5th grade Homeschool Highlights: Writing & Rhetoric 3

The late-elementary/early middle-school years can be a bit difficult to navigate. Those subjects that are so easy to teach to little ones become a bit more difficult at this age. At least for me! The early years were easy – beginning math, learning to write sentences, all the fun history and science projects. It was simple. Now, with a child that’s getting older, I realize that there are some subjects I’m not as well-prepared to teach as I thought. Writing is one of those subjects.

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Transitioning from those early years of copywork & dictation to writing paragraphs has been a little bumpy. But as TJ and I work through the Writing & Rhetoric series I’m seeing good progress in her writing abilities (and in my confidence as a writing teacher). Come take a look at Writing & Rhetoric book 3 – Narrative II.

Writing & Rhetoric 3

The first two books in the Writing & Rhetoric series were great – wonderful discussions, great lessons on learning to summarize, learning about dialogue and important elements in a story. They provide a great transition from those early elementary years to the middle school years.

Writing & Rhetoric 3 takes things to a whole new level. Lessons still follow the same format, divided into different sections (Tell it Back, Talk About It, Go Deeper, Writing Time, and Speak It) but  go much deeper and include many new writing components. It really makes me excited to see where this series is going.

A look at Narrative II

If you’ve used the earlier books in the series, you are very familiar with the lesson format. Level 3 follows the same basic format with 11 lessons (to be used over the course of one semester):

  • Tell it Back – after reading the introduction and lesson story (this series has fabulous stories – all on MP3 too!) you’ll make sure your student understands the story. They’ll narrate the story back to you and then (a new thing with book 3) you’ll work on outlining the story.

  • Talk About It – this section of the lesson gives you a chance to discuss the basics of the story – characters, traits, and how the story might relate to us.

  • Go Deeper – discuss the various literary elements of the story with your student – types of narrative, morals, some vocabulary work with the dictionary and thesaurus.

  • Writing Time – you’ll work on dictation and ‘sentence play’, varying the types of sentences in the story, working on various narrative elements (dialogue, point-of-view, characters). There’s so much good stuff packed into this section!

  • Speak It – this last section works on speaking skills with simple exercises and ideas to practice speaking aloud

There are two books for each level – one workbook for the student and a teacher’s manual (a copy of the student book with gray boxed areas for teacher information). There’s also an MP3 audio – a very nice addition for this mom who has trouble with some of those ancient names.

We cover one lesson each week with some lessons taking longer than others, depending on the depth of the writing assignments. Generally it takes 3-4 days to work through all the material.

Why you’ll love Narrative II

I really liked the first two books in the series. But book 3 really kicks it up a notch. It pulls all of those pieces together and you can really see where this program is going (and why it’s so fabulous). What I love the most:

  • the MP3 audio – some of those names can be a bit tricky so having someone else do the reading aloud is a nice bonus

  • a wonderful teacher’s manual that really lays everything out for you – if you don’t know how to teach writing, Writing & Rhetoric can make you a confident teacher

  • the simple assignments that teach good writing methods – using a dictionary and thesaurus for alternate word choices, how to vary sentences or write from alternating points-of-view

  • many of the assignments can be done orally – which is a nice thing for pencil-phobic kids

  • a nice bit of grammar review – your kids will learn those parts-of-speech while working on writing good sentences

  • simple speaking assignments that will give kids confident public speaking skills

I could go on, of course, but I’ll leave a few surprises for you to discover on your own. As odd as it is to say about a writing program, you can sit on the couch, cuddle with your kids, and discuss stories with this series. I don’t think you can say that about any other writing program.

It definitely tops the list as one of our favorite homeschool programs. Narrative II is really a strong addition to the series and I’m looking forward to seeing the future path that this program takes.

Are you using the Writing & Rhetoric series?

If you’ve considered using this series from Classical Academic Press, I encourage you to give it a try. It teaches a plethora of valuable writing skills in ways that are easy for kids to manage (and simple for moms to teach). Let me know if you’ve been using this fabulous series!

If you want to learn more about the series, take a peek at the other books in the series: