The one thing I have always feared when homeschooling the kids is their ability to write. While I know how to write, I dreaded teaching them the high school writing skills they would need to progress into college if they wanted to. What is a mother to do when this happens? I found The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School from Sharon Watson.
What Is It
This is the 2nd Edition of The Power in Your Hands. This is a paperback book with over 100 daily lessons for your high school student. Within this course, your child will learn all four styles of nonfiction writing: exposition, persuasion, description, and narration. Not only will your child learn to write all four styles, but they will grade and critique other students work to help make them better writers.
Included for this review, we received the student text and the corresponding Teacher's Guide. While this course is a great, learn by yourself textbook, the teacher's guide has helped me to follow along with the lessons, and see the correct answers so I could help Moe Man with his lessons if he needed it.
How We Used It
I had Moe Man using this program daily. I would assign the week of lessons and check in on Wednesday and Friday. This way I knew what he was doing and if he was having any issues with what he was supposed to be learning. The way the lessons would work by introducing what the child would learn about, we would spend as much time as needed working on these new skills until I knew that Moe Man had it pretty well under his belt.
After we learned the new skills, the child takes what they learned and put that into an essay, letter or speech. Sharon provides an awesome idea for the schedule of how to spend your time writing your paper. Altogether, the learning and the writing will take 2-3 weeks. And the cycle will repeat itself until you get to the section on grammar mistakes. This is a great section that allows your teen to learn about common mistakes and work past them.
What We Thought
First of all, I should mention that Moe Man hates to write. He fights it every time! I try and try to make it as easy as I can, yet he finds a way to fight it. He tried to fight this program, but fell short when he got the chance to correct the writings of other students listed in the book. Sharon knows teens. She knows that they don't always like to follow directions, but love to find other people's mistakes and point them out. This was Moe Mans all-time favorite part of this curriculum.
The schedule that Sharon provided for the writing of the papers was an ideal schedule. This is just what we needed each week to keep Moe Man on track without overwhelming him with writing 300+ words each time. She had it all broken down from the researching and outlining to the writing of the body, followed by the introduction and conclusion and ending with editing his own work to find mistakes. While he still didn't care for the actual writing, he had fun with the editing to see where the problems were.
After using this, we have fallen in love. This is something that I can teach without worry and the teacher's guide gives me the support I need to know that I am doing something right. Moe Man is finding it easier to spend time writing. He is able to look at the grading guidelines and see what I will be looking for instead of being blind to that. He has been able to spend time "grading" other papers and knows what I will be doing and looking for. He knows this writing thing from both sides of the paper now!
If you are looking for a good writing program for your high schooler, I would recommend that you spend some time checking this one out. When a non-writer starts writing, you know you have a good program!
Have you ever used any of Sharon Watson's super awesome writing products or freebies before? What is your favorite?