Evaluating Homeschool Writing Curriculum
Preparing to teach a writing class in a homeschool co-op, I sat surrounded by writing curriculums I had collected through my years teaching Language Arts in public school and homeschooling. I had used and still recommend Daily Grams and Easy Grammar for teaching foundational grammar lessons, but they do not teach how to write an essay. After reviewing IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing), Writing Strands, the Write Shop, A Beka and Bob Jones English composition curriculum, I was frustrated. Each of these writing curriculums had features I liked, but also had other aspects that did not fit me. Either they were too expensive, had boring lessons and topics, were lacking teaching instruction for the writing process and structure, or had no organized lesson plans.
How could I choose a writing curriculum when none of them fit my requirements? I wanted a curriculum with lesson plans already together where all I had to do was quickly review the next writing lesson, and then I was ready to teach. I wanted to teach using fun, relatable topics that students would enjoy writing, while learning the writing process and how to write with structure. I wanted affordable, consumable worksheets, so students wouldn’t have to write everything I needed to say, but would be left with clear instruction to use when completing their writing assignment. I needed a teacher and student friendly writing curriculum and could not find it.
IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) required my watching or attending a 10-hour seminar, so I could learn how to teach their writing system. After watching the seminar, I still had to write all of my own lesson plans. I wanted to teach my students how to use a standard outline that develops organizational structure and teaches the proper outlining process to help them understand the flow of thought, and IEW uses list outlines. Then, to top that off, the price was way more than I cared to pay, especially since I still had a ton of work to do after I purchased it.
Writing Strands was more affordable, but it lacked detail about the writing process. I had used one level and then tossed it into my homeschool curriculum reject pile. Writing Strands had some fun writing activities, but I found I needed to supplement with information about brainstorming and outlining, so my students would have the organizational skills they needed to master writing college level essays.
The Write Shop came highly rated by a friend. It sounded okay, but it was not as teacher friendly as I was seeking. Also, the replacement price for the student workbook was not budget friendly. My friend, who had purchased the Write Shop, ended up not using it, and instead put her children in my co-op writing classes.
Bob Jones and A Beka handle writing more like the public school. Instead, I wanted lessons that focused more on learning the writing process and writing structure. In addition, to get everything I needed, it cost over $100 per level. Then I noticed the teaching aides for A Beka were separate and another $100. So again, the price was not homeschool friendly.
The Write Foundation was born because I wanted a curriculum organized where I did not have to weed through information to get to the meat. I wanted a teacher friendly writing curriculum that would teach students how to take a topic, and easily write an essay. Writing is a struggle for many high school and college students. Students need to learn the writing process and writing structure when they are not intimidated by higher level topics that require a lot of abstract thinking. Students need to master the writing process and writing structure, and then they will not be overwhelmed with the task of writing. TWF is an affordable writing curriculum that provides step-by-step organized writing lessons prepared in a teacher friendly lesson plan format with teaching tools, so teachers can easily teach and students can master writing.
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