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First of all, I have to disclose that we haven’t been using our writing program faithfully every week. If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ll know that Satori writes on her own all the time. This morning she got up early and went straight to writing books on Australia and snails. It feels wrong to make her write more, but I’d love her writing skills to improve, so we’re going to be picking up our writing program and using it more. (I probably say this every few months…) We’ve been using Write Source for the past few years and will be finishing up Write Source Grade 1 this spring. We stray from the popular WTM’s classical education recommendations of doing copywork and narrations and not focusing on original writing. We cover the copywork/narration in other subjects, so we started using a program that covers actual writing, much like in the public schools. I know most people probably are happy with Writing With Ease (or other writing program or even none for first grade) and that’s fine. I’m just being thorough here for people interested in Write Source. 🙂

Write Source First Grade

We mostly just use the colorful Student textbook. The first part of the year we got all the Write Source grammar out of the way, so during that time we used the Student Workbook a lot. We’re done with the workbook, and now will be solely focusing on writing. (I’m not sure why we bothered with the grammar portion, we already do grammar in other programs.)

This week we learned how to review a Fiction Book. Here’s the textbook introducing a sample of a book review for a fiction book. This is the first time we’re getting some direction on how to flesh out a paragraph – we have a beginning, middle, and ending. I made sure Satori realized not to cover the book in great detail and give away the ending (shown in bubble tip), but just enough to get the reader to be intrigued and want to read the book.

Now, to tackle the actual writing! Write Source follows a definite Writing Process: Prewrite, Write, Revise, Edit, and Publish. The text guides us through each stage, giving us examples.

Prewrite – Gather your details.

As always, Write Source gives us different methods on how to organize our thoughts. In this type of writing, they have a Details Sheet for us to fill out. The Teacher’s Edition text has a blank example, but we hardly ever lug that out, so I whipped up my own handmade version.

We went into our library and Satori chose this book, Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. This is one of our FIAR books we actually never read, but I had just read it to her yesterday because we’re learning about mussels (mollusks). She read it back to me this morning. (I don’t have her read much to me, but she did a great job, so I’m thinking we’ll have to do this more often.)

Write – Write your first draft.

Using her details sheet, she wrote her sentences down on paper. It was super easy because it was already organized.

Revise – Change your writing.

After that, she reads her written review aloud to me and we discuss it. If I have any trouble understanding parts of her writing, we will add revisions in blue pen to make it clearer. (I didn’t take a photo of the page spread for Write/Revise, I’m sorry. I think I took samples in another blog post though.)

We then usually conclude the lesson for the day. Today we kept going. The next part is the Edit.

Edit – Check your writing.

Next we take a red pen and check for conventions (rules). For first grade, we check three things: Capital letters, End marks, and Spelling. We do this together.

Satori and I love to do the editing parts with the bright blue and red markers. It’s more fun to do these colorful marking edits together than if I simply took a red pen myself and slashed away.

Publish – Share your writing

Finally, Satori takes a new sheet of paper and makes a neat final copy of her writing.

We also add a drawing, but I forgot to snap a pic of her drawing today.

Here’s her final Fiction Book Review!

Next week we’ll be reviewing a Nonfiction Book as well as her favorite – Writing Stories!

Write Source Kindergarten

At the time of this post, someone was asking on the WTM forums about Write Source Kindergarten. This program is just the one book, which acts as both the workbook and textbook, all in color. Satori did this so long ago she totally forgot she worked in this book! She could barely even write or spell a proper, complete sentence, and that was just less than a year ago (looking at past blog posts). But it is a gentle introduction to writing.

As you see here, it already starts out with the red editing marks that we find so much fun to check for.

It introduces the Six Traits of Writing (found in many writing programs): Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions.

As you can see, it’s very simple and works with simple sentences to ease the child into writing.

Back to Write Source Grade 1, here’s a sample page which goes into the Writing Traits in a bit more detail.

We’ve been pretty happy with Write Source so far, and will most likely use Write Source Grade 2. I’d then like to try a more challenging writing program, but I still haven’t figured out what we’ll be using next.

EDIT ONE DAY LATER…

I’ve had several PMs/emails/blog comments about what books exactly I was talking about, so I’ll post them here as well as update the blog. Keep in mind I think I’m the only WTM person that uses Write Source for the early grades, so just use your own judgement if you think it might work for your particular family! I’m posting the links to Rainbow Resource, where I ordered them. They also seem to have great prices for this program.

Kindergarten book – this book is both the text and workbook:

New Generation Write Source Kindergarten Student Book

First Grade

SkillsBook ($7.15)

Student Book ($28.35) – I think I refer to this as the Textbook.

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.

Here’s the program we’re going to use to explore more writing with Satori – Write Source. The book below is the Kindergarten book, and it looks perfect to start out. I mostly hang out on classical homeschooling forums, so I very rarely hear people talk about Write Source, but I think this might work out well for us.

Satori was eager to jump in and work on the pages. The first pages do not assume that the kindergartner knows how to write words or even the the whole alphabet (it says to write letters you know), so it seems age-appropriate for kindergarten. I just wanted something very simple and colorful to introduce the basics of writing. After introducing the concept that letters make words, it goes into sentences. This is page 10.

Most of this we practice in both copywork and spelling dictation, but we haven’t formally covered what a sentence is in the first place. After covering very simple sentence basics, it introduces the Writing Process. Satori loved looking at this page and couldn’t wait to start a story. But in this book, their version of a story is just one sentence, two at the most in the end. Satori is used to writing entire stories, but I’m looking forward to the simplicity.

Following this simple model – Prewrite, Write, Revise, Edit, and Publish – should be fun. She immediately thought of a topic – cats, and then gathered some details: fast, shap (sharp claws), wiscurs (whiskers) and pointy (teeth).

Here’s her sentence. 🙂 It should be a good starting point to edit today. I am not going to focus on correct spelling when we do this program, unless she requests it, all I want to do is get used to capitalizing sentences and using end marks. She should pick it up in no time.

We only spent 10 minutes yesterday on this, and she begged to continue. However we had already covered a third of the book in just one session and I want to go more slowly from here on. The rest of the book covers forms of writing (journals, lists, signs, captions, stories), and themes to write about.

In her freetime creative writing, I’m not going to worry about spelling or grammar, I never bring that up in her stories. But I’ll be quietly looking for improvements in her writing. I’ll continue to supply her with paper, bare books and more to encourage her love of writing. We’ll see how it goes!