Category Archives: curriculum

Drawing Lessons from Creating a Masterpiece ~ a Crew review

Learn to draw with the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece

Never have I felt like an artist yet a niggling thought has stuck in my head for several years – maybe I just need the right kind of guidance. Enter Creating a Masterpiece and the series of instructional pieces in their newly released Drawing Program, with lessons from Beginning Drawing to Level 3.

CAM-Logo-Final

Creating a Masterpiece has been around for a while and has had video instruction for several levels of various media, including watercolor, inks, acrylics, and more. Recently, the company has expanded their offerings to include drawing lessons. This is what I have been using for the past few weeks and have come to enjoy a lot.

I have been working on at least one drawing a week, hoping to improve my abilities and enjoyment of the process of creating through drawing and sketching. Well, so far so good. I look forward to finding time to work through another of the drawing lessons. I have progressed from the beginning level through most of level 1. That is a total of 15 drawings, from a giraffe to a fish to an egg, each one stretches my abilities and learning.

The drawing lessons use various media for drawing. These include pencil, charcoal, colored pencil, and eraser (yes, you read that right!). Papers used have included regular sketching paper, vellum, black paper, and charcoal paper. Additionally, I have learned about using a kneading eraser, a pencil eraser, vellum paper, a tortillon, and techniques for using the pencils.

The lessons are simple enough to get into and get started on. Log into the Creating a Masterpiece site and then click on projects, at the top.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 10.39.58 AM

From there, you scroll down to the Drawing Lessons. You then select the lesson you want. You will be taken to a page where you can look at the materials needed. This page also has a link to a site where you can order the materials if you do not have a local art or hobby store to visit. One the page that has the materials link, there is also a sample of the completed project and the link needed to enter the video portions of the lesson. Click on that and head into the instruction.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 10.40.34 AM

Each project is broken down into several short video sections. This allows the instruction to be given in small, manageable segments. They have ranged from 2 video sections to 6 sections, I believe. Each video segment ranges from about 2 minutes to almost 10. The segments show Sharon walking the student through each step of creating the artwork, explaining the process and choices made.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 10.41.22 AM

While she is demonstrating each step, we are able to view her hands working from above. This makes is really easy to feel confident in the way to proceed with each step.

Screenshot 2019-10-21 at 10.50.39 AM

penguin drawing in progress

The language of drawing is explained along the way with different projects touching on different art vocabulary. In the lake drawing, Sharon talked about words like gradient, contrast and values. With the owl, she discussed the basic shapes and the value of light and dark, particularly how different colors have those different values. While working on the turtle drawing, the instruction included gradation, repetition, and variation within the context of drawing. I liked how that instruction was woven seamlessly into the demonstration of each drawing.

Confidence is built along the way by the small steps that Sharon asks the student to make in each drawing. There is seldom a large section that is covered or a jump in instruction made. The step-by-step examples and instruction allow every student to have success with every drawing. While every drawing may not be the student’s favorite, it is still a masterpiece of creation and growth demonstrated. What a wonderful thing!

I am still hoping the girls will find interest in the program and join me some. While they have not yet, I have absolutely adored having access to this program and plan to continue using it. I have finished about half of the drawings and feel much more confident in my drawing abilities through the process. I have learned much about the different types of materials that are available and how to use them.

harvest_drawing

My favorite project? Well, it depends on the day. I really enjoyed doing the colored pencil harvest drawing on vellum paper. I also have really enjoyed the while on black drawings where you work with negative values to create the images. But then again, I have had fun creating the various animals – penguins, turtles, and giraffe.

In case you can’t tell, I do recommend this program. I do think it would work well for older elementary students on up. I believe there could be a quick frustration level for lower elementary. I don’t think I would plan on my 10 year old attempting these unless she wanted to on her own. But I can easily see high school students getting a solid drawing education from these lessons.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece)

Many other families have been using Creating a Masterpiece, most with their students. Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read other reviews. You can get there by clicking the image below.

Creating-a-Masterpiece-Beginner-to-Level-2-Drawing-Program-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

Reading Eggs Workbook Grade 5 ~ a Crew review

a quick and easy, all-in-one reading skills workbook

There are some things that it is just nice to have in a simple, compact, easy-to-use format. Grammar, comprehension, and spelling are all packaged up simply and effectively in the Reading Eggs workbook, 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade, that Miss J has been using for the past few weeks. Reading Eggs has set it up to work right alongside their online program, which is Reading Eggspress for this level. The website requires a separate subscription purchase.

Reading Eggs cover

The softback workbook is set up by the week and contains one page for each day. Day 1 and Day 2 are comprehension lessons with excepts from a text that can be read in full on the website library. The comprehension lessons help the student learn to annote (or mark up) a text, noting the important parts and learning reading strategies. There are also two or three questions each day to answer regarding the reading of the text. Some of these are very simple but some require some inference from the reading, which does a great job of stretching understanding.

Reading Eggs workbook comprehension

Day 3 and Day 4 are spelling lessons. These lessons have a different spelling “rule” or pattern each week and the words all correspond to that.  The activities vary quite a lot to help focus interest and memory. The student might sort, work with phonics, count syllables, determine meaning, or have to fill in blanks. The second day is a more challenging day with the words being at a higher level and more complex spelling patterns. This day might also include things like unscrambling words or proofreading for spelling mistakes.

Reading Eggs working hard

Day 5 is a grammar lesson. These lessons each focus on a different grammatical term that helps the student understand the English language usage. The student might work on commas, dashes, clauses, or types of sentences. These are just a few of the terms that might be dealt with and the activities could be marking where they should go or finding mistakes in use, underlining, or completing sentences. Each day has a few different activities to help the student really understand.

Every 9 weeks, there is a comprehensive review. If you are working on a 36 week schedule and want to complete the whole book in that period, this will probably mean you have to double up at the end of week 9 to stay on schedule. For those of us on a more relaxed schedule, one page a day just means the review days are just “another day” and part of the norm.

 

The Reading Eggs workbooks contains everything needed for reading comprehension, spelling, and grammar learning. The table of contents shows you week by week what is going to be learned. If you are a more visual based person and need a calendar look at it, you have that, too. Following the student pages, there is an answer key at the back of the book.

Reading Eggspress website

The Homeschool Review Crew working on this review were offered a four week access to the Reading Eggs website since the workbooks sit alongside the website so nicely. We have had access to the website before and were thrilled to have it again. Reading Eggspress is the branch of the website designed for 7-13 year old students. It includes over 2,000 ebooks and has individualized learning to help all students boost their language and literacy skills.

 

Miss J works in her workbook every day and it takes her maybe 15 minutes. Two or three times a week, she also works on the website. She plays games to strengthen her spelling and vocabulary. She can access the full story that corresponds to the reading passages in the workbook for when she finds the excerpts interesting. She will spend a hour on the website if I let her. For this reason, I often make her do it after her other schoolwork is completed so she can spend as much time on there as she wants to. With rewards and fun activities, it is an exciting way to strengthen language arts skills.

Overall ThoughtsReading Eggs review image

I really like Reading Eggs. When we first started homeschooling, I would not have thought that Reading Eggs was something I would appreciate but I am glad to say I have been wrong! I have wondered what would have happened had we tried it out sooner but, regardless, we have it now and it is really benefiting Miss J. She enjoys the simple activities in the workbooks, even when they are super challenging, and she has a good time when she is working online with Reading Eggspress. We definitely would recommend Reading Eggs.

Claim 4 Weeks for Free:

Just in time for Back to School: Sign up today and watch your child become a stronger reader this Back-to-School season! A multi-award winning online learning program for children ages 2–13, Reading Eggs supports the essential foundations of reading with its highly engaging lessons, games, and e-books!
Claim Now by clicking this link – (https://readingeggs.com/giggly/)

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the experiences other families have had with Reading Eggs. They have used reading workbooks from K-grade 5 and math workbooks from K-grade 2. Click on the banner below to read more reviews.Reading-Eggs-Math-and-Reading-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

 

Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 2 ~ a Crew review

Music Appreciation for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing

A couple of years ago, we had the opportunity to use a music appreciation program from Zeezok Publishing. This year, we got to review the next level of the program – Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades.

Zeezok program books

We received a lovely package of materials that included

  • One student book and the following books
  • Frederic Chopin, Early Years
  • Frederic Chopin, Later Years
  • Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
  • Adventures of Richard Wagner
  • Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
  • The Young Brahms
  • The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky
  • Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines

The student book is a softback, perforated book of more than 300 pages. The reading books are all different lengths. Most are softback but a couple are hardback and one was sent to us as an ebook. (It would come as a physical reader if you purchase the package.) These readers are definitely written at a challenging level for upper elementary, as the vocabulary is advanced. It is great and does a wonderful job of stretching language. The chapters are fairly long so they took more than one sitting each to read.

Zeezok reading Chopin

I read the first Chopin book out loud to all the girls, as it was a fun story, taught a lot about how Chopin came to be the composer he was, and had great vocabulary!

Zeezok workbook page

The student book includes so much information! Miss E has worked on the questions about Chopin and his life. There are music education parts where she had to do things such as write in the beats of the music and work on the website to learn more about the grand staff and key signatures. Much of the written work in the student book includes comprehension questions over the reader. The biggest benefit of the student book, though, is the emphasis it puts on where the music comes from, the heritage of the composer, and the land in which he lived and how it influenced his writing. This and the musical education on reading and writing music is fabulous.

There is also a lapbook to go along with this that can be purchased separately and we have not seen or used it this time around. It is designed for more hands-on learners and there are designated assignments in the student book to let you know when to do each part of the lapbook.

Screenshot 2019-09-03 at 7.23.38 PM

 

Screenshot 2019-09-03 at 7.24.36 PM

One other aspect is the website, app, and QR codes to supplement the program. We did not use the app or QR codes. The website has been wonderful. There are not only links to the music of the composer to go along with the reader and story but it contains videos that teach more about the composer, his country, and his music. We have really enjoyed watching some of the videos on Chopin. There are additional lessons to complement the student book, such as key signatures or the grand staff. There is also an online quiz that can be taken at the end of the composer study for each composer.  Other activities include comparing different types of music with McDowell, viewing Cossack dancing for Wagner, and seeing the New England primer book and hearing a master storyteller for Foster. What amazing transferring of knowledge is being encouraged and taught!

It is suggested that the student keep a journal for specific assignments. One example of an assignment for the journal is when talking about how Chopin really used the music of the people, the student is asked to choose a patriotic song from their country and write an entry about the emotions and sentiments in the music. Another example, when studying Brahms, the student is encouraged to study a picture and quote, then write about what it is conveying and answer a couple of questions about it. Again, this is just asking the student to stretch their knowledge and make additional connections. This is where learning blossoms!

Chopin study

Zeezok’s Music Appreciation, the first book on Chopin, and the CD of some Chopin music that we added to expand the music selections we listened to.

The program is designed to study the seven composers over the course of a year. There are 29 weeks worth of study and each week is delineated at the start of the student book as to the reading and student book activities to complete. There is a scope and sequence in the book, as well as all of the QR codes listed in the front of the book for quick access. This study will cover all of the national music standards for 5th – 8th grades. Paired with vocal lessons and practice, this is going to be counting towards a high school credit for Miss E. It is so thorough and intense that I think it hits everything she needs it to.

Music appreciation is about more than just listening to a piece of music and knowing who the composer is. It is about understanding where the music came from and the influences of the land the composer comes from and life the composer lived. Music appreciation is hearing the music and connecting it to something else. Zeezok Publishing does a great job of this for the middle grades (and on into high school) with Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades. You can read our previous review of Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades, also.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Zeezok music appreciation

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more about the program and how other families have used Zeezok’s music appreciation course. Click on the banner below.

Music-Appreciation-Book-2-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

Elementary Plans 2019-2020 (5th Grade)

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and choose to purchase from the company, we will receive a small compensation.

Upper Elementary Classes - 5th Grade classes

Miss J is in her final year of elementary school – 5th grade. I can’t believe how quickly this has gotten here! She is such an exciting student – her imagination and interests are fun. She is also a very distractable student so we do struggle with staying on task. She benefits greatly from taking a brain break every 30-45 minutes and getting some wiggles out. She has really benefitted from the mini-trampoline (or exercise rebounder as it is called by the company) in the living room so that she can take those quick breaks. She also takes breaks that involve riding her bike around the neighborhood or practicing her dance or creating with legos. These help her stay strong and get refocused.

Her plans are exciting to me because many of them are just exactly what she wants and is interested in.

Math – CTCMath is what she will be using for 5th grade. The short video based lessons are a good fit, giving her challenge and practice without busy work that other curriculums have. You can read our review of CTCMath that we recently posted.

Language Arts/Literature – Miss J will be using Hewitt Homeschooling for her literature course. We reviewed it a couple of months ago and I really like the way it works for her. It keeps her focused on what she needs to think about and asks her to delve a bit deeper into what might be motives and reasons characters act/think/respond as they do. She is currently working on the book The One and Only Ivan. She will also continue to use the 5th grade level of the Reading Eggs workbook that we are reviewing. The short lessons (5 – 10 minutes) focus on comprehension, spelling, and grammar. She also has access to the online Reading Eggs program for some games and activities.

Science – Bird studies are on the program for this year. I just bought some field guides and handbooks that will be fun. We have a bingo program and we have a scheduled time for weekly birdwatching, which will involve her keeping a field journal. She wants to learn to identify more birds and something more about their anatomy. We have a couple of documentaries that we will be using, as well as some picture books. There are also some interesting bits on birds on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that we will access. (SchoolhouseTeachers has a good sale going on for a couple more days. Don’t miss it!)

History – She will continue with the USA Pack to learn two states a week. She also wants to do a timeline so we will be pulling the timeline out of the Home School In The Woods study on the Middle Ages that Miss E has been working on and add it in for Miss J. These two things will create an interesting combination of history but it is of interest to her so she will learn quite a bit. Again, there are some videos on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that we plan to use to go along with, in addition to a neat resource I did a review of (but didn’t publish on my blog) called History Bombs.

Art – Visual art is going to be done using a combination of Creating A Masterpiece drawing lessons and ARTistic Pursuits for upper elementary. I am actually going to be doing a lot of her teaching with these, but giving her the opportunity to create works of art.

Music – She has a current desire to learn the guitar. At Home Dad will be doing some teaching with her three times a week and expecting daily practice. We’ll see how long this interest lasts. . .

Dance – She will be taking four dance classes a week, so about 3 hours of dance. This will be a great PE time for her as she really enjoys it.

That is it for Miss J’s plans for her final year of elementary school.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a fabulous resource that we turn to often for supplementing our courses or finding new areas of interest. From full classes to supplements, there is something here for students of every age and one subscription is usable for the entire family. Click on the image to head over to SchoolhouseTeachers.com to learn more.

ST-2019-August-BOGO-theme-4-twitter-1024x512

Upper Elementary Classes -5th Grade

Middle School Plans 2019-2020 (8th Grade)

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and choose to purchase from the company, we will receive a small compensation.

 

Middle School Classes - 8th Grade classes

Miss L is in 8th grade this year and we have struggled to figure out what materials would be best for her. Her interest lies strongly in dance and many new opportunities have come her way this year due to her hard work last year and through the summer. We know that she needs to have a good strong foundation in all areas of education and are trying to set her up for success in all areas.

The plan is slowly taking form. Here is what we have at this time.

Math – CTCMath – This has short but helpful lessons that Miss L can handle them well. She is learning and doesn’t mind the lessons. Between the videos, the online questions, and the worksheets, she is doing well. You can read our CTCMath review that we posted recently if you want to know more.

Language Arts/Literature – Grammar is going to be Easy Grammar Lessons. This is a 5 minute daily review of grammar, punctuation, and other grammar needs. For writing, she will continue with Jump In. We posted a review on it last spring. Literature will be a continuation of the poetry study she was using at the end of last spring from Memoria Press.

History – We reviewed a study from Memoria Press a few years ago titled Famous Men of Rome. Miss L will begin this study that consists of the people that are part of the history and legends of Rome.

Science – This is where we are really struggling. Her true desire is to have a study that resembles the style of learning that she did when she used Something’s Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha a while back. She wants to have mysteries to solve or figure out while having to learn bits of different types of science to gain the information she needs to find the solution. This is extremely hard to find and, honestly, her brain is far beyond mine in this realm so I can’t figure out how to write it. We were talking last night and perhaps she will actually write her own, making the writing of it her education. Until we settle that part of it, she is going to be using a book we found at the local educational retailer – Forensic Investigation: Using Science to Solve Crimes. It is published by Mark Twain Media/Carson-Dellosa Publishing. It will only take her a couple of months, at the most, to complete.

PE/Art – This is going to be dance. She has about 10 hours of dance a week scheduled between her classes and her work as a student assistant. Once in a while, I hope she will join me in creating a piece of visual art, as I am really enjoying my current subscription to Creating A Masterpiece’s drawing lessons. These are a new set of lessons available and will be sharing a review of them soon. (This link is to a previous review of their art lessons from a couple of years ago.)

Music – She will continue her study of violin and will be taking private lessons this year.

Those are the plans for 8th grade. It will be a lovely year for her! Do you have an 8th grader or middle school student? I would enjoy hearing what you are using. Feel free to share your plans in the comments.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a fabulous resource that we turn to often for supplementing our courses or finding new areas of interest. From full classes to supplements, there is something here for students of every age and one subscription is usable for the entire family. Click on the image to head over to SchoolhouseTeachers.com to learn more.

ST-2019-August-BOGO-theme-4-twitter-1024x512

Middle School Classes -8th Grade

High School Plans 2019-2020 (sophomore year)

High School Classes - 10th Grade classes

Miss E is heading into her sophomore year and we are fully immersed in plans and discussions about what she is going to do for her classes. While as her parents we have a general plan, we definitely allow her to make some choices. So, with the discussion just about complete, I am going to share with you her choices.

(Some of these will be affiliate links because they are products we like and choose. We are not promoting them solely for the affiliation but because we are huge fans of the products, we participate in their affiliate programs. If you visit their site from our link and choose to make a purchase, we may receive a small compensation from the company.)

ART – Located on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, Digital Art and Product Design is on the agenda. It sounded really interesting to Miss E and so she jumped at that title. We have to find the right computer program that will work with the class and her laptop but then she will be ready to go.

MATH – We are using CTCMath. At Home Dad and I really like the look of the program and have decided that this is what we will use for the girls this year. Miss E is starting with Geometry but we have given her the choice of changing over to Algebra II when she gets to a point of frustration with Geometry and then moving back. This freedom means that she will have an out when she begins struggling but if she doesn’t struggle too much, she will fly through Geometry and onto Algebra II.

HISTORY – Miss E has chosen two things for this year. First is completing the Home School In The Wood study of the Middle Ages. Then she will move back to Pathway to Liberty World History Year 4. She really liked the way the program was set up and she found the books that she was using in addition to the program fascinating. I liked the way it all worked together and will be her World History credit.

MUSIC – We are scheduling a time to be evaluated for vocal lessons this year. She has wanted to do voice lessons for a year or so and we will make it happen this year. She has begun a bit of music history and appreciation with Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 2 (review to come but we used their Book 1 a couple of years ago).

PHYSICAL EDUCATION – Dance, dance, dance. Miss E is very involved in dance classes and will be dancing a number of hours each week this year, taking 5 classes and assisting in several more.

LANGUAGE ARTS/LITERATURE – Miss E is going to start out with YWAM Biographies. She found a missionary study book titled To Every Nation from Not Consumed that is going to guide some of the reading and I have written a plan for her to follow which will have her doing a written assignment on at least half of the biographies and designing a final product on each one in addition to the study book she will complete. I will try to post more specifically about what she is doing with this. When she finished the biographies, she will move on to Illuminating Literature: When World Collide by Sharon Watson. We liked the Illuminating Literature: Characters In Crisis that she did last year so this will follow it, as the biography study may only be about a half credit when she finishes. We’ll see. For grammar, she is going to use the Easy Grammar Lessons (review coming soon). It take 5-10 minutes a day and is comprised of exercises that help with review and improvement of writing, which is part of our focus this year.

SCIENCE – We were able to review CrossWired Science a few months ago. Miss E really, really liked CrossWired Science. She wants to work on completing both of the Global Topics contained in the program currently and we hope they will add more before she finished those and she can continue on in that. She will use the calendar for progress included on the CrossWired Science page. If she finished that in about October with nothing else added yet, she will search SchoolhouseTeachers.com for a class or go back to Supercharged Science, which we will still have access to at that point.

SIGN LANGUAGE – We are also still struggling with this one.  There is a class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com but she is beyond it. She is far beyond any of the classes we have found online. She is working on some assignments that her sign teach from last year has given her and she is teaching her youngest sister this year for the Lads to Leaders program. We are pursuing a few days of internship or helping with the preschool sign language story time at the library. We will see where those take us.

That is one full class load, if you ask me. But, honestly, Miss E had a hand in every decision and is pleased with all of them and delighted about many of them. Sophomore year – here she comes!

I would love to see what other high schoolers are tackling this years. Feel free to drop me a list in the comments or drop me a link to your own blog post. I’d love to visit.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

High School Classes -10th Grade

Jump In – a writing program ~ a Crew review

Writing is something that has come naturally for Miss L yet it is something that she needed guidance and stretching with. Writing poetry, writing stories, creating cards, retelling events – it was all fairly comfortable for her to do. But, there is more to writing, composition, than just the creative edge of it. There is structure and elements to it, as well as different styles yet unexplored for Miss L, that she could use some guidance in. Jump In, 2nd Edition is a new edition of a program that I used with the oldest giggly girl a couple of years ago for learning composition in middle school.  Sharon Watson is the author of this program and it is a delight for youth to work with. Writing with Sharon Watson has produced yet another outstanding program that encourages students to write, to understand the process of writing, and to do well with writing by just “jumping in.”

cover

We received the digital version of this program for this review. It came as a PDF file. We received both the student textbook and the Teacher’s Guide. Each is a different file.

The Jump In, 2nd Edition student textbook is 292 pages long. It is designed for the student to write their answers and work right onto the page. Miss L enjoys working with the computer and so she used the Fill & Sign option on the PDF reader to type her answers onto the PDF. She then saved it each time she had completed her day’s work so that we had a complete copy of her work. There were some activities that it was better to print so we did print a few of the pages.

example of typing answers into the PDF

example of typing answers into the PDF

 

The student textbook is written directly to the student. There is a Table of Contents and the they are off, jumping right in. The first section, Get Your Feet Wet, has a few skills and gets the student writing in easy bits and pieces right off the bat. The first section is designed to help ease the student’s concerns about writing and help them evaluate what they like and don’t like about writing. It changes the process a bit from the expected. Each section has a number of “skills” and the first section has three. These skills are the small bites that, when put together, create a complete piece of writing.

explaining how they have changed the process

explaining how they have changed the process

The students will work on writing about opinions, persuasive writing, cause and effect,  newspaper articles, narrations, poetry, and more. There are a whole host of styles here for the students to explore with Jump In. And each one of these styles takes the student through it skill by skill. The number of skills in each style ranges from 6 to about 17, depending on what has been taught previously that applies to the writing being developed.

Table of Contents

After the final style of writing, there is a section titled “My Locker.” This section contains checklists and worksheets that the student has used in different sections of the program. There is a page on the steps of the writing process, one with proofreading tips, and one titled “Mistake Medic.” There is a book report form and the worksheet for writing a paragraph. The final important part is the Index. This can help a student use this program long into the future by being able to look up how to write a certain style and getting the tips and tricks Sharon Watson gives in Jump In.

worksheet on Create Your Own Paragraph

worksheet on Create Your Own Paragraph

And, they have thought of everything. Knowing how quickly sources can change, the lesson for creating a works cited page is online. The text tells the student to visit the website for the lesson so that it can be kept up-to-date in this world of every changing technology. What a great idea! No more obsolete texts.

cover of the Teacher's Guide

The Jump In Teacher’s Guide is 123 pages long. It is so much more than an answer key. You do get the answers for each of the skills in the student textbook but prior to that you get a whole lot more. There are three different schedule options – 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year schedules that you can use to help guide you in setting the schedule for your student. A competent, confident student can use the 1 year schedule while a young student will likely be better suited for the 3 year schedule.

Following some random facts (98 lessons called Skills plus 19 more that are assignments and worksheets; “moments of humor may pop up randomly”), there is a list of all of the writing projects or assignments in the program.

some of the assignments to be done including opinion essay, persuasive essay, and cause-and-effect persuasive essay

some of the assignments to be done

Then we get to The Teacher’s Backpack. This contains many of the materials found in the student textbook under My Locker. Plus, we get additional Do’s and Don’ts for different styles AND it is noted on the pages where it is located in the student’s materials.

As a writing teacher, one of the most intimidating parts for me is grading the writing. Sharon Watson removes that intimidation for me by giving us pages of sample essays and grading grids (rubrics or scales). There are sample essays for giving an A, B, C, D, or F. But not just the essay is there. She also includes an explanation of the things that were done well and where improvement could be made for each essay. This is super helpful.

The grading grids are fabulous, also. Not only do we have the example, but we have the rubric which takes out the guess work. Each piece of what should be included in a high-quality essay is listed along with how many points should be given for that skill. (These are found at the end of the guide.)

grading grid for opinion essay

Grading Grid for an opinion essay

There are Ten Minute Writing Plunges included. There are enough plunges (prompts) to be able to use a plunge four days a week each week of the year. They are labeled by month and there are some guidelines to help determine when it is best to utilize these plunges. There is a lot of flexibility with these. These will provide good breaks from the workbook or give some warm-up writing when working on assignments.

The answer key portion of the Teacher’s Guide is well labeled. You can find exactly what the student should be doing with answers to the daily lessons, writing assignments, and schedules. Even when there is no specific answer, there is enough information included for each answer that grading is easy.

example of the answer key showing a skill and what the student must do for that skill

Example of the answer key

Miss L’s Thoughts:

I felt like the amount of instruction given made what I was supposed to do very clear. I like that there are intriguing prompts. The way I was encouraged to do things and the way the examples were given made a lot of sense. As a PDF, this was easy to get to and use. I do think other students would enjoy and benefit from this program.

My Thoughts:

This is a quality program that is adaptable and flexible, making it easy to work with what your student needs. It is easy to use. Miss L completed one skill a day, about three days a week with more time dedicated to the final writing assignment in the style. Opinions was not a simple style for Miss L to start with. But, we felt like it was important to work through the styles in the order presented so that the skills can build one on another.

This is a high quality program that empowers the student to work hard while learning skill by skill what is needed to write strong, effective works. Whether a young 6th grader or a high-schooler who needs a bit of help with writing, this program will provide the encouragement and support the student needs to become a strong writer.

Visit the Writing with Sharon Watson website to get a sample of Jump In, 2nd Edition.

Also, if you are looking for a high school literature course, take a look at the review we did of Characters In Crisis. It was a great program for high school that my oldest giggly girl really enjoyed.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read more reviews. Many families have been using Jump In so you can read how it worked for their students.

Jump-In-2nd-Edition-Writing-with-Sharon-Watson-Reviews

3-Crew-Disclaimer-2016

%d bloggers like this: