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Category: Writing

The Write Source writing program is one that I haven’t blogged too much about so far, so I’ll try to include more descriptions. I chose to switch to Write Source this past fall once I realized Satori loved writing and could do well with a program that actually taught writing. It’s been going well so far, and we’re both glad we made the switch.

The Teacher’s Edition manual is quite expensive and I must admit we haven’t used it much at all, so I wouldn’t recommend splurging on that part. The student text and workbook though are what we definitely use. The Daily Language Workout book we haven’t been using much, and in my opinion, seem overpriced. We do have it, and may start incorporating this as well soon. (It’s just that the first part is way too easy.)

Most of what we’ve been doing in Write Source has been learning grammar and working in the Student workbook. We already have a grammar program, but Satori enjoys the WS workbook anyway. Finally, we are starting the writing part. Here’s a sample page of the lesson we covered this week on Descriptive Writing.

They offer tools to help the writing process, including a Sensory Chart to help with descriptive words for our Descriptive Writing Paragraph. In order, we: Write the first draft, Revise, Edit, and finally Publish. This was the first time we went over paragraphs and how we indent, and write several sentences one after the other (not on separate lines), so I had to explain this to Satori.

Finally, she rewrites and “publishes” the final copy, complete with a title and picture. Over the next month, we will also be exploring narrative, expository, persuasive writing, as well as reviewing fiction/non-fiction books.We will have fun with creative writing with stories and poems, and try our hand at report writing.

Again, Satori is still writing constantly on her own, everyday, so I’m loving being able to teach her all the good habits and tools a writer needs.

For the next month, I may only blog a few times a week, as I’m ahead of my class reunion this year, which is way in Wisconsin. I have to get after people who need to send in their money and questionnaire, as well as create our full-color class pamphlet, complete with photos! It’s just a small class, but I want to give the project my best. We leave in a few weeks to Wisconsin and will probably be gone for at least a week.

In the meantime, I am taking pictures of Satori’s creative projects that she does on her own. I like to do this now and then to document how her writing, spelling, drawings are coming along. First a bit of where we’re at, four weeks into First Grade taken seriously. Academically, we’re on Lesson 12 in All About Spelling Level 3, learning our consonant and vowel suffixes (-ness, -ful, -ly). Our grammar and writing programs are currently overlapping a lot, but soon she’ll learn more about writing and advanced grammar topics. We dropped Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons for now and are focusing on Write Source and Growing With Grammar which gives her more writing opportunities which she loves. She’s tackling some of the more difficult lowercase letters in cursive – Handwriting Without Tears Cursive. Her current favorite subjects are Writing, Grammar, and Vocabulary.

We got some large blank books which I thought would be great for science and history journals, and she decided to use them for her art journals. I never thought we’d have an art appreciation journal, but here you go. In the top in tiny numbers are the dates these artists lived – Vincent van Gogh and Mary Cassatt.

A bit more about Vincent…

She even draws Vincent to her pen pals. She’s been taking to labeling everything, which is kinda cute.

Satori has been obsessed with writing “chapter books”. She has been begging me to find her a chapter book journal to write in. Hmmm…  At this point, we haven’t even really gone over what a paragraph is, much less a chapter. This was written early this month. Daddy was impressed because she described a “gleeming” coat in such detail. (Click to see larger size.)

I found this page laying around, who can tell me what book this is from? This was from last month.

Another pen pal letter, writing about her artists she’s studying, and letting her know our house is safe from the big Colorado fires a few weeks back.

This was taken a long time ago, I thought all her mice drawings were cute. Since then, she has gotten much better at writing correct sentences.

Another labeled drawing of our house.

One thing I can tell immediately after looking at all her recent (the past few weeks) writings, is that she’s gotten a better grasp on correct sentences of all kinds – statements, questions, exclamations, and she’s using them in her writings. Just a month ago, she’d insert random periods all over the place, just because she knows that she needs periods.

I’m so excited to see how much she’ll change by the time she turns six early November!

Sep 7

We welcomed at least six new pen pals for Satori this past week! We’ve already gotten several letters and Satori is just thrilled. Here’s a few letters that were too cute not to snap a quick photo. (Click images to see larger.)

She wrote about the Four Mile Canyon fire and even drew a picture. Our house is much further up the mountain than the fire, so we are still safe. That isn’t a cloud, the plume of smoke was huge yesterday!

As soon as she gets a letter, she runs to her desk to make her reply. I didn’t help her with any of these letters, aside from responding to her when she asks how to spell something. For these letters she asked how to spell “favorite” and “animals”. I know she’s attempted these words before. We have moved to lined paper after sending out a bunch last week that weren’t lined, and probably weren’t the straightest and easiest to read. Since this last batch of letters we sent out (we sent out 7 total), I’ve taught her how to spell “what” and “can”.

I love that she tells everyone to “Have fun!” 🙂

The past few days I’ve been taking photos of a few of Satori’s stories, poems, journal entries and even instructions. Here’s a few, just to demonstrate how much she loves to write at age 5.75. I hope she keeps this up! I am looking forward to kicking it up a notch for our grammar and writing this fall.

We received a letter from our penpal today, and Satori rushed off to write her back a letter. She wrote a letter, and then asked if she could send her a song. I said sure, you’ll have to write down the words like a poem. So she did! While singing her song the entire time…  A lovely summer scene while nighttime approaches…

We are going to be learning how to write a poem down on a page soon, so I’m looking forward to seeing future poems from Satori.

Did I mention she spends half her day writing stories? She’s got one wrapped up as a birthday present for me – “Barky the Dog”.

Today she is working on “The Scary Night” (her title is spelled “sceiry” but she has since learned how to spell “scary”).

She still writes in her Bird Journal. Here is her notes on the Pgymy Nuthatch. Yesterday she wrote about the Great Blue Heron.

Here’s another – “Egypt’s gods and Tut” by Satori. I don’t think I knew how to spell Egypt when I was five years old. Come to think of it, I didn’t even know what Egypt was at that age!

I am glad she is retaining her history studies, we studied this way back in early spring. Here King Tut prays to Horus, Isis and Anubis.

Blue Bairy Intrukcins count as writing too!

Found this lying on a table folded up, and found the money inside… Curiosity prompted me to open it. Click for more detail.

Looking at it with an analytical perspective (I never correct to Satori these things she does for fun), most words are spelled correctly, except for “dear”.  One backwards “D”. Sentences have proper end marks. One sentence fragment. One apostrophe is correct, one is out of place. Pretty good for not going over most of this stuff yet for a 5 year old.

Look for a new letter we’ll be sending out soon Gramy! You’ll even get to splurge on something. 🙂

I mostly posted this because David and I thought her drawing of her flashlight was so cute and she didn’t leave out any details!

But I also love to periodically post updates on her informal handwriting, writing, and spelling skills. Satori just loves to write us notes and letters. I never correct anything on them, but it’s interesting to see how she progresses. In this note, her handwriting was pretty good, except for all the capital D’s in Daddy. Her writing was okay, the grammar is sound and she remembered one period for the first sentence. Misspellings include “plees” and “baterees”, but I’m impressed she got some words correct that we’ve never studied yet – in particular “light”, “read”, and “tonight”. I think the more she reads, the better she’ll get.

One of Satori’s favorite activities is writing stories, notes, and letters. Usually she’ll sit at our kitchen table and use up tons of printer paper. Then we get all the pages mixed up and lost. So I had to find an inexpensive solution so we could feed her interest and keep everything more organized.

The past two times we’ve been to Lakeshore Learning I picked up a colorful set of 10 blank books. I think with their 20% off Back-to-School sale they were about $5. Then we got some other white journals with lines to write on, I’m finding out we love lines to write on, it makes it so much easier to read her writing, hehe.

Once she starts a book, she gets very engrossed and nothing can distract her. One day she made two books. She really wants a lizard pet, so one was “To Be a Lizard”. The other book was entitled “The Huge Beast”. Check out that scary monster stomping over the town!


To be a lizard, you must behave good. Some live in the wild, some have a person.

This book she started it backwards so you have to read the pages from right to left.

After they got home Sofia saw a map. What’s that? answered Hely.

I don’t know. Hely look at Quasha but she jumped up to unfold the newspaper. Inside it showed a huge beast. Sofia read it. A monster in Texas is living by a church. Hely said “Oh no! We got to save this town!”

I love her little drawings. This one is showing the backs of the three girls looking at the newspaper. The lizard book had tons of cute little lizard drawings. I took sample pictures because both of these books and a sample blank book are being sent this week to two pen pals!