My kids enjoy the program Writing with Ease. They love reading the short passages that are included in the program. They don’t love the dictation but do it without too much complaining. I have seen their skills slowly improve as they are able to remember long sentences and phrases. They are starting to construct grammatically correct sentences that are complex.
I enjoy many things about the program as well. One of my favorite things is the ease of use for me. I don’t have to do any planning or search out passages from other resources. Everything is done for me with the workbooks. The lessons are done 4 days per week and take less than 20 minutes. It’s been a great intro to writing for our homeschool.
So, now that we’re almost done with the program (with only 1 level left to go), I’ve been thinking about where to go from here. I’ve reflected back on the program and where I’ve seen improvements in my kids.
Where is it taking us?
Now that I’ve progressed through several levels of this program I can see the vision for this style of teaching. Yes, it would probably be best if I read the text or listened to a talk by the author that describes her style of teaching writing. But I have not yet had time to do those things. I’ve just jumped right into the program and hoped for the best. And yes, it has paid off.
For Tiger (age 7, Level 1), he has improved in his listening skills. He is also able to now dictate complex and well-formed sentences to me when he provides the things he remembers from the story. This program has taught him to think in a complete sentence – not in broken fragments. Now that he can express himself well out loud, he will be able to soon express his complete thoughts on paper.
For Curly (age 9, Level 3), she is receiving excellent practice in reading aloud since I have her read the passages to me. She is learning how to read with the proper pauses and inflections while also paying attention to the reading in order to comprehend the meaning. It has bolstered her reading comprehension skills.
She is also learning to think in complete sentences as she has to express her thoughts back to me. But now she is learning the skill of summarizing the story. Instead of picking her favorite detail, she has to think hard and pull out the most important details and provide only those ideas to me. She is learning to read critically and then remember the most important points in a passage. This will serve her well in later schooling as she studies from lectures and texts.
The program is also teaching Curly to hold complete thoughts in her head and then put them on paper. These thoughts are properly punctuated and well-written. With this program she is seeing models of good writing that she writes after she hears them read aloud.
The benefits I have seen from this program are the way my children can put their thoughts into a complete sentence and then express themselves clearly. They also learn from models of good writing that they imitate, seeing different forms of sentence structure and observing correct punctuation.
What I love about the program is how easy it is to teach and implement. It takes about 10-20 minutes per day, depending on level, to do one day’s lesson. My kids are exposed to snippets of interesting literature that often sparks an interest to read the full work. Also, the program does not require any advance planning by me.
We have only one more level of Writing with Ease left – Level 4. I don’t think we are quite ready to jump into it next year though as the passages look very long and challenging. We are going to take a year off and work on some of the new books from Classical Academic Press – Writing and Rhetoric.
Recently, we completed the Fable book and will be starting Narrative soon. We will probably complete the second Narrative book before we think about returning to Writing with Ease.
For my other kiddos my writing progression will look something like this:
1st – Writing with Ease 1
2nd – Writing with Ease 2
3rd – Classical Academic Press Fable (and possibly Narrative 1)
4th – Writing with Ease 3 (with Narrative 1 or 2)
5th – Writing with Ease 4 (with Narrative 2 or Chreia)