Friday, April 06, 2012

Review: Write with World

Pin It Now!  Photobucket Finding excellent writing curricula has been quite a challenge as a homeschool mom. While it is one of my favorite things to do, it isn't my favorite subject to teach or grade!

Years ago I did finally settle on a curriculum that combined English and Writing, but since I haven't been and still am not completely satisfied with the writing part, I supplement with other writing materials here and there. Supplementing keeps my children somewhat interested in writing and diverts their attention from the so many "canned" writing assignments they're used to.

Of course, children do need to learn how to write reports, research papers, and friendly letters, but these kinds of assignments over and over again can get pretty boring. It can be boring to read as well, and I often fall into the get-crazy-with-the-red-pen trap marking everything that's wrong instead of patiently encouraging and challenging them to improve.

I became very excited about reviewing this writing curriculum once I began reading all about it. I completely agree with Write with World that "most importantly, they need to enjoy what they are doing: to write well, young writers must develop a love and excitement for writing."

So, what is Write with World?

The writers of Write with World believe that writing is a gift from God and their goal is to help students learn how to use words well and write with purpose.

As stated on the website, it's a  two-year middle school writing curriculum developed by the publishers of God's World News, and WORLD Magazine. Students anywhere in grades 6-9 can use it. It will also work well for highschool students who haven't had much training in writing.

Write with World consists of separate teacher and student books for the first and second year and a web site coming in September 2012 that will include updated examples, writing prompts, published student work, and a helpful teacher forum.

The book itself is comprised of 4 units, 4 lessons in each unit, and 5 "capsules" (concepts) in each lesson. So, for a 36-week school year, 9 weeks will be spent on each unit. You can view a sample lesson in PDF format here.

What makes it different?

Real, nationally recognized professors, journalists, and editors have teamed up to help students become effective writers. Students can actually write with a purpose in the hope of having their work published online. Students can also belong to a community of writers in which they can read advice and commentary from published writers. You can read about the authors of Write with World here.

Write with World requires students to think and make choices, not just follow a formula. Grammar will not be learned as standalone rules, but students will learn certain concepts and then apply these lessons to their writing.

Assignments emphasize purpose, role, and audience and ask students to engage the world around them. Assignments will also be updated to include current topics that appear in WORLD Magazine and God's World News. Another great feature is that most lessons give teachers and students flexibility by offering multiple assignments from which to choose.

There is so much more that makes this curriculum unique, but I encourage you to get a good idea of what this curriculum is all about by reading the same General Introduction that is in the teacher's manual.

For a more thorough look at why this curriculum was created, you can click here.

How much does it cost?

It costs $95 per year,which includes a student book and parent/teacher book. If you purchase both first and second year books together, the cost is $165 - a savings of $25! Purchase includes access to the user website which will be available this fall. I am really looking forward to this part!

You can order materials here, and they will be available for shipment this summer. (2012)

Will you need additional supplies?

As far as I can tell, your child/student will need a notebook for recording his/her work. Having copies of either God's World News or WORLD Magazine will be beneficial but aren't totally necessary.

I typically don't subscribe to magazines, but I am considering purchasing Top Story - God's World News for middle schoolers - to go with this curriculum. I also plan on using the web sites, www.gwnews.com, and www.worldmag.com.

Will you need a separate grammar curriculum?

This is a question I had, so I emailed Howard Brinkman, the publisher of God's World News and Write with World. Here's what he had to say:

"Grammar: You don't need a separate grammar curriculum and we assume that people will not use one. However, I have had one Christian school teacher say that they would want to use an additional grammar curriculum with it, so I guess it depends on how much you want (or need, in the case of your children) to augment that. Perhaps in a classroom setting there is a greater range of students and the need for more measured accountability."

He also included in the email Write with World's philosophy on teaching grammar in general and what specifics are included in the curriculum:

"We've chosen to tackle the top 20 grammar errors made by U.S. college students (based on Andrea Lunsford's research). We cover 19 of them (all except #6). Additionally, we included a few other common problems that grew naturally out of the lessons or that we thought were important: parallelism, when to use I/me, apostrophes and contractions, and use of quotation marks.

In every unit, the first three lessons cover one error each, and the fourth lesson is a review of the grammar issues touched on in that unit.

Our philosophy is that exercises are not the best way to teach grammar; grammar is best learned in the context of students' own writing when possible. Ultimately, good grammar helps improve style, as well. The lessons are short and not comprehensive, but they focus on key issues with which real students struggle."


Here is the detailed list of grammar concepts covered, which was also included in the email:

Lesson Grammar Topic
1.1 it's /its
1.2 fragments
1.3 vague pronoun reference

2.1 parallelism
2.2 run-on (fused) sentences
2.3 comma after introductory clause

3.1 to, too, two
3.2 consistency in tense
3.3 Pronoun/ antecedent agreement

4.1 when to use "I" and "me"
4.2 apostrophes and ownership
4.3 apostrophes and contractions

5.1 comma splices
5.2 quotation marks
5.3 subject verb agreement

6.1 misplaced modifiers
6.2 wrong verb form
6.3 wrong verb tense

7.1 wrong word
7.2 wrong or missing preposition
7.3 unnecessary shift in pronoun

8.1 missing commas
8.2 missing commas
8.3 unnecessary commas

(I did see that most of this information can be found on the web site as well.)

How am I personally using Write with World?

PhotobucketLike I mentioned earlier, I am excited about this writing curriculum! I have read the General Introduction, General Overview, and the Detailed Overview in the teacher's manual which is packed with valuable information. I have also read through the first lesson and skimmed over much of the book.

I gave the student book to my 7th grade son and asked him to read the introduction and complete the first assignment. I wanted him to get a feel for the curriculum and give me his honest opinion about switching from our current English/Writing program to this one. He really seems to think this is going to be a great fit!

So, I am taking the plunge - we are saying goodbye to grammar drudgery and canned writing! Write with World is officially our new writing program, and I am hopeful this will be the answer to our writing blues.

Since it is so late in the school year, I will have my son start fresh with Write with World this fall when he begins 8th grade. To see if this will be a fit for your child in middle school visit www.writewithworld.com.


See what other Crew members said about Write with World here.


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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

1 comment:

Dana Adams said...

I truly enjoyed reading your review today. I am one of you fellow Crewmates! I am now following you...and if you want to, I would love for you to follow me as well! :-)

www.theadamsfamilyappletree.blogspot.com

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