Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Feeling uninspired to write

I knew I hadn't be on my blog in a while, but I didn't realize it had been a couple weeks. We've been plugging along with life and school here, but I think whenever I sit at the computer, I'm looking for escape through reading rather than having to think and write. ;) 

As my oldest is showing more and more proficiency with reading and writing, I've been wondering where I wanted to go with his writing instruction. We have been using the "writing elements" outlined by Susan Wise Bauer in Writing With Ease, recently moving into the Year 2 elements. We've also been (slowly) making our way through First Language Lessons written by her mother, with both older boys (and the youngest likes to memorize the poems with us). But, I just have not been sure if I wanted to continue along these lines with Nomar as he advances in skill and ability. So, the curriculum junkie that I am went looking and reading and researching. 

I have been very interested in the Institute for Excellence in Writing materials, but have found the website a bit confusing in terms of navigating. Fortunately, my friend IRL that homeschools has the teacher DVDs, so I have been slowly making my way through the first one and taking notes. I like what I've heard so far (has not been much) and what I have read so far. But, then I had to go look up Classical Writing as well, and found out they just put out a Primer series (well, I'm not sure how recently it has been, to be honest). I was at first debating using the IEW - Student Writing Intensive with Nomar after the new year, but saw the CW Primer series and felt he could start that now (and Vladdy could start some of it now too - especially the narration, picture study, and nature study portions). So, I ordered it. Only the Autumn Primer. I also printed the free Week 2 download on the site to get started now (I am SO impaitient!). 

I am still interested in the IEW method. For now the CW Primer is similar to the WWE - narration, copywork, eventual dictation. But, it also pulls in some spelling (for us, it serves as reinforcement as our spelling instruction comes from All About Spelling), grammar (Nomar is ready for a bit more than learning about nouns ad nauseum), and has weekly nature and picture study. Some of the artists being studied even match what we will do this year through Meet the Masters. I think it is going to be a good program for us. 

Here's what I'm thinking: we use the CW materials (for now the Primer series and probably when I feel he is ready - sometime in the spring, move onto CW - Aesop) as our language arts program (along with continuing in All About Spelling and reading instruction). I'll watch the IEW DVDs and start using their method for writing across the curriculum, which for now would just be history and science. That way, hopefully, the boys will eventually have a large toolbox, as it is, of writing and will be very proficient writers.

I also finally purchased the simple machine kits from Lego Education. We are all very excited - I think the hard part will not be getting everyone to do the learning, but trying to spread out the creations over a few weekends instead of all in one day! I have some books and background activities to do before they get here on simple machines, work, and force, and hope to start this week. I picked up an Evan-Moor book on Simple Machines at the teacher's supply store that I plan on incorporating.

I think I'm using today as a planning day - our PE class has been canceled due to inclement weather (we weren't going to go even if the rain started to let-up; it's cold, windy, and muddy outside). Two boys are up and are getting to watch TV (it's a "rainy day" :) ). I think we can still get most things done in a relaxed manner today and then get back into the normal flow tomorrow (somehow it is supposed to go from cold and rainy today to the mid 80's by Friday ... still not quite sure how that works!). 

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