One of the biggest complaints I have heard from students, either homeschool or public school, is that they hate to write. Reports, essays, letters they don’t discriminate. They generally hate it all. Anytime you tell them that they are going to be doing a writing exercise, it is met with a chorus of groans. I have spent countless time looking for ways to make writing engaging and stress-free for my kids. This is why I was so excited to be given the opportunity to review Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson.
About the Creator
Writing with Sharon Watson began when author Sharon Watson had been teaching literature and writing to homeschool teens in her area.
She would visit homes of parents who did not feel confident teaching these subjects. After discussing what she was doing with Dr. Jay Wile the then owner of Apologia Educational Ministries, she was encouraged to create her own curriculum. Which she did.
Writing with Sharon Watson has four core beliefs.
1. The student is more important than the material in the textbook.
2. Teaching writing and literature can be tough.
3. Writing assignments, especially in the beginning, should not be issue driven.
4. They believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is the Word of God and that it reveals to us our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
It is because of these four core beliefs that has influenced the creation of the products that is offered by Writing with Sharon Watson. Homeschooling her own children for 18 years, and the teaching of various Language Arts type courses to other homeschoolers provided her with empathy for struggling writers. Therefore, she created this homeschool writing program.
Articles written by Sharon Watson has been featured in The Old Schoolhouse, Homeschool Magazine.com, The Way Home eNewsletter, and Apologia World.
About the Product
Jump In, 2nd Edition is a middle school composition program. It is a 286-page, soft-cover product.
Jump In, 2nd Edition begins with a “Get Your Feet Wet” section, that is geared toward dissecting the students beliefs and feelings about writing, and to get them thinking about brainstorming.
After “Get Your Feet Wet”, the remaining chapters are Opinions, Persuasion, Cause and Effect, A Newspaper Article, A How-To, A Report, A Biography, Compare and Contrast, A Book Report, A Book Response, Description, Narration, and Poetry.
There are 98 lessons that help teach about various writing components such as opposing viewpoints, introductions, conclusions, and thesis statements.
The use of checklists and suggested writing schedule is integrated into each chapter for student use. These checklists assure that the student completed everything required for their composition piece.
I was also given a copy of the Teacher’s Guide to review. This product is 115-pages with a soft-cover.
Upon beginning to use the product I found that Jump In, 2nd Edition covers a four-year range of middle school grades. There are three plans that you can utilize, depending on how you want to use the program. These plans include a One-Year Plan, Two-Year Plan, and a Three-Year Plan.
The Teacher’s Guide also includes a two-page spread detailing the assignments.
One of the hardest parts of teaching writing, is grading it. The Teacher’s Guide includes a section on how to grade the compositions that students create, grading grids as well as answer keys.
Another section included in the Teacher’s Guide is the use of 10-Minute Writing Plunges. These are meant to be used as a break from a workbook. The goal is to give a different prompt on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, they will choose which product they like best. They then proofread it and turn it in for a grade. This section is optional or can be used sporadically when not completing a unit.
How Did We Use It?
Since Jump In, 2nd Edition offers three plans, we chose to use the Three-Year Plan. My daughter, Rikisha, completed the Chapter on Opinions. We worked three days a week, since we are on summer break and I did not want to make her feel overwhelmed. We chose to work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The first lesson had her brainstorm a list of 5 things that she felt strongly about from a pre-determined list of choices. My daughter is an over-achiever, so she filled in every item.
Next, she learned about the reasons people have for their opinions. She had to read two conversations, and then tell about a time that she told someone her opinion. She had to write about her opinion, and the reasons for her opinion. Since she is very opinionated, this was not hard for her 😊.
As she worked through the lesson, she learned about arranging her reasons in a way that made sense. She learned about inverted pyramid order (most important reason first), and climactic order (most important reason last).
She worked through each of the 10 skills. After completing these, she had to choose one assignment.
She was given a suggested writing schedule that outlined five days of writing.
After she was finished, she had to use a checklist to proofread and revise her writing.
In the creation of her opinion piece she worked 16 days and ended with a completed, revised opinion piece.
After completing the chapter on opinions, she completed one week of writing plunges. She did these every day, since it only took ten minutes to complete.
What Did We Think?
A mom’s perspective:
One of my favorite things about this program is the fact that it required very little teacher direction. Since I am homeschooling three children, I can’t always provide one-on-one instruction. Any programs or curriculums that can be used with minimal intervention from me is especially appreciated. I really like that I can use this one program for three years of writing composition, and my children will learn about a wide variety of writing pieces. This relaxed pace let me feel less stressed and my daughter actually ENJOYED writing! Yes, you read that correctly. Not once did she groan or complain about writing during her summer break.
A kid’s perspective:
This program was really neat. My favorite thing was the writing plunges. I liked that it allowed me to be creative, and I didn’t have to write for long. The lessons weren’t hard, and I was able to do them on my own. I felt like I was my own teacher.
Wrapping It Up
We really enjoyed using Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson. I look forward to using this program and look forward to using it for the remaining chapters to create our homeschool compositions and essays.
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