Charlotte Mason’s methods and other natural learning methods were wonderful with my girls for teaching them English skills. They both write quite well. Narration has formed the cornerstone or basis of their English lessons. However, the boys have an aversion to pencils and paper so writing has always been tedious and something down further on the ‘to-do’ list. I’ve been trying to focus on it a little more lately by using the 5W’s and an H and requiring more detailed narrations. It’s been like pulling teeth. So I did what I always do when I need to go back to the drawing board. I researched new curricula and/or methods. But nowadays, I am pretty particular as I have learned what I need, what the boys need, and what has most chance of success. A program could be the best program available, with all the bells and whistles available, but if it relies too heavily upon me, then it won’t get done. If it requires too much pencil work from the boys, then it won’t get done. If it is something that needs to be done every day, of every week, of every month of every year, then it won’t get done.

I was leaning heavily toward Institute for Excellence in Writing products as they have a dvd lesson which teaches directly to the student, yet also requires a little of me. The boys are achieving success using Math-U-See so I thought that something similar would be a hit. I received the program in the mail (Thanks Linda from Adnil) and spent some time looking over it. Wow, to say that I felt overwhelmed would be an understatement! However, I am trying to persevere with it.

Yesterday, the boys did the first lesson on outlining using key words. Today, the learned about writing a new paragraph from their keywords. I am allowing them to use the computer rather than handwriting their keywords and paragraph as getting the ideas and thoughts flowing is more important to me than using a pencil. I was very happy with their work today. Below is 10yo ‘Master C’ and 12yo John’s paragraphs. (I have their permission to share their work)

Sea Wasps
By ‘Master C’

Sea Wasps are the most venomous jellyfish with a poisoning ability greater then any snake. Sea Wasps search for shrimps on the beach. Sea Wasps have a deadly sting after humans get stung they only have seconds to stagger back to the beach. Sea Wasps are transparent and are difficult to see. Sea Wasps are not found in America and Europe but they are found in Australia. This blob of neurotoxin is quite capable of killing fifty or more people.

Sea Wasps
By John

The Sea Wasp is a venomous type of jellyfish, with poison stronger than that of a snake. While looking for food, it often floats into the shore of Australian beaches, causing danger to swimmers that swim along the beach. When a swimmer gets stung by one, the effect is deadly and gives them seconds to reach the beach. It is very transparent, making it difficult to see and making it harder to avoid. It is not found in anywhere in America or Europe, but makes its home around Australian beaches. It is quite capable of killing fifty or more people. Some may consider it the most dangerous creature alive.

Narration has always been a little more difficult for the boys and after years of persisting and encouraging I knew I needed to give them some key skills that narration could give them, but it wasn’t as they found it cumbersome and difficult. I’m hoping we’re on to a good thing here for the boys.