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A Closer Look at WriteShop Junior Book D

I know I can’t be the only homeschool mom who gets as giddy as a kid on Christmas to get new curricula, right?  That’s the feeling I got when a package from WriteShop arrived on our doorstep for review.  If you aren’t familiar with WriteShop yet, you’re missing out on some great writing curricula for Kindergarten through high school levels.

A peek inside WriteShop Junior Level D and why we love to use it in our homeschool. Inspire creative writing with these lessons -- even if your kids are reluctant writers. heartandsoulhomeschooling.comDisclosure: I received a free copy of WriteShop Junior Level D for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are honest. I received no other compensation for this post.

What is included?

  • WriteShop Junior Book D Teacher’s Guide (spiral-bound book)
  • Book D Activity Pack
  • Book D Time-Saver Pack

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The Activity Pack is required to go along with the Teacher’s Guide while the Time-Saver Pack is optional.  However, it is aptly named because it does indeed save teacher prep time if you have it!  No creating your own forms or printing them out.  It’s all there, organized, and ready to go when you are.  Everything is printed on colored paper with nice graphics so it’s also visually appealing.

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Time-Saver Pack sample pages

How We Use WriteShop Junior Level D

Big Sis was ready to get started right away as soon as she saw everything.  Before diving into the first lesson with her, I spent some time reading the introduction.  It provides a wealth of helpful information like scheduling your writing time, preparing the writing space, materials needed, and other suggestions that make a great springboard to begin teaching.

WriteShop suggests using a 2 or 3 week schedule and the Teacher’s Guide outlines exactly how to do that.  This means that you will complete a full lesson in either 3 days a week for 3 weeks or 9 days in 2 weeks (taking the last Friday off).  We loosely followed the 3-week schedule, sometimes doing an extra day when Big Sis was really excited about working on something.  We aren’t the best with strict “schedules” around here, but I do appreciate the guidance and lesson planning available at my fingertips to proceed at our own pace.  There really is no guesswork with this.  If you adhere to the 3 week plan, the lessons will last for a 30 week school year.

Junior Book D covers the following topics:

  • Planning, creating, self-editing, and publishing stories and reports
  • Brainstorming methods
  • Journal prompts
  • Developing beginning, middle, and end
  • Developing a distinct writing voice
  • Writing humor, mystery, science fiction, adventure, and historical fiction
  • Writing a personal narrative
  • Nonfiction report
  • Creative publication of final drafts (including lapbooks)
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Sample lesson plans

The lessons are well laid-out and so easy to follow.  There is little teacher prep time required ahead of time beyond that first introduction and getting a feel for the program.  If Big Sis asks to work on a writing lesson, we can easily open the book and get started on one right away.  I like that because I can plan to work these things into our regular schooling without shuffling too much around.  I also like the fact that it’s portable and Big Sis can work on it when “car schooling” is necessary.

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Brainstorming cake

Our Favorite Part of WriteShop Junior Level D

So far, Big Sis’ favorite part has been the lapbooking aspect.  She is building a grammar lapbook/notebook, called a Fold-N-Go, with each lesson.  It’s a great keepsake that she can refer to again and again as she is writing to help her remember the basic grammar rules of punctuation, capitalization, parts of speech, etc.  For the end of the course, she will also complete a lapbook of her writing projects as a means to “publish” and display her work.  I think it’s a great incentive to keep working, knowing that the end product will be something to show her grandparents and other family and friends.  It reinforces the feeling of accomplishment more than just completing rote lessons with no tangible end goal.

I love to see Big Sis use her imagination and come up with some clever ideas.  I’ll be saving all of her paperwork from this course to look back on one day.  Unlike math worksheets, these activities reveal her personality and it will be fun in the future to say, “Look what you wrote when you were 10!”  I know my girls are growing up too fast, so this will be a treasure for me.

Summary

We’ve had a taste of Junior Book D through this review period, but there is a lot more for us to cover.  I would really like to write a series of blog posts as we complete each lesson, but that will have to come later.  Suffice it to say, we are fans of WriteShop and highly recommend it!

WriteShop offers courses for all ages and stages of writing ability.  Each course is a stand alone, so you don’t have to worry about jumping in in the middle of something and getting lost or overwhelmed.  It’s best to check out the placement guide to see where your child best fits into the series.  You may also view sample lesson plans on the website.  Junior Book D is meant for 8-11 year olds who need to practice grammar skills and get the basic foundations of writing with plenty of practice.  We have used other WriteShop products in the past (Primary and StoryBuilders) and enjoyed them as well.

As a lifelong writer myself, I’m excited about the WriteShop courses.  The mechanics are thorough, yet they don’t kill the joy of writing.  There is so much to do and enjoy throughout this course.  If you have reluctant writers in your family or kids who really enjoy writing but need a little creative boost or help with the mechanics of writing, WriteShop is ideal.
WriteShop Junior

Sara
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