After homeschooling for over 7 years, writing is still the subject I am least confident teaching. I struggle in both choosing the right curriculum for my children and with teaching the material. At the beginning of my homeschooling career, I thought I’d choose curriculum once, and pass it down through all of my children. I quickly found that untrue as I dealt with variables from gifted children to children who struggle, children who thrive on bookwork and those who need other approaches, add to that the changing dynamics of our family and it’s a recipe for needing to reevaluate curriculum each year for each child.
Miriam and I reviewed Here to Help Learning’s Teacher’s Kit Flight 3 Essay Writing for the past several weeks. The kit comes with a Teacher’s Guide (with Lesson DVDs) plus a Student workbook which includes a Language Helps Booklet.
Miriam is using the Flight 3 Essay Writing curriculum, during which she will not only learn to write a multi-paragraph essay, but will also write a 6 chapter book!
When I first received the curriculum, I was intimidated (as I usually am when it comes to writing curriculum). But, I found that Essay Writing instruction really is as simple as putting in the DVD and pressing play. The teacher’s guide is quite hefty considering all the instruction is on the DVD (or online) lessons. It contains large amounts of resources for writing, writing instruction(writing process, webbing, brainstorming, etc), and even quick reference language charts (such as comma rules, words often confused, and an editing checklist). I like how the student workbook also includes a hefty language helps booklet at the beginning. My daughter can refer to it when she has a question, or I can point her to a helpful page during our editing.
We love the two day a week lesson schedule. My daughter is really creative and loves to write, so she usually watches the lesson on Tuesday, and then works on the Flying Solo assignment for two days rather than the suggested one day. She is very eager to complete her book as she works through the curriculum. She enjoys watching the DVDs, especially the Meet the Author sections. Since she really would love to become a writer one day, it’s fascinating to hear a real writer during her lessons!
The instruction in this book manages to teach so much in the process of writing a book, such as leaning how to recognize and write literary techniques such a simile, metaphor, and irony. I’m finding this course to be a very thorough writing instruction course with the added fun of completing a real book by the end of the school year. The connectedness of each week assignment to complete that book keeps my student motivated and interested. She’s writing for a purpose and a goal, not just because she has a box to check on her assignment sheet.
I must add that I also really like the 32 weeks of instruction scheduled in this curriculum. In my opinion, allowing extra wiggle room is so much better than rushing to complete longer schedules. This allows my daughter to work longer where she needs extra practice or wants to explore a topic more.
I think this is a great writing option for a budding writer, as my 6th grade daughter is. But, I also thing that my 5th grade daughter could soar with this curriculum next school year. The DVD element is a nice change up from normal bookwork, and meeting real authors on the DVDs is very motivating! This curriculum will be a great choice for a child who prefers individual learning and independence in assignments.