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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TOS The Write Foundation Review

It's time for another review brought to you by The TOS Crew!  This time around it is a meat and potatoes kind of curriculum-Writing.  Writing is an area that many people struggle with in homeschooling.  Does it need to be a formal writing program or should we incorporate the how to's into other daily assignments?  Or maybe we just avoid it because we aren't sure ourselves of the ins and outs of writing so we leave them to pick it up through osmosis.

I am guilty of all of those things mentioned above.  Writing is a struggle for me.  Not just teaching it but doing it myself and so I have tended to avoid it in the past.  We have tried other curricula but just haven't followed through with it.  That doesn't work either!


Enter my latest review with The Crew.  I received The Write Foundations Level 2 Paragraph Writing and must admit to leaving it in the packaging for a whole day before looking at it.  Honestly, I was intimidated.  I didn't want to try another program only to quit part way through.  But since this was for a review, I knew that I had to at least read through it and give it a try.

I read and re-read.  And I felt stupid.  I didn't understand what I was reading.  It was like it was a foreign language or something.  I was frustrated.  And more than a little worried about this review.

I let my oldest dd read through the curriculum to see what she thought and she was just as confused as I was.  Not good.  Full blown panic was setting in.  We worked through the first lesson but felt even more lost than before.

I have had this issue with another curricula before so after some wonderful advice and much praying I decided to start completely over.

It was well worth it.  I read through the Overview and Instructions again with all the worksheets spread out around me so I could get a visual as I walked through it.  I was still somewhat confused but the fog seemed to be lifting.

The next day, I took the Instruction book and read through it out loud to my daughter.  We walked through each step very slowly talking about each step and finding the correct worksheets as we went.  The light was starting to turn on for both of us.  We continued the next day talking through it and working it out together and by the end of the third day, we felt more secure and stated moving a little more quickly.  Now I can say that we both like the curriculum and my daughter has used the method in writing a speech for a class with our homeschool group.

Now, what is different about this curricula?  Well, it has repetition and lots of it.  In this program the student needs to have highlighters available for all work so that the sentences can be highlighted according to the type of sentence it is in the paragraph.  Such as the topic sentence is always highlighted pink and so is the conclusion.  The supporting sentences are highlighted in different colors for easy recognition.  It sounds a little odd and it was frustrating for my daughter to keep doing this but it really works.  She started to easily identify sentences and also to remember what went into a paragraph.

There are also forms included in the curriculum that are filled out for each assignment.  The process is always the same so the student knows what to expect and how to go about it..  By having them repeat the process each and every time, you reinforce the necessary steps in the writing process.  They soon become second nature.

The speech my daughter needed to write was frustrating her because she didn't know what to write.  I pulled out the forms from her book and told her to just fill them in.  She did and had her speech written in under an hour!  The pressure was lifted because she could fill in the outline and work from there but the blank page was just too intimidating.

If you would like to see a sample of what I've been talking about go here and check it out.  The homepage of their website gives a great explanation of the program and a bit about the author's purpose in writing the curriculum.  Also on the homepage are links to ordering information, recommended ages for the different levels, and the contact information for the company.

The pricing is a little confusing since the curriculum can be used over a two year period and is priced separately as units or as a whole.  This page explains the pricing and ordering options available.

Level 2 Paragraph Writing sells for $100 for the entire thirty lessons and includes:

  • Spiral-bound Teacher Instruction Manuals with Lesson Plans (about 160 double-sided pages)
  • 1 set notebook-ready Worksheets (about 200 pages)
  • 1 CD with additional resources
    • Grading System
    • Grading Record Sheets
    • Word Games
    • Checklists
    • Teacher Presentation Sheets
    • Weekly Assignments
    • Extensive Reading list
Or you can purchase Lessons 1-15 and Lessons 16-30 separately for $65 a piece.

There are also two other levels to The Write Foundations program and they are Level 1 Sentence and Level 3 Essay.

Here is my list of Pros and Cons for this curriculum:

Confusing to read through at first
Takes a long time each day for a while
Frustrating to start working through it
Instructions are somewhat confusing and some places felt unfinished
We could have used more explanation or more of a do this, this, this type of instruction
Very different from what we had been doing

Very different from what we had been doing
Forms are included and put in order of use
Teaches and stresses the basics
Lots of repetition of the basics
Helps take the guesswork out of writing
Could be spread out over two years

We are going to continue on with this curriculum and I look forward to seeing the improvement in my daughters writing over the year.  I will probably not use it with my second born.  She would get overly frustrated with it and not be able to work through it.  I think so anyway.  We may just have to try it and see!

The Write Foundation can be found here.

To check out what other Crewmembers are saying about this curriculum head on over to The Crew Blog.


**I was given this copy of The Write Foundation Level 2 in exchange for my honest opinion through The TOS Crew.


Design It Chic said...

Hi there! I am now following you thanks to Follow Me Back Tuesday, and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog;)
Today is the first day of our Show Yo' Flow Campaign, so stop by to see the interview with Tiffany and maybe snag one of the awesome prizes she has for our readers! Happy Wednesday!

Catherine said...

Hey there! Thanks for checking out my review.
I'm just visiting to check out yours, too. :)
Ah .. I see I'd forgotten that this course can be spread over two years. That would make it more affordable, and most likely more doable with the lessons for most families.

Lorie said...

Great review. Very well written and explained.

Michelle Smith said...

Great job with this review. You brought out many great points about its use. :)

Dawn said...

I agree with the did an AWESOME job on this review! Great thoughts well written - with a lot of info...easily read and understood. Blessings my friend!

Mrs. White said...

I didn't get to review this one. So I was delighted to read both the pros and cons you struggled with. This is a very informative review. I appreciate your honesty because it helps potential buyers make an informed decision!

Great job!

Mrs. White

Catherine said...

I think this is a great review. We did level one, and it worked well for us. I had to spend a little bit of time getting my brain around it, but once I did, it was a great fit for us.