But language arts? Especially writing? That is scary. But maybe... just maybe... I'm seeing a glimmer of light ahead.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a good as new copy of Student Writing Intensive B from IEW drop into my lap. I've wanted to truly use IEW's materials, but somehow it just hasn't clicked. But with Andrew Pudewa doing the teaching via DVD? I had high hopes. My boys adore Mr. Pudewa. I was sure that was the ticket.
I started using it with my kids this past week. And it was a nightmare. Level B is meant for grades 6-8, which includes Connor and William. My plan was to find some easier source materials and have Thomas (4th grade) work with this too.
Instead the kids argued, complained, whined, and nearly came to blows. Thomas needed more time to think about what he was being asked to do. William was convinced he couldn't possibly write all that was expected. And Connor was irritated because he didn't want to drag this out all day long and he shouldn't be forced to wait for his brothers. We got through a KWO (key word outline) but things started to totally fall apart. Combining was clearly not going to work.
I posted a question on the IEW yahoogroup asking what to do, assuming I needed to go ahead and purchase easier materials for my 4th and 6th graders. I was convinced they couldn't possibly all work on the same thing.
Jill Pike came back with an answer detailing how to do it all together. It wasn't really all that different from what I was doing or was planning. I have no idea WHY her response made me feel better. But it did. We pulled the disk out and started back at the point where they had finished the KWO.
And today was fabulous. Connor wrote a solid paragraph on his own. William and Thomas co-wrote a paragraph, with me acting as scribe. Next week, they will do separate paragraphs. They begged to keep going. I had to MAKE them stop.
Reflecting on today, I am so grateful for an encouraging word when I really needed it. I think our hang-up earlier this week was that I was letting my kids convince me that they couldn't work together. Sometimes it just takes words from someone who has gone before me -- and survived -- to change my attitude. That changed attitude makes a tremendous difference in how my kids react, and in how they perform.