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The Write Foundation-Sentence to Paragraph Writing Review by Melanie Schemanski

Rebecca Celsor
The Write Foundation

The Write Foundation-Sentence to Paragraph Writing is the second of four levels available in the homeschool writing curriculum, the first level being called an entry level, tags this as level one. Geared for students ages 12-14 or a student who can formulate a basic sentence, this middle school English curriculum is complete with 30 lessons. Suggested teaching schedules for a 5-day general schedule as well as a 10-day general schedule allow you to pace the program with your student for 1 to 2 years. I chose to use the 1-year schedule as my son is 14 and a fairly good sentence writer. We used this as our primary English curriculum and the schedule for 5 days a week worked perfectly for that. The Write Foundation-Sentence to Paragraph Writing comes with a complete set of three-hole punched student worksheets, ready for a binder. The approximately 230 worksheets fit nicely into a 3-inch binder (not included). Also included are writing instructions for all 30 lessons, coil bound, with step by step lesson plans for the teacher. I stored my writing instruction in the binder with my son’s worksheets for ease of grabbing it when we got started. The instructions also include rubrics for grading Additional resources are sent through email and include teacher presentation material for use in digital interactive teaching on a computer or projector, as well as printable transparencies. These materials are not necessary for teaching, but are useful in teaching a homeschool co-op class. The curriculum sells for $75 and offers permission to reprint for immediate family use. Additional workbooks are available for an additional cost if you were interested in using it for non-family members or a homeschool co-op class.

The Level 1 Sentence to Paragraph Writing lessons are broken up in to three parts. The first part covers sentence structure, grammar, building vocabulary, and sentence parts. It is suggested to purchase Mind Bender critical thinking tool to go along with the curriculum. It isn’t necessary but the fun lessons in that book help with some common sense and critical thinking application, plus they are just fun. The bulk of the program is focused on paragraph and essay composition, which is built upon each lesson. Also included is a weekly poetry lesson to help improve vocabulary and figures of speech. Poetry has never been a favorite of my son, but the way The Write Foundation has the students participate, helped it feel like just basic writing rather than poetry. Reading list are included for the student to earn points, depending on the difficulty of the book. This was a challenge for my son who dislikes reading. Having it actually printed in the lesson plans that he has to read a book from the list, helped me enforce it. I wasn’t worried about the points earned, more that I was thankful to get him reading.

This is not a self-teaching curriculum, but rather taught by the teacher with some independent student work, then graded by the teacher. I have enjoyed the one on one teaching time with my son, and working together on his writing and discovering new words through the thesaurus and dictionary. Each day ranges from about 30 minutes upward of an hour. I choose to not go over an hour of writing, to not overwhelm my son. We are loving that this program is making it easy to learn and understand the writing process, without adding burdensome work. An additional thing that has helped with breaking up the routine, are the games that are included in the curriculum. These games are great for reinforcing the material learned, and even give suggestions if playing with just one student as I have. I personally loved playing the Adjective Game, reminded me of a board game but with adjectives instead of nouns. It is like a game of Thesaurus, looking for synonym adjectives within a time frame. We don’t include the games as much as perhaps a co-op setting would utilize, but it is nice that they are included if we choose to do more.

The struggle I have run into with a reluctant writer, is that much of the curriculum is “babyish.” As a 14-year-old still trying to learn the basics, he needed a program that spoke to his mental level but still knew he needed the basic teaching. The Write Foundation program meets his needs perfectly. I never once heard his say it was babyish, or too easy. The writing topics cover a range of age, so they did not feel like he was being talked down to. If you are strictly a hands off teacher, then this program may be a little bit of a challenge for you. It is a time commitment, but I have managed to work it into my schedule. There is some filtering out of some pages, like grading rubrics, and the additional teaching resources geared toward co-op groups. I am thankful they are available to be used like that, just not something I personally needed.

I haven’t had any issues implementing this curriculum, and my son works on it without hesitation, which is a sure win for us. I am excited to see his writing already beginning to improve, and his typing skills as he writes out sentences on the computer. I have already checked out the following two levels of the curriculum and I plan to purchase those when we finish this one.

-Product review by Melanie Schemanski, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016