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Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

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    Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

    Hello,
    I am relatively new to MP - this is our first year with a full core and I just discovered the forums in the spring, however I have been using MP products piecemeal for a few years. I posted this issue on the K-8 board early in June and received encouraging advice, which included the suggestion to post here as well.

    So - I have an 11.5 year-old-son who is a very reluctant writer (this is partly why I never purchased a full core before) - he is painfully reluctant to any amount of written work and we have fought about it for years and I truncate things as much as possible and do lots of oral work, which he enjoys. My question is how much I should push the writing - or rather, what can I do so that we don't have this fight. It has come to the point where I would rather work entirely orally with him because the pain of pushing for written work causes too much fighting. He is smart - has good printing and cursive when he does it. He loves good stories, enjoys being read to, remembers details, enjoys oral quizzes about the material. I purchased grade 4 for he and his almost 10-year-old brother, but probably my older son could move through it more quickly, especially if he is not writing. Because he isn't writing, it is difficult to work on spelling with him and although he reads fairly well (for his age, I think), his spelling isn't very good.

    I don't know what to do - he has always had an anxious streak (separation anxiety, physical sensations of anxiety) and I've read comments on the forums that indicate there is a correlation between anxiety and reluctant writers. Am I understanding this correctly? In the spring I had been reading about ADHD and wondered if that was going on and causing this incredible stubbornness. I have never pursued diagnosis because of the psychologists I spoke with 1) seemed more judgemental than helpful and 2) didn't think homeschooling was a good idea and when I did call a local program for anxious children and described his behaviour they said it sounded normal and he wouldn't qualify for it.

    I have learned so much reading forum comments - I thought I'd take the advice and post my question here as well.

    Thank you!
    Monica

    #2
    Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

    No advice, but I'm following along. I have a 10 year old very similar and I'm getting suspicious about some dysgraphia maybe. Hoping to hear some helpful advice.
    Jennifer

    2018-2019
    R- DS, 10, 4NU

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

      Originally posted by KikaMarie View Post
      Hello,
      I am relatively new to MP - this is our first year with a full core and I just discovered the forums in the spring, however I have been using MP products piecemeal for a few years. I posted this issue on the K-8 board early in June and received encouraging advice, which included the suggestion to post here as well.

      So - I have an 11.5 year-old-son who is a very reluctant writer (this is partly why I never purchased a full core before) - he is painfully reluctant to any amount of written work and we have fought about it for years and I truncate things as much as possible and do lots of oral work, which he enjoys. My question is how much I should push the writing - or rather, what can I do so that we don't have this fight. It has come to the point where I would rather work entirely orally with him because the pain of pushing for written work causes too much fighting. He is smart - has good printing and cursive when he does it. He loves good stories, enjoys being read to, remembers details, enjoys oral quizzes about the material. I purchased grade 4 for he and his almost 10-year-old brother, but probably my older son could move through it more quickly, especially if he is not writing. Because he isn't writing, it is difficult to work on spelling with him and although he reads fairly well (for his age, I think), his spelling isn't very good.

      I don't know what to do - he has always had an anxious streak (separation anxiety, physical sensations of anxiety) and I've read comments on the forums that indicate there is a correlation between anxiety and reluctant writers. Am I understanding this correctly? In the spring I had been reading about ADHD and wondered if that was going on and causing this incredible stubbornness. I have never pursued diagnosis because of the psychologists I spoke with 1) seemed more judgemental than helpful and 2) didn't think homeschooling was a good idea and when I did call a local program for anxious children and described his behaviour they said it sounded normal and he wouldn't qualify for it.

      I have learned so much reading forum comments - I thought I'd take the advice and post my question here as well.

      Thank you!
      Monica
      Hi! Can you share more what writing he is currently doing? I can say that yes, he needs to be writing! You may have to modify and do some things orally, but he should be writing some. Also, there is a process, that I think many do not understand with the writing in Memoria Press. Beginning in 1st (really K, but specifically referring to "student guides") all the way through the middle of 4th (maybe longer if your student is not used to it) you and your child work together to form answers to the questions. You orally work with your student to answer in good complete sentences. (you will also work to consolidate their answer to,at this point, 1 sentence) Then, YOU write the answer somewhere (whiteboard, notebook, above the space the child writes, etc) for your child to copy. You are now separating the thinking and the writing. All the while you are modeling good sentence structure, grammar, etc. All the student guides work this way until your student is comfortable writing. Even at the model school for MP, Highlands Latin School, the students do not write every answer in the workbook. They questions discussed orally are marked "oral". Many families use the quizzes to have their students write those particular answers. In the literature guides, you just might pick a few, gradually working your way to completing more and more. Is this how you have been approaching the writing?
      Christine

      (2018-2019)
      DD1 8/23/09 - SC4
      DS2 9/1/11 - SC2
      DD3 2/9/13 - MPK

      Previous Years
      DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3)
      DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK)
      DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others!)

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

        Originally posted by howiecram View Post
        Hi! Can you share more what writing he is currently doing? I can say that yes, he needs to be writing! You may have to modify and do some things orally, but he should be writing some. Also, there is a process, that I think many do not understand with the writing in Memoria Press. Beginning in 1st (really K, but specifically referring to "student guides") all the way through the middle of 4th (maybe longer if your student is not used to it) you and your child work together to form answers to the questions. You orally work with your student to answer in good complete sentences. (you will also work to consolidate their answer to,at this point, 1 sentence) Then, YOU write the answer somewhere (whiteboard, notebook, above the space the child writes, etc) for your child to copy. You are now separating the thinking and the writing. All the while you are modeling good sentence structure, grammar, etc. All the student guides work this way until your student is comfortable writing. Even at the model school for MP, Highlands Latin School, the students do not write every answer in the workbook. They questions discussed orally are marked "oral". Many families use the quizzes to have their students write those particular answers. In the literature guides, you just might pick a few, gradually working your way to completing more and more. Is this how you have been approaching the writing?
        Thank you - Howiecram - you were one of the helpful moms who responded in June and suggested I post on SC forum - so here I am again three months later!

        What you describe is largely what I do - except . . . sometimes, I don't even write down his answers, although I do require him to answer in complete sentences, which he does. I feel myself torn between the long haul and just letting go because of the fight - I think that is why sometimes I don't even do the writing part. I think I need encouragement to stay the course - "to do the hard things." I also have some general/vague questions that might seem so elementary, but are like revelations to me - for example, he knows the materials when he reads it and remembers it fairly well, but do I keep up the reviewing and reviewing? Do I stay with this grade four and work slowly each day, in part so as not to overtax him? And I think it was you who suggested getting an assessment for him to understand his learning - this is very intimidating for me because I don't know where to start and I'm not comfortable talking to my family doctor about these sorts of things to see if she can provide direction. On my June post Sarah made similar suggestions to yours regarding incremental writing, but every word is a fight. However, if I let it go for a while and don't focus on it, he comes around after a rest.

        That was a bit of a ramble - here's another question - when he is overly worked up about writing, is it just fair enough to leave it for another day? So the answer is there for him to copy, but not in the middle of an intense "I hate lessons" passion? I really have a lot more peace in our homeschooling and relationships in recent months since I've been letting go of crazy-control and I want to continue growing that.

        Thank you!

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

          Yes, as Christine describes, MP writing is intended to be incremental over time, clearly taught, and modeled. SC Writing breaks the steps down even further. Whether you choose SC Writing: Step-by-Step Sentences or create your own step-by-step approach, you will want to teach writing and spelling. Sometimes we become so adept at accommodating that we avoid teaching!

          If you want to start adding SC Spelling and/or SC Writing, you can do this. We recommend SC Writing's Bible edition for add-on intervention with students familiar with Bible stories. This saves time because it does not require the read-alouds connected to the read-aloud editions. It can be added to his Christian Studies.

          Whether you add a writing curriculum or not, you may continue with oral work for much of his day. Just be sure to teach writing and spelling systematically at some point each day. Explain that he WILL be expected to write daily. My Thankfulness Journal can be a useful too for this if he knows cursive and needs little more than practice. Small daily doses of writing combine with reflections of gratitude that can be important to cultivate at this age. If he needs more instruction in mechanics, consider SC Writing or CS: LA 1, 2.


          Regarding an assessment, if you can find a good clinician specializing in dyslexia and dysgraphia, an evaluation might be worth pursuing, if only to have diagnostic evidence of a continued need for accommodations as he grows older. Some clinicians appreciate homeschoolers and their willingness to do what is necessary at home. "If I could just clone you!" To find someone worth the time and expense, you might poll a local group or doctors you trust. It is possible that he is simply a preteen boy who prefers accommodations to the hard work of writing, but an evaluation might help you rule out something more.

          In the meantime, some of these tips may help. Just remember that with MP/SC we do not mind accommodating, but we also want to teach. Whenever you create your "game plan," be sure to include both for best results.
          Last edited by cherylswope; 09-04-2018, 02:33 PM.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

            Another thought:

            You write that he "loves good stories, enjoys being read to, remembers details, enjoys oral quizzes about the material." This is very good! It sounds as if the reluctance may be related to the difficult nature of writing. Perhaps he has not yet been taught writing systematically. If not, I would urge you to begin with SC Writing Bible (see samples for Book One or Two), SC Spelling (see samples for Book One or Two), and possibly add My Thankfulness Journal, Beginner. This will allow you to proceed with the other subjects with mostly oral work as you are doing, so you can continue with your combined teaching.

            If you feel that he is not able to do the work, you might switch him to SC 4 as a review year to shore up those skills. In SC 4, we review writing & spelling very incrementally. He might need this, whether due to a specific learning disability, anxiety, attention difficulties, or other undiscovered concerns. This has been on your mind for several months, so your "gut" is probably correct!


            Let us know if we can help --

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

              Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
              Another thought:

              You write that he "loves good stories, enjoys being read to, remembers details, enjoys oral quizzes about the material." This is very good! It sounds as if the reluctance may be related to the difficult nature of writing. Perhaps he has not yet been taught writing systematically. If not, I would urge you to begin with SC Writing Bible (see samples for Book One or Two), SC Spelling (see samples for Book One or Two), and possibly add My Thankfulness Journal, Beginner. This will allow you to proceed with the other subjects with mostly oral work as you are doing, so you can continue with your combined teaching.

              If you feel that he is not able to do the work, you might switch him to SC 4 as a review year to shore up those skills. In SC 4, we review writing & spelling very incrementally. He might need this, whether due to a specific learning disability, anxiety, attention difficulties, or other undiscovered concerns. This has been on your mind for several months, so your "gut" is probably correct!


              Let us know if we can help --
              Thank you Cheryl. These points in your above two posts are very helpful. I have been looking at SC 4 over the past few months, but since I already purchased grade four, I'm wondering if I can make it work by keeping the subjects to mostly oral and shoring up the spelling and writing as you suggested. He does enjoy the grade four subjects, OT, Greek mythology, Homer Price, and his math is at least grade four level, and probably grade five in some areas, although we're working through RS grade four for a strong review right now. He's doing okay with Latin, we started LCI in the spring and we are reviewing Lessons 1-9 at the start of this year, and he knows the First Conjugation and vocabulary.

              I guess I'm not clear if it's worth trading out for SC4, the incremental work sounds good, but he enjoys the subjects/stories we are reading (not necessarily all the literature; he feels talking Crickets don't make sense, although he enjoyed this story two or three years ago; talking Narnia animals are still acceptable though, and he can explain why.)

              I'm wondering if SC Spelling II may be a bit too basic for him, but I have been waffling about purchasing Traditional Spelling 2 and based on your replies, I see that I do need to drop down his spelling level to work more systematically. We've gone over much of these spelling patterns with AAS over the past two years, but he needs more systematic work and practice with it - and the regular spelling books for grade three and up don't really give him enough of the necessary repetition. Is there much difference between SC Spelling 2 and Traditional Spelling 2? Maybe they are similar?

              As for the SC Writing Bible, can you give me an idea of how this compares to ATFF? (which I purchased instead of CC because writing is still a struggle - but haven't started yet. My hope had been to have both sons ready to start CC a year from now.) We're only back to school in week three and I've done a couple of the grade four writing supplements with him. He really enjoyed the first assignment of editing unnecessary words, but not Writing Sentences with Variety. He "writes" his own action stories; he dictates them to me and I type them and he draws the pictures. So engaging writing assignments mean something to him and since he can discern well written stories from low quality, he understands how a writing assignment can help him.

              I really appreciate having this place to go over these particulars I experience and read about others' experiences. Thank you so much!
              Monica

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                I am not home, but I will get back to you with some words on week 20 of SC spelling ll, TSl, TSll. I thought TSl was going to be too easy for my daughter, but it is not. The online samples do not do it justice! Also keep in mind that MP uses spelling workout a grade ahead, so that spelling workout level in 4th for new users is actually a 5th grade book! (a= 1st, b= 2nd, etc). MP uses d in 3rd, e in 4th.
                Christine

                (2018-2019)
                DD1 8/23/09 - SC4
                DS2 9/1/11 - SC2
                DD3 2/9/13 - MPK

                Previous Years
                DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3)
                DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK)
                DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others!)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                  You are very welcome. It sounds as if he might do well staying with MP Fourth for his subject matter. You can teach writing from ATFF, especially since you already own it, and possibly CS:LA 2 for review of basic writing mechanics. Then teach spelling from Traditional Spelling One or Two. This would be a thorough and systematic approach!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                    Originally posted by howiecram View Post
                    I am not home, but I will get back to you with some words on week 20 of SC spelling ll, TSl, TSll. I thought TSl was going to be too easy for my daughter, but it is not. The online samples do not do it justice! Also keep in mind that MP uses spelling workout a grade ahead, so that spelling workout level in 4th for new users is actually a 5th grade book! (a= 1st, b= 2nd, etc). MP uses d in 3rd, e in 4th.
                    Thank you!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                      Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                      You are very welcome. It sounds as if he might do well staying with MP Fourth for his subject matter. You can teach writing from ATFF, especially since you already own it, and possibly CS:LA 2 for review of basic writing mechanics. Then teach spelling from Traditional Spelling One or Two. This would be a thorough and systematic approach!
                      I suspect this is something very obvious and right in front of me, but I can't figure out what CS: LA 2 is - it may have been spelled out for me already, and I forgot it. I will probably be embarrassed when I'm reminded, but could someone clarify for me? Thanks again!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                        My apologies -- too many abbreviations! Core Skills: Language Arts 1 & 2.

                        We like the introductory Core Skills books. Memoria Press carries them, so just search by Core Skills @ MemoriaPress.com.

                        We use Core Skills: Phonics, Core Skills: Spelling, and Core Skills: Language Arts in our Simply Classical Curriculum as supplements to help teach and review those basic concepts and skills in each area. Take a look and see what you think.

                        The overuse of abbreviations was my fault, not yours, so I appreciate your asking. If you wondered, others wondered! Thank you.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                          Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                          My apologies -- too many abbreviations! Core Skills: Language Arts 1 & 2.

                          We like the introductory Core Skills books. Memoria Press carries them, so just search by Core Skills @ MemoriaPress.com.

                          We use Core Skills: Phonics, Core Skills: Spelling, and Core Skills: Language Arts in our Simply Classical Curriculum as supplements to help teach and review those basic concepts and skills in each area. Take a look and see what you think.

                          The overuse of abbreviations was my fault, not yours, so I appreciate your asking. If you wondered, others wondered! Thank you.
                          Thank you! And when I make notes to myself about the Core Skills book for grade four, I write CS! So it is embarrassing that I can use the abbreviation and not recognize it somewhere else. I feel clearer about what to do in terms of starting at a more appropriate level for spelling and writing and LA. I will the level 1 and 2 books. You have been most helpful!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                            Originally posted by KikaMarie View Post
                            Thank you!
                            Simply Classical Spelling Book TWO WK 22 Long a - maid, braids, afraid, sail, rain, train, wait, aim + "words to know" into, walk, something, love, would

                            Traditional Spelling 1 wk 24 le sound - able, apple, table, turtle, pickle, maple, candle, little, uncle, jungle

                            Traditional Spelling 2 wk 19 el sound - novel, chapel, travel, barrel, angel, nickel, tunnel, camel, jewel, shovel, label, kernel, bushel, channel, flannel

                            Simply Classical Spelling Book 2 has 8ish words + several "words to know" - these are common words that will aid in writing

                            Traditional Spelling 1 has 10 words and Traditional Spelling has 15

                            I tested my daughter on the first 7 lessons of Traditional Spelling 1 and she could spell them all. However, I decided to just go with it. I did find a few challenges in the activities. At the moment, we are doing a lesson a day or every other day. We will keep up that mode until I find words she can not spell. (she loves the activities in Traditional spelling 1, but I can tell you my son would not be so thrilled!)

                            Good luck!
                            Christine

                            (2018-2019)
                            DD1 8/23/09 - SC4
                            DS2 9/1/11 - SC2
                            DD3 2/9/13 - MPK

                            Previous Years
                            DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3)
                            DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK)
                            DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others!)

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Simply Classical for Reluctant Writer?

                              Originally posted by howiecram View Post
                              Simply Classical Spelling Book TWO WK 22 Long a - maid, braids, afraid, sail, rain, train, wait, aim + "words to know" into, walk, something, love, would

                              Traditional Spelling 1 wk 24 le sound - able, apple, table, turtle, pickle, maple, candle, little, uncle, jungle

                              Traditional Spelling 2 wk 19 el sound - novel, chapel, travel, barrel, angel, nickel, tunnel, camel, jewel, shovel, label, kernel, bushel, channel, flannel

                              Simply Classical Spelling Book 2 has 8ish words + several "words to know" - these are common words that will aid in writing

                              Traditional Spelling 1 has 10 words and Traditional Spelling has 15

                              I tested my daughter on the first 7 lessons of Traditional Spelling 1 and she could spell them all. However, I decided to just go with it. I did find a few challenges in the activities. At the moment, we are doing a lesson a day or every other day. We will keep up that mode until I find words she can not spell. (she loves the activities in Traditional spelling 1, but I can tell you my son would not be so thrilled!)

                              Good luck!
                              Thank you Christine! I'm going to ponder these lists and then make my decision. And thanks for the tip on Spelling Workout - that is helpful as I was pushing myself - not even my son - thinking I needed to get him quickly into that higher book!
                              Monica

                              Comment

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