In our homeschool, we often try to balance two worlds. We want our children to be free to follow many of their own delights, and yet we also feel that it’s important to ground them in the basics of English usage and arithmetic. The question then becomes, “How to we teach our children spelling, grammar and writing in a way that is gentle and painless?”
It’s hard to find an English program that is gentle, and yet thorough. That’s why I was so excited to be able to review Write from Early Modern History Level 1 by Kimberly Garcia and published by Brookdale House publishers.
The writing program that they publish is meant for Elementary school students. They have a level 1 for grades 1-3 and a level 2 for grades 3-5. I chose the level 1 program because my students are 8 & 6, and I wanted them to be able to work together.
The different volumes of each level of Write from History reference different historical periods. They are broken into ancient history, medieval history, Early Modern History and modern history. So, if you’re using the four year history model, this is also a great way to make your writing program fit in with your history program.
Garcia’s Early Modern book is divided into four sections of narration and copywork excerpts. The first section contains a selection of history stories arranged chronologically so that you can go to the section of history you are studying and pull out a lesson. Next, she has a fairy tale section, a poetry section (that matches up with the history stories) and some folktales from around the world.
There are enough passages in the book that you could do two passages/poems a week and still utilize the passages for an entire school year.
We’ve only had the book a week, but I can tell you that the kids love that their copywork and narration is keyed to real stories from history. We started with the first lesson in the book, which is based on Pocahontas.
The first day, I read the passage and had both of my children narrate the passage back to me. If you’ve never done oral narration before, Garcia has a list of general questions that you can apply to any passage to help jog your child’s memory for narration.
My kids are familiar enough with the Pocahontas story that they actually began an argument about what is true in the Disney movie and what is not! It wasn’t until we used the next story, “The First Thanksgiving,” that I was able to notice that the children were sometimes telling me things that they knew from history, and not the facts that were actually written in the passage. That’s the one weakness in using the more familiar fairy tales and history stories for narration. Sometimes, the kids already know the stories a little too well.
The second day, we did a section of copywork that was a provided worksheet in the text. The red arrows on the paper were my drawings where I was teaching my six year old where the actual copywork went. My 8 year old is already quite proficient because he did Writing with Ease Level 1 last year.
We began Garcia’s suggested language focus of one part of speech each month, and circled all our nouns in blue. The language lessons build on each other over the course of a year.
The third day, we went back to the same Pocahontas story and did a second set of copywork and grammar study, again circling our nouns. We could have went back a fourth day and done a studied dictation, but I’ve chosen not to incorporate dictation at this time.
I find this manner of narration, copywork, parts of speech focus, and studied dictation to be all that you would need for handwriting, reading comprehension (my 8 year old can read the passages fluently), grammar and spelling. It’s as gentle as it needs to be for a younger child, and yet, it is a very simple and thorough program. It’s really all you need for a young writer.
I received a free copy of this curriculum via Educents because they are having a deal on this program this week. I was not asked to make a favorable review of this program–only a fair and honest one. I have not been compensated (except for in the free materials) in any way by either Brookdale House or Educents. However, if you would like to make a purchase through either my Educents affiliate link or my Amazon affiliate links, if would be a blessing to our family.