AJ’s weakest subject is writing. She actually hates to write and I would say that most issues that we have while doing school work come from writing. There are so many writing programs out there and just as many ways to teach writing. When I was given the opportunity, I was happy to review Write From History.
What is Write From History?
Write From History is an elementary writing program that teaches grammar, spelling, and history all at the same time. It is based off of Charlotte Mason’s methods and uses narration, copywork, and dictation to teach writing.
There are four different eras to choose from:
- Ancient History
- Medieval History
- Early Modern History
- Modern History
With the exception of Modern History, each era of history is available in either a level 1 or level 2. Modern History is only available in level 2 right now. Level one is geared for kids in grades 1 through 3 and level 2 is geared for kids grades 3 to 5. The level one books are currently only available in manuscript while the level 2 books are available in either manuscript or cursive.
While this is not a complete history curriculum it would be a great supplement to any program. We decided to review Write through Early Modern History Level 2 Cursive.
About the Book
Early Modern History covers 1600 to 1850. It starts with a passage about John Smith and ends with a passage about the Gold Rush. The book is broken into four different sections.
- Short stories
- Primary sources
- Folk Tales
The book is extremely flexible and can really be used however you see fit. The author gives a suggested schedule which has the child reading either a short story or a folk tale on day 1. After reading the passage the child does an oral narration and a short written summary about the passage. On day 2 the child completes copywork and grammar from the first day’s reading. The third day has the child doing studied dictation. On the fourth day the child reads either a primary source or poetry and does oral narration and copywork. The fifth day has more studied dictation. Each day takes between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the amount of reading and the length of the copywork.
You are encouraged to set your child up for success and make changes as needed. In fact children who have never done dictation are encouraged to start out with only one sentence and work there way up to a short passage.
There are really great passages in the book including Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry, The Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s Farewell Address, and many more. There is poetry from many different poets like, Henry Longfellow, William Blake, Isaac Watts, and more. Throughout the study children are exposed to many different types of writing. A lot of the reading in the book is way above the third through fifth grade level, but parents are encouraged to read the harder selections to the student.
What I liked
Flexibility! I love the fact that while you have an optional schedule to follow, you are able to make changes to fit the needs of your child. AJ has never really done dictation so the dictation passages were a bit too long for her to start with. I can have her write a smaller section and work up to the longer ones.
Clear Writing. So often in copywork I see the transitions in cursive writing done incorrectly. This book not only has it written correctly, but the font is easy to read. There is also ample space for copying the selections.
Directions in plain English. I have not read up on Charlotte Mason’s teachings and originally I was a little unsure of what to do for dictation and narration. The author spells it all out at the beginning of the book.
History is Studied in more depth. This is by no means a full history course, but I love the fact that we can read about what we are studying in history, especially the primary sources that bring history to life.
Great Price. The book is available for only $22.95 for an e-book or $30.95 for a printed soft cover book.
Things I would change / didn’t work for us
Grammar– While the book can help teach grammar with a color coding system, (circling nouns in one color and verbs in another) I feel a separate grammar program would be a better option for the older grades. There is not an answer key at this time for the grammar section which may be a downfall to some.
Appendix is not removable. The appendix at the back of the book says to remove it and use for student dictation. It would be great if the pages were either perforated or already out of the book. I was unable to remove them.
The Charlotte Mason method. Not necessarily a negative, but as of right now I don’t know how I feel about using copywork and dictation for teaching spelling and grammar. Many people use it and love the methods. I personally do not feel there is enough writing instruction with this method. For now I think we will keep our own spelling and writing program.
I love the variety of reading selections available. While I don’t think I will use the program to teach spelling, writing, and grammar, I do plan on ordering the Ancient History book to use next year as a supplement to our reading and history study. For us it would be worth the price for just the reading selections. Those that are familiar with Charlotte Mason’s methods would love this book.