Friday, March 20, 2009

Our Writing Stuff

Writing is pretty high on the priority list as far as subjects to teach Magnus. This kid has always had a lot of ideas floating around in his head. We call him our "ideas man". Up 'til now he has expressed those ideas verbally, through pictures, and pretend play. Now, he is ready to do it through the written word.

We started working through Susan Wise Bauer's, Writing With Ease Program (Level 2). It encompasses copywork, narration, and dictation in one easy lesson. All three of those components were lacking in our homeschool. I read a short story, Magnus narrates it back to me, I choose a sentence for him to copy, and then I dictate a sentence while he writes it down. All of this is done over the course of a few days. It is working well.

I am also incorporating Andrew Pudwa's (of Institute for Excellence in Writing fame) ideas of writing. I purchased (used) his Teaching Writing Structure and Style and went through the first disc with some ladies from our charter school. It is a very systematic approach and one that is said to work especially well with boys. Magnus and I gave it a shot today and I am amazed at how well he caught on.

The first step is to take a short blurb or paragraph about something. I grabbed our Uborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History and chose something short that I knew he had an interest in. Here is what I chose:

The Peasant's Revolt
In 1381, hundreds of English peasants tried to win more freedom by rebelling against the landowners. Led by Wat Tyler, the peasants marched to London and rioted in the streets. King Richard II met the rebels and promised to help them, but later he punished them.

After Magnus read it, we took it sentence by sentence and chose 3 keywords from each sentence and wrote them down in an outline form. Here is what he came up with:

The Peasant's Revolt
1. 1381, freedom, landowners
2. Wat Tyler, London, marched
3. King Richard II, promised, punished

Next, I had him rewrite the sentences using the keywords from above. Here is what he came up with:

In 1381, peasants rebelled against landowners to gain freedom. Wat Tyler led the march to London. King Richard II promised to help them, but punished them instead.

How great is that!?! Magnus did so good! He was able to use his own words while keeping the main points there. I was so proud of him. And the best part? He is excited to do it again!

So, my plan is to continue using WWE a few days a week and to do a keyword outline on the other days. There are many more steps involved in the IEW program, but I think we will just plant ourselves on the keyword outlines for now.


zelda said...

Wow. That sounds like a great program. I like the concept. Magnus is an amazing boy.

Just some guy... said...

Great job, Magnus! Great job, Mom!
Keep us posted!