Have you heard of WORLD magazine? It’s a Christian news magazine, published every other week. I’m not a subscriber, but I have read a few articles, and it is a high quality magazine.
WORLD magazine is entering the curriculum business, and what could be more fitting than with a writing curriculum? This paragraph from the introduction is a great summary of why. Read the complete introduction here.
Write with WORLD aims to produce young writers who love writing, can write effectively, and intelligently share ideas, beliefs, and their worldview. We hope to support a generation of young believers who aspire to use their writing skills in the service of God’s Kingdom and explain effectively the reasons for their beliefs.
Write with WORLD is written for middle school students. It comes with both a Parent/Teacher manual and a Student text. The entire student text is included in the Parent/Teacher manual along with introductions and teaching tips throughout. The curriculum is divided into 4 units. Each of these units is divided into 4 lessons, which are further divided into 5 capsules. If one capsule were completed every week day, the entire curriculum could be completed in 16 weeks, though this is recommended as a full-year curriculum. There is a wide variety of writing assignments used in the text with journaling playing a major role. Many lessons require the use of either WORLD magazine or God’s World News, though you could probably substitute if necessary. Basic grammar lessons on common writing errors (like its and it’s) are also included in the program.
The organized structure and layout of this program is fantastic. It is easy to plan (i.e. takes next to no planning time) for a busy homeschool mom. I love the broad scope. I also like that it could be completed in 1 semester if you wanted to a focus on writing, or used for an entire school year. I agree with the overall vision of the program, and what the authors hope to accomplish.
But it is not a very good fit for my 8th grade son. He is a very literal thinker. He needs very concrete instruction. The journaling is something that he is completely uncomfortable with. I knew we were in trouble when the very first lesson has the student write what questions a picture (in the text) brings to your mind. He does not do well with those types of assignments. He simply cannot come up with legitimate questions. I personally find the process of guiding him through the questions exasperating. He also has a very strong grasp of English grammar and found the grammar assignments too easy.
These issues may be ones that we should just push through. Obviously, I can’t let the fact that I am frustrated trying to teach my son be the deciding factor on whether or not I use a curriculum, because it’s not really an issue with the curriculum. It’s an issue with me and my son. I have been thinking about how I should make curriculum choices. I am not of the mind to let my children be completely self-directed. And sometimes (often) we don’t like things because they are hard. (I have found this to be especially true for bright, perfectionist students like my son, and myself.)
The basic point I’m trying to make is that even though we may not continue to use this curriculum, I would still recommend it to others. It is definitely one to be considered when choosing a middle school writing curriculum, especially if you have a student who is not a reluctant writer and is eager to write about his thoughts. And this may be just the thing to teach a student who is not comfortable writing about his thoughts to become comfortable. I just can’t say that at this point, because we haven’t made it far enough into the program to make that determination. I think that when the time comes, this might be perfect for my 5 year old daughter. She is very eager to express herself and doesn’t let a thought go by without sharing it. (Literally, the child talks to herself all the time!)
The curriculum will begin shipping this summer. The course includes the student text, the teacher guide, plus on-line access for $95. You can place your order on the website.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the student text and teacher guide in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
By Kristen H.