Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jumpstart Your Reluctant Writer With Wordsmith Apprentice


Wordsmith Apprentice Makes Writing Fun!

  • A Creative Writing Program by Janie B. Cheaney
  • Designed for Students aged 9-12 (Grade 4-6)
  • Easy For the Student to Follow Independently
  • Workbook Format, Student Writes in the Book
  • Supplemental Notebook, Newspapers, and a Thesaurus Required
  • Student Workbook-  $16.00 (currently $14.50 from Timberdoodle)
  • Assignments are Fun and Engaging
As I have mentioned before, my budding braniac boys are fantastic students.  They enjoy History, Science, Grammar, Vocabulary, and Spelling.  They are great students, and while they do a little grumbling and protesting, they enjoy our homeschool lifestyle.

Except for writing.  It isn't a shortage of ideas.  They are always coming up with funny stories and delivering facts, and verbally doing all of the things that I have been asking them to do in writing.  The problem would always come when the blank sheet of paper was placed in front of them.

This is when homeschooling is a joy.  Instead of forcing my children to accept a method that was decided for them by people who have never met them, I have choices.  The vast array of homeschool curriculum can boggle the mind at times.  I am very grateful for the programs we have used that have helped my boys unblock the creative ideas in their minds and allowed them to flow out onto paper.  We have been working with The WordSmith Program  this year, and they have really enjoyed it.

What has been even more fun for them is the precursor to WordSmith Creative Writing Program,  The WordSmith Apprentice Program.

It is hard not to enjoy an assignment that begins with a cartoon.

The text starts on the premise that your child has been hired by a newspaper.  The editor teaches them all of the fundamentals that they will need in order to become great newspaper employees.  I dare say it is almost like a game.  Presented in different levels, there are different tasks and accomplishments which are built upon.  Starting with easy concepts like nouns and verbs helps build the skills that will make moving on to modifiers and prepositions easy.

If you look below, you will also see that the assignments are meant to be fun.  There is no dry, boring work at all, and to help get ideas flowing there are excellent examples included.

Completing the assignments also helps kids become comfortable with the use of the Thesaurus.

This is mainly a student directed program.  Since my boys enjoy it, they are moving through it fairly quickly, but a younger student or a truly reluctant child may require a bit of gentle direction.  It is NOT a teacher intensive program at all.  There are some notes to the parent in the first pages, but there is no teacher text at all.  All of the information the boys need is right in the workbook.

The teacher pages are followed by an introduction for the student, which will help them get an idea of what to expect and how to complete the program properly.  It is fun, lighthearted, and includes a few simple exercises to get things rolling.  

The lessons are divided into three parts.  First basic structure is covered.  Nouns, verbs, how to properly from sentences, and how to make them interesting.  The skills are put to use in writing captions, and invitation, letters and headlines.  Next, students work with modifiers and more complex sentences.  They finish up with organizing thoughts and learning what goes into effective reporting.  

The book closes by encouraging students to take the skills they have gained and to continue to use them.  As I have mentioned, if your child does well with Apprentice, a good next choice is the Wordsmith Creative Writing Curriculum, and then, when they are older, they could work with the Wordsmith Craftsman Program, designed for grades 10 and up.

Find this program, and more great Homeschool supplies and curriculum from the Timberdoodle website. they can set you up with everything from games, manipulatives,  single subjects or even your entire core curriculum by grade level, if needed.  You can find Timberdoodle on Facebook, too.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Wordsmith in exchange for a frank and unbiased review