Language arts is concerning me

Discussion in 'Homeschooling' started by Samantha, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Samantha

    Samantha New Member

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    I could really use some help/insight/advice here.

    We're doing 2nd grade with my oldest this year and he's doing well with his math and he reads at a 3rd grade level. He has no problem with spelling and seems to get the grammar concepts. But we're having trouble with writing.

    Looking at language arts as a subject comprised of 4 branches:

    grammar - we're using the Scott Foresman free grammar. I like how it is set up, it's logical and he does well with it.

    reading - again reading at a 3rd grade level, reads aloud to siblings often

    writing -

    spelling - using AAS level 2 he's a little more than half way through.

    Writing is and always has been a struggle. He hates writing. I think part of it is that he's a boy. I think part of it is that he does prefer cursive and that has helped some. Part of I think is some dysgraphia going on. I think part of it is that he's just turned 7 at the end of October and his mind is faster than his pencil and so he just doesn't try.

    So do I allow him to mostly dictate to me? Coming in January I'm going to make his typing lessons a priority in his school day so that he can begin to type out "written" assignments.

    I've never really done copy work with him. I'm honestly not sure how dictation works - does he dictate to me or do I dictate to him?

    I feel there is a disconnect in using the concepts he's learned in grammar and spelling in writing. I want to fix this.

    Where should a 2nd grader be writing wise? A simple sentence or two? A full paragraph? Please give me some ideas of where the typical 2nd grader would be skill wise so I have a guideline to look at.
     
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  3. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    I would not focus on writing yet. There is time for that. Just have him do narrations about what he has read or watched for now.

    If you want to learn more about copywork and dictation, check out www.simplycharlottemason.com, they have lots of good help there.

    My writing curricula choice is Writing Strands. I would start with Level 3 with him.. next year or if he is really reluctant wait until 4th.
     
  4. Samantha

    Samantha New Member

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    Thanks Sommer. I will have him narrate more then. Do you think it would be a good exercise to have him narrate while I type and then he can illustrate it once I've printed it?
     
  5. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    That would be a fantastic idea :) I wouldn't do it every day, maybe like once a week or something.

    I don't do copywork, but you could have him copy what you type as copywork. I'm not a Well Trained Mind follower, but Susan Wise Bauer has some really good audios that you can get at the Peace Hill Press site cheap, I think I just listened to one on writing... hmmmm let me go look at my recent downloads.
     
  6. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    Ok for some reason I think it was in the Homeschooling the Real Child?? Maybe not..lol

    PS.. my 2nd grader is a pretty much non-writer. She is a drawer... she loves to draw, and will write a few disjointed, way mispelled sentences with her drawings here and there. I'm not worried, I'm sure by the time she graduates, she will be able to get her thoughts on paper and maybe even do a fairly decent research paper.
     
  7. Samantha

    Samantha New Member

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    I'm not a well trained mind follower either. We homeschool in part for the more laid back approach we can take with it. But it's hard to find that balance between making sure they aren't missing something important and keeping it laid back.
     
  8. kbabe1968

    kbabe1968 New Member

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    I'd hold off on "formal" writing as well. They need to be able to hold onto a thought long enough and write fast enough to get it down on paper before they forget it! :)

    I think memorization - small phrases at first, and dictation - make sure to do it the correct way, help with this A LOT.

    My oldest didn't really do formal writing until 6th Grade, and she's much better now.

    I tried a little different approach with my youngest, and we did the free Starfall.com Level 2 Writing Journal, but I helped her construct the sentences sometimes, i.e. on the days she was really stuck and couldn't come up with something to go with the picture. But she's done that now, so we're taking a break from writing and moving onto some grammar for a while, then we'll go back and do more writing.....but at HER level. Being able to write one full complete sentence in 2nd grade is what should be expected. IMO.

    :)

    For typing, google "Dance Mat Typing". Easy, fun, kid-friendly.....my kids love it. My oldest is a super typist now....almost faster than I am!
     
  9. Samantha

    Samantha New Member

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    we actually downloaded a free typing program for him and he used it once and enjoyed it but it's on "my" computer rather than the kids' computer because their computer is old and wouldn't have had the space to support it and I'm not very good about letting them use my computer. I prefer them to stay away from it. :lol:

    Definitely going to go checkout that starfall thing, I didn't know they had further resources.
     
  10. azhomeschooler

    azhomeschooler New Member

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    What has worked great the few times we have tried it is:
    1. have him dictate a story to you and you write it down
    2. you repeat the story back to him word for word and allow him to write it

    This allows you to get the complete thought down as well as having him practice writing it out. When we used this method, my son produced complete thoughts as opposed to the 4 word sentences he gives me otherwise.
     
  11. kbabe1968

    kbabe1968 New Member

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    Here's the link for the Level II Journal from Starfall:

    http://www.starfall.com/n/N-info/level-2.htm?n=downloadcenter

    I've had others tell me it's hard to find (which I think is on purpose b/c they really want you to BUY the stuff, at least that's how it appears now.....when i started using Starfall 9 years ago, it was all free, all downloads and it was not near as big as it is now!)
     
  12. Samantha

    Samantha New Member

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    Thank you everyone! I really appreciate all the encouragement and ideas!
     
  13. ediesbeads

    ediesbeads Member

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    Is it a composition issue or a handwriting issue? If he can compose his thoughts clearly in an oral dictation, it may just be a small motor skills issue. Just give copywork practice. Let him spend more time practicing handwriting and it will all come together sooner or later!
     
  14. Kellielh

    Kellielh New Member

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    You should check out Bravewriter. I can't post a url but just google Bravewriter and you will find her. Julie Bogart's site is full of helpful info and I know she has some audio downloads available too which are fabulous in explaining the stages in writing. I love Brave Writer. I've taught in our co op using her program for years now and I even went so far as to apply for a job as one of her online writing teachers. I had the privledge of training with her and I learned so much!

    I have an 8th grader who is a fantastic writer! His ability to put words on paper and keep his writer's voice is remarkable. I have done grammar only twice with him. Once in 4th grade and now he's doing it again in 8th grade using Winston Grammar. I have never done a spelling program and he is a fine speller. We strictly use copywork and dictation to aid in spelling and proper punctuation usage.

    When you go on her site, it will upload with a form to fill out to receive daily writing tips. Sign up! They are very helpful. Then at the top, click on "Blog." Once you bring up that page, look at the list on the right side and click on "Podcasts." Go to the bottom and listen to the very last one in the list and then work your way up one or two to get a feel for her approach to writing. You won't regret it!

    Kellie
     
  15. momomany

    momomany New Member

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    Wow! I had no idea that StarFall had writing stuff. I am constantly amazed at things I find on these forums! Thank you for sharing.
     

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