Posts Tagged homeschool writing curriculum

The Write Foundation: Essay Writing

   

Here is how the fine folks at The Write Foundation describe this product:

“The Write Foundation is a teaching system designed to equip students with writing tools which they will use repeatedly as they learn to use them effectively. Writing is fun when students are silly or write on topics where they have a high interest level and the more they enjoy writing the easier the task.  This is not a literature course and the example brainstorms, outlines and paragraphs are written on the student’s level.  Students will learn the writing process, organizational structure, as well as various grammar and descriptive tools.”  
 
 “Many writing curricula focus on the different types of writing, such as creative writing, story writing, poetry writing, persuasive writing, argumentative writing, informative writing, descriptive writing, book writing, fiction writing, novel writing, but the basic foundation of writing is assumed. The Write Foundation begins with the writing process, how a student formulates a topic, then a thesis, then supporting points, and by incremental teaching drills in the basics. In most grammatical subjects, we have found that failure is almost totally because the basics have not been learned.”
 
For more information on how it works, visit the Information page on The Write Foundation website.   You can also download samples of their lesson plans and worksheets.  

 

The teacher’s manual includes sample lesson plans to complete each lesson with either a five day schedule or ten day schedule.  A sample five-day schedule would look like this: 

Day 1: Sentence Structure & Practice (For example, practicing 3rd person, transitions, using adjectives, clauses, etc.)

Day 2:  Teacher Writing Instructions

Day 3:  Student works on Paragraph Writing Assignment

Day 4:  Student completes Paragraph Assignment

Day 5:  Poetry & Literary Concepts (similes, alliteration, hyperpole, etc.) and MindBenders, by The Critical Thinking Company

We found this curriculum to be very thorough in its content, but a little difficult to follow in the beginning.  As a visual learner, I love the idea of using colored highlighters in reviewing literary samples.   For example, in the first lesson the story of the Prodigal Son is used.  The introductory paragraph is highlighted in pink, situation encountered is highlighted in blue, rising action is colored yellow, solution is green, results are colored orange, and finally the conclusion is colored pink again.   The student then uses that as part of their brainstorming to come up with their own original story. 

This curriculum goes beyond just writing instruction.  It also incorporates grammar, critical thinking, and includes a list of required reading which will give the students great examples of many of the concepts they are learning.

  

  

  

Product Classification:  Writing Curriculum (Christian Based)

Where it can be found:  The Write Foundation

How Much?:  $65 – $100 plus shipping and tax**

Who would benefit:  14 – 17 year olds

Other Products Available for younger students:

Level 1:  The Sentence to Paragraph 

Level 2:  The Paragraph

**Uses Mind Benders, a product of The Critical Thinking Company, sold separately

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  Members of the TOS Homeschool Crew were given copies of The Write Foundation:  Essay Writing, Lessons 1 – 15  in exchange for their honest review of this product.  No other compensation has been received.

For more reviews on this product, please visit:

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Product Review: MY Access!® Home Edition

   

Introducing….. MY Access!® Home Edition, because writing matters!

Since I’m always looking for dynamic writing curriculum, especially for my reluctant writer, I was thrilled to be able to evaluate MY Access!® Home Edition.  Getting organized, setting up students, and deciding on assignments was easily accomplished within just a few minutes.  I was excited to find that there are already over 90 pre-loaded writing topics to choose from, broken into age groupings of 8 – 10, 11 – 14, and 15 – 18.  If that’s not enough, you can also set up your own topics within the realm of Narrative, Informative, and Persuasive writing.  This makes it simple to implement a more “across the curriculum” approach if you so desire.         

The writing lessons are self-paced, interactive, and proficiently guide your student through the whole writing process.  The system follows the usual format: plan, organize, draft, revise, edit and publish.  Once the student has finished writing their draft, they can submit their essay for evaluation, which is completed immediately!   The product uses something called IntelliMetric® to score your child’s essay, so there is instant feedback.   (For more information about how that works, you may want to read this page on Vantage Learning.)  Using the detailed list provided, the child can then make revisions where needed.   

You can check their status and view their work anytime by simply logging into your account.    You are also provided with a Weekly or Monthly Progress report via email.   By clicking the link in the email, you can quickly see what they’ve been working on.  Here’s a sample of the report I received from my daughter’s first draft: 

     

Here’s what Vantage has to say about this exciting online product:       

“MY Access!® Home Edition is an online writing application which fits neatly into any curriculum! Whether you’re homeschooling, tutoring students after school, or just trying to help a child improve his or her academic confidence, you’ll enjoy the time-saving technologies, valuable self-paced instruction, and motivating feedback in MY Access!®.  Watch your child improve his or her critical thinking skills and confidence in all subject areas as his or her writing skills grow.   MY Access!® is completely Web-based, so there’s no software to load and it’s accessible anywhere you have a computer and an Internet connection—at home, at school, or at the library. ”      

Our personal experience with MY Access!® Home Edition:           

My daughter, age 15, chose her first topic as, “A Day in the Life of a Bird”!  She did a great job and really enjoyed doing her writing online.  (Background: She was born with a pencil in her hand, is an avid writer, and can usually be found writing or drawing.)  She got “advanced” scores, so naturally she was quite pleased!   (Caution:  She wondered why she needed to do a revision if it was already advanced!)   Even though the program gave her advanced scores, it still provided revision ideas to help improve the essay.   This will continue to be a good tool for her to use in developing other areas of her writing, especially writing Persuasive Essays, which we have yet to cover.     

While I was not asked to review this for younger levels, I was curious as to how it would work for my son, age 11, who is a more “reluctant” writer.  He jumped at the chance to write online instead of on paper!   He chose a topic we both were sure he would love, being a scientist and all; “A World Without Gravity”.   Somewhere between completing the lesson and moving on to the pre-writing exercises, my sweet, young scientist decided that a day without gravity is not possible,  as the earth would surely explode into bits and float off into space!  This made coming up with a story difficult for my small realist!  So I decided to take the opportunity to create my own topic.  Instead, he wrote about what he had learned that day about atoms.  He was happy to record the information, but sadly did not score well because he didn’t really use the proper elements for writing an Informative Essay.  (I was actually pleasantly surprised by his overall sentence structure and vocabulary usage, in spite of the results of the automated scoring.)   I plan to continue using the program with him, so that he will acquire a better understanding of the different styles of writing and their required elements.   I think I need to take a slower pace with him using MY Access!® Home Edition, but I’m confident with continued practice, his scores will improve.  

Pros:    

  • Pre-loaded topics
  • Flexibility to add topics
  • Separated into age groups
  • Immediate feedback  
  • Help with revisions 
  • Maintains writing portfolio  
  • Can access with any computer connected to the internet

Cons:    

  • Because it is an Annual Subscription, could be cost prohibitive for some
  • Potential for technical issues – e.g. computer problems, internet problems, server issues
  • May be overwhelming for those new to formal writing

For more information on MY Access!® Home Edition

Vendor Name:   Vantage Learning

 Purchase From: 

   

 Price:  Three Students/1 Parent – $99.95 per year 

Six Students/1 Parent – $129.95 per year

  Product Type: Internet Based Writing Tool  

Other Products Available:

 CorrectEnglish™ Academic Plus

GMAT Write™ 1 & 2 

MY Access!® Professional Edition

CorrectEnglish™ Personal

CorrectEnglish™ Business Plus 

Recommended for Ages 8 to Adult

Disclaimer:  Members of the TOS Crew were given free access to this product for their families’ use.  In return, they were asked to post  an informational review on this product. No monetary compensation was received.   For more reviews on this item, please visit:  The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew

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