He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. Luke 6:48
Our Writing Journey
This morning – a cup of Lemon Grass Green Tea is seeping with a touch of honey – while I come to you to share another piece of our Writing Journey. I have shared before of how this year was going to be the year of great paragraph writing for Nathan, our 12 year old son. We spent the summer in an 8 week class of learning to write simple Topic, Three Supporting Sentences, Closing Remark Paragraphs. Goal Accomplished.
I think. I thought? Why wasn’t I satisfied? (Swirling honey in tea to help with a touch of a sore throat this morning. . . . . .)
He learned to easily pull together 5 sentences – but – those sentences were plain. Boring. Non descriptive. As I prayed about the next goal for his writing, I heard – “increase his vocabulary – require more preparation.” (looking up at God) “Really, How? I swirl my honey while I type and you want me to require more out of him?” (sip. Mmm this is good on a cold morning).
The Lord Steps In – Again
Seriously the very next day we were told that we would be able to review The Write Foundation’s products as a part of the TOS Crew this year. We were encouraged to go browse their site and pick a starting level. I was going to pick the level 2, as we were already at paragraph level, and the still quiet voice said to read the verse motto for the company.
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.
Since we are Petra School – we love their motto – building the Foundation on Christ – but that Still Quiet Voice – said – lay the foundation of Writing on that Rock too. (oohhhhhh. See sometimes I am a little slow connecting the dots too . . . .)
A Rough Start
We very quickly received the large package in the mail – all of the worksheets pre printed and three hole punched with the CD and Teacher’s Guide spiral bound. I so joyfully sat down to quickly direct Nate in how to start – read a bit of the teacher guide – and – um – (promise not to tell???) I threw it in the garage in the storeroom. Sorry. I told myself I was getting ready – I purchased a three whole binder for the student pages. Read about it on line and every time I went in the classroom I – Looked at the cover. Then – after a week or so – the Lord sent a friend and homeschool mentor to my home for a visit. I asked her if we could sit at the table, read the lessons together, and see where my disconnect started. See. I’m still a practicing Relaxed to Unschooling Mom. When I say relaxed – I mean – I drink tea – while the boys do their work. It is very relaxing!
We started leveling the foundation
A quick run through of lesson one with my friend – and the light bulbs started to come on. We’re actually going to have to dig deep before we start throwing bricks willy nilly for this foundation. It is going to take – aaak – time! Effort. Planning. From Me!!! Gone are the days of self propelled worksheets, I need to learn this as well – I need to make the foundation large enough for my second son to build on as well. We have spent several years with copy work, reading, listening to books – and so far – they really like stories. They do not like writing. . . . .
Why do I share all of this?
Because I felt that I had to share – that this isn’t a package of worksheets that the boys will just do on their own flinging you their homework on Fridays. This isn’t a daily worksheet that you can direct them to and they can do in 15 minutes on their own each day. This is an interactive study created out of years of the author teaching homeschool co-op classes, written in the verbiage of having time in class, time at home, and the interaction of several kids. If you purchase this product – you will have more than enough information to start your own Writing Homeschool Co-op class. If you are starting it as a homeschool mom of one child – and you don’t have to write a review – I’m not sure how long your copy will sit in your store room.
Nate’s Amazing Progress
We are now on week 5 of the lessons. We have adapted the mass amount of information to fit our family and style. I spend time reading ahead to see what materials will be needed. Nathan and I review the how to part – and then he is left to do his work. I am amazed at the progress! Nate has spent quite a bit of time with a his new best friend, the Thesaurus. He looks up 20-25 words each lesson (A lesson is a one to two week grouping of worksheets, classroom time and homework) to help him create more descriptive sentences. Then – he can look through sentences on a worksheet and replace simple words with his looked up words. Once we started the first lesson – it was not hard. It is not hard to build the foundation – you just need all the materials – and the patience to lay brick by brick, trusting the architect knows how the final building will look.
Is it too simple?
A few of my blog review friends might say that the product is too simple. What? After you finally pull it out of the garage – now you are saying it is too easy? Yes. That is the joy that we have found. A well thought out – tried and tested product – that works in a co-op or single child home – that adapts to your family needs – that has email access to the company with quick responses – that is – well. Easy. Simple. That has been a joy. Watching Day by Day.
What will it do for me?
Lesson by lesson your student will quickly build an impressive vocabulary bank. He will do the work. You will direct. He will write descriptive sentences – he will be able to accurately and precisely describe what he has seen and experienced on paper. If you are like me – used to packaged curriculum where the student reads the instruction and gets to it – it will mean stepping in to be a part of that experience to a level that might be uncomfortable at first. Especially for my Nate – as he enters courses that will require more of both of us – I recommend The Write Foundation as a great start! – and if you are uncomfortable wondering if you are piecing the plan together well – they do offer tutors on line to help you grade/test/hold accountable!
You can take a look at the detailed items that come with the package on their Curriculum Page HERE. We received the full $100.00 Curriculum Package 1: Sentence to Paragraph Complete Lessons for free for our review as part of the This Old School House Review Crew. The package is complete – for the exception of purchasing Mind Benders if you choose, the course does not depend on it. Other Reviews for this Product from many different learning types of families may be found on the CREW REVIEW BLOG. Ordering Information is on their web site for a variety of levels of writing courses.
Now that we have done the review – I will start writing more bout our English assignments in the blog. Part of our crew requirement is to not share the review until a given date – I would like to talk more about our Write Foundation Journey as the year goes on!!!!
We love it, too. After talking with the author for about an hour on the phone, she was able to answer my questions and guide me on the best way to use the program. I’m your newest follower. ~ Ellen
I made it all the way through it! Glad it’s bed time, wore my eyes out 🙂 Very good read. You’re doing good. All of you.
Great review. I just love the way you write 🙂 I want to be a relaxed homeschooler…but with some coffee and cream yum…
I am interested in the actual ‘how’ you work with this. We are on Lesson 4, I think. Got a little confused with one of the activities and uh, well, I ‘put it in the garage’ lol. I told ds, “we’ll finish this tomorrow”.
Oops…it’s tomorrow! Better get back to it… lol
Hey, I homeschool with a cup of tea in hand also, lol!!
I enjoyed reading your review. We really liked the product also.
This is an outstanding review. You’ve inspired me to work harder as a homeschool teacher. I love your laid back, tea sipping approach. It sounds divine!
Wow! Great review! I couldn’t figure it out and I’m NOT a relaxed homeschooler! Maybe that was my problem! 🙂 I’m so happy for you that it was blessing!