Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Essentials in Writing - Grade 10 Review

Essential in Writing logo photo EssentialsinWritinglogo_zps7affe1cf.jpg
Ahh, writing! Writing has been a subject that we have struggled in and kind of floundered around in. Well, not anymore. We have been using Essentials in Writing the last couple of week and I have been pleasantly surprised with this program which I would liken as the "Math-U-See of Writing".

 Essentials in Writing is a complete language arts and writing curriculum. The lessons come in DVD format and printable worksheets/assignment sheets in PDF format. The lessons are easy to implement and it is suggested that the parent and student looking over the assignment, then watch the DVD, complete the assignment, and look at the next assignment. 

Essentials in Writing Grade 10 photo EIW10thgrade_zpse9ce70e0.jpg

Caleb used the Grade 10: Essay Writing & Research Paper. Grade 10 is divided into four sections.
  • Section One has 8 lessons which covers such topics as independent and dependent clauses, creating compound sentences, complex sentences, prepositional phrases, and more.
  • Section Two has 10 lessons which covered information on different kinds of paragraphs such as formal, expository, descriptive, compare and contrast, and writing a summary.
  • Section Three begins by covering the writing process and the parts of a formal essay. It then goes through each kind of essay with a break down of how to organize, draft thoughts and write the paragraph body. Then it moves into writing the opening, body, and closing paragraphs. Each essay section is closed with instructions on revising, editing and publishing, plus a sample essay.
  • Section Four talks about the research paper and covers how to choose a topic, research questions, source cards, taking notes, and gathering information. It then talks about the thesis and outline and follows with drafting the paper, revising, editing and publishing it. (See Table of Contents here)
Caleb starting off working through Section One and working on sentence structures with the independent and dependent clause. I felt this was a very clear and precise and easy to understand and I even learned a few things myself as I watched the lessons with him.

In Section Two he worked on several lessons on paragraphs. The first lesson was to take an already written paragraph and break it down into the opening sentence, the 1st detail, an example, the 2nd detail, an example, and then the closing sentence. In this section there was included a paragraph planner to help the student break down the paragraph into smaller chunks.

He then headed into the essay portion learning the parts of an essay and then he started to work through the lessons on personal essays. These lessons are very laid out in small chunks with examples. There was also a checklist for the student and a scoring guide for the parent.

There were many things that Caleb and I liked about Essentials in Writing. One was the video lessons, which are short, informative, and easy to understand.  The second thing how the paragraphs and the essay sections were broken down into small chunks which made the writing assignments not so overwhelming. We also really liked the paragraph and essay planners that were included. These are great for a student who needs thing broken down and explained to them in more minute detail.

The only difficulty I found with the program were some of the suggestions for the writing assignments. Caleb really struggled with finding one he felt he could write about and at times I found another topic for him to write about instead. I do not think it would be necessary to use the suggested writing assignments which could easily be replaced other topics from history or science, although that would make more work for the parent.

Essentials in Writing is a solid program and extremely affordable. For $40 you get the DVDs with lesson-by-lesson video instruction and a link to download the printable worksheets/assignment sheets/answer key in PDF format.  You can also get the pre-printed workbook for an additional $20, which I would highly recommend purchasing.  It is also available for Grade 1 to Grade 12.

Out of all the writing programs we have used this has been the one that Caleb has liked the most. He is currently working on an essay to turn in for the ACTS Student Convention we will be attending in May. When he has finished we will go back and pick up where we left off.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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