Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power in Your Hands - A Non-Fiction Writing Curriculum by Sharon Watson #Homeschool

The Power in Your Hands - Sharon Watson
 The Power in Your Hands: Writing Non-Fiction in High School
  • Writing Curriculum by Sharon Watson
  • For Grades 9-12 - Course is Taught Over Two Years
  • 100 Daily Lessons Plus Instructions for 22 Essays and Reports
  • Helpful Lesson Guides and Grading Guidelines for Parents
  • Soft Bound 422 Page Student Text - $39.98
  • Soft Bound 212 Page Teacher's Guide is $14.98
  • Christian Curriculum for Homeschool, Christian Schools, or Co-ops
  • Learn More and See Sharon Watson's Other Curriculum: writingwithsharonwatson.com
  • Like the Facebook Page or Follow on Pinterest for Writing Prompts and Inspiration
Receiving The Power in Your Hands: Writing Non-Fiction in High School by Sharon Watson has been an enormous blessing to me.  My twin boys with Asperger Syndrome sometimes struggle with reports and essays.  Writing requires planning, organization, and proper use of language.  The best writing begins as a messy outline or a brainstorm, then it comes together afterward.  Editing is essential.  This is not an easy concept for students who lean toward perfectionism.  This curriculum incorporates these steps into the lessons, gives checklists for projects, and even finds a way to make it fun.  By her use of conversational language the author keeps the lessons lively and enjoyable.  This program is going to be a perfect fit for us as my sons enter 9th grade.

If you visit the website (which I have linked above) you can find some sample pages to look at and I will share some of my own experience with you in this post.

Let me stress that this program is not only student friendly - it is very easy on the teacher, too.  I think that even the most intimidated parent would find this teacher's guide to be a treat.  Everything I need is in the manual.  The answers to each day's lesson, hints, tools, planning, instructions on how to proofread, lists with the essential elements for each writing assignment and and best of all - guides for grading.

The parent also gets an list of the major writing assignments and an outline of the student text which includes a key for the icons they will see on their pages.  This is helpful for lesson planning.

The Power in Your Hands - Teacher's EditionI do not exaggerate when I say that the teacher's guide is a fantastic resource.  It is so much more than an answer key.  The chapter by chapter guide doesn't even begin until page 66!

The grading help and evaluation forms make it super easy for a teacher to mark papers fairly.

The Power in Your Hands - Grading Assist
My students are also quite pleased with their textbook.  They have all of the information they need for excellent writing at their fingertips.

Checklists like the one pictured below ensure that no key elements are forgotten and that proper formats are used.

The Power in Your Hands - Student Checklist
In addition to completing chapter work and writing assignments students will begin each day with a fourteen minute "power surge".  Monday through Thursday a new writing prompt is offered and on Friday the child will choose their favorite one.  This will be developed into an organized paper to handed in and graded on the following Monday.  These timed exercises are an excellent way to kick start brains and to develop organizational skills.

For visual learners like my boys, there are illustrations that emphasize points being made and a dark line that signals the end of a day's lesson.

I mentioned the tone of the curriculum earlier.  Ms. Watson keeps the students engaged by acknowledging the sentiments of many teens while encouraging them to do great work.  She brings up topics relevant to this age group, too.

The Power in Your Hands - Student Assignment
This are plenty of Christian and Bible reference in the lessons, so this is a curriculum best suited for Christian families or Co-Ops.

I should also mention the very reasonable price point.  Usually programs of this quality are priced much higher and are more complicated to use.  Since my boys are twins we always need two copies of student text books.  It sure puts a strain on our curriculum budget!  This course will only cost twenty dollars per year per boy since it is a two year program and it is ready to use as soon as it arrives.

What do students learn?  Here is the website description:
High school students will learn writing skills they can use the rest of their lives. These include brainstorming, organizing their thoughts, using appropriate point orders, citing sources, introduction and conclusion know-how, proofreading, writing for a specific audience, and much more. In addition, they’ll learn how to write in all four modes of nonfiction writing: persuasion, exposition, description, and narration.
This practical textbook includes specific instructions for writing at least 22 essays and reports and includes focused checklists for each assignment. Some of the assignments include the logical appeal, the moral/ethical appeal, the SAT essay, process or how-to writing, a research paper with documentation, comparison and contrast, a literary analysis, descriptive essays, and much, much more.
The author also writes a blog and offers anyone who is interested weekly writing prompts for either high School or Middle School students by email.

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