Friday, April 22, 2016

Schoolhouse Review: Writers In Residence #hsreviews

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

We've put a HUGE emphasis on writing WELL this year at Long Leaf Academy so I was excited to use the newest resource from Apologia Educational Ministries with my Princess.  Writers in Residence is an all-in-one Student Text and Workbook -- a consumable worktext., if you will -- that covers writing, grammar, spelling through editing, and vocabulary while teaching students to be creative as they study and learn the writing process.  What is most unique about this approach to writing is that it actually engages students in writing tasks that they will use on a regular basis in work and fun as they grow older.  Instead of writing assignments that fit into the traditional forms of writing (personal, expository, persuasive, and narrative), my girl is being asked to remember, to imagine, to investigate, and to think.  And she is loving it.  So much so that she requests to do writing first thing every day.  It is by far her most favorite of all the subjects on her plate.
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

This first volume of Writers in Residence is the Apprentice and students are invited to come along on an apprenticeship in writing as they work through the pages of the book.  It is a spiral-bound worktext of 576-pages.  YES!  You read that correctly.  There are 576-pages in the student book chock-full of thorough and systematic assignments that teach students to formulate ideas, organize their thoughts, structure sentences carefully so that they make sense to the reader, choose words wisely, share their personality through their own voice, and use grammar rules correctly so that they are understood.  The full-color pages are perfect for writing and erasing and highlighting.

Students are also taught the writing process of planning, drafting, reviewing, revising, reviewing again, thinking and revising again, editing, evaluating, polishing and publishing.  This last step of the writing process may just be my favorite.  I like that my girl is being encouraged to finish and share her work.  Like so many of the girls her age, she is shy when it comes letting others read what she writes.  There are private journals scattered all over her room and they contain her thoughts and dreams and trials and tribulations.  I'm not often invited to read those pages, but with the fun topics from Writers in Residence, she is happy to let me read about the memories invoked and the worlds imagined.

It was bittersweet for us both as she recalled her "one special place" at her great-grandmother's house, but reading her memory sentences from that time made us both smile, laugh, and cry together.  She is building a writing portfolio through the pages of her own personal childhood memories while also increasing her vocabulary and grammar skills and being introduced to literary scenes from Christian novels.  I am thrilled that she is being encouraged to READ and I am enjoying watching her confidence grow and develop as I see the depth of her thoughts when they make it to paper.

Here's the deal:  Writers in Residence in approachable.  It is written directly to the student in a conversational voice that takes away the "school" and opens the door to imaginative education.  The Princess finds it interesting and gravitates to it enthusiastically.  She is finding the joy in writing -- and she is learning about famous authors who find that same joy in their chosen vocation.  The curriculum begins with an introductory spotlight on Christian writers Bill Myers, Amy Green, Irene Howat, Jason Lethcoe, Amy Parker, and Phil Vischer and each author "teaches" writing concepts throughout the book.  Although each author is different and writes to a unique genre based audience, they are all using their gifts and talents for the LORD.  I especially love that my daughter is reminded on each page that she, too, is special and that GOD has a purpose for her life.  She is continually encouraged to seek HIM in all that she does and live her life according to HIS guidance.  All of that PLUS writing and grammar?  How could you go wrong?   Writers in Residence is all-encompassing as a writing-focused language arts program that touches the heart AND the brain.

And that's not all.  There is an Answer Key that includes all of the answers for the grammar assignments AND sample answers for questions where there is no right or wrong choice and multiple answers might be given.   Checklists for each study module (there are 24) are provided for students to perform self-evaluation and grading rubrics are included for each of the 6 units.  This is a valuable addition as it has guidelines for evaluation and parents are reminded to PRAISE their students as they offer targeted feedback.  I don't know about you, but I often forget to start with the positives as we talk about completed work assignments.

Truly folks, this is good stuff.  I LOVE the new Writers in Residence curriculum and look forward to the next three volumes in this series:  Journeyman (Volume 2), Craftsman (Volume 3), and Master Craftsman (Volume 4).  PLEASE take some time to check out Writers in Residence for your family.  It is designed for students beginning in the fourth grade and is well worth investigating.

Apologia has long been one of our family favorites -- from science curriculum to personal encouragement for momApologia has you covered.  You can connect with them and find out how they can best serve your family through the following Social Media links:

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Writers in Residence as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
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