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Small People

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Apologia Educational Ministries Writers in Residence Review

Teaching Little Red writing has been a struggle for the past couple of years. I believe that writing isn't just a school subject but a necessary life skill, so it's important to me that I find a homeschool writing curriculum that works for teaching her to write well. I was excited to try a new writing program, Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

For this review, we received:
  • Writers in Residence All-In-One Student Text and Workbook, Volume 1 - a 576-page, spiral-bound, consumable workbook
  • Writers in Residence Answer Key, Volume 1 - a 144-page, soft-cover book
Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
When I hear "Apologia," I instantly think "science." We've used Apologia Educational Ministries books for science for our entire homeschool. I know that they are good quality, so I anticipated that the Writers in Residence would be high quality as well. Not only that, but I absolutely love Debra Bell, and she is the author of Writers in Residence. I was definitely not disappointed. Now when I hear "Apologia," I will think "science" AND "writing."

Writers in Residence, Volume 1 consists of 6 units, broken down into a total of 24 modules. In each unit, students create a writing assignment on a specific topic, while learning how to incorporate sentence structure, parts of speech, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar usage. Each unit's writing assignment focuses on a different form of writing, such as

  • sentences
  • creative writing
  • research writing
  • opinion essay
  • autobiography
  • short story
In the introduction of the book, there are instructions for how to make Writers in Residence work best for your child(ren) depending on your needs, whether it is within your family, a co-op, or a writing group. It also contains a suggested daily schedule that has you completing the book in 32 4-day weeks, although they do emphasize that you can adjust it to best suit your needs. Because Little Red has struggled so much with writing, we have spread the 4-day schedule over 5 days (and sometimes more) so that she can really focus on being successful in her writing rather that trying to just check off assignments. 

Writers in Residence emphasizes a Six Traits Writing Model:
  • Ideas
  • Organization
  • Sentence Structure
  • Voice
  • Conventions
  • and Word Choice
Each module builds on the previous until the writing assignment produced at the end of the unit can be evaluated using a rubric based on all six of the traits.

Speaking of rubrics, I love how Writers in Residence uses rubrics and checklists as their assessment tools. At the end of each module is a checklist for each of the module tasks and activities. The checklist point system is based on both quality and effort, which I like a lot. That way, even if Little Red is struggling with a concept, as long as she is putting for the best effort she can, she can still earn points. She and I sit down together at the end of each module and discuss how many points she thinks she should earn for each activity. She's taking more ownership in her work because she has to evaluate herself. 

Each unit also contains a Spotlight on Christian Writers section. Interviews with writers like Bill Myers, Irene Howat, and Phil Vischer show how different writers approach writing, but how they all use their writing to honor God.

I've really seen Little Red's confidence in her writing ability grow through using Writers in Residence, Volume 1. I definitely feel like we've found a writing curriculum that is a fit for her.

You can learn more about Apologia Educational Ministries and Writers in Residence on social media:

Are you interested in what others have to say about Writers in Residence? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

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