Engaging Elementary Writing Curricula ~ WriteShop #Review
One of the most important things your homeschool student will learn to do is write; their success at writing, and writing well, will influence the majority of classes they encounter. One tool that can help you ensure your child has a positive experience with writing is WriteShop. The newest entry in their elementary series, WriteShop Junior: Book E, has arrived, and Cheyenne’s been trying it out over the last couple of months.
We received the complete WriteShop Junior: Book E Set in digital (PDF) format; all titles are also available in print form. Chey has used WriteShop Junior previously; we reviewed the Book D set in 2012. She’s at the upper end of the age range for the program, but she really enjoyed her prior experience with WriteShop, and was interested in the using the latest level regardless.
Who Is Write Shop Junior For?
The WriteShop titles for grades K-5 are slightly confusingly named; WriteShop Primary includes books A-C, while WriteShop Junior consists of books D & E. The Primary books begin with early writing and story creation skills, while the Junior titles broaden the focus to include genre, grammar, and editing, all while incrementally increasing the skill level.
Book E is recommended for students in the 4th or 5th grade; it can also be used with reluctant writers in the 6th or 7th grades. If a student hasn’t yet had much in the way of punctuation or grammar, or still needs a significant amount of instruction in planning a story, it’s recommended that they start with book D and then proceed to E.
What is Included In Write Shop Junior?
The complete WriteShop Junior: Book E set consists of four titles:
The Junior Teacher’s Guide, Book E (279 page) includes scheduling, supply lists, and complete lesson plans. There is a 30-week and two 20-week schedules included, which can of course be adjusted as necessary for your situation. WriteShop Junior is not intended to be independent learning; instructions and lesson details are included in the teacher guide. Of course, some students will be able to work more individually than others, but be prepared to spend some time guiding your child through their tasks. The best part is, it’s all laid out so as long as the supplies are available, it’s pretty much “pick up and go”, a must, in my opinion, for teacher-required curricula.
The Junior Activity Pack w/Fold-N-Go Grammar, Book E is actually two separate PDFs (88 and 78 pages) in the digital edition; one has the activity pages, while the other has the Fold-N-Go book. The activities are primarily hands-on and high-interest; they’re just plain fun to do! There’s very little repetition, which makes for a high level of engagement; each new challenge is actually *new*. The Fold-N-Go in a reference resource that your child will put together as they work their way through the book – don’t skip this, because it’s a useful tool that they may even hang on to for future use.
The Junior Time-Saver Pack, Book E (26 pages) contains hands-on tools such as game spinners and cards, that, while the parent could make themselves, it’s hugely simplifying if they’re just ready-to-print.
The Junior Writer’s Notebook 1: Fun With Story Planning (23 pages) is a collection of worksheets designed to guide students in creating stories, and as a way to save and store the information that they’ve imagined, much like a professional writer would organize their work and worldbuilding.
The Writer’s Notebook would actually be a good addition to any other language arts program that expects students to create their own stories; though the number of page seems small, the reality is that a student will end up using these worksheets repeatedly as they craft new stories, probably long after they’ve finished the curricula itself. (And if you have a child that just loves writing stories, this book alone would be a valuable addition to their toolset.)
What Did Cheyenne & I Think About WriteShop Junior?
Just like book D, she loves it! They’ve hit just the right point between learning and fun, and the hands-on activities are always a hit with Chey. I’m only sad that there aren’t books in this particular style for older students; it seems as if hands-on goes out of fashion, the older students get.
She’s moving through the book slightly faster than any of the schedule options, as expected, since this is more of a refresher course for her, but I anticipate that she’ll finish out the book around the time school starts. (I suppose that’s an added benefit – she’s crafty as it is, and likes to write, so this is really just another summer project for her, not “schoolwork”.)
Is Write Shop Junior A Good Value?
The complete digital set for WriteShop Junior: Book E is $78.50. Individual titles are priced as follows:
- Junior Teacher’s Guide, Book E – $35.50
- Junior Activity Pack w/Fold-N-Go Grammar, Book E – $35.50
- Junior Time-Saver Pack, Book E – $6.50
- Junior Writer’s Notebook 1: Fun With Story Planning – $3.50
It IS a complete year’s curricula; the pricing seems reasonable, though I’d honestly expect the digital price to be slightly lower, especially in bundle format. The Time-Saver Pack and Writer’s Noteboook are well worth their slight additional cost.
What Other Products From WriteShop Did The Schoolhouse Crew Review?
All levels of WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior were tried out by the Crew – click the button below to see more!