View Full Version : Help Need Writing Program

05-22-2004, 03:05 PM

My daughter is going into the 6th grade, and I need an easy/good writing program for her. We tried Writing Strands this year, but I'm not satisfied with it. Writing is my weak point and I need a teacher friendly program. Can you guys suggest a writing program you have used? Also, whats your opinion on the programs weak/strong points. TIA for any help given?


05-22-2004, 09:56 PM
We're using some McGraw Hill material for our son who is in grade three right now and with it comes a seperate book on writing. I'm not sure what the grade six level is like, but I'm sure they have something to go with it to. I'll look for the website and post it when I find it... I think if you go to http://www.MHKids.com you should be able to find it there. The curriculum books we have are the 'Spectrum'...


05-22-2004, 11:45 PM
Thanks Brenda for the suggestion. I've used some of the Spectrum books already, and I've looked over their writing book. It's not what I am looking for at this moment. Thanks for the suggestion though.


05-23-2004, 03:38 PM
Can you give us some idea what you are looking for? Why weren't you satisfied with Writing Strands? Do you want writing reports or creative writing or journal writing, etc?

05-23-2004, 10:22 PM
Hi Jackie,

I am looking for an all in one type writing program for my daughter. I could of coarse go with a program that taught one type of writing at a time. I am willing to look over any programs/curriculum that teaches a student in this manner.
I don't really think my daughter is learning what she should with WS. I guess I'm looking for a program that stays on one type writing lesson for a longer period of time. My daughter isn't happy with it either. It doesn't seem to catch her attention and keep it. The lessons aren't exciting, she says.


Jimmie Lu
05-24-2004, 08:53 AM
Hi Lisa I have a boxed program that has writting prompts in it that you use with your weekly spelling words!! They are called activity task cards!! I was going to sell them however I will give them to you if you are willing to pay the shipping???If you want more info on them let me know???:)

Jimmie Lu
05-24-2004, 09:00 AM
Sorry I meant to add you can view the cards at www.castlemoyle.com click on the link for the shopping cart and it is listed under Spelling power Activity task cards!!

05-24-2004, 10:01 AM
The link Jimmie Lu mentioned will let you view "Writing Power." We use Spelling Power. Dd enjoys the lessons and I appreciate how well it teaches and how easy it is to teach. I'm considering "Writing Power" for us. Since SP is working so well for both of us and it goes through high school (as would WP) I'm on the verge of ordering. There is no perfect program but I'm always looking.

Right now we use LLATL. It is a complete spelling, grammar, vocobulary, reading, writing, poetry and creative writing program. (My Dd is fourth grade.) I tried WS too but it isn't exactly what I'm looking for. Logos also has a program called "Imitations in Writing" www.logosschool.com They have Imitations In Writing for AESOP'S FABLES, FAIRY TALES, ,THE GRAMMAR OF POETRY, MEDIEVAL LEGENDS, GREEK MYTHS AND GREEK HEREOS.

05-24-2004, 10:12 AM
:D Lisa, I hit the post button on accident.:D Good luck in your search. Tammy:p

05-24-2004, 03:07 PM
Tammy/Jimmie Lu,

Thank you both for the helpful information. I went to check out Writing Power, and I have already been there once before. I'm sorry to say, but I'm not going to be able to purchase those books this year.
My daughter and I are both having severe health problems and I'm not able to spend what I would like on her curriculum this year. In fact, it seems I'm able to spend less and less each year.
Please Jimmie Lu go ahead and sell your cards. I appreciate your kindness sweetie. I can sure use some kindness and thoughfulness in my life right now. I'm having to deal with a lot, and it's hard on me at times. But, there seems to always be a sweet person to jump up and remind me not all people are uncaring. Thanks again...


05-24-2004, 04:18 PM
I do hope your health problems will ease as time goes by. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.
Money being an issue to hsing can be difficult but not impossible. Have you check out the web site www.amblesideonline ? Its a Charlotte Mason web site and everything is free there. They suggest library materials and free downloads you can use. They use a free grammar web site that looks pretty user friendly.
Your library might have a book called "If Your're Trying To Teach Kids How To Write...You've gotta have this book" By Marjorie Frank. I really like it.
Best wishes.

05-24-2004, 10:05 PM
Thanks Tammy for the information. I will check the site out later on tonight.


05-24-2004, 10:49 PM
Hi Lisa

I too had used some of writing strands. It gets good reviews, but its not for every kid. Writing is my pet peeve! So I tend to be a little picky on it too.

I know what I'm going to be using this year is part of Rod/Staff and Calvert.

According to WTM, Rod and Staff writing is excellent and can stand alone. The teaching manuals are good. They are not as explicit as say Calvert is, because they are written to ps teachers. Hence they assume you have some knowledge. However, they are pretty good imho in giving examples and explaining.

Rod/Staff is very inexpensive and well rounded. The whole book on English can stand alone for your language arts AND writing.

You can add to it to make it interesting if you want some more creative writing. However, if you are concerned about her getting the basics and explanation, then R&S is an excellent source.

Ds did not like ws either. Ws though is *straightforward* writing and then it branches out. My sister found it a perfect fit for her daughter. I like a little more explanation. If I can't find something a little more interesting as far as writing programs, then i will take a *thorough explanation* type program than one that is just say fun. I figured I could add fun, but need the basics.

I have also heard that Wordsmith and Word Apprentice are good, but have not personally used them.

This year, I will be using parts of 3 writing programs, and I MIGHT have enough LOL :D :p

05-25-2004, 10:51 AM
Thanks Tina.. I will check out R&S in a bit. I found a new homeschool trading post and I've been buying off of it with good results lately. I tried vegsource, but I never received my books after paying a few times.


05-25-2004, 08:18 PM
I have a book called Comprehensive Composition that I recently bought at the convention, and absolutely will use.

It is a reference book of sort that explains the process of writing and breaks it down into the 4 areas: Descriptive, persuasive, narrative and expository. It starts off with how to teach small children, goes to what is a paragraph, then hits essays in the older grades. It is set up textbook style but much more pleasing in layout. Inotherwords easy to follow, with simple explanations.

It is written by Kathryn Stout, and it was $14.00 at the convention. The reason I bought it was so that we could write on whatever subject we were studying or that interested my son instead of studying one subject, then writing on a completely *unrelated* subject.

This is what her book does. It gives examples, explanations and it covers from ages 3yo to 12th grade.

With this book, it allows me to pick the composition skill we need to work on, read it and discuss it, then apply our own subject/topic. We want this freedom when we write. Ds does much better in having that freedom.

I have not been able to find such a book until then. So as I said before, I don't think you can get enough of these type of reference books.

Hope that helps!

05-26-2004, 05:50 AM
Oh, I'm using Kathryn Stout's spelling next year, "Natural Speller". I think it was mentioned in WTM. I borrowed it from the library and am liking it, so I'm looking to buy a used copy. Only one I've found they're wanting $18 (new is $22), and that does NOT include postage. It think that's a bit high.

You know what Faythe did the other day, Tina? I had her do a written narration, and there were a few mispelled words that she should have known. I made her write those words 10x each. She brought me the paper to show me it was done, on the back of her narration paper. I went to take it from her, and she didn't want me to have it! I explained that I wanted to put it in her notebook. Well, SHE wanted it to go down in the basement on Daddy's exercise tramp, and bounce. She wanted to practice those words, and was going to say a letter with each bounce! This was HER idea, NOT mine (though I shook my head and thought, "Sounds likes something Tina would come up with!!!") Of course, I let her keep her paper! Can you guess what kind of learner she is?

05-26-2004, 09:50 AM
Comprehensive Comp. sounds like another "gotta have it." Thanks Tina.

Jackie, Faythe jumping on the tramp calling out spelling words, made me smile. Sounds like she is comming up with her own Spelling Power Activities. I should come up with my dd's top 20 favorite and post them.
Off the top of my head, she loved the trampoline one, spelling the letters on the phone "dial a word", side walk chalk words, lable punching them, tracing her hand and writing them around it "graphic design", drawing a flower and writing them in the petals, tape your words into a tape recorder, paint your words, yarn words, toothpick words, type words, cheer words, connect-a-word and on and on.

Jimmie Lu, I just took a good look into the SP box and realized the section on writing! Aha. Lots of writing prompts right at my finger tips. Thanks.

Now ladies, I'm off to read Tina's post of learning styles!

05-26-2004, 12:50 PM
Faythe would LOVE writing her words on flower petals!!! We could do that for math, too. Write a number in the middle, and addition facts on each petal.

05-26-2004, 02:54 PM
Hi Tina,

Since you mentioned the Comprehensive Composition book. I took a look through some books I bought last year. I have a book that I believe will be very similar to yours. It is called Writers Express by the Houghton Mifflin Company.. www.thewritesource.com ..
In it is the process of writing, forms of writing, tools of learning, proofreaders guide, and a student almanac. It teaches the six traits of effective writing .. stimulating ideas, logical organization, personal voice, original word choice, smooth sentences, and correct, accurate copy.
It teaches narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive writing. It has a section on the different types of punctuation and how to use them correctly. There's sources avaliable to the student on where to have their writings published. Other sections are: using the library, using the internet, using reading strategies, reading graphics/symbols, building vocabualry skills, becoming a better speller, giving speeches, performing poems, using graphic organizers, writing as a learning tool, completing assignments, taking tests, using the right word, understanding sentences, improving math skills, and using maps. The list goes on forever...
If I'm not mistaking the books are purchased by grades.. such as 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 etc. I think it cost about $15.00. Her evaluator sugggested I buy it last year, and I did, and I forgot. I will use it as it is very easy to follow. Thanks for your suggestion...


05-26-2004, 03:23 PM

Thanks for the tip! I will look into that book! I'm beginning to feel that if you have a good reference book, it gives you the freedom to write on what interests your subject. Especially more so if you have a reluctant writer. Actually, his writing has really stepped up a notch over the last month. He has really sprung forward and I'm so proud. Its been so much work. I just see that he really responds so much better if I use a reference book and let him write on science or on what he wants to. I like having the preplanned because it does give you step by step as to what a child this level is able to accomplish. So my packaged curriculum makes its convenient too when I don't have time to let him *personally pick* what he wants to do.

The books sounds excellent;)

Jackie, yep Faythe is my type of child!..The other day, my oldest son Tre is a Perfect Paul but has a big streak of Wiggly Willy. So I am explaining plural possessives to him. Ok..now we just sit down from break, and we had only schooled about 1 hr. So since he's my oldest, he's good to go for at least another hour (so I think). As I start to really get going,and explaining the details, he proceeds to take off his T shirt and start wringing it. OK...I think, IGNORE, IGNORE, because he is still listening! Then he starts pulling it back and forth under his armpit, (I'm beginning to wonder now)..then finally he wraps it around his head and under his neck and ties underneath like a bonnet! All I could do was pull the book closer to me so he couldn't see the look on my face of *CHILD, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?*LOL

So when I finished, I asked him to tell me and show me what I meant. He picks his pencil up and proceeds to show me EXACTLY what I said.So this has been my scenario since I have started hsing. I have to admit though his energy level has waned some, thank goodness.

Did you know that Kathryn Stout is author of the design a study guides? I haven't seen any of her other work, until I went to the convention and really liked it. Your are suppose to be able to use her stuff for multiple grades,etc. I would be really interested in knowing what you thought about her spelling. I haven't been to her website but I think its www.design-a-study.com. As they get older its becoming more important to me to be sure its tailor made. I believe this is what her guides do.

05-26-2004, 03:38 PM

I thought once you mentioned you were a former attorney or worked for one? Or something along those lines. I am correct?


05-26-2004, 04:33 PM
Yes thats right Lisa.

I actually have 2 years of law school. I received a certification for a paralegal. I went to Southwestern Paralegal Institute in Houston and was certified by the State Bar of Texas at that time. You know, in ancient times (back 10 years ago before ds was born). LOL

I practiced with attorneys who specialized in family law(I prepared divorce decrees,prepared witnesses for court,custody,child support), real estate law (deeds, foreclosures, buy/sale of property) and wills/probate.( I prepared Wills and adminster probate proceedings) as well as preparing questions for voir dire.(picking a jury).

I always accompanied the attorneys to court because I thought that was what I wanted to do, and well because they like me because of my attention to organization and not missing any details in the case. I helped select prospective jurors. That part I liked because I got good at sizing up people.

Truthfully, my conscience hurt me. I could not in all honesty be an attorney and prepare Divorce Decrees that had no Biblical foundation. For them, it was just because well let me see *we are tired of each other* type of thing...:mad: Anyway, I could of pursued it in real estate, which I may end up doing some later time.

But litigation even bothered me because we didn't exactly at times represent the *lilly white* client. Nevertheless because of my oath, I had to do my best.

Yep...I traveled to conventions in other cities and basically loved it. The side of me that loves details and organization blended so nicely with this. This was back pre-computer times, so I had to prepare all trial notebooks by hand. I was always inventing new forms...

Oh well.....i'm talking on and on.........

But yes thats right, it was exciting but I was afraid of the impact on my spiritual life with the time and committment it took to be an attorney.

Is that what you wanted to know?:D

05-26-2004, 08:51 PM
Tina, I went to check out that website it is....


Girl, what would we ever do without you???? You are wonderful!!! :D

05-26-2004, 09:59 PM
Hi Tina,

Yes, that's what I wanted to know. Would you mind if I emailed you and asked you a question? I need to speak with someone.


05-27-2004, 03:16 PM
I don't mind. I'll see if I can help.;)


05-27-2004, 03:23 PM

Ya'll would be just fine! LOL However, the Perfect Paula in me makes me crazy. But ohhhh loving it so much to get and store information! GRRRR.....:rolleyes: :p If i don't know, here I go to find not just *SOME* but*ALL* the details. LOL LOL....