Writeshop is my favorite writing curriculum on earth. I love this program for kindergarten through high school whether special needs is involved or not. You can join in the program at any level and still be successful. We will use Writeshop 1 videos with my heavily scheduled pre professional dancer girl. I taught Writeshop 1 & 2 to Logan, my child with autism, who thrived using it. We have tried a plethora of different writing curriculum trying to find a suitable fit for his needs. Writeshop turned out to be the best fit for him.
Writeshop I & II are designed for grades 7-10. The Teacher’s Manual encompasses both levels since the student worksheets aren’t included in it. The answers are there but the actual sheets are not. This enables WriteShop to put all the teacher’s instructions into one volume. The Student Manual is divided into individual components of I & II. This translates into needing just one teacher’s manual but two student manuals to complete the entire course. It comes in either a print version or digital copy. If you are teaching more than one student you might want the digital version of the student manual. This makes it more cost effective to print out as many pages as you need for your students. However, be forewarned that the student workbooks are nearly 300 pages long. It might not be more cost effective in the long run. I elected to buy each child the print version because I know that I will never remember to print the sheets needed until the very last minute which would add to my stress level. The copywork/dictation booklet isn’t required but it sure makes life easier as the passages pertain to the writing genre and style they are learning in that lessson.
Writeshop I & II have lessons that are designed to be completed within a 2 week period. This translates into each level being completed in a year following that schedule. I loved that , in their Facebook group, there is a FAQ for special needs. Kim, one of the authors, gives you several different schedule ideas for working at your child’s pace. One of the ideas is to take 2 years to work through each level. This means that each lesson would take one month. This is a much more relaxed pace for students who struggle with writing. You want the student to be successful in their writing endeavors. I would much rather my child move at a slower pace if that meant he got a solid foundation in writing.
Before we go over what each lesson entails, let me put this caveat in there. It does not matter how your children gets the writing done. Let them type it , dictate it or write it themselves. Do not get stuck in the how it gets written. You are working on learning the mechanics of writing. I let Logan dictate it to me on occasion as I type his thoughts out for him . This helps him to be successful in the writing assignment but not get bogged down in the difficulty of getting his thoughts on paper. We have had to do this less and less as he has progressed through the curriculum. As he started to make the connections, the flow of writing came easier to him.
Each lesson has supplemental activities to expand the assignments should your child need extra practice. These are beneficial if your child struggles with that particular essay type. It also makes it easier to stretch the lesson out for longer periods if that’s what your child needs. If it was particularly hard essay for Logan then we paused at that level to do some extra work on it. See how two years per level would be beneficial. Did your child love that lesson? There are additional ideas to expand on the essays as well. Want to incorporate your writing across your curriculum? Yep, you guessed it. Ideas on how to do that as well. The Teacher’s Manual is a treasure trove of information. Take extra time to read through it. Write notes in it . Highlight things that stand out to you. Ask questions in the group. Your homeschool will be better for it.
Not every activity will need be an actual writing assignment. Skill builders is where you teach the tools needed to write that lesson’s assignments. Learning to use a thesaurus is one that will take them far in any sort of writing. Pre- writing activities serve a similar purpose without any actual writing per say. Don’t dismiss these activities as frivolous or unnecessary. They serve an important purpose in learning the mechanics of writing. These lessons are as important if not more than the actual writing assignments.
The bridge between the former activities and actual writing is the practice paragraph. This paragraph is done together. For that reason, it is dictated out loud together as well as written on the whiteboard in our homeschool . This makes it easier to see, discuss and correct. It also frees the child’s mind up to focus on what is being learned as opposed to how to get it our out of his brain in a sensible way. We want connections to be made here not frustration. Think of it as guided writing practice in that they get a chance to work through what is expected of them for their actual writing assignment.
Fear not! Everything is not teacher directed. Once you make the transition to the practice paragraph, the necessity of a teacher presence diminishes. At this point, the student begins the actual writing process. All that is needed from the teacher is to assign the work and be accessible in the case of questions. There is even an editing checklist for grading the final paper. Everything needed to be successful in one place with minimal teacher effort. What could be better?
Writeshop has a Charlotte Mason/Montessori approach to writing. It involves different senses in order to teach the mechanics needed to be a successful writer. This makes it a great curriculum for any type of learner. It’s done in such a gentle but fun manner that the student doesn’t even realize they are doing work. It’s a good fit for reluctant writers, good writers or simply writers who learn differently than the peers. Your children will possess the ability to write any future paper needed after finishing this course. Got questions? The company gives you unprecedented access to the authors who are happy to answer any questions as well as give ideas. Just a few reasons why Writeshop is the writing curriculum for our homeschool.
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