I can honestly tell you that while a lot of moms want to pull their hair out when it comes to math, I feel that way about writing. Really it isn’t just homeschool writing that is a problem but finding a workable solution to English Language Arts that connects with my kids and their special learning challenges.
I have one kiddo that has dyslexia and one that struggles with a multitude of other issues that can make the mechanics of writing and grammar feel like scaling Mt. Everest. I was compensated for my time and provided this curriculum for free in exchange for an honest homeschool curriculum review.
I have tried lots of programs and there are lots of ones that I have liked, but for one reason or another didn’t work with our dynamic. Until we settled on the Apologia writing program.
It is a great mix of literature excerpts to use as writing examples, writing and editing exercises, and grammar. We consider ourselves secular homeschoolers and while this is a program written by a religious publisher there is a quick review of a Christian author at the beginning of each large unit and it is something that can be overlooked (if you choose).
We are finishing up volume 1 this spring and were anxious to get our hands on Writers in Residence™, Volume 2 All-In-One Student Text and Workbook and Answer Key to preview for the fall.
This isn’t just a homeschool writing curriculum
This program has a wonderful pacing guide to help you plan your year, but it is a flexible curriculum that you can use as you like. You will use these expert samples as examples of strong writing to work on some writing traits during the course of the module. In volume 2 students continue to build on skills from volume 1. Modules include science report, argumentative essay, poetry, and fantasy.
Writers in Residence™, Volume 2 All-In-One Student Text and Workbook and Answer Key is a text that students could do with little parent involvement or could be instructor directed depending on the needs of your kids.
As the module continues students are introduced to grammar concepts within writing so it doesn’t feel arbitrary. Students also get extra practice with these concepts at the end of each module in a smaller unit/lesson that is reinforcing previously taught concepts.
Students spend a lot of time reflecting on the quality of their work. This is done naturally through the editing process and more formally in rubrics where students are asked to evaluate the quality and effort that they put into the assignments. I found my kids to be very fair in their own reflections and honest about both quality and effort.
Ideal for students that need more structure in a writing curriculum.
I found this program to be the right mix of creative writing with structure and clear guidance. My kids are quickly overwhelmed by a blank piece of paper and emotions can spew like a volcano, but these types of outbursts were rare with this curriculum and usually the result of my error over anything the curriculum had to offer. It is a great choice as a homeschool writing curriculum for struggling writers.
Is designed for kids in grades 4-8 so is a great choice for an upper elementary writing curriculum or middle school.
How it works:
Who this isn’t for
The natural linguist
If your child is a natural writer that excels in creative writing and loves open-ended assignments then won’t t be the best fit. While there is a lot of room for creativity and you will find yourself helping your reluctant writer brainstorm at times, each assignment is specific in nature. From writing a letter to your future kids in volume 1 to writing science reports and fantastical tales in volume 2.
This program is really designed to help teach writing in a direct instruction model that allows for creative expression of a specific assignment rather than an open-ended curriculum that has more embedded instruction. It doesn’t necessarily require a lot of parent involvement, but that will depend on your kids.
This means it is a great fit for a kid that needs to be told the mechanics of grammar but might feel cumbersome to the naturally eloquent kiddo who seems to have an intrinsic understanding of language.
Explicit instruction always wins at my house. This is the best homeschool language arts curriculum we have ever used.
Looking for a free solution
This also isn’t for people looking for free language arts curriculum or free writing curriculum for middle school. These materials are affordable but aren’t free. This is not for the mom who is willing to try to piece together a free option to avoid spending money.
This curriculum is designed for parents that want a method for teaching writing that follows a specific sequence to build not only proficient but strong writing skills in their kids and they understand a small investment will pay off.
Give this a try for homeschool writing
If you are looking for writing that provides solid structure mixed with components of creativity, this is a great option. Incorporating grammar into the lessons rather than as an aside has been a huge asset to my kids and I’ve seen their writing improve astronomically since starting this program. Writers in Residence™, Volume 2 All -In-One Student Text and Workbook and Answer Key (and Volume 1) are in our top 10 homeschool curriculum we have ever used and the best writing curriculum for our family.