Our Writing Curriculum Journey

As we have homeschooled over the past 6 years, we have tried different writing curriculum. When my daughter was in grades 1-3, we kept using Voyages in English since this curriculum have grammar and writing in it. I noticed that my daughter was able to follow the grammar lessons but when asked to write, she wouldn’t be able to write nice sentences at all and sometimes, would even dread writing.

It was during this time that a friend lent us their copy of Writing With Ease and my daughter loved it. It was all narration, copywork and dictation but because everything came from good literature, we had a great time doing it!

We also got to try Sonlight Language Arts for a year and she had a blast! Though there weren’t really much writing expected from her from that curriculum. It mainly consists of copywork, narration and dictation. We also were able to read through several great books and use those as our guide for our grammar lessons.

Then we tried to use Write Shop. It was a writing curriculum filled with fun activities and though I think it was a fun program, it didn’t fit the need of my daughter. It was during this time of praying and looking around that a friend lent me her copy of Julie Bogart’s The Writer’s Jungle. It was an awesome book and it really helped open my options about writing. It changed my perspective about writing and gave really cool tips that we used in our household. It helped ease my relationship with my daughter and changed my expectations from her and I noticed that it helped her to relax as well eventually enabling her to write better.

As we approached 6th grade, we got Writing With Skill from Susan Wise Bauer to help her write better technically. I was hesitant at first but I was very happy with the results. My daughter who was once a reluctant writer is now able to write better and quite interestingly too. We are still continuing with Writing With Skill this coming 7th grade.

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Here to Help Learning Review

We are given a full year access to the digital product of Here to Help Learning homeschool writing program in exchange for our review. My 9 year old son used the Flight 2 Paragraph Writing program throughout our review period. He is currently in 3rd grade.

Here to Help Learning Review
Here to Help Learning is a Christian based, filmed instruction, online streaming writing program. Through Ms. Beth Mora’s lively videos, the program engages both the teacher and the student to participate in the writing program.

Ms. Beth Mora, together with her husband, Forrest Mora has homeschooled their own children and worked on different co-op settings and Bible study groups. They created Here to Help Learning to help provide other families all the help so that they can successfully homeschool their own children.

The Flight 2 writing program consists of 32 lessons.  There are other Flights available. The Flight 1, 2, 3 Paragraph writing is for younger students in grades 1-3 while Flights, 1, 2, 3 Essay Writing are suited for the upper grades, grades 4-6. The 32 lessons are good for one school year of teaching and there are 6 writing projects per Flight. Each writing project covers a different type of writing including narrative, descriptive, expository, persuasive and poetry.

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The recommended schedule for using this program is 2 days. The first day is for viewing the filmed instruction for 45-60 minutes. This includes breaks for activities. The second day is for the student to work on the independent work called “Flying Solo”. The length of time for the second day depends on the student’s ability to work.

Every filmed instruction has 5 parts:

Pre-flight checklist, flight check-in, take-off, full throttle and flying solo assignments.

The Pre-Flight checklist gives the student and the teacher a list of supplies needed for the upcoming lesson. The Flight Check-In reminds the students of the reason why he needs to do his work to the best of his abilities. A memory verse is flashed as well. The Take-Off is the activities section prior to the actual lesson. For the Paragraph Writing level, there are games or activities which helps the student warm up to the writing process. Full Throttle is the main lesson discussion and the Flying Solo gives the instructions for the individual work.

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The program can work for individual students but it can also be used to teach multi-level especially if the kids are just a year apart. It can also be used for teaching co-ops.

 

Here to Help Learning Review
Since this is an online streaming filmed instruction series, you just need to ensure you have access to a stable internet connection whenever viewing the lessons. For the students, you would need to have printed certain pages for the worksheets.

How We Used This Product

We followed the recommended usage so we accessed the lessons 2x per week. The first day, we did all the activities except for the flying solo assignments, which we did on the second day. It was overwhelming at first but eventually, my son got used to the lively videos and eventually  enjoyed the lessons. We printed only certain parts of the worksheets and didn’t print everything as we referred to the files on the computer instead.

Here is a sample of his list!

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We printed the different pages of the worksheets. Since my son is a visual learner, I wanted him to remember the writing process by letting him see the process easily. He also is an auditory learner and he easily memorized the different steps because of the repeatedness and the unique way Ms. Beth Mora presented this lesson.

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What I Thought of The Product

This is a good product for children who are visual and auditory learners. If your child easily gets bored with the usual writing program, then this product would be worth a try! Don’t expect that your child will be doing the work all by himself though. In my child’s case, I had to be with him as we watched the film and helped him do the activities. I had to prompt him on what needs to be done and what sort of activities is expected from him.

I also believe that the end goal of being able to write well by going through the writing process is achieved by going through the lessons. Each lesson was able to discuss the process in-depth and ample amount of practice enabled my son to write more interestingly!

I also liked it that the FAQ section from their website is fully loaded with information. All my questions were answered and I easily understood what was expected from me so that we can maximize the homeschool writing course from Here to Help Learning.

Where to Get This Product

For International users like me who wants to get the physical copies, go to Rainbow Resource. Otherwise, you can just go to their website and subscribe monthly.  Monthly membership fee is only $6.99. If you want to try the product first, you may apply for a free one day membership.

For more information, check Here to Help Learning social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heretohelplearning/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HTHLTweets
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HTHLearning/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HereToHelpLearning

See what other Schoolhouse Review Crew thinks about Here to Help Learning!

Here to Help Learning Review

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WriteShop Junior Book D Review

WriteShop Review

I was looking around for a writing curriculum for my 5th grade daughter and I stumbled upon WriteShop. It seemed like a good choice so when I was given the opportunity to review the product through SchoolHouse Review Crew, it was an answered prayer for us! We reviewed the WriteShop Junior: Book D Set.

WriteShop is an incremental writing curriculum for kindergarden to high school. They offer WriteShop Primary for grades K-3, WriteShop Junior for grades 3-5, WriteShop for grades 6-10, Write Shop II for grades 8-12. They also offer Fold-N-GoGrammar lessons.

WriteShop Review

I chose the WriteShop Junior D to review with my 10 year old daughter. WriteShop Junior D is recommended for students in 3rd grade-4th grade but can also be used by struggling students in 5th grade and 6th grade or those who have never taken any formal elementary writing lessons. The lessons are taught in a step by step approach using the stages of  pre-writing, brainstorming, writing and self-editing . Using the correct punctuation marks, brainstorming before writing, structuring a sentence, narrowing a broad topic and self-editing and revising your own work are just some of the skills introduced in this book. The student will also have the opportunity to write the following:

> Letter of Invitation
> Humor 
> Adventure 
> Science Fiction 
> Mystery 
> Poetry/Haiku
> Folktales 
> Historical Fiction
> Personal Narrative
> Expository Writing: Factual Article

We were given digital copies of the following items:

Book D Teacher’s Guide digital copy costs $35.50. It contains 278 pages of comprehensive instructions on how to use the writing program. Daily lesson plans, writing samples, guided scripts and list of required supplies for each activity set can be found here. It is also available in a spiral bound physical book which costs $45.95.  This is a required component for the effective use of the writing curriculum.

WriteShop Review
Activity Pack digital copy costs $35.5o. It includes the 66 pages of engaging student worksheets and 72 pages of  Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar pack. The activity sheets are presented in an animated, fun and creative manner. Student will enjoy completing all the interactive activities which makes learning fun!  Some of the pre-writing activities need preparation from the teacher. Preparation includes printing and cutting. Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar pack is a reference tool to help review grammar rules. You can assemble it by using file folders.

The digital copy enables you to print as many copies as you need for your entire family. If you want to buy the hard copy, it costs $45.95 but do note that it  can only be used by 1 child. This is a required component for the writing curriculum.

WriteShop Review
Optional Time Saver Pack digital copy costs $11.50. It has 24 pages of ready made tools to lessen preparation time of the pre-writing activities from the activity packs. It is also available in hard copy and costs $14.95. Note that this is just an optional component for the writing curriculum.

All files can be simply opened using Adobe Acrobat.

How We Used The Product

We were given 8 weeks to use this product. As soon as I got the files, I immediately opened the Teacher’s Guide. As I scanned the document, I was a bit overwhelemed with the wealth of information found in this file. I decided to read the document in sections. I liked it that WriteShop has laid out a 2 week and 3 week cycle schedule of  the lessons. We chose to use the 3 week schedule and printed it out so we have a visual guide. To save on paper, we only printed the Activity Worksheets.

My daughter worked on Fold-N-Go Grammar on Mondays while I prepared the activities for pre-writing. photo 4 (8)

We worked on the pre-writing activity and this is where we have the most fun! There is a different fun activity in every lesson.

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Then we follow the Model and Teach script. For the following days, I asked my daughter to work on the journal writing practice, brainstorming activities and the writing project.

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Usually, my daughter types the finished project into the computer. Then she edits and revises the document using the self-editing checklist provided by WriteShop. After the 3 week cycle, we evaluate her work and the skills she learned during the entire cycle.

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What We Thought Of the Product

My daughter Kyla thinks that the product is wonderful. It’s a  fun and creative curriculum that allowed her to grow as a writer. She mentioned that she liked how the lessons started with games and made the lessons easier to remember. Every start of a new lesson, she looks forward to the unique games and it sets the tone for her writing assignment.  She also appreciates the self-editing checklist since it made editing and revision work easier for her. Her favorite lesson so far is the humor writing project. It was her first time to write a humor piece and it turned out quite good!

As the parent teacher, I liked the different activities that WriteShop provides. Instead of the usual drills, it adds creativity and widens my daughter’s choice of words and story lines in the different writing projects. The step by step approach was able to guide my daughter in forming the different skills needed to write more creatively. I especially liked the exercise on narrowing a broad topic, as it helped her to think more specifically on her writing assignments.

After 8 weeks of use, this product has not failed my expectations. If you have a reluctant writer in your home or if you are looking for a fun way to unleash your child’s creativity, I suggest you give WriteShop a try!

For more information on WriteShop, check the WriteShop Facebook page  or follow WriteShop Twitter or the WriteShop  
Pinterest or Writeshop @ Instagram or Google+ 
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