebook that has all the words in it that they have to master in 6th grade. That could easily apply to lower grades too.

            And if you just use a selected group of words for further study, you will have the time to really work on these words well. When your students look them up in a dictionary, take the time to point out how a dictionary works so that they become fluent in the use of it. And have them look at the word in the context of the sentence in the novel so that they learn to choose the meaning that best fits. Then, have them find one good synonym that best replaces the word, and that becomes the meaning they have to remember.

            We really try to enforce good grammar and writing in all of our classes, so it is like an undercurrent running through. Your students need some grammar rules, but they will learn just as much through your modeling good writing and grammar to them. They will instinctively come to use words correctly - and maybe even beautifully!