One of the most challenging quests in the homeschooling realm is finding a strong writing program that lines up with my philosophy of writing and that my kids love. I finally admitted defeat in my feeble attempts and decided to just make my own writing program. I found a few resources here and there and used them throughout the year. I was on The Quest For A Great Writing Program. Then, through the Build Your Bundle program, I was given the opportunity to review WriteShop Level D which was just right for my youngest daughter. Here is my review of this writing program.
**I will be doing a Facebook Live video for this review today (May 18) at about 2:30 (PST). My daughter will be joining me! Thanks for joining me – the video is posted below**
My youngest daughter loves to write, she is gifted in this area. Right now, she is working on her own novel and her goal is to write 20,000 words.
She is 10.
Because of her giftedness in this area, she quickly grows bored of redundant worksheets and exercises she either knows already or because she learned the concept easily, making the 20+ questions on the worksheet annoying and frustrating for her. As I read through the teacher manual of WriteShop, I started to feel excited…maybe, just maybe this would be a simple program that she’d enjoy working through, therefore reducing the ‘fight’ to get her to complete her assignments…did I mention she is also very strong-willed?
Level D Goals
I like how the levels are determined by what goals you want your children to achieve. Level D will focus on the topics I want my daughter to begin working on: choosing strong words, writing a paragraph (knowing when to make a new paragraph is a difficult skill to learn), write a short research paper and self-edit.
I am not a fan of tons of grammar worksheets. I avoid them like the plague. However, I like the idea of the Fold-And-Go grammar in this package. I like it because it is concise with one page for each point of grammar instead of endless pages of questions for one single aspect of grammar and punctuation.
I love that it is stapled into a folder and easily available for future reference! Instead of a child doing worksheet after worksheet on whether to place a period, exclamation mark or question mark, they can simply refer to their folder! The activities are relevant to today as well in the way of proper punctuation for websites.
Emily’s thoughts: I like it because it wasn’t too much work and I could finish it quickly. I highlighted the important parts to remind myself later on.
This program has a similar writing philosophy that I do. I appreciate that the author of this program strongly encourages parents to continue reading to their children. This is so important!
I also like that they strongly suggest NOT correcting the journal writing. Every single piece of writing doesn’t have to be polished off.
I like how the program encourages parents to work with their children in the writing process. Learning to write is challenging and it requires a lot of modeling and sharing of ideas. I appreciate how this program explains that writing doesn’t ‘just come’ to (most) children. Writing needs to be modeled to children so that they can see how to write a letter correctly or write a proper paragraph or summary.
Right now, Emily is writing the ‘sloppy copy’ of her own invitation. She is using her brainstorming sheet to write out her invitation. Tomorrow, we will go through the self-edit of her work, where she will use her “Said It, Read It, Edit Bag” – well, hers is a pencil box with special supplies she picked out herself. Self-editing is an excellent skill for kids to learn. I appreciate that this is done AFTER the initial writing! I am always telling students to get their ideas and thoughts on paper first and worry about editing and fixing corrections afterward.
We had fun with the game in the first lesson…kind of like Memory for letter writing. My daughter enjoyed reading the letters and playing the game against me (what kids doesn’t like to try and beat mom?). She played again on her own (a preference) and made it like a solitaire game. She also liked the idea of storing her game in a ZipLoc bag for later use. What a fantastic way to teach the process of writing a letter!
The hands-on activity to help my daughter understand the letter writing process was also very helpful. She put together a robot like a puzzle, indicating the various parts of a letter. Seeing the model helped her to write her own letter using the prompt, which she loved. I do appreciate how the teacher manual gives a good selection of writing prompts, recognizing that not all kids would like the dinosaur amusement park theme.
Emily put her robot together and then used it as a reference for her writing prompt for her invitation. This helped her to remember to include all of the important details.
Emily: I like the activities. They were fun and easy to do. They helped me to remember how to write a letter.
I fully intend to continue using this program with Emily. And she completely agrees! She says it is one of the best LA programs she has used (the other ‘best’ one is a novel writing course). It is certainly a hit in our home and one I hope to use long term.
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