Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Write Foundation

Most of the curriculum that comes past me is either written to be used in a home school or in a formal classroom.  The Write Foundation's curriculum takes a new direction, as it was originally designed for a once a week co-op.

The author, Rebecca Celsor, states that this program and its levels "were originally written for students who struggled with and hated writing."  She feels these kids struggle because the process of writing has never been broken down for them, so they could see patterns and transitions in writing.  The author uses a variety of techniques (outlines, formal writing, logic problems, and poetry) to give the students ample practice in developing these skills.

The Write Foundation has three levels in their heavily Christian based curriculum.
Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing for ages 11-13
Level 2: Paragraph Writing for ages 12-15
Level 3: Essay Writing for ages 14-17

Factors to consider when choosing a level are whether a child likes to write, how well they write, and their maturity level.  Even though Dragonette is 13, I chose the Essay Writing Level.  She is a copious fiction writer and knows the basics of non-fiction writing.

Essay level is divided into 30 lessons, ranging from outlines of paragraphs, to a research paper in MLA style, to timed essays. Poetry and logic problems (Mind Benders, sold separately) are also thrown into the mix.  I was only provided with the first 15 lessons, so I cannot give an assessment on the whole program.

Included are loose-leaf student pages, a spiral bound teacher's guide with all the answers to the student worksheets along with Teacher Presentation pages, and a cd with all of the Teacher Presentation pages that can be printed or put on an overhead.

In the spiral teacher's book, the first 19 pages discuss how to use the program.  There are suggested schedules, a syllabus, a grading system, and explanations of each component of the program and its vocabulary.  Each lesson in the book has a list for that week.   All instruction is to be covered in one day (the co-op meeting) and the assignments are then completed at home.  The book takes you page by page through the student pages, telling you how to introduce these to the students.  The last page of each lesson is a breakdown for that week.  It includes what was covered in class and what is expected to be done as homework.

I was excited to receive this program.  I have covered some formal writing with Dragonette, and hoped this program would fill in any holes and take us to a higher level of writing.   It was a hard program to wrap my mind around at first.  The introduction is very wordy, there are typographical errors throughout, and things are not always introduced in the order they are used.  By the 4th lesson, I started to understand the program and where the author was taking us.  But other than some new poetry forms, and talking about passive voice, I had already covered everything in lesson 1-15 with Dragonette.  I think we would have gotten more use out of this program if we had had the second half (lessons 16-30).  This is where the research paper and timed writing is covered, both things that we have not covered.

Because of the wordiness, the typos, and the poor paragraphs used for practicing outlines, I was ready to chuck this curriculum out the window.  At first.  But the more I sat with it, I realized that this program is really an unpolished gem.  If the program was given a serious edit, it could be a solid program to use in a co-op setting.  If it is going to marketed to be used in a single home school, it also needs to be edited for that, instead of expecting you to modify the schedule on your own.  And personally, even though I am a Christian, I found the examples used throughout the book to be extremely preachy and poorly written.  It feels that the program is not sure whether it wants to be a evangelizing tool or a writing program.  So as it stands now, the first half of this program is a vague outline of what you should cover in a beginning writing class, but you may need to be prepared to come up with different examples to illustrate your points.  Perhaps the program does improve in lessons 16-30, but since they were not provided for me to try, I cannot offer an opinion about the second half.  If the author does have the program edited, it would absolutely deserve a second look. 

If you decide to order this program there are a variety of pricing options.
Whole Program w/ lessons 1-30 (student pages, teacher book, and cd) $100 + tax and shipping
Half Program w/ either lesson 1-15 or 16-30 (student pages, teacher book, and cd) $65 + tax and shipping
Instruction Manual  $75 + tax and shipping
CD $15 + tax and shipping
Worksheets $25 + tax and shipping

And you are worried about grading writing for your student, the author is also offering a grading option.

1 comment:

  1. Unpolished gem...that is the best description so far. I did enjoy it because I loved how it was done and I am comfortable teaching the subject. However, you are correct. I was just impressed because my daughter accomplished what she thought was I have rosey coloring glasses on a bit. lol. But unpolished gem is truly what this curriculum should be called!