Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Essentials in Writing

Essential in Writing logo photo EssentialsinWritinglogo_zps7affe1cf.jpg

Our family struggles in writing and I'm not sure why.  When I was in high school I enjoyed English and Writing, they were my all time favorite classes but finding a curriculum that works well for both of my children's learning styles has been sort of an adventure.  We've tried all different kinds of programs and liked some of them but not LOVED any of them.  Finally, our quest is over!  Kylan enjoys Essentials in Writing so much that he will ask if he can move on and do more lessons in the 5th grade curriculum each day.  Say what???  I know, it's crazy talk.  Let me tell you a little bit more about the curriculum and then we'll get into the reasons that it works for our family.

The fifth grade level of Essentials in Writing consists of 64 lessons.  The first 33 lessons were devoted to grammar, and the rest of the lessons focusing on composition. We received 2 DVD's and a CD rom with printable worksheet files, you can also choose to have all the files printed out and bound for an additional $20 which, in my opinion is a pretty great deal.

Here's a list of things that he worked on in the fifth grade level.

~Sentence structure

~Parts of speech

~Writing dialogue

~Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

~The writing process

~Writing a narrative

~Writing a friendly letter

~Persuasive writing

~Descriptive writing

~Figurative language


Click on the link if you would like to see a copy of the syllabus and to look at a complete list of what is covered.  There isn't a schedule to follow but rather a suggested approach of watching the lesson and then only doing 1 worksheet per day.  This didn't work for Kylan so I allowed him to do several worksheets per day if he felt like it.  This is a non consumable product that includes grammar and compostition so it is very economical, especially if you have several children.  Priced at $40 you can use it over and over because it comes with a CD that has printable worksheet files.  Yes, you have to print them yourself or you can purchase them pre-printed for $20.

Kylan loves Essentials in Writing because of the following:

~He can pop the video in and watch his lesson at any time (he doesn't have to wait for me to help him).

~He can re-watch the lesson if he needs to.

~Mr. Stephens presents everything slowly and at a pace that Kylan can keep up with.

~Mr. Stephens shows the students how to apply what they are learning.

~Kylan knows that he's only required to do 1 worksheet per day but many days he will finish 5 or 6 worksheets because he's enjoying the video and understands the concepts.

~Kylan just told me that his favorite reason is that he's getting grammar and writing done all at the same time so he feels like he's accomplishing a lot!
Essentials in Writing Grade 5 photo EIW5thgrade_zpsbb95ceb8.jpg

What didn't work for us:

~The teacher would speak too quickly and Kylan coudln't understand him but that was easily fixed by re-playing it over and over until he understood what was said. It did get a bit frustrating though when I coudln't figure it out either.

~I thought the lessons were too short.

~I wish there was more worksheets available for students that struggle in specific areas.

~There were not any tests or quizzes.  I like to test my children and make sure they totally understood a concept.

Overall we found that Essentials in Writing works well for both Kylan and Makenzie.  Yes, it worked so well for fifth grade that I had to check out the 7th grade curriculum as well.

Essentials in Writing Grade 7 photo EIW7thgrade_zps7e459c7d.jpg

Makenzie is enjoying it immensly and LOVES the fact that she can move as slowly or quickly as she needs to.  She had already finished her 7th grade grammar and writing curriculum for this year. A friend let us borrow their 7th grade Essientials in Writing to see if it would work for us.  We noticed that in 7th grade it focuses more on compostition and grammar is supplemental. 

I am such a believer in this curriculum that I'm ready to purchase the 6th and 8th grade curriclum for next year!

Last but not least you know it's working for our family if I'm willing to recommend it to other homeschoolers in our co-op.  I'm very honest with them about works and doesn't work and will say that I don't like a curriculum.  Today, I posted in our homeschool group recommending Essentials in Writing and giving it a rave review.


Thanks for reading,

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