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For a while, I have had to butt heads with R over writing. He struggles with so many different technical aspects, that getting words onto paper can be almost torture at times. While he might have great ideas in his mind, by the time he navigates handwriting and spelling problems, his stamina is shot and the finished product is extremely hard for most people to read.
When I heard that Writing Tales was going to be a TOS Crew vendor this year, I started to have flashbacks to attending CHAP in 2008. That particular homeschool conference is so huge that even a seasoned veteran might find their head spinning at all the options. But, I had to say that seeing the vendor’s name reminded me that I had met the author at that conference and thought it looked like a program I might want to try with my younger boys. Then all the moving about for the next 2 years had me losing track of that information. Given that I saw definite promise at that point in time, I was anxious to have the chance to review them now.
We were sent both Level One and Level Two for our review. For both levels, the student is learning basic writing skills as well as incorporating exercises in grammar. Contrary to a particular child’s opinion in our house, grammar is not a busy body work assignment. Since grammar helps to teach good sentence structure, it is ideal to incorporate that study with writing.
Level One is recommended for a 3rd or 4th grade student. D decided that since he’s an ‘advanced 2nd grader’, he wanted to try it out. Many of the assignments have been quite manageable for D. He just doesn’t grasp why he should do the assignments as they are given rather than writing they way he wants to write. We have been going slowly as learning to follow directions as written is a skill he struggles with still.
Level Two is recommended for 4th or 5th grade. As R is in 5th grade and often struggles, I decided it should be a good fit if things were not pushed too much. So far, that is proving to be true. I can tell he enjoys the workbook format of the program. Only the rough draft and final drafts of the main writing assignment are done on loose paper. Although he is enjoying this program more than the previous one we used, he is still arguing over the idea of key word outline making and using that outline for rewriting a story. But, he is NOT having an extreme sense of dread at the moment. And, if there is one thing about writing I have hypothesized … that sense of dread can lead to perpetual avoidance of writing. At least that’s my theory when it comes to P!
One nice feature of Writing Tales is the inclusion of some ‘games’ to reinforce learning. The pages from the teacher guide that are used for these are also found on the free downloads page of Writing Tales’ website. This is one aspect of the program we have not been consistently doing due to ‘technical difficulties’ at our house. (AKA the computer with a printer is acting up and not letting me print the pages!) Once we get those issues resolved, I plan to be fully utilizing the resources for Writing Tales.
Writing Tales requires a student workbook for each student and a teacher guide (that offers suggestions for instruction in a homeschool environment or a co-op setting as well as an answer key.) For Level One, the student workbook is $19.95 and the teacher guide is $24.95. For Level Two, the student workbook is $24.95 and the teacher guide is $32.95. You can find the scope and sequence on the website as well, including which literature excerpts are being used.
Note ~ Writing Tales has their annual sale this coming week (May 2- 9) where you can save 20% and get free shipping. Visit their website for more details.
Disclaimer ~ Our family was sent the student and teacher materials for both Level One and Level Two of Writing Tales for the purpose of completing this review. No other compensation was provided and the opinions expressed here are our own. You can read what the other TOS Crewmates think about See the Light on the TOS Crew blog.