Select Page

A Homeschool Writing Curriculum That Won’t Make You Cry

Inside:  Learn why WriteShop I homeschool writing curriculum is different than the competition. 

I don’t know what it is, but I dislike teaching writing in my homeschool to my older kids. It’s never my focus when selecting homeschool curriculum and when I search, it’s hard to find something that isn’t labor intensive, feels like you need a degree to teach it, or makes you run to the bathroom to cry. I want my children to learn to write, but I want a homeschool writing curriculum that doesn’t have a learning curve or feel overwhelming.  

 

So when the opportunity arose to review WriteShop I, I jumped on it. I enjoyed their Primary Book B for my youngest daughter and was curious if their curricula for older kids would keep the same easy style or we would get bogged down with it like some others we have tried. 

 

If you have had similar experiences with writing programs, keep reading to see my thoughts on it.

homeschool writing curriculum

 

*Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking through, The Unexpected Homeschooler may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  Read full disclosure policy here.

 

KEEP READING- WRITESHOP IS HAVING A GIVEAWAY!

You can choose a FREE WriteShop set or bundle! Scroll down to enter!

WriteShop I Homeschool Writing Curriculum

 

The WriteShop I basic set consists of a teacher’s manual and student workbook. No huge binder or DVDs to train parents on how to use it. You only need to spend a little time reading about the schedule you want to use and learning the basic process it follows. Then you will want to familiarize yourself with the techniques used to assess your child’s writing. Other than that, there was no prep work on my part to use it. 

 

But don’t let that fool you. Just because you don’t have a lot of work to do doesn’t mean you are left in the cold to figure out how to handle writing. This program is the opposite. They designed it for the parent who fears teaching this subject and hold your hand through the process. 

 

For my review, I only received the student workbook, but the teacher’s manual is necessary because it includes lesson plans and student instructions to give parents more guidance. It also covers all the tools which teach you how to correct and evaluate your child’s work.

 

From what I have read, the teacher’s manual is one of the best out there! They have combined both WriteShop I and II in one book. It is coil-bound with tabs on each section so you can quickly find what you are looking for. There is even a part dedicated to positive comments you can make on your child’s writing. I will be purchasing one because I think it will make an excellent reference book for years to come.

Hi, I’m Heidi!

About-Heidi

I have been homeschooling my three children for 14 years now. It's my mission to take the fear out of homeschooling so you can confidently teach your children as well.

Relaxed Unit Study Challenge
Grammar by the Book

Homeschool Review Crew Team Member

The workbook is consumable and comes 3-hole punched (thank you) so you can put it in a binder. This makes it easy to pull out different reference pages or checklists and put them back when finished to keep everything organized. 

 

WriteShop I is geared towards grades 6-10. You can start it with a middle schooler, but also use it for a high schooler who is a reluctant writer or needs a refresher course.

How to Use It?

Schedule

There is a one, two, or three year lesson plan included and the one you use depends on whether you are using WriteShop I and/or WriteShop II. It is possible to do both courses in one year by doing one book per semester, but it will move at a fast pace and require your child to work five days a week.

 

I always appreciate when a publisher includes schedules. It makes it easy to map out my kids’ lessons for the year and keep them on track to finish by a certain time.

Units

The entire WriteShop course is broken down into six units. They then separate each unit into individual lessons which focus on certain writing skills.

WriteShop I

Unit 1: Descriptive Writing

Unit 2: Informative Writing

Unit 3: Narrative Writing

 

WriteShop II

Unit 4: Review of WriteShop I

Unit 5: Advanced Descriptive Narration

Unit 6: Persuasive Writing and Essays

 

Each unit is formatted the same way. There is an introduction followed by the five steps of the writing process. While the steps are the same, the way they teach lessons varies depending on which writing style being taught.  The student will complete one composition approximately every two weeks if using the 2-3 year track, and weekly, if using the one year track.

Writing Process

WriteShop introduces your child to writing in 5 simple steps.

 

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Sloppy Copy
  3. First revision
  4. Turn in for edits and comments
  5. Final draft

 

Brainstorm

When a blank sheet of paper is in front of you, do ideas jump out at you about what to write? I didn’t think so. Students are no different. WriteShop does a fantastic job of helping students brainstorm before they ever have to write. 

 

Questions, observations, mind maps, and Venn diagrams are a few examples of the tools used to trigger ideas and get the creative ideas flowing.

 

Students learn to use a thesaurus and an amazing set of word lists in the back of the workbook which makes their writing more interesting. I think the word lists are my favorite tool!  There is no way your student will have a blank page when he’s done. This was so helpful for my daughter. She could quickly find words to liven up her writing and get rid of overused words.

 

Sloppy Copy

I don’t know about your kids, but mine always try to write something one time and think that’s all they need to do. They do not understand there is a process, and it takes several attempts to make their writing better. 

 

Checking for spelling and grammar mistakes while being creative is counterproductive. Their brain is doing two separate things at once The best way to get ideas on paper is to write and not worry about anything else. WriteShop teaches this approach, and it’s called the sloppy copy.

First Revision

After finishing sloppy copy,  your child will use the included checklist to go back and revise the content and style of his paper. It teaches circling and underlining with colored pencils the areas needing corrections. This revision process is much easier this way. The directions are organized and walk the student step-by-step through the editing process.

 

Once the student has made the first corrections and written another copy, he uses the mechanics sections of the checklist to go through one more time before handing it in to the parent for edits and comments.

 

Turn in for Edits and Comments

When your child turns in his revised paper, there is a teacher writing skills checklist (and other handy tools) to use while looking it over to make additional suggestions and comments. I found this guide very helpful when checking over my daughter’s paper. All I had to do was go through the list and check whether each one was okay or needed improvement. I attached this checklist to my daughter’s paper to refer to for final corrections.

Final Draft

The student looks over all the comments and suggestions on the checklist and makes the changes before writing a final copy. There is a specific format it needs to be written or typed in. The student workbook gives an example of each with easy to follow instructions to set it up. This paper gets handed in for the parent to grade. Remember- you have a detailed checklist to help you do this!

Video Lessons Option

Besides the student workbook, my daughter also used the video companion lessons. While it is not necessary to use the videos for this curriculum, I recommend them if you don’t have time to teach! Having someone else teach the course is an added benefit. It frees up your time and also gives your child the opportunity to learn various learning styles.

 

The added visual and auditory aspect brings the lessons to life. There are meaningful images used in the lessons which help a student visualize the concept they are working on. I also think the pictures help make some abstract concepts more concrete.

 

The videos are very professional. The speaker is pleasant, and the screen was uncluttered with an easy to read large font. I found this to be calming and not overstimulating like so many online courses that try to look like a video game. They are great quality and easy to follow. 

 

Benefits of the Video Lessons

  • Great for auditory and visual learners
  • Perfect for children who don’t like to read.
  • Makes it multisensory
  • Attractive to children who learn better online
  • Time saver
  • Exposes your child to other teachers

 

Grading

Sometimes it’s difficult to grade writing papers. How many points should you give? Is there enough information? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. There are two different options to choose from.

 

Composition Evaluation Sheets

They include evaluation sheets for each composition the student turns in. This is one area that make this product stand out from others. You will learn what a good paper looks like and how to help your child improve.

 

They divide the list into different categories with descriptions given for each item and has possible points listed. All you have to do is go through the paper and give a score for each item listed and total everything up. There is even a grading scale at the bottom to give a final grade. 

 

Purchase with Grading

Even with the evaluation sheets, a few parents still may not feel comfortable, or they don’t have the time it requires to review and analyze papers.  If you use the videos along with the course, Play With Education offers an extra service where someone else can edit and grade your student’s papers. 

 

There are two options:

 

  1. Video and Grading: This option provides editing, commenting, and grading of the papers while the parent still grades the Skill Builders. This cost is $395 per student. 
  2. Video and Grading Plus: This option is a full-service package where someone edits and grades everything, including the Skill Builders. The cost is $495 per student.

 

Both services are good for three years. That means your student can work at his own pace and not feel rushed to complete everything in a year.

 

What I Liked About WriteShop I?

 

I have to say there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this course. I’m excited we found it and look forward to the transformation my daughter’s writing will have over the years. Here are the highlights of what I liked: 

 

  • Well written with all steps laid out
  • Simple explanations which make it easy for students and parents to understand
  • In-depth introductory and reference section to help students before and during the process. One of my favorites was “What makes a tasty paragraph?”, but there is also a glossary of writing terms, glossary of sentence variations, a list of common problems, and more.
  • Amazing word lists to make their writing more interesting
  • Teaching tools to help the parent learn how to edit, comment, and grade writing papers
  • Students learn the fundamental mechanics of writing as they go through each style
  • Learn proofreading symbols
  • Lots of examples in every unit to help the student get a feel for good writing
  • Weekly schedules so you know exactly what to do each day
  • Gives parents the confidence needed to tackle this subject

Our Experience

We have not finished the program yet, but plan to continue using it over the next two years.  I am very impressed with it. WriteShop I is geared toward the junior high level and it is well written for this age group. It’s easy to understand and simple to use.

 

For most junior high aged homeschoolers, this is their first real attempt at writing and they need to have success or it will have a lasting negative effect. They don’t want something boring or with long drawn out explanations. This is straight forward, and every step is laid out. I think even your most reluctant writers will have positive results. 

 

If this is the first time you will introduce formal writing to your child, you will not be disappointed. It’s very systematic and because they repeat the same format throughout the units, the repetition helps to build great writing habits which will carry into high school.

 

Everything I need to learn how to teach writing and grade my child’s papers is not only provided but taught. I am learning right along with her. This will help me when my youngest gets to this level.

 

When you and your student are given the right tools and techniques like WriteShop provides, teaching writing becomes a breeze! And, you won’t need to run to your bathroom to cry!

 

Where Can I Find It?

There are a variety of products available for WriteShop I.

 

WriteShop I Basic Set

  • 1 Teacher’s manual
  • 1 WriteShop I student workbook
  • Free digital download: How to Get Started with WriteShop

 

WriteShop I Starter Bundle

  • 1 Teacher’s manual
  • 1 WriteShop I student book
  • 1 Blue Book of Grammar & Punctuation
  • 1 Copying & Dictation Exercises
  • 1 8.5 x 11-inch Poster (Five Steps of the Writing Process).
  • Free digital download: How to Get Started with WriteShop.

 

WriteShop 1 Video Companion Course (Recommended for independent study!)

 

WriteShop I Video Course Set

    • Video Course for WriteShop I  (Internet connection required. Not available on DVD.)
    • 1 WriteShop I student workbook
    • 1 Teacher’s Manual for WriteShop I & II
    • 1 Blue Book of Grammar & Punctuation (11th ed.)

     

    Win Your Own Set or Bundle

    If you like what you’ve read, wouldn’t it be awesome to get one FREE? From August 12 – September 1, you can win one of WriteShop’s homeschool writing curriculum sets or bundles! This is just in time for the new school year.  They offer materials for Kindergarten through high school. You can enter the giveaway below.

    Want to remember the article A Homeschool Writing Curriculum That Won’t Make You Cry for later? Pin it to your favorite board!

    Homeschool Writing Curriculum

    0 Comments

    Submit a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *