Writing is one subject that permeates all walks of life. Everyone needs to learn to write effectively. The problem is that sometimes it is difficult to teach how to write. Essentials in Writing has taken the difficult out of teaching writing. Their goal is to “help produce confident writers who enjoy the study of language.” When this review came up, I asked Tiger to help me pick his level. While Essentials in Writing is available for grades 1-12. We reviewed 7th Grade. The 7th grade course is available for $40. Check the website for a short video example as well as scope and sequence and a sample lesson on the website for each grade.
Essentials in Writing is a complete curriculum with DVD lectures as well as workbook pages. There are 3 DVDs of lessons and 1 DVD with a PDF of the workbook. The lectures are taught by Mr. Stephens a former middle school English teacher. Each lesson includes a short video lesson where Mr. Stephens explains a new concept with examples followed by several written exercises to practice the concept. In the elementary grades, the focus moves from grammar into writing techniques. Once the middle grades are reached, the grammar is woven into the writing lessons. Many of the early written exercises are fill in the blank or correct the sentence and rewrite it illustrating the concept discussed in the lecture. The text moves quickly from sentence structure to topics like imagery and figurative language and then into paragraphs and essays. Later the workbook pages are assignments to complete pre-writing exercises or write a narrative, letter, and other lengthier pieces of writing.
Tiger enjoyed the first few lessons and was easily able to accomplish multiple worksheets in each day because they only took a few minutes. As he progressed to later lessons, he slowed down a little more because they required a little more writing involved. In each of the early lessons, he was encouraged to write or rewrite creatively within the bounds of the lesson being taught. He really enjoyed the lesson on hyperbole. A few days after completing the hyperbole lesson, we were in the car and he made a hyperbolic statement. I laughed and commented back that I didn’t think it was quite that extreme. He informed me that he was making good use of hyperbole! I guess the lesson sunk in.
Tiger liked the way that the lengthier writing assignments were broken down into smaller chunks to make them more manageable. First he spent some time pre-writing and brainstorming. Then another day writing a rough draft, then another revising it, etc. This helped him not feel bogged down in the writing process.
Overall Tiger really liked Essentials in Writing and he is happy to continue using the program and I like anything that will help inspire him to write. He has such good thoughts that I have struggled to get him to put on paper. Essentials in Writing is helping to draw some of that out of him. I also like that he can use the DVD for the instruction and then work independently. Be sure to read what other members of the crew thought about Essentials in Writing. We all got to review different grades and had our own experiences.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. All prices are current as of the publishing of the review.