Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Writers In Residence (Apologia Educational Ministries) - TOS Review

Today I'll be sharing our experience in reviewing Writers In Residence by Apologia Educational Ministries.    For this review I received both the student text/workbook and the answers key.   The student book is spiral bound with a colorful binding and cover that is attractive and fun.  Inside you'll find 565 full color pages (broken into 6 units and a total of 24 modules), a final review, Writer's Toolbox Strategies, glossary, several appendix sections, word collection section as well as a spotlight on Christian writer's section after each unit.   This writing focused language arts program is geared towards 4th through 8th grade students.  The curriculum is designed to be completed in one academic year, however depending on the age and academic/developmental readiness, some students may need a year and a half to complete the program.

The 144 page answer key is much more than just the answers, it's more like a teacher manual.  In addition to giving you the answers, the answer key also shows you how to make a daily schedule, explain assignments, keep track of progress and evaluate your child's work.  A full explanation to the use of the student rubrics is also given.  The answer guide is black/white with green print used to show answers.  I totally love the use of the green as it's easy on my eyes, but doesn't get lost on the page.

Both of my kids fall into the 4th-8th grade age bracket.   After looking over the material, I determined that this product would be better suited for my 5th grade student as my 7th grader is a bit advanced.   One of the biggest pluses for my daughter is that the lessons aren't agonizingly long in instruction or in actual writing.  That does not mean it's not thorough, but it gives the student the opportunity to build on previous lessons to critique, tweak and modify as she goes.

The subject matter of "When I Was Young" gave Lindsey the opportunity to make the writing assignments personalized and allowed her to share what was important to her.   She enjoyed the prompts of looking through photos and talking to family about specific people, places and trips to help her build her stories.

Writers in Residence is meant to be a self lead course.   Truthfully, sometimes this doesn't work well with this particular child as she tends to just charge ahead without necessarily knowing where she's headed.   Thankfully, the front of the student workbook has a daily schedule listed that gives very clear and understandable directions, and has a lovely little check box to help keep track.  It's a simple thing, but this kid loves checking things off her list.

I especially like how grammar it worked into the writing lessons.   The parts of speech are covered, with catch phrases highlighted, followed by the definition and examples.    Comparison charts show the difference between items such as weak verbs vs. strong verbs.  Review questions are worked into the text, but again it's not an overkill amount.    There's also a lovely "Apprentice Log" in the back of the  back of the book that gives students a place to keep track of points earned on module checklists, rubrics, unit reviews and follow up reports.   Once a student earns 85% (clearly marked in the log) the student can log onto the website to receive an award of distinction.

This completed language arts and writing curriculum can be purchased from Apologia for $89 (includes text and answer key).

Be sure to see what other TOS Crew members have to say about this product.

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