For whatever reason, writing has always been a struggle in our home school. My son would read for hours without complaint, but ask him to write a paragraph or, even worse, an essay and he will spend more time fighting about it than writing it. I have tried multiple programs but Jump In, 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson looked like a thorough but not overwhelming program and so when the opportunity to review it came up, I decided to give it a try.
I received the digital version of both the student and teacher editions, which was nice because I could print out what I needed as we got to it and keep from feeling overwhelmed. I will also be able to use the program with my younger daughter next year since I have the digital version.
Jump In, 2nd Edition was designed to be a flexible writing program for students in grades 5-8 and can be completed in a year or spread out over up to three years of instruction. This is a very open and go program and aside from printing out the pages that we needed (you could also do this all at once and place in a three ring binder) it was ready to start. I went over the instructions with my son but he was able to complete the assignments with minimal help from me. I would check over his work each day but he was able to read the lessons and complete them independently.
During the review period, we were able to complete the introduction section and the section on how to write an opinion paper. I have a very opinionated thirteen year old so this worked out to be a very good place to start. Each thing is broken down into small steps so that the student does not become overwhelmed. For example, with opinions the first step was to look at a list of items (colors, ice cream, songs, books, etc) and then write down favorite and least favorite as a way to start thinking about opinions. The next day you moved on to step two which was giving an opinion and three supporting reasons. These strategies and steps moved you from a brainstorming list up to steps ten and eleven where the student wrote a short (150-200 word) opinion essay, proofread and corrected the essay.
The teacher’s manual had a variety of helpful resources including sample schedules, rubrics, answer keys, and other helpful checklists. In addition, there are sample essays that have been graded to help parents understand what an ‘A’ essay would look like at this level. I found this to be very helpful because grading writing can feel so subjective.
I like the question and answer parts of the curriculum and I really liked how I got to pick what I was going to write about. Matthew, 13
I would love to tell you that my thirteen year old suddenly has developed a love for writing and will never complain again. That may not be the case, but I did find that most days he worked without much complaining, it was easy to understand and complete, and I saw progress in his writing. We plan to continue to use this program after our summer break and have my rising sixth grade daughter begin using it as well. Don’t forget to check out all of the other Crew reviews by clicking on the banner below.
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