When the opportunity to review a writing curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries came up, I jumped at it. Having watched Liberty take a different writing class this school year through our co-op, and seeing how much she improved, I was anxious to see what Apologia Educational Ministries has to offer in homeschool writing curriculum. Eden, age 11 and just finishing up sixth grade, has tried out Writers in Residence for the last month and a half. Writers in Residence is a brand new language arts curriculum appropriate for grades 4-8, written by author Debra Bell from Apologia Educational Ministries.
When the box from Apologia Educational Ministries arrived, I dug in, fearful of the learning in front of me. I am never quite certain how difficult it is going to be to begin a curriculum, and I was nervous that this one could be difficult. Whenever you introduce a new concept from a new curriculum, there’s some learning to be done to find out what we’re supposed to be doing, how I’m supposed to be teaching, and how involved I am to be. I started reading the section “How to use This Book” and had to immediately look up the term ‘rubric’. Finding it to mean “any established mode of conduct or procedure; protocol,” I thought it might not be so hard after all. (Eden found rubric to be a fun term… she sounds so smart!) I’ve decided it isn’t so complicated, after all. Author Debra Bell leaves the parent fully equipped to begin after a bit of reading, and when Eden began, it further showed itself to be quite simple, really. Eden wrote about personal experiences, her favorite things to do in childhood, and she’s now working on writing what she (fancifully) expects her life in the future to look like. She’s learned about authors like Cynthia Rylant (one of our favorites!), Patricia MacLachlan, Amy Green, Bill Myers, and more.
Eden’s loved Writers in Residence. She’s had fun. She loves to write but hasn’t had a formal writing curriculum outside of our English curriculum before now. Eden will work to finish this over the summer, and she’s happy to do it. She’s proud of the stories she’s written and at times spent oodles of time playing around with it. (Naming her future children… oh my! I was sure she was going to pull out the baby name book before it was over. She’s having four boys and four girls, by the way!) Writers in Residence has encouraged her creativity, developed her ability to think through her writing before she begins, and to check over her work when she finishes. It teaches proper capitalization and punctuation as well – something she’s studied at length, but I’m thankful for the review she’s getting as she works through a new subject. I’ve never been disappointed with a product from Apologia Educational Ministries and this is no exception. We’re both thrilled with it!
The All-in-One Student Text and workbook is a very big, spiral bound book. If I must voice a complaint, it’s that the book is huge. Hard to lose, but hard to take in the car when we school elsewhere, and uncomfortable to work on because it sits so much higher than the table when working on a two inch thick book. It also will be expensive to replace for another child, since all the instruction is in the student book. As a parent of many, being able to merely replace a student workbook as a minor portion of the cost is a huge draw, and that’s not possible with Writers in Residence. That said, I routinely hear from my children that they can’t find this, that, or the other school book. Eden has never, ever said that about this one!
Writers in Residence is $89 for the full set, including the 576 page All-in-One Student Text and Workbook and the 144-page Answer Key. Find it on the Apologia Educational Ministries website here.
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