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The Complete Writer: Level 1 Workbook for Writing with Ease (The Complete Writer) Paperback – August 12, 2008
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About the Author
Susan Wise Bauer is a writer, teacher, and historian. Her books include The Story of Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, the History of the World series (W. W. Norton) and the Story of the World series (Well-Trained Mind Press). She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, as well as an M.A. in seventeenth-century literature and a Master of Divinity in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature. For fifteen years, she taught literature and composition at the College of William and Mary. She lives in Virginia.
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Top customer reviews
You might prefer the text to the workbook though, so I'll try to walk you through picking which one is right for you, and at the end of the review I'll describe the WWE program itself.
If you use this workbook:
You will need to buy a new one each year (almost $30 each time), BUT every single piece of copywork and every passage for narration and dictation is provided along with a paper on which to do the copywork, narration, or dictation... Everything is laid out and you just need to follow simple instructions. If you have multiple children, you can just copy these pages instead of pulling out the originals (perforated) and reuse. No lesson prep time needed, except to make the copy or pull out the page, and the literature Bauer uses is really great. We have used it as a guide for ideas for new readalouds (Little House in the big woods, Pinocchio, The Blue Fairy Book, etc.)
If you use the text:
You will have the plan for all four years, and it does walk you through how to progress week by week, BUT you have to come up with your own copywork and passages for narrations and dictations. This is the less expensive way to go by far ($30 each year for four years, or $15 one time) but it will cost you big time in terms of lesson prep time and effort. For me, I know that I may not always get the prep done in time and end up skipping the lessons :( AND since the copywork and passages are high quality, I see no need to reinvent the wheel.
The program in general:
Bauer's philosophy is that writing is really two tasks combines into one. There is the part where you come up with what to write, and the part where you write it down. For young kids, expecting them to do both is unrealistic, but allowing them to learn each one on its own sets them up for success. They start out alternating copywork (learning to physically write) and narrations (coming up with their own words, but you physically write it for them. Then they progress to doing some very short narrations, and then copying it down after you write it down. Later, there are dictations, where you speak to them and they write what you say. In this way, they learn the different aspects of coming up with things to write and writing them down, and then the skills slowly get put together until they can come up with ideas and write them down. Intellectually it makes perfect sense, and in practice, it really seems to be working. My boys (5 and 7) are enjoying the program and succeeding, rather than being intimidated and stressed by writing.