Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wordsmith

I have several drafts of posts I wanted to write about specific homeschool curriculum we have used.  And then I found that my brain was too worn out to put together coherent sentences about homeschool curriculum, until now.  I must be finally making a dent in my sleep deficit.   Yay!  Anyway, if I am ever going to get these done I am going to have to tap them out on my phone and that means there won't be any pictures or links.  I am sorry about that.  But I promised that I would write these and I just want to get them out there.  

Bean and I recently finished the "Wordsmith: Apprentice" writing curriculum.   We had a good experience with it and I plan on doing it with Fish and Roo this fall.  

The book pretends that the student has just been hired to work at a newspaper.  It takes them through introductory writing assignments for every newspaper department: classifieds, ads, poems, recipes, advice column, etc.  At the end it finally works up to factual reporting.  Along the way it introduces the student to basic grammar, which wasn't super important to us since we were already doing a separate grammar book.  But it was good exposure to many different types of writing without getting too technical about any one particular type.  

This was a good book for Bean, who has really struggled with writing and is behind grade level.   Some of the teaching is done through comic-style drawings depicting the editor of the newspaper.  That helped draw Bean in.  Most of the time the assignments were fairly short and not overwhelming to Bean, but they really did stretch him and get his creative juices flowing.  He grew a lot as a writer as we worked through this book, and by the end he wrote some things that really impressed me.  

I look forward to working through it again with Fish and Roo this fall.  We can discuss the assignments together and then I can turn them loose to write.  I think it is perfect for about 4th to 6th grade typically, depending on the student.  If your child is really bright and/or precocious and excels at writing, this program is probably not rigorous enough for them.  But for most kids it is a great choice.  

I am also planning on using the next volume with Bean.  I glanced at it briefly at the homeschool convention and I got the impression that it gets a lot more into writing techniques such as word choice and sentence phrasing.  

When Bean started out, I tried to get him to not write in the book so I could reuse it.  It ended up being a lot easier for him to just write directly in the book.  I would say it's best to buy a copy for each child, and it's not expensive.  However, I am going to be on an extremely tight homeschool budget this fall and I will probably just reuse our copy and have Fish and Roo write everything in a separate notebook.   Not ideal, but it will work. 

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