As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given the opportunity to review a writing program from The Write Foundation. I used this program with my 7th grade son. The program is aimed at reluctant writers, which both of my boys seem to be! It was created by Rebecca Celsor, a former public school teacher and veteran homeschool mom, who homeschooled her own three children all the way through high school.
This is a quote, taken from the Write Foundation website, about how the program is structured, “The Write Foundation begins with the writing process, how a student formulates a topic, then a thesis, then supporting points, and by incremental teaching drills in the basics.” There are three levels to the program: Level 1 Sentence to Paragraph Writing, Level 2 Paragraph Writing, and Level 3 Essay Writing. There are suggested ages for each level on the website. I chose to use level 2 with my son.
The program includes a teachers manual with lesson plans, a set of ready to use worksheets, and a CD with the grading system, checklist, teacher presentation sheets, and a reading list. I found all of the components easy to use and organize. The teachers guide includes examples of daily lesson plans and suggestions for how to weight grades if you choose to do so. The lesson plans tell you what worksheets and teacher presentation pages to use and when and how to use them. I found it very thorough, but it was still relatively easy for me to pick and choose how I wanted to use the program with my son. This is important when homeschooling, because the whole point is to make the curriculum work for you, not work your way around it! 🙂
We organized my son’s notebook per the instructions in the program and got started. I have used IEW in the past, and my son is familiar with it, and a lot of the elements of the Write Foundation are similar to IEW (i.e. “Quality Adjectives” was a phrase he was already familiar with). One thing I liked about this program is the way it used highlighting to break down the different parts of a paragraph. Students use specific colors to highlight sentences to identify topic sentences, supporting sentences, conclusions etc. This activity made these ideas VERY concrete and clear for my son. Seriously, it was like a light bulb went off! “Oh, so that’s what you mean when you say the sentence has to support the topic!” I found that by highlighting the sentences, he really began to think about whether or not a sentence made sense in the paragraph!
The program also introduces poetry, and my son really enjoyed working on the acrostic poems. We already use mindbenders regularly, which are also used in the Write Foundation, and he enjoys these as well. The worksheets were varied, and included checklists, which my son could file in his notebook and refer back to, as well as examples of poetry styles, outlining and brainstorming sheets, and other useful lists of adjectives, adverbs etc. I did find the outlining sheets helpful to use in other subjects (like history for example) because they gave my son an easy model to follow when outlining in that subject.
The program cost will vary, depending on what you buy. For the Paragraph Writing sample I got, the cost is $65.00 plus tax and shipping, and you get all the components for lessons 1-15. You would need to pay an addtional $65.00 to receive lessons 16-30. Depending on how you plan it, the program could take two years, if you wanted to move through it slowly. The cost to buy the entire program (lessons 1-30) is $100.00. Personally, I found this to be a suitable writing instruction program for my son. Writing will never be his favorite subject, but this wasn’t as painful as other things I have tried in the past. I will definitely be thinking about getting the second set of lessons for next year! The website for the Write Foundation is: http://www.thewritefoundation.org/