Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. The blogger received product and compensation in exchange for this honest review. The opportunity to review Writers in Residence™ occurred 9 months after the blogger purchased the original curriculum.
Last summer as I was wandering through the vendor hall at my local homeschool convention, I came across a new product Apologia was launching for creative writing. I was instantly intrigued and curious as to how the company I have come to rely on for strong science curriculum was going to approach the world of creative writing.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an all-in-one curriculum that was perfect for my fifth grader! I was looking for a curriculum that would not only teach her the basics of constructing an essay, but would take her deep into the writing process and teacher her how to become a strong writer for life. With Writers in Residence™, I believe we have found that strong curriculum. My daughter is repeatedly working her way through the steps of the writing process, and along the way she is meeting such concepts as character traits, creating lifelike characters, revising a work, using descriptive adjectives, learning from expert models, and much, much more.
An Overview of Writers in Residence™
What exactly is Writers in Residence?
Writers in Residence: Apprentice™ is a student text and workbook that walks a child through four types of writing tasks during the course of study. The students walk through the writing process and create strong work samples for their portfolio throughout the course.
What are the four types of writing covered in Writers in Residence™?
1. I Remember – Students write about their own experiences.
2. I Imagine – Students write high-interest creative writing assignments.
3. I Investigate – Students learn research skills and writing.
4. I Think – Students are introduced to the elements of argumentative writing.
How is the curriculum designed?
The curriculum is divided into six units, each with four modules.
Unit 1: When I Was Young (I Remember)
Unit 2: Very Truly Yours (I Imagine)
Unit 3: My Family Hall of Fame (I Investigate)
Unit 4: My Favorite Author (I Think)
Unit 5: The History of Me (I Remember)
Unit 6: Zap! Pow! Kazam! (I Imagine)
Each of the twenty-four modules in Writers in Residence™ opens with questions for the writer to ponder as they complete the module. The questions are then revisited after the student has worked through the twelve to sixteen segments of the module. After answering the writer’s questions, the student or teacher fills out a checklist to finish out the module. Some modules contain writing assignments, others contain word exercises to help the student build his or her vocabulary and writing skills. At the beginning of each unit, a Christian writer is interviewed for their perspective on writing and life.
Using Writers in Residence™ in the Homeschool Classroom
There are several different ways to use the curriculum in the homeschool classroom:
1. One child working through the work book independently over the course of one year, using the included suggested daily schedule as a guide.
2. One student working through the text at the pace that works for the individual student.
3. Several children on different levels working through the book with the homeschool teacher.
4. Use the book as a guide to go in depth with writing over the course of two years.
How has our family used the curriculum?
At the time of writing, my oldest is beginning sixth grade. She began the writing curriculum at the beginning of her second semester of fifth grade, and completed the first three units in time for our summer break. She will complete the second three units in the first semester of her sixth grade year. She does not follow the suggested four day schedule in the book. She does at least 2 segments of the curriculum each day. There have been a couple times where she took several days to complete one of the larger writing assignments.
As the homeschool teacher, I had a little bit of a hard time wrapping my mind around the size of the book when it arrived. Writers in Residence: Apprentice™ is a consumable, 570+ page, spiral bound book. It simply was too big for my child to handle on a regular basis.
So, to solve that problem, I performed minor surgery to make the book work for our family. I happened to have spiral bindings on hand, so I twisted the original binding out of the pages, and broke the single book into seven smaller ones. I bound each unit as a single book, then bound the introduction and glossary as one. This method has worked very well for our family, as I have quick access to the parent information, and my daughter has only one unit to carry with her when we are schooling on the go.
The Benefits of Using Writers in Residence™
After only three units of the curriculum, we are already seeing great benefits from using Writers in Residence! The benefits we have already seen include:
1. My daughter is learning how to edit and revise her work at the start of her middle school career.
2. She is growing a strong foundation in the art of writing with her own voice.
3. At the start of middle school, she already has a writing portfolio that she’s proud to share.
4. She is learning research skills from a very young age.
5. My daughter loved the unit on family, as she interviewed both grandmothers about their mothers. She’s recorded our family heritage without even realizing it.
6. Her vocabulary is growing through each assignment.
7. I have allowed her to complete the checklists on her own, and she is learning responsibility for her own education.
Halfway through our first Writers in Residence™ course, I can confidently say I’m very glad I happened to stumble upon this writing curriculum in the middle of a sea of possibilities!
How to obtain Writers in Residence: Apprentice™ for your student(s)
Parents can purchase Writers in Residence: Apprentice™ on the Apologia website by visiting this link, or a FAQ and product sample can be found at this link.
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