Anyone Use Jump In, Wordsmith, BJU, or Voyage of English for Writing? I’m interested in what you think. Did your kids enjoy them? Did they seem to learn? How much of these programs focus on grammar and how much focus on writing process? Thanks a bunch.
Hey - we use Voyages and love it (although we’ve only used grades 1-2 so far… I now own grades 3 and 5, but this coming year will be our first year using the older grades). It is 50% writing and 50% grammar - each month focuses on a different type of writing combined with a different type of grammar. We use it because it works for us, and until it doesn’t, I don’t plan on switching. However, I’ve also heard great things about Shirley Writing and IEW. Good luck!
Do you think Voyages would work with a reluctant writer? A child who struggles a bit with creativity?
@goldenecho - in my past life I was a teacher in a private school, and that is how I fell upon Voyages. The younger grades of Voyages (Grades 1 and 2) broke the writing process down into many manageable steps. For writers that “know what they’re doing” - the process can be accelerated, but I liked the pace it was “meant” to be taught at - it was perfect for my young students who were basically new and reluctant to writing.
Now I have a almost 8 year old who is not a natural, creative writer. She does like the Voyages program - both the grammar parts and writing parts, because it’s broken down into small steps (ie - day 1 - brainstorm the topic you will be writing about this month… day 2 - draw pictures on index cards or in comic format to show some of the main or significant things you want to be sure end up in your paper… etc etc) My daughter does not love writing - nor does creative or detailed writing come easily to her, but she doesn’t whine about this. By the end of each month you have a beautiful piece of writing. I also like that there is a lot of editing grammar practice built into the program, and there are teacher AND student rubrics so they can practice assessing their own finished work.
Now we’re preparing to move into the 3rd grade level (and my son will begin the first grade level). The older levels are still a 50/50 split, with lots of steps broken up, but there are numerous student books, tests, etc… just more materials overall. I need to take some time this summer to sit down and see how it all fits together and decide if all of the components are necessary. It still looks like a concrete program to me, but it’s a different layout/format than the younger levels that I have to become familiar with.
What age child do you have? Let me know if you have other questions Happy curriculum hunting
I have two kids I will be homeschooling next year.
I have a 6th grader who will be homeschooling for the first time (he’s been in public school, and has in the past, come home in tears about daily quick writes. Just had a horrible time coming up with ideas. Lately it’s been the amount of sentences required he struggled with. He’s a bit of a perfectionist…with everything. He used to fret the same way about art…even just coloring, until I told him there’s no wrong way to color and than he broke out and started coloring these elaborate designs (I was amazed at the change…like the creativity was in there, but he just needed the freedom from worrying about “doing it right” before he could express it). So, while I think he’ll be pretty comfortable with grammar exercises, I don’t want that to be too much of the focus cause that’s what he’ll obsess about when he’s doing free writing. He actually comes up with a not bad finished product…like his sentence structure and such seems fine, and he uses good vocabulary. But coming up with material is hard for him. And he’s returning to school after this year of homeschool, so I want to help him with the type of “quick on the spot” writing he’ll have to do there.
I’m a creative type myself…in fact, I studied to be an English teacher before I crashed and burned due to lack of organization, poor classroom discipline, and pure fatigue. But also I don’t feel I was well prepared. I know well how to edit what they’ve already written and show them ways to improve their writing (even helped writer friends with their work), but when it comes to helping people learn how to fill that blank page to begin with, I am stumped, because at least with creative writing I never struggled with that, and with other forms of writing, I don’t remember the process…now it just comes to me).
My other homeschooled son is age 8, but at about a 1st grade level…in some ways more at a KG level and in others starting to approach 2nd. He does not struggle with coming up with ideas…at least for creative writing. He is full of imagination. But the actual writing and the grammar (knowing the difference between a sentence, and not a sentence, for instance) is where he struggles. He loves telling a story, but hates writing down anything. He doesn’t like writing about his real life experiences as much, though sometimes I can get him to draw them. Really, getting more than a sentence of writing he did himself has been near impossible.
I’m looking for writing curriculum for both really. Maybe not the same one for both though. It would be nice though if they could be the same topics at least some of the time, taught at different levels with different expectations of the final product.
@goldenecho I hear what you’re saying - it’s challenging to homeschool when students are in different places. I’m not sure how Voyages would work for you and your children - I can only say that I/we like it. Some people don’t even feel a writing curriculum is necessary - they use a stand alone grammar book/games and just come up with things to write about each day - be it fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.
For some children, writing 2-3 sentences can seem daunting. Perhaps you and your youngest can agree on a number of sentences you both feel is fair to begin the year with - perhaps 3 sentences per day and you scribe the rest - then gradually build up in the number of sentences each month? Or perhaps he can first record his story, then each day, while listening to what he recorded, he could write a few of the sentences, until the story is finished - then you can edit together? It’s great that he is naturally creative - for most, that’s the hardest part!
For your oldest, maybe you could try story dice (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about - roll 6 story dice and write a story based on what words/images come up?) Or perhaps print off some story templates - the ones that have you fill in blanks (without complete sentences) for setting, characters, theme, etc - then the student turns that sheet into a story.
Given your background as an English major/teacher, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, and I apologize for that. In fact, I should probably be asking YOU for ideas, because teaching writing is where I am most inadequate. I find it so difficult to extract ideas out of others - such challenge to me!