I'm so excited! It's my first review of the new Crew season. I feel like for any other Crew year I would have already written so many reviews, but I am really trying to be selective this year. For one thing, I don't have any more elementary school kids, so I don't even qualify for some Crew products, which is *weird*. For another, Therese is not really up for many reviews since she is so immersed in high school (only two years to go!). Finally, I am trying to give the kids a *little* more consistency. The fact is that we have been introduced to so many amazing products through the Crew over the last seven years that we have a really full school day because we are still using so many of them! Having said all of that, I am *thrilled* to be writing reviews again so that I can tell you all about more amazing homeschool products. First up this year is a product from a company that we have reviewed and loved before: Home School Adventure Co.'s Creative Freewriting Adventure which also includes Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition.
Creative Freewriting Adventure (see sample here) is written by Stacy Farrell, the author of Philosophy Adventure (which I reviewed three years ago here), a curriculum used and loved by my family. Creative Freewriting Adventure can be used along with Philosophy Adventure, but it also works perfectly independent of it, which is the way we used it. The program consists of ten freewriting exercises, each of which is supposed to be timed at fifteen minutes. The exercises are truly unique among freewriting exercises because they fit so seamlessly into a classical curriculum. Each addresses one of the Pre-Socratic philosophers covered in Philosophy Adventure. The reader is given a short preface with some background on the philosopher (Thales is first, just as in Philosophy Adventure).
Then, however, things take a sharp left turn when the philosopher is put into some unlikely situation about which the student gets to write. Clocks are set for 15 minutes and creativity ensues...but not too much creativity. Students are given guidelines or prompts - told to describe the background, the dialogue, and to use their senses when writing. Specific questions help them to focus quickly so as to make the most of that 15 minute limit. Strict classical educators need feel no guilt about deviating from the curriculum - they're not! But you don't have to be a classical educator to enjoy a really diverting and different creative writing program that is such a refreshing departure from "Write about your last vacation" or "If you could be any animal in the zoo, which would it be and why?" The 15 minute time limit takes all the pressure off perfectionists since such a short time means that writing has to begin immediately!
But wait! There's more! We also received the Journey into Freewriting Coloring Book Edition! In this edition, a coloring page is included with every writing prompt. Now, these coloring pages are not of the type that you would find in your average adult coloring book - they are far more modest (but consider the freewriting topics!), but they do add an extra dimension for tactile kids!
How We Used It
I gave these assignments to Mary-Catherine (12), who has actually not used Philosophy Adventure much at all before (three years ago, she listened in a bit while Therese worked through the program, but that's the extent of it), but who loves to learn new things and who LOVES creative writing. She enjoyed the snapshot views of the philosophers, and she laughed out loud at the writing prompts. Because it was my most whimsical child doing the exercises, I *so* appreciated the guidelines that were given with these exercises! Otherwise, I can envision Mary-Catherine getting so carried away! Because she was given focus, though, she didn't, and her writing was both creative and grounded, which is so important to me as her teacher. I think that the kids can use their free time for their truly creative writing, but if we're going to use school time for such an endeavor, there needs to be a point to it. These exercises definitely have a point. In fact, I won't teach Philosophy Adventure again without using them, and I highly recommend them even if you don't ever intend to do Philosophy Adventure. Please do yourself a favor and check out the sample - you'll be so glad you did!
The Homeschool Review Crew has been using other products from Home School Adventure Co., too, so be sure to click the banner below to read all their reviews! And, once again, it's so great to be back bringing you reviews!