Write with WORLD review
Friday, April 13, 2012
Write with WORLD's incremental approach to the art of writing, guides your middle school aged child step by step through a year of lessons. It is a perfect writing program for transforming hesitant writers into purposeful writers, poor writers into better writers and excellent writers into professional writers.
Write with WORLD is (not surprisingly) published by the same company known for God's World News and WORLD magazines. If you parent, homeschool and/ or teach in a Christian worldview manner, I recommend getting a subscription to one (or more) of these magazines. Bringing current news into your home month after month that supports , not contradict , the Bible and Christianity is something foreign to today's media campaign.
What I received to review was the 1st year of a 2 year writing program called Write with WORLD, geared for 5th - 8th graders. Included was both a student manual and also a teacher's manual.There will also be a website/ online component to the program, but it isn't functional yet. In fact, this curriculum is currently only available for pre-order. The curriculum will be available for the 2012/ 2013 school year, though- as the books will be available in August of 2012. In order to get an idea of why Write with WORLD was conceived, it would be useful to read the introduction to the program. Several journalists, professors and editors worked together to make this curriculum available. It is not necessarily homeschool specific, but it definitely is homeschool friendly and no modification is necessary to use in a homeschool program.
Students can work at their own pace of one the teacher sets for them. Each lesson consists of 5 capsules written directly to the student in an easily understood manner. There are 4 lessons in each of the 4 units. Feasibly- if you have a very motivated student- it would be possible to complete this program in 4 months. Since our school year runs year round, we will likely do 3 capsules a week . However, I wouldn't be surprised if my 14 year old starts moving through faster once he gains more confidence in his writing. Vocabulary, critical thinking, writing assignments and check ups are included in each. Instructors are encouraged to take a soft approach to correction and be light with the red pen. I am not sure i have personally found the right balance in that!
To introduce this writing program to my children, I read the first capsules out loud during our daily reading classwork time and assigned the first capsule. My purpose was to see if my younger children would also benefit from this writing program- even though they are all below the recommended reading age. They certainly enjoyed the lessons, however, my 8 year old clearly was not ready. My 10 year old shows some natural talent for writing and he seemed to grasp what was going on, but it was still not quite suited for him either. In one or 2 years he should be ready for this program and I look forward to using the program with him. I think it helped that we did cover the first several days together before simply turning the book over to my 14 year old to work through on his own. That being said, it is certainly written in a way that could be handed to a student with very minimal input. Encouragement and acknowledgement of well written work and coaxing to flesh out writing is expected- of course.
Perhaps others would take this course at a faster pace and finish multiple capsules in one day. Since my student is not an eager writer, I want to set him up for success and start at a slow pace and let him decide to move faster if he wishes. I love the way the presentation of the material and am very hopeful this program is going to fit a need for our family.
While not absolutely essential to using the course, I decided to subscribe to News Flash and Top Story magazine for my children. There already are some references to using WORLD magazine for particular capsules, and the assumption seems to be the student will have these available to them. I believe this writing program- which I have decided to continue with- will be enriched by using these materials. We do not currently get a newspaper at our home, yet I know it is important for my children to be aware of world events. It is also important they be able to express their views in a God honoring way. I do not often feel compelled to continue using the review items we receive, yet this particular product filled a need and void in our school program. Needless to say, it is not for a lack of looking! I plan on buying the second year as well.
What would I change? Well… not anything about the program itself, but I would change the font for the student's guide. It is not - technically- too small for my 14 year old, but even I prefer to read a larger font. I understand the font of the teacher's manual being on the small side, but feel at least the student's manual would be more inviting for a child if the font were larger (particular for a younger student or one hesitant/ self conscious about the program ) . Second, I feel the first units had a pop of color and interest with the pictures added, but after the 2nd lesson of the 1st unit, there aren't any more pictures. Granted, I imagine they are not technically needed (or they would be there) and the author uses highlighting and blocking to clearly differentiate material in the unit.
I realize smaller print and fewer pictures means cost effective printing making this curriculum-perhaps- more affordable, but would probably personally prefer/ hope for an online interactive type program to a book with such small font. Possibly, since this is a prototype of a product, there will be more "flash" in official version. The teacher's manual is awkward to hold. The paper is too thin to support itself and it is floppy and unusual. It is nice to have a different look to the book so the student guide is not confused for the teacher's guide and vice- versa. So far, I have not needed to refer to the teacher's guide. Since a website and forum will be part of what is offered in the price of the curriculum, I wondered if a teacher's print manual will truly be needed? It is nice to have the option, I am sure. I just haven't needed it yet since it is easy enough to read the objective and see if my student has done what was asked.
The price of $95 a year ordered individually or $165 for both years is higher than I would normally spend- particularly if I knew nothing about the product- yet I believe this product is worth the expense and I do highly recommend it. Eventually there will be a website where teachers and students can interact and post in a forum as well as have their work evaluated (I hope I have that right! Since it isn't live yet, I did not use this part of the program). Write with WORLD offers a 30 day return policy on their curriculum- but not on the shipping costs- which is understandable! Hopefully through the online examples and other reviews, it will be clear to you if this is something that would be useful- or not- for your home.
Plus, neither the student or teacher's guide needs to be consumable- a fact we consider to be very important in our household. I can see this program being useful even for older writers looking for a starting point.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received the first year of Write with WORLD for free in exchange for my honest opinion.