Every year our home education journey looks a little bit different. Don’t get me wrong, we have goals in mind for the content we want to cover from year to year, however the tools, resources and approaches we use are flexible and do change over time. Because our children particularly enjoy studying history and literature I often start my planning by searching for materials that utilize living books and/or a multi-sensory learning approach to supplement our chronological study of world and United States history. This year I was very excited to learn more about “Write From History – A Charlotte Mason Writing Program”.
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This program is a comprehensive yet flexible writing program based on the Charlotte Mason method of education. The Charlotte Mason method recommends sharing living books and original source material with children rather than textbooks. This helps children to understand the material from the perspective of the author, who is presumably someone well acquainted with and therefore hopefully more passionate about the subject matter.
What does this mean in terms of teaching writing to children? With this method young children learn writing by practicing narration, copywork, and dictation based on excerpts or “models” from living books and original works.
The Writing Process
The steps involved with the writing process for young learners include: narration, copywork, and dictation.
- Narration – the child reads/listens to a story then retells what they have learned in their own words. As the child grow this includes creating written summaries rather than oral retelling the story.
- Copywork – the child uses a passage from a story or original source as a model and copies the material exactly as it is written. The parent can use this as an opportunity to discuss elements of grammar used in the model.
- Dictation – the child listens carefully to a passage the parent reads and then writes from memory what they have just heard. This process reinforces proper spelling.
Write From Early Modern History
This year our history studies find us in the early modern era therefore we have been using Write From Early Modern History Level 2. This program for early modern history includes topics from Captain John Smith to the California Gold Rush (1600-1850). The passages included in this program come from a variety of sources:
- Chapter 1 – short stories about people and events such as King Charles II, Benjamin Franklin, Boston Tea Party, and Napoleon
- Chapter 2 – excerpts from primary source documents including The Mayflower Compact, Common Sense, The United States Bill or Rights and one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters
- Chapter 3 – classic poems such as America, Paul Revere’s Ride and The Star Spangled-Banner
- Chapter 4 – folk talks including A Blackfoot Story and Snow-White and Rose-Red
Chapters include the passages above as well as space for written summations, a model/space for writing copywork and space for writing model dictation practice. The Appendix includes models provided for the parent/teacher to use for the dictation exercises.
The program offers detailed instructions and suggested schedules for those looking for help incorporating this into a weekly schedule; however, the publisher often offers options for adjusting the material to fit the needs of each family/child.
Although this program (Level 2) is designed for children in grades 3-5, I personally would suggest that it could be a nice option for families which children of multiple ages. Parents can ask older children to create longer narrations/written summations. Complete paragraphs/sections of the text can also be used for the dictation exercises. My oldest child is in middle school and because he has some writing challenges we continue to do copywork with him – it helps with his handwriting and it offers an opportunity for grammar review. Because he enjoys history so much he has gladly used these original source documents as models for his copywork – one of his favorites so far has been Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues.
Write From History
Write From History works well to support the study of history using a chronological approach for students in grades 1 through 5. Level 1 is for students in grades 1-3 and Level 2 is for grades 3-5.
Titles in this series include:
- Write From Ancient History
- Write from Medieval History
- Write From Early Modern History
- Write From Modern History
Write From History materials are published by Brookdale House Publishing and is available as a softcover bound book from Amazon.
*Disclosure – I was given a copy of these materials in exchange for sharing my personal and honest opinions. I am happy to have these opportunities to review family friendly materials that we believe our readers may benefit from. Please read our Disclaimer for more details.