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Put That in Writing Review by Christine Field

By Steve and Shari Barrett
16165 S. W. Inverurie Road
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

The Barretts have homeschooled their two children since 1986. Shari, who majored in secondary education, brings discipline and high standards to this substantive writing program. Their efforts have resulted in a user-friendly program designed to prepare students for college writing. It has been described as detailed, logical, and clearly explained.

Level One is for students who are strong in grammar basics. The initial goal is a seven-sentence paragraph, with about ten sentences for high school students. The first lesson is on sentence savvy, and the level of difficulty of the work ramps up from there. Grammar drill is built into the lessons, making this a well-rounded course. A special emphasis is placed on research and the documentation of the ideas of others (i.e., footnotes and plagiarism). Students learn a definable writing process to plan their work and then learn to write the following types of paragraphs: descriptive, definition, narrative, process, comparison, cause or effect, analogy, defending a position, and character analysis. The work is broken down into five days of work per week. A set of appendices provide some grammar references, paragraph and editing checklists and evaluation forms, citation examples, and teaching schedules. Making a diligent study of this volume will hone the skills of a serious writer and prepare him or her for greater challenges. An answer key and test bank are available for each volume.

The purpose of Level Two is to master academic essay writing. A brief review of Level One starts off the course. Then students jump into serious essay work. They learn how to write compelling introductions and conclusions and perfect the five-paragraph essay. Different types of essay questions are covered, as well as writing under time constraints, which is perfect preparation for your students who will be taking standardized testing. Students will write a historical figure essay, comparison essay, narrative essay, cause and effect essay, political discourse, judicial discourse, and epideictic discourse. I appreciate the coverage of these more difficult and unusual types of essays, as most courses do not progress that far in their instruction. Your student will be challenged and will learn to write with excellence, a skill that will prove beneficial in college or in the workplace.

Product review by Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2007