Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Writing Menu

For those of you that follow this blog, I know all five of you, you are aware that TL has struggled with writing.  This year, we're using IEW's Student Writing Intensive, which is fantastic.  We love it.  I love the concept's it teaches and the skills it gives him.  I was lucky to have found the parent's dvd's at the library, so the program wasn't as costly for me to use.

When I watched the instructor video, it was like Andrew was talking to me.  He said that generally (and not all the time) when instructed to write a 3 page essay, girls will write ten pages of flowery words and boys will stare at blank paper.  It makes it even more difficult when you give them a creative writing assignment.  He said that boys get terrified with thinking of writing something creative, then stress over the length, and then oh my, I have to spell and do correct grammer?  For the past few years, I've pulled creative writing assignments from journal prompts thinking how fun it would be for him to write, and he hated it.  He could never think of anything to write.  Now, I understand why. 

One of the biggest problems that I have is that writing comes pretty easy to me.  No, I don't often proofread my blog to correct things, but generally I'm a decent writer.  And apparently, because I am, I struggle to teach my son writing skills.

So, anyway, I recomment IEW for I'd say 6th grade and above.

Now, I didn't want the girls to fall into the same trap, although I see a huge difference.  They are eager to write and do so all day without me even asking.  What a difference it is!

I just found the book The Writing Menu by Melissa Forney.  It is sooooo cool!!  You basically sit down and figure out what your learning  the next few weeks.  Now you make your menu of writing assignments for the kids to choose from.

From the Appetizers menu, you give short writing assignments that equal about five points.
  • List five animals that can be found in the desert
  • Write a complete sentence that includes a scientific fact about a rain forest animal
  • Make a list of community helpers in our town
From the Main Courses, you design assignments that generally take a little longer to do.  It could be a creative writing assignment, a report on a history or science lesson, etc.  They are about 25 points.

From the  Dessert menu, you design assignments for about 10-15 points.  They are usually creative writing which should be fun for them

From a quick read through this book, she has designed it for public school kids, but what fun for us homeschoolers!!  She also insists on working on skills each week or length of assignment.  She has a nice chart of skills listed for each grade level through eighth grade.  She also has pages of suggestions for writing assignments.

I've decided to incorporate this in our school starting next week.  I look forward to coming up with fun and exciting things for the girls to write about.  TL is still going to use his IEW plan, but I may plan some appetizers, one for each day, to focus on our history and science lessons. 

Have a wonderful week everyone!


  1. AWESOME!! This sounds PERFECT for my boys. Looking into it now...Thanks!!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up on how well this works over time. I don't have this problem with my boys. They both write well. Oh, they're not always happy to do it, but they write well.

  3. Sounds like a great resource!

    Ellie is starting to not like writing assignments. This has just happened in the last year. It's not that she doesn't like to write - she does. She only likes creative writing though - and she doesn't like the entire process. She just wants to write and have it be her final draft. No brainstorming, notes, proofreading, or editing. Just a paper or story.
    Kate on the other hand currently loves to write. Lexie still needs to be coaxed.
    I will definitely check this book out!

    P.S. That's great that you were able to find those videos at the library. I've always been curious about them, but didn't want to invest the money (or honestly the time

  4. Hi Michelle, I have missed reading your blog. I need to force myself to devote time to blogging. You guys are like my family that I've never met.
    You really should do lots of couponing. Your shelves will fill up fast. I only buy whats on sale, mostly sales with buy one get one free and then put my coupons on it so I can get a great deal. It doesn't take long for your stock pile to build up that way. I've only been couponing since November. By just watching the sales, my things I was buying looked extremely nstrange the first few weeks. After about a month, my pantry started coming together. It looks really nice now. I like being able to just go to the pantry to get what I need & it be there. I thank God for helping me learn how to coupon shop.


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