Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Write With World

Teaching Writing. A struggle in your home or a joy? This often difficult and perplexing subject can be made at least a little easier with the folks at WORLD magazine and God's World's News. Write With WORLD is a new middle school curriculum designed to make writing enjoyable--an effort much appreciated in our household. Read Martin Olasky's recent article for WORLD magazine lamenting modern writing methods to see a little of the philosophy behind this new writing program.

My own seventh grade son was the test subject in our home for this pilot version of this program designed for 6th through 9th graders, which should be released in its final form for the 2012-13 school year. At that time the complimentary website for this curriculum will also go "live," and offer additional writing and online publishing opportunities for students using this curriculum.

So, back to my son. Writing lover he is not. Future engineer or computer scientist would be a more accurate description of him, actually. So, will this program work for a kid like him?

This program comes with a non-consumable teacher's manual and student book set. You provide your choice of notebook, binder, or journal to serve as the student's journal. We used a standard bound composition book--blue in color, to match the student book, naturally.

Although our version of Write With WORLD did not contain a table of contents or page numbers, the final version will. Suffice it to say for now, that the teacher and student books are about 3/4" thick and very substantive. It is illustrated with color photographs. This curriculum contains four units with four weekly lessons containing five daily lessons apiece. At times, you will be expected to locate magazine ads or articles, and God's World News could be used, but is not required. My son used Boy's Life magazine when necessary.

So, this curriculum could be used in a semester, with a separate semester devoted to literature. Or weeks could be alternated between writing or literature, or you could choose an alternate arrangement of the material.

What does each unit cover?

Unit One challenges the student writer to think about the writing process and pay attention to the arrangement of careful details and careful word choice. Students are challenged to ask questions and try options as they build skill in identifying strong and weak writing. This is the unit that we actually worked in for the review period, and I think it does a great job of starting at the most basic level at which students need to begin--the stage of critical thinking, observation and description.

Unit Two takes this knowledge a step further by helping students apply their knowledge to building sentences and paragraphs which logically demonstrate their ideas.

Unit Three focuses on autobiography, as well as research and organizational skills. This unit is designed to draw out reluctant writers by giving them a subject to research about which they are already familiar--themselves.

Unit Four teaches how to write narrative. Fiction is touched on toward the end, but the focus is on relaying a personal experience. Relevant, specific details are again emphasized, and the development of purpose is revisited.

Our family's verdict?

Mom likes this curriculum, but acknowledges that it will probably be most effective when the website to accompany it goes "live" in September. The first unit was not overly teacher-intensive, either, though I anticipate further units may be more intensive. It is possible that the teacher helps intended to be provided on the new website may prove an excellent help for parents.

My son really enjoyed reading the student book, but still struggled to get his thoughts onto paper. Is this unusual for him? No. He was still able to complete the assignments, with some prodding. Would the website with the opportunities to use technology and interaction have helped keep him motivated better? Probably. We are undecided as to whether to continue with this curriculum in August or not, but I tentatively recommend its use for this age student, anticipating the website to complete and complement the texts.

Write With WORLD costs:

$95 for Year One
$95 for Year Two
$165 for BOTH years

All packages include the student book, teacher's manual and an online subscription to the website for either one or two years. The publishers are considering publishing a high school curriculum for 2013-14, as well as the possibility of an electronic version of this curriculum. Interested in either? Feel free to leave a comment, as the publishers would love to know the interest level.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I received the Write With WORLD student book and teacher's manual to review. Since the online subscription has not yet become available, I am unable to comment on it. To read other reviews of this product, please visit the Homeschool Crew blog page.

1 comment:

  1. This was a really well-done review, Michelle! Thank you for sharing it.