My oldest, age 15, is a straight-forward, black and white kind of kid. Not surprisingly, so is his writing.
We’ve tried a wide variety of programs to help him find his “writers voice”. From video to book based, we’ve met with some successes, but these methods still left me feeling like I’m trying to pull a freight-train.
Wanting to forgo the train pull, I was eager to introduce The Power in Your Hands to my son. This curriculum is divided into 100+ self-guided lessons over 23 chapters, covering five different persuasive essays, a comparison-and-contrast essay, a biography, a literary analysis, a research paper with MLA documentation, descriptive and narration essays and more!
Did I mention the lessons are self guided in incremental steps?
Right off the bat my son like the conversational style of author Sharon Watson. I swear I heard a chuckle or two coming from his direction! This course eases into writing with the basics which allow even beginning writers to catch up. Journeying through the set of lessons before writing the first persuasive essay, the student learns tricks to find a topic, structure of an essay, hooking a reader, finishing strong, how to avoid FSAD (First Sentence Anxiety Disorder), basic format, purpose statement, opinion vs. persuasion, main idea, call to action, and paragraph structure. WOW, that’s 11 lessons before the first draft is even written!
Each writing assignment comes with a suggested schedule and a checklist that is well laid out with goals for beginning, intermediate and accomplished writers.
Day 1: Brainstorm topics and points. Arrange points. Create a flexible thesis statement.
Day 2: Research, if needed. Write the body (the point or reason paragraphs).
Day 3: Adjust thesis statement and points as needed. Write introduction and conclusion.
Day 4: Check for unity and completeness of paragraphs and essay. Proofread.
Day 5: Proofread again; read once out loud. Print out essay and adjust as needed. Print final draft.
Day 6: Submit essay to teacher.
On the teaching front, I so appreciate the Teacher’s Guide which contains ample examples of an “A paper”, “B paper” (and so on), complete with scoring rubrics that show the breakdown in scoring for Content and Grammar/Mechanics.
Another neat feature of this program is the inclusion of “Power Surges”. These are short writing prompts given Monday – Thursday. The student writes for 14 minutes on these days. On Friday he/she chooses their best work. Then they will complete the paragraph, proofread it and get it ready to be turned in on that following Monday. What a great way to flex those writing muscles everyday!
My son and I are so pleased with this curriculum that he’ll continue it into the next year and will count towards his English 11 credit! By the way, he scored a “B” on his first writing assignment. No tears and no pulled muscles to report! What a joy it was for both of us to find something easy to use and execute!