We were given the opportunity to review Wordsmith Apprentice, Wordsmith and Wordsmith Craftsman for Timberdoodle as a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team this month. We were asked to send a description of where the boys were, and the appropriate book would be sent for their level. I overwhelmed when they decided to send the entire set so that both boys could participate! Other than Daily Grams, they have never been on the same type of Language Arts curriculum before!
After reviewing the workbooks for a while – I decided to start Nathan at Wordsmith Craftsman and Jonathan at Wordsmith Apprentice. I didn’t see until later that there were age levels associated with these books. Since the skill level is wide you should be able to tell from the website which level is appropriate.
Nathan started working in Wordsmith Craftsman this year. I believe their claim is correct, “A self-directed program for building, integrating, and polishing practical writing skills.” I had to photograph Janie Cheaney’s name to give her credit – and the For Grades 10 and Up – since Nate is in 9th grade, and he was a ‘slow to start’ language arts learner back in the day.
Nate has taken some challenging writing courses the past two years – and I think that has helped him to be able to sit down to new material easily. I was excited that his first assignment was to create a notebook to schedule events and due dates of assignments. This year, he has really needed to take control of his own calendar. For some reason he doesn’t use his iPod or computer for scheduling – but he does like his spiral notebook. He read through and completed the first few assignments easily and eagerly. I feel that this will be his go-to Language Arts Writing Course for the year – and possibly years to come as this book will guide him through the 12th grade if done to her schedule. That was the surprise for me, that it wasn’t set out to be – Do this whole book in one year – but rather, do these parts each ear.
Jonathan, however, is another story. He is a prolific creative writer. Has been since he could scribble on paper. He likes freedom of expression. Even changed the spelling of his nickname to Jonee. As you can see from the photos he enjoys expressing himself.
When it comes to grammar and language arts – the mechanics of writing – his joy turns. Most writing programs tell you what to write – in a very starch strict manner. When I told him this month that he would start a new writing program, he did not respond with cooperative tones. Would their claim of “A self-directed program for building, integrating, and polishing practical writing skills” be a fit for both boys?
Jon was able to read through the “To the Student” portions independently. He was able to complete the assignments without help or clarification questions. He actually used the word “fun” to the word list that he was creating. One of his first assignments was to fill out a resume for his position at the newspaper. He and his dad worked on it and it came out really well!
So the hardest part of any Language Arts program, writing – grammar – for boys – is: Will They Do It? Can they work through the program as self directed learners? Will they enjoy the assignments? Our Answer is Yes.
My big question now – of any Language Arts Program – is: What is the purpose? I believe the name of their program gives them away – Wordsmith. Many of the assignments are focused on vocabulary. Knowing how to use, infuse, and redistribute words into their writing. One of our goals for writing has been to develop a stronger larger written vocabulary bank for both boys. I am very glad that this is also the focus for the Wordsmith products as well.
This is a thumbs up for Petra School!! See what Timberdoodle is up to on Facebook – See what other materials are available in Language Arts for Homeschoolers – and feel free to ask any questions to me on this post or to their customer support as well. They really love working with homeschool families and finding just the right fit for your learning journey! Legal Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Wordsmith in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.