Saturday, May 17, 2014

A New Writing Program To Try

This year we started out with Wordsmith Apprentice, part of a plan that includes Wordsmith Apprentice in 5th and 6th grades, and beginning Wordsmith in 7th. The plan is to finish off with Wordsmith Craftsman in 9th grade. I have noticed however, that Wordsmith Apprentice is relatively quickly to get through, and we already started on Part II. We only work on writing as a formal subject on Fridays, a double period where Dreamer (age 10) works on his assignments almost independently. To round off his English/LA program, we read aloud and discuss, he reads good books independently, reviews grammar - first through Grammarland and now through Voyages in English 3 - and we work through Intermediate Language Lessons (second part).

To slow things down a bit, I decided to pause Wordsmith Apprentice and try the shiny new program everyone on The Well Trained Mind Forum has been talking about: Classical Academy Press' Writing  & Rhetoric. Looking at the samples, I see that Narrative I may be easy for him, and Narrative II more suitable, but easy may be a good thing. Dreamer doesn't enjoy writing unless he gets to write whatever he wants and following a bare minimum of rules and conventions. This may teach him while giving him the structure he needs, albeit in a simpler form. I would love to see him grow in his writing more and enjoy it instead of dreading it. I'm going to try the samples from Narrative I for the remainder of the year. If Dreamer likes it and learns from it, we can also try the samples from Narrative II (Book 3) and see how he does with that. Since we homeschool until August, we should have plenty of time to finish the samples and see if we would like this style. If he doesn't click with it, we will just return and continue with Wordsmith Apprentice.

Writing & Rhetoric looks like an appealing program that teaches the writing steps in a gentle, but yet effective way. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

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