- English Grammar and Structure through the
Essentials of the English Language Guide
- Writing Structure and Style through Institute
for Excellence in Writing
- Math practice through games and competition
Essentials is, I leave you with the Essentials
At-a-Glance Reference Sheet directly from Classical Conversations. To purchase the Essentials of the English Language (EEL) Guide, and the IEW History-Based Writing Lessons Workbook, visit the Classical Conversations bookstore. And before looking at my thoughts, be sure to download the Understanding Your EEL Guide document on Classical Conversations’ CC Connected Guest Library (which contains several free resources from CC!).
first year of Essentials (aka, my failure)
go of Essentials mid-year (mainly because the writing portion of Essentials was
taking too much undivided time and everyone’s
frustration was escalating), I just want to say:
- The better organized you are with Essentials,
the better success you will have.
- Find a structured plan that works for you and stick to it. (Don’t wait until the last day to write an entire paper from scratch!)
- For Essentials charts, abbreviations are OKAY. Don’t stress your child out when he’s not sure how to spell words like “interrogative.”
- For IEW, SCALE BACK!
(Like our tutor kept telling us to do.)
My 3rd grader was sitting next to a 12th
grader. Even though I tried to keep him
from making comparisons, he still kept comparing himself to others. And for those children who do NOT want you to
scale back, you don’t have to TELL them you’re scaling back.
- Be patient.
It’s okay to spoon-feed words to your child when you are first showing him/her
how to write. We are modeling quality writing for them, and
they will be taking ownership of these advanced writing techniques over time as we model quality
writing for them.
- Your child does not have to write everything out himself, nor does he need to have typing skills (though it would be nice!). If you have a reluctant writer, allow him to use the creative part of his brain dictating what he wants to say in his paper. You, as the parent, can write down what he says or type it. Then he can take over as you modify it for dress-ups together. For some people, thinking about what you want to say and writing it down on paper at the same time can cause the brain to overload.
- Whatever is needed, equip your child to feel successful. You do not want him to absolutely dread writing for the rest of his life. Learn together. Laugh together. Enjoy the time as you learn how to write better together.
biography writing assignment and make it a fun learning experience for my
child, we would have had a much better chance of success. But I also did not stick to our
original Essentials plans after the Christmas break, which resulted in a
chaotic approach to teaching IEW, which DOES NOT SEEM TO WORK VERY WELL.
the plan. It worked so well first semester. But I allowed us to fall so far behind during
the spring semester that we were completely stressed out when my husband
intervened and called for a principal-teacher conference at Half-a-Hundred Acre
Wood Homeschool. He overruled my
decision. I cried. But he was right. And I thank him for his wisdom because we
have now regrouped and are looking forward to Essentials again in
Essentials. But I am not an Essentials
Tutor. I am just a Mom who failed at the first go-round and am using that experience to hopefully help others.
31-Tab Index Dividers
continuing tabs with a sticker over the number to mark the following sections
#31) a little differently than the above suggestion. Whatever works best for your family!
download this with a code provided inside your IEW Student Workbook.)
10 Index Dividers
- Stylistic Techniques
- Models of Structure
- Strong Verbs
- -ly Words
- Quality Adjectives
- Five Senses & Emotions
- Transitional Words & Phrases
- Grammar Rules
- Charts & Checklists
organize our Student Resource Notebook and should have. It would have helped us out very
really enjoyed using a digital thesaurus – something about using technology to look up synonyms. I know i-pads probably have this functionality, but we
are still in the land of way-way-back-there when it comes to technology.
Copies of the sheets listed below
inserting copies of the following pages into page protectors:
Master Charts (NOTE: I had to make a bigger version of “112 Model Sentences” Chart and “Verb Anatomy” Chart. Click the linked text to download.)
Analytical Task Sheet
& Capitalization Reference
Rules Section. Because the Student
Resource Notebook may look different than Cycle 3, I cannot list the page
numbers as of yet. But just print out an
extra set of all the Grammar Rules sheets.
Student may practice one Grammar Rule per week (which will allow you to do this twice over the course of the year – with only one extra rule per semester).
the Decorations section because there are activities in this section for
practice as well.
adjectives, -ly words, and strong verbs.
similes, metaphors, personification, and alliteration
decorations and dress-ups in reading (an activity for our Sign
of the Beaver Book Club that can be applied to any reading assignment).
Also visit Institute for Excellence in Writing and create a free account to download audio and pdf freebies. And be sure to “Like” Institute for Excellence in Writing on Facebook so that you can receive announcements of their free webinars.
Essentials, anyway (even
though we did not finish the year)
Essentials. Let me say it again: I really am glad we attempted it last
year. Our oldest son walked away knowing
how to write better, and that has carried over into all other aspects of
writing. He notices when he uses a
banned word or when he uses words repetitively, even when he is just writing a
letter to his cousin. His writing
improved drastically just from 14 weeks in Essentials.
forward to going back next year – when we get to write about “cool” things like King Tut.
remind you, he is NOT a writer. As you can see, he is a master at completing his IEW checklist in as little writing as possible. Even though this process normally takes a lot of coaching, this particular assignment was mostly his work from our “Borrow
a Conflict” writing assignment.
For more on how to plan for Essentials, visit Essentials: A First Year Survival Guide.