Writing with Ease Level 3 Review

I just did a little review of Writing with Ease Level 1, so I figured I might as well review the other level of WWE happening at our house this year – Writing with Ease Level 3.James is using WWE 3 this year for fourth grade. I started him in Level 3 rather than Level 4 because he had never done dictation before. This level has been perfect for him – not too easy and not too hard- although he may not necessarily agree with me there! I will admit that I get a fair amount of complaining on dictation days, but we just keep up with it and his skills are definitely improving!


WWE 3 is set up basically the same as WWE 1.  The major difference is that the child does dictation instead of copywork. Like WWE 1, this level is broken up into 36 weeks of lessons, with four lessons each week. While WWE 1 focused on one book per week, WWE 3 focuses on either one book or one topic per week. There is a good mix of literature, poetry, history, and science passages. To give you an idea of the variety….one week focuses on The Moffats, with passages and dictation taken from that book. Another week is all about magic, and the dictation sentences and passages are pulled from both a book about magic tricks and a book about Houdini. Yet another week focuses on authors, with two days spent on Laura Ingalls Wilder and two on Dr. Seuss. This adds a lot of interest to what could otherwise be a pretty repetitive subject. It also means that if James finds one week boring, he may very well enjoy the next week. 

Just like in WWE 1, the WWE 3 workbook consists of scripted lessons followed by removable student pages. For this level, I am not removing the student pages like I am doing for Level 1. I bought the student pages PDF from Peace Hill Press and I print them as needed. This way I can preserve the whole book for Rose and save a little money. You could also preserve the book by having your student do their writing in a separate notebook, but I find the pre-made pages convenient.

Okay, so here is how the program is set up!

Day 1 is a narration day.  The student is assigned a one or two page passage to read.  James reads the assignment, then I ask him for a summary. Questions and/or prompts are provided and I almost always use these to help him collect his thoughts and pick out the important bits. Several example narrations are included to give you an idea of what to expect for a narration. I find these very helpful to get him going in the right direction and I often read the first few words of the example if he doesn’t know how to start. The examples also give me a solid idea of what the passage is about, without actually reading it myself.

Day 2 is a dictation day. Dictation is not my child’s favorite subject! But I feel the dictations in this book are very age appropriate and not overly challenging, unlike the longer dictations in Level 4. Background information is given to read to the child first. For example, on the day the child will take dictation from Humphrey’s Bear, there is a very short summary of the book, and the scene is set for what went on just before the dictation sentences. Then we get on to the dictation! I read the sentence(s) three times, pausing slightly at commas and longer at periods. This can be a bit tricky and sometimes I have to read it a couple of extra times to get it just right. If there is unusual punctuation or spelling I let him look the sentences over first. Then I repeat the sentences or prompt him with single words as needed. I have yet to sit down and have him get it all on the first try, he usually needs another reading. You are asked to watch the child as they write, which is so important.  I admit I get bored watching him slowly write out each word and so will often take the opportunity to empty the dishwasher, help someone else, switch the laundry over, etc.. I am nearly always sorry when I do this, because I often come back to find a mistake. It is far better to catch mistakes right away than it is to have to erase and rewrite at the end. After the dictation there is sometimes a short assignment,  such as circling the prepositions in the sentences.

Day 3 is a narration and dictation day. Just like in day 1, the child reads a passage and you help him summarize it, recording his summary for him. Then you choose one or two of his sentences to dictate to him.

Day 4 is a dictation day again.

And then you move on to the next week! Right now, this is all that James does for writing, though I have been considering having him do a summary each week in history or science. I did not take pictures of any of the pages for this level, but they are not very different from Level 1, so just click here if you want to get an idea of what a completed student page looks like.

Updated 4th grade

I updated my first grade plans for Rose, and now I think they are all set. So naturally it was time to update my fourth grade plans for James, and now I hope they are all set.

My changes….

  • We will use Bookshark’s American History 1 instead of Sonlight’s Core D. They are virtually the same thing, with just a few differences.  I already own Core D, so it was just a matter of getting a new Instructor Guide and a few more books. I would not have bothered, except that I wanted to update my Core anyway in order to use the revised Landmark History spine. 

  • I was going to use Bravewriter’s Partnership Writing, but decided I wanted something more streamlined. Instead, we will do Writing With Ease Level 3.

  • I was going to use Sequential Spelling, but decided to stick with the recommendation in The Well-Trained Mind. He will do Spelling Workout instead.

Basically, I am just trying to simplify my decision making process with these changes. There are so many options out there it can be extremely overwhelming to settle on any one thing! I have decided to stick primarily with recommendations from The Well-Trained Mind and Sonlight/Bookshark unless I have a good reason not to. More on that in my next post!

Supplements for Core D

A list of some “extra” ideas to go along with Sonlight’s Core D for my fourth grader next fall…

**My Fourth Grade Extras List**

Extra Reading

Sonlight has a lot of historical fiction. Luckily, we like historical fiction around here, but I also want to read some books that aren’t necessarily linked to the history period we are studying. These are a few of the titles that I hope to read with him.

    Math Fun


      • Math Mammoth Games – Each chapter of our Math Mammoth curriculum includes links to lots of online games that go with the concepts introduced in that chapter. When we get to a new chapter, I email him the list and he plays a few each week. 
      • Mathtacular Levels 3 & 4- Fun, if a bit corny, math videos that are great for review and reinforcement.
      • Moneywise Kids game. I am also debating Family Math and plan to check it out from the library this week to review at home.

        History Extras

        Core D is all about American History, so there are a ton of fun supplements, but I limited this list to things we already own.
      • Liberty Kids and/or The Story of Us, both available on Netflix. I am also collecting a list of other documentaries that might be good to watch. He loves documentaries!

      • Coloring Pages– These might be good to have on hand for those long read-aloud sessions (or for little sis!).

        • And the best supplement of all….trips to historic sites! We live in New England, so we can easily visit many early American history sites in person!

        Also, it doesn’t fit into any of the above categories, but I would like to start doing Mad-Libs again regularly.  They are such a fun, painless way to practice the parts of speech and it is one of those things everyone misses doing.

         Okay, on to finish up planning for the older two…with a post to come soon!

          Fourth Grade Plans

          James will be in fourth grade come fall! Here is my plan for him, always subject to change, though I’m hoping to stick to it!

          Literature & History

          • Bookshark’s American History Part 1- I already own Sonlight Core D, and I was planning to update my Instructor Guide anyway because I wanted to use the revised Landmark History spine.  So I decided to get the Bookshark IG while I was at it.  Just a few of the books we will be reading….


            Language Arts


                • Writing with Ease Level 3– James did WWE Level 1, but we never did 2 or 3. I am using Level 3 instead of 4 because he has never done dictation and I think he could use some more summarizing help.


                   I really waffled on grammar, but I already own the teacher book for this program so I only need a new workbook, making this a very cost-effective choice.  I debated starting him back a level because he hasn’t had any grammar so far, but after looking over the books I think he will do just fine starting at grade level. There is a lot of review built-in.


                              Sonlight Science DThis year is all about Biology, Taxonomy, and Human Anatomy.  A few of the books we will be covering….

                                   I also have the optional Lyrical Life Science volumes 1 & 2 on hand, so we will include that as well.
                                  • Lively Latin 1– He started LL1 this year, but we had to drop it part way through because he still has trouble with a lot of written work. I hope to pick it back up sometime during fourth grade.


                                    And I think that’s it!

                                    Changes Already

                                    I just knew that once I had decided on our plans for next year I’d be changing them! Just the nature of the beast I guess, at least until I order our stuff! Seriously though, I have been driving myself nuts these past few days trying to work out what to order for next year. I am still working on 6th grade plans and will have those finished by the end of this week (for sure!) because I need to get them sent into the school district.

                                    I updated our fourth grade plans to reflect a few changes. Still need to update second grade.

                                    Here are the changes/additions for fourth grade-click on the link above for more specifics.

                                    Saxon 3 instead of 5/4. Based on the Saxon placement test we did today, Christopher really needs to start with Saxon 3. I’m not thrilled to think he is a grade level behind, but I believe it’s better to go back and try to give him a more solid foundation than to rush on to stuff he’s not ready for.

                                    A couple of “real-life” math programs/games that we will do on Fridays.

                                    MCT Town level for grammar, writing, vocabulary, etc. Honestly as I post this I am still on the fence, so I won’t be surprised if I change my mind. But I am very intrigued by this program, and since I would put Grace in the same level, the cost isn’t too prohibitive.  I also purchased The Writer’s Jungle today and have been reading through it. I know many do both MCT and TWJ, so I am investigating that possibility. Lots more reading/research to do!

                                    I also added in a few things for all the kids to use for nature study, music, art, and Spanish. More on those later! The kids made us dessert tonight- so I have to run!

                                    Fourth Grade Plans

                                    Christopher’s Fourth Grade Plans


                                    Saxon 3
                                    Life of Fred Apples and Butterflies
                                    Drive-Thru Menu Math and Moneywise Kids – for Friday math fun

                                    Language Arts

                                    MCT Town Level
                                    Bravewriter Lifestyle with The Writer’s Jungle
                                    Cursive handwriting- Zaner Bloser Level 3
                                    Sonlight LA Core D and E- we’ll pick and choose from each week’s work


                                    Sonlight Core D, moving into Core E
                                    The Nature Connection


                                    Lively Latin I 
                                    La Clase Divertida-review Level 1 and the beginning of Level 2- but slowly!
                                    Getting Started with Spanish

                                    Art and Music

                                    Dynamic Art Projects for Children
                                    Picture study (1 artist every 6 weeks) plus corresponding projects from Discovering Great Artists

                                    Weekly folksong from this list
                                    Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times, and What the Neighbors Thought
                                    The World’s Very Best Opera For Kids! (Rainbow Resource edition with teacher’s manual)
                                    Classics for Kids and VOX CD’s that we have on hand

                                    And the Rest

                                    Typing Instructor For Kids
                                    Rock Climbing and Swimming Lessons
                                    Weekly library trips
                                    Participation in weekly homeschool group and a monthly book club