How many of you have a difficult time teaching and grading writing? Anyone? Anyone? Is it just me? I hope not. I have always found that teaching and grading writing are very difficult for me to do as a homeschooling mom. To me, writing can be very subjective, so it is difficult to put a grade on it. There are so many styles of writing that it is hard to teach the specifics of each of them. I was very thankful for the opportunity to review Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson.
As you may notice from the picture above, this is technically a middle school curriculum. Well, I have a high schooler and he did well with it. He has always been a reluctant writer up until recently. We have worked hard with him to get him to write without have a meltdown or completely giving up. We were chatting one day and he said that he would like to learn how to do different types of writing. I knew that I needed help with that one so I started to research some. The very next day, we were given the chance to review this writing curriculum and it looked perfect for him!
And you know what? It is! We love it! It is so well written. It breaks everything into various skills needed. Each skill is precise and explains the skills extremely well. Here's what our oldest had to say about it:
Overall it helpful. It definitely had some good information for any writer. It'll be helpful for when I have to write a paper. I personally liked that it wasn't overbearing, where it gives you so much stuff to do without much learning involved. It seemed to be a good amount of writing and reading combined.
I completely agree with his assessment. It wasn't overwhelming, which I am extremely thankful for. We just got him to the point of enjoying to write, that I didn't want this to hinder that enthusiasm. He actually is thinking of being a writer some day! Wow! What a change!
There are so many different types of writing that he will be learning through this book. The book starts with a "Get Your Feet Wet" section. This is just an overview of writing and it got him to think of how he writes best. Wonderful! Then he learned about opinion writing. Here are the other types that he will be learning: persuasion, cause and effect, a newspaper article, a how-to, a report, a biography, compare and contrast, a book report, a book response, description, narration, and poetry.
We received the digital format so I just printed out each section for him at a time. As I said before, each section is broken up into skills. He would complete one skill a day about three times a week. This seemed to be a good pace for him as it wasn't too fast and overwhelming and not too much to do in a day. We might go more than three days a week, though, when we start this up again after the baby is born. He is doing more writing in his History, English and Bible classes, so I don't want to overwhelm him with writing where he will get burnt out.
Each skill was laid out and then at the end of the section, he would have an assignment. It was clearly laid out and he knew what was expected of him. There was even a checklist for him to go through when he was finished to make sure that he completed all of the steps. Wonderful!
I am excited to start the "10 Minute Writing Plunges" that start in September. There are writing challenges for 4 days a week. Then the 5th day can be used to write more about one of the topics from that week. I think that this will really help his writing juices to flow! These are not graded, which he will be happy about.
In the Poetry section of the book, he will get to write new lyrics for a song. He will really like this one, as he already does this sometimes.
The Teacher's Guide is so full of information! I usually don't like using the Teacher's Guide with curriculum, but this one was so different! It doesn't just give you the answers to the student's book. They actually help you grade writing! How glorious! I find grading writing assignments even harder than teaching them. She has a grading sheet for each and every writing assignment in the book. I couldn't believe it! I tend to grade the mechanics of writing, but this helped me to zone in for what to look for in this specific type of writing. What a life saver! I really liked that it gave me space to write a comment for if he didn't receive the full point value for a specific section.
There are also examples of what an A, B, C, and D paper looks like. She gives the few reasons why a student should receive an F on a writing paper. I read through these and her reasons why she would give them that grade. This was very insightful for me to know what to look for in a paper.
Do you want to know what my favorite thing about this curriculum is? It wasn't difficult to get him to do it. I would just say for him to work on his writing and he would simply say, "Ok. That's easy." You don't know how long I've waited for him to say that!
I am excited that we found a writing curriculum that will teach the basics of writing so that it is easy to understand and not overwhelming for our reluctant writers. We will definitely be completing the rest of the Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson. I am so thankful for help with teaching and grading writing!
Don't just take my word for it, though!
Go see what the other reviewers thought about it!
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