I'm sitting here at my dining room table, laptop open, writing a review. I am writing, and I love it. That probably doesn't sound funny to you, but it sure makes me chuckle. As a student in middle school, and then high school, I hated, no, detested writing. An assignment that included any amount of writing longer than a paragraph or two was enough to cause me great anxiety. I couldn't tell you why I felt that way. I was a good student. I didn't have any specific moment of a teacher or adult belittling my writing abilities. I simply felt, well, dumb when it came to the task. It wasn't until sometime in my college years, after composing many papers, that I discovered that not only could I write, but I actually enjoyed the process. I'm a homeschooling mom now, and one of the goals that I have for my daughters, is to teach them how to communicate well through their written work. We've used curriculum from various companies, but I tell you in all honesty, that my favorite source is Writing with Sharon Watson . We've been reviewing the Jump In, 2nd Edition composition course for middle schoolers, and I'm thrilled to introduce it to you.
We received the Student workbook and the Teacher's Guide. Jump In is suitable for grades 5th-8th. The material works for schedules that use one, two, and even three year plans, depending on the writing abilities of your students. There are 98 daily lessons, which are called "skills". The lessons are clear and concise, and as a person who prefers to get to the point, I appreciate that. The length of each skill can take as short as 5 minutes to complete, or up to half an hour. Students will learn all of the fundamentals, including:
-Everything involved in writing paragraphs
-Research report with citation sources
-Plenty of humor!
These are the assignments that will be covered:
-Cause and effect persuasive essay
-Compare and contrast paragraph
What's in the workbook?
What you'll find inside.
Examples of what a book responses.
The Teacher's Guide is incredibly helpful. Sure, it has the answers to the daily lessons, but there are also plenty of extras. A section called The Teacher's Backpack offer tips in proofreading, the steps in writing, possible reasons that students hate to right, and how to turn those attitudes around, as well as how to structure a paragraph. Teachers, do you struggle in deciding what letter grade to assign a paper? No problem, because there are sample papers that describe compositions that earned an A, B, C, and F, respectively. Students will find themselves actually enjoying the process of writing through the use of Writing Plunges, which are prompts to get their creative juices flowing. These are short assignments, meant for about a 10 minute time period, 4 days per week. There are prompts for every month, and opportunities to share them with fellow students.
Too many writing and composition courses are dry, causing students to lose interest quickly. My 13 year old daughter, who has been working through this course, had barely started the first exercise, when she declared how fun the subject matter was. Instead of the "Do I have to do this todaaaayyyy?' attitude that I have encountered occasionally in the past, she chattered excitedly about creating an opinion piece on the delights of mint chocolate chip ice cream. After reading more of the assignment, and working through the steps to create an opinion essay, she decided that ice cream didn't have the content she needed to create the paper she needed, and so she changed the topic to homeschooling. We are now in 19 lessons or so, and my teen's enthusiasm remains high. It's a kick for me to watch her writing bloom.
My daughter's opinion on homeschooling.
A self evaluation for writing.
Favorites and least favorites.
The benefits of mint chocolate chip ice cream, lol.
What do we think? Well, I said it in the first paragraph, and I'll say it here in the last. Sharon Watson Writing is our favorite. Half of the battle is often finding curriculum that students find appealing. Here it is! My daughter agrees that this curriculum makes the task of composition painless, and even gasp, fun! I don't know how Sharon Watson does it, but she presents the material in a perfect tone to engage students. Her writing is conversational, and interesting. The instructions are simple, yet thorough. I am confident that any student who works through Jump In, including my daughter, will finish with a solid grasp of the basic writing concepts. As you prepare your curriculum list for the upcoming school year, this is a must have. Visit the website, and check out a free sample chapter.