After spending two years working through some courses from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (first the Student Writing Intensive and then the first half of the Continuation Course), the girls and I switched gears with composition this fall. I especially appreciated IEW's Student Writing Intensive and highly recommend it for clearly showing children how to compose a solid, structurally sound and interesting paragraph. But the girls became rather bored with IEW's formulaic approach and so, after much deliberation and prayer, I chose to go back to my writer-roots and focus instead of helping each of the girls to embrace writing the way real writers do. I'm using Brave Writer as a guide, though, for me, the materials are simply reinforcing what I've known for years based on my own experiences as an author.
The girls still use the IEW format to draft summary essays of their history lessons. But in our new approach to composition, they take time each week to do several "freewrites" on topics of their own choosing. Then at the end of a month, they each choose one of the freewrites to revise and edit into a publishable piece.
Rachel found her "writer's voice" several months ago - before we made this change - when she started journaling and discovered that she has a passion for expressing herself with the written word. She even started a blog this past summer to share her insights. And our new approach supports her endeavors quite well. So she's publishing her assignments on her blog amidst all her other posts.
Her August contribution was this beautiful story, Across the Ocean.
Abbie isn't convinced that she enjoys writing, but she's much happier with our new approach than she was before. And she produced this wonderful legend in August:
Why the Sun Glows
Once a long time ago, there was nothing but The Great Creator. And he decided to make the sun. So he did, but the sun was sad, for he had no one to talk to. So The Great Creator gave him the moon. He was so happy he started to glow. But then a large rock hit the perfect moon, making a crater. And the sun darkened.
So The Creator stretched out his hand and scattered stars all across the sky. The sun was so happy it glowed a little brighter than before. But then a star fell out of the sky and the sun dimmed, for he loved his stars.
So The All Merciful Creator made planets and the earth and animals and - best of all - he made people. And the sun was so thrilled that he burst into vibrant brilliance of red and orange and yellow.
This coming week, they'll each choose one of their September freewrites and spend time doing necessary revisions. I can't wait to share their latest efforts.
Photo Credits: Jason and las - initially