And then the product came in the mail and it was HUGE. I mean the student book is MASSIVE. It’s hard to tell from this picture but you can tell from the bright green binding, which in my opinion makes the book so much fun! We immediately were drawn to the bright colors, both my son and I. We also use fountain pens in our home and are kind of addicted to collecting them and playing with different inks and such so we loved that it had one on the front cover. It’s the little things that impress us. 🙂 But first impressions are important. So although Ben was intimidated at first by the size of the book he loved the way it looked and was excited to give it a try.
Just like any new homeschool curriculum first mom had to read the front material about how the product is designed to be used and why they wrote and so on and so forth. I was impressed with how they have written this product to teach children to write how they will need to write in the real world. This is a program to mentor them to be influential writers in society, not just to be able to write to pass a class. The goal is to have Christian authors and writers who can write from a place of conviction with the reader and audience in mind and this struck a huge chord with me. I was hooked. I also loved how they continually talked about how perfection is not the goal but progress. We want them to be moving towards writing better and better and gently mentoring them in that way. There is so much more written about this and much more eloquently put in the beginning of the book so make sure to read through that when you get it. The answer key (the smaller book) is just that. It is the answers for the exercises that have more hard and fast answers. It also has suggestions in the front for how to grade and evaluate your students work.
These are the Christian writers spotlighted in the book. I didn’t realize how blurry this picture was but on here we have some incredible talents like the writer of the McGee and Me movies, Phil Vischer of VeggieTales, and even the guy who wrote the screen play for many famous movies including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. These are some incredible writers that your children will learn some amazing tips from. Ben was super excited when he read about it. He had to go show dad and then his grandparents when they came over. I know he loves something when he wants to tell everyone about it.
I love this page because it gives you an example of how vivid and fun the pages are. I was so tempted to just take picture after picture of the book but well you have to buy it to see it all. 🙂 This is the six traits writing model which I won’t really go in to but it’s a great model for learning to write.
Let’s talk about why we ended up loving Writers in Residence and why we can’t wait for the whole series to come out. First of all my son loves it because it treats him like a writer. It doesn’t act all little kiddish and allows him to be creative. He can work at his level and he can see his progress. He can see for himself that he is progressing and learning to write better and that motivates him. The title, the way the program is structured, him being an apprentice, and me mentoring him all help him feel more confident and more motivated to improve his writing. I love it because it is easy to use. He can easily go and see what he needs to do on the suggested daily schedule and then check it off when he is done. If he has questions or needs me I’m write there but if not he just works right through it. We all know as busy homeschool moms how nice it is to have something that a child can work through easily on their own (when they are old enough), but even if you were doing this with a younger child that needed more help the lessons are fairly short and wouldn’t take much time or effort from you.
The book is broken up by modules and then further down into units. After each unit there is a rubric for your child to check off that they have done everything and then for you to give them points based on what they did. This is great because if you are having them do a lot of it on there one this is where you get to check up on them and make sure they are progressing and talk through where they are struggling. If Ben didn’t have things finished we would talk about why and usually it was because he needed help or didn’t understand and so we would go back and finish it up. A lot of times when he does this I can’t help him with something right away so it sometimes sits undone until we grade it. The next part is the part my son loves. The transferring of the points. 🙂
In the appendix near the very, very, very back of the book is this apprentice log. For every 10 points your child earns in the rubrics that I talked about above they get to mark it off. When they reach that yellowed out 85% mark they get to report that to Apologia and they will earn some sort of prize or certificate. I’m not sure what they get but my son can’t wait to get there. I guess this should teach me that that is the way I should do all his subjects. He’s motivated by that.
As if it wasn’t clear by my gushing in this review, we are in love with Writers in Residence and will definitely be using this with Ben from here on out. I would highly recommend this for your child grades 4th through 8th. It really doesn’t matter if they are in the higher grades and just starting in this book. They will not feel like it is below them as it is written in such a way that they can just do the exercises at their level if that makes sense. Anyway, this product gets 5 stars from us!