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Essentials in Writing–My Review

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Since I started homeschooling three years ago, I’ve been searching for a writing and grammar curriculum. I’ve tried some really good ones, but none really fit us. This past month, I have found that fit: Essentials in Writing.

The Review Crew asked me to review Essentials in Writing. It come in DVD format–that’s all. No other books needed. There is a set for each grade level from first to twelfth grade. The cost is only $40 for each grade level, which is relatively inexpensive compared to other curricula. I selected Seventh Grade, and received a set of 3 DVD video lessons, and 1 CD-ROM with worksheets in PDF format. NOTE: Soon, the worksheets won’t be included on a CD, but when you purchase the program you’ll receive a link where you can download them.

There are 53 video lessons broken down into 19 distinct topics. The program introduction is 1 lesson, and a quick grammar review covers lessons 2 through 5. Matthew Stephens, author of Essentials in Writing focuses on grammar in grades 1 through 6 and believes starting with the Grade 7, the focus should be on writing. So the rest of the lessons focus on that topic. The different writing topics include: the writing process itself, paragraphs, dialogue, figurative language, imagery, point of view, personal narrative, persuasive writing, expository, summarizing, compare/contrast, descriptive writing, and the ever important research paper.

Each video lesson is brief and to the point. Mr. Stephens teaches these lessons and he is entertaining and engaging. He makes writing seem like something fun to do. Buttercup really enjoyed watching, him and felt like part of his class. The worksheets that follow along with the lessons are brief and take no time to complete, but really make the student think about how to use the information they have learned. Students aren’t just told how to write, and expected to do so, they are taught how to identify the proper elements. An example can be found in Lesson 7, students are taught formal paragraph structure. On the worksheets they are asked to identify the best opening and closing sentences for a specific topic, and select sentences from a paragraph that are not related to the topic.

With Buttercup keeping her focused is a huge problem. Her learning disabilities often leave her frustrated with directions and instructions. Essentials in Writing is written in a way that is simple to understand. Even gifted students will enjoy the fresh approach Mr. Stephens takes with this writing program.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


About rcwriter

Being a freelance writer, book reviewer, dedicated mom, and popular teacher at her homeschool support group—Renewed Moms Ministry keeps Rhonda Clark extremely busy. She writes most all of her own curriculum for her classes that have varied from elementary science, to middle school history and literature, to high school computer. Her middle school history class, A Renaissance World, will be featured at fall of 2014. When not shuttling her daughter to soccer, archery, bowling, or any other number of endless activities, she devotes time to writing homeschool curriculum and her first novel. Scrapbooking, paper crafting, and reading are downtime activities, but the one thing she enjoys most is spending time with her husband of 20 years. They have two children, a college age son, and a high school age daughter. God blessed Rhonda with a quirky and funky sense of humor. This combines with down home charm, and allows her to connect to readers as a friend. With an ability to put a fresh twist on basic thoughts and Biblical teachings she brings a new perspective to her audience.

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