It’s no secret in our house that my oldest daughter would rather do dishes than practice writing skills during our homeschooling hours. She is a gifted storyteller and can weave fantastic images of all sorts of worlds while sitting at our feet but putting words to paper set up a roadblock, and we needed to figure out why. When asked, she let us know that sitting and having to practice handwriting skills AND learn things like grammar, writing voice and proper punctuation wasn’t very exciting for her, and she didn’t feel like she was smart enough to write well. However, with WriteShop, we’re learning to enjoy the process and she’s becoming as fantastic a writer as she is a storyteller. We’re going to go ahead and say that WriteShop is the best middle school writing curriculum we’ve used to date.
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WriteShop I Curriculum – What’s In It?
We received our WriteShop curriculum via mail, and it included five items. The teachers manual, a workbook, the Blue Book of Grammar & Punctuation, a copying and dication workbook, and a “Five Steps of the Writing Process” poster, which can be hung in the direct eye line of your student.
The student workbook can be housed in a 3-ring binder or left as is, and you’re free to copy the worksheet pages for your homeschool needs. This is strictly for personal use, and not for classrooms, etc. Since most homeschool curriculum providers have a strict rule of no photocopying, this is refreshing to see. I can use this for the twins when they are ready for a more robust writing curriculum.
Components of WriteShop
The three components of WriteShop are as follows:
Topic suggestions, graphic organizers and brainstorming worksheets, and 17 practical word banks help unlock your student’s creative ideas.
WriteShop’s “learn-practice-do” approach helps new skills become habits. Each engaging lesson presents a new writing skill that is:
- Introduced as a Skill Builder exercise.
- Put into practice in the current composition.
- Applied to future compositions.
Additionally, WriteShop focuses on clarity, conciseness, a colorful vocabulary, and sentence variety that will add sparkle to dull, ordinary compositions.
3. Self-Editing and Revising
WriteShop tells students exactly what to look for when editing and refining their own work. There’s no guessing involved! Each lesson has its own customized Writing Skills Checklist. When finished with the editing process, students have a polished final draft.
Believe it or not, we had the most fun with the brainstorming portion of our writing lessons. WriteShop lessons are put together in a way that parents can’t mess up the learning process, no matter how hard they try. While the first lesson is indeed the longest one, and probably the most intense, it is there to provide a guideline for future lessons, and how you’ll need to create the proper work atmosphere for writing.
Students will learn how to self-edit, while you as the teacher will learn how to properly edit writing work of final drafts. If you’re still with me here, you’ll probably start understanding that the curriculum also benefits parents as teachers too. Being able to efficiently edit for grammar and clarity has also made ME a better writer. Imagine that. However, this review isn’t about my writing skills, now is it? The editing checklist provided allows my daughter to take ownership of her writing before it even hits my desk for review. That small step alone gives her a boost of confidence in identifying aspects of her writing that just may not mesh well, before hearing from me.
Who Is WriteShop For?
Honestly, you can start the program with your early writers as well. I snagged a sample of the writing program for my twins, and I’ve decided we’re probably going to invest in the Junior program for them. If you aren’t quite certain which bundle you should buy, you can always have your children take the placement quiz to see where they land.
Fine tuning writing style, and being able to effectively use words is another benefit of the curriculum. While this program should only take 2-3 years max – one time for a long term investment – you can spend more than 1 year on either level. It allows for more control for relaxed homeschoolers or for those students who need a bit more focus in the beginning.
We’ve moved to journals full time! When the kids wake up, they are supposed to use the prompts in journals that we purchased from a teacher supply store to start their brains going. The joy that brought when we first started the school year. If you read that in your sarcastic voice, you would be correct. Now, morning work doesn’t last as long because I have a 12 year old who isn’t as annoyed as she used to be. She can self edit with confidence, and get her thoughts down on paper much faster, and with better accuracy than she used to.