Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review of Apologia Educational Ministries' Writers in Residence

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
Apologia Educational Ministries has so many amazing homeschool products, so it really shouldn't be a surprise that they have yet another amazing one for me to talk about, but I have to say that I am really in love with this writing program. Writers in Residence is a Language Arts program with an intensive writing focus. Through the process of writing, students learn about grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Because it is published by Apologia, you can be sure that your student will be exposed to great Christian content all the way through the curriculum (content that is appropriate for 4th-8th graders). 
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Writers in Residence comes as a two-part set with a GINORMOUS 576 page all-in-one, full-color, spiral bound Student Text and Workbook and a much more modest (although still very attractive), green, black, and white print parent answer key (which looks hardbound in the picture above, but is really a very stiff paperbound with nice heavy pages).The parent answer key eliminates all of the instruction portion of the student text, instead focusing only on the questions and answers, providing parents with everything they need to check their student's work.

The Writers in Residence curriculum is designed around a 128 day schedule (yes - a schedule is provided! The whole process of teaching is really made incredibly painless!). Units are divided into easily digested Modules, which are further broken down.

No single day's work is overwhelming at all. One day you might be brainstorming, another day you might be writing a rough draft, and yet another day might see revising. Throughout you will be tackling grammar in the context of what is good writing. Everything flows seamlessly and nothing seems extraneous to the process. After all, why do we want to have good grammar? It makes for more meaningful communication. This curriculum recognizes this fact and teaches grammar in this context. I find it a very effective approach. To get the best idea of how colorful, user-friendly, and *meaty* this program is, I strongly encourage you to check out the sample on this page.

Mary-Catherine (11) and Writers in Residence

To say that Mary-Catherine loves this program is an understatement. When she saw me writing this review, her quote was, "Say that I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this program." Yes, Ma'am! In fact, when I told her I needed her book because I needed to look something up for the review, she protested giving it to me because she was working on writing at the moment and didn't want to stop. Now, *that* is an endorsement!

Mary-Catherine enjoys writing, but her writing lacked structure and discipline (because she's, you know, 11). I was so excited to see that this curriculum allowed her imagination free reign before it called it back to revising and editing....and best of all, it is Mary-Catherine who does the revising and editing! She also scores her writing according to a rubric provided for each exercise:

Talk about taking the tension out of going over writing assignments!

Mary-Catherine began working in the book the day we got it. She didn't wait for instruction and she didn't wait for a schedule. She took it and ran with it:

She's still running with it.

She loves this writing program. She works on it every day. We don't adhere to the schedule. I pretty much just let her do however much she wants. She doesn't do writing as part of her normal school day, because to her it's not school, it's fun. She typically does it at dance class or in her room at night. Don't think that we don't take it seriously, though! She takes it VERY seriously. She always uses her best handwriting and is very careful about how she proceeds in the book. She wants to have the right answers, and she wants her writing assignments to be good (after all, she knows who is going to be evaluating them!). 

If you have a child who is in at least 4th grade, I would strongly encourage you to take a look at this program. The fact that it is all-inclusive is so wonderful, and the fact that it is so attractive is a huge bonus. I'm all for the inexpensive, bare-bones, merely photocopied curriculum, but it just doesn't draw kids in the way something this beautiful does, and let's face it - a kid's *wanting* to work on a class is worth its weight in gold. This is one beautiful curriculum.

Don't take my word for it - click the banner below to read dozens of other Crew members' experiences with Writers in Residence; I bet you'll be convinced!

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
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