Unexpected delight. That is what I can say about Jump In, 2nd Edition. My son loves this writing curriculum by Writing with Sharon Watson. I urge you to stay awhile, see why he likes this curriculum so much. I suspect you will end up liking it too. 🙂
What I Am Reviewing
Jump In, 2nd Edition. Digital Version Received.
Writing with Sharon Watson.
Price: Student ($40) Teacher ($10)
Composition, language arts, writing,
homeschool composition, homeschool writing, homeschool essays
Okay, I’m somewhat nervous about this but… I have done PART of this review on video! I hope I did a good job at it other than my frequent um’s. You’ll have to let me know how I did and what I can improve, I am hoping down the road to do more partial – full video reviews.
Anyways, I thought I’d move on to what I didn’t cover in the video. There are two parts, the student edition and the teacher’s edition. I received teh digital version which I promptly sent off to Staples for printing. Cost was very reasonable with shipping included. Took three days to arrive which surprised me, I had expected a week’s turnaround.
The student edition contains the lessons and worksheets. The teacher’s edition is wonderful, I’ll need to tell you all about it. More on that later. 🙂
In the video above I’ve told you about various parts of the lessons, what my son likes and parts that he would like to have tweaked. No program is perfect for every student, but based on that fact that he talks about it frequently, you know he likes. He often tells me what he is working on, he likes the short lessons (mostly) and it’s easy to do. I think it’s interesting when I ask him what he thinks he doesn’t tell me he likes it. He says it’s okay and mentions the parts that frustrate him. Yet unsolicited his comments are more praise-worthy. It’s interesting the dichotomy.
Each lesson is short and easily accomplished. They are broken down into different skills and often use material from previous skills. For instance, use the paragraph you did for skill 5 and rework it into a specific type of paragraph for skill 10. Other than the specific writing assignments, each worksheet has ample room for answering the questions.
I have to say that my son hasn’t actually given me an assignment to grade. We are still working toward that. We haven’t done much, if any grading throughout his homeschool years. My sole question to him is “Are you learning? Do you see improvement? Tell me something new you understand today.” If he is making steady progress I haven’t seen the need to grade as he tends to focus on the negative rather than the positive. This year I am starting to see a switch, where he is seeing both. I just asked him if he’d like me to grade his essays and he turned me down. “I’m learning mom, I don’t need to you to check it over.”
I love the teacher’s edition. I’ve not seen one that is as helpful as this one is before. I was quite amazed.
From giving us facts about the course
To giving us detailed lesson highlights, followed by the Teacher’s Backpack, and sample essays evaluations, and more. We are walked through the entire course. It’s great to know what to expect.
I absolutely adored how they walked us through the level of work needed to earn a different grade.
I found it so helpful to have written real-life examples to show me what to look for. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective, so having a guide to show me what to look for helps with learning that skill.
All the writing plunges are listed in one whole section. There are enough plunges here to do one every week for a year. Part of me is tempted to pull them out and use them as writing prompts for both of us next year. Make it part of our Friday Fun.
Answer Key and Grading Grid
Last but not least comes the answer key for Jump In, 2nd Edition … The totality of what you really need is right here!
Just as earlier we were provided an outline of what the student would be learning, the answer key is a detailed, step-by-step walk through of what the student should be doing for each skill.
Throughout the Answer Key you will find notations such as “Teacher, your answer grid can be found on page XXX”. The grading grid that follows the answer key helps you grade your students writing assignment fairly. In this grading grid for the newspaper article you can see the specific points to look for.
Sharon Watson repeatedly points out that you don’t want to focus on everything wrong in an assignment. You want to point out obvious flaws, but the point is to encourage the student in their writing endeavors. If you only point out the flaws, how do they see the good that they did? Have the good outweigh the bad. Be honest, critique it well, but don’t be harsh and overly demanding. These are middle school students still learning.
She closes off the teacher’s guide with suggestions for what to use next. All her own materials of course, but we’ve been considering her course The Power in Your Hands.
Should you Get it?
If you have a reluctant writer who needs some encouragement that “they too” can do this writing thing, this course would be an excellent choice for them. The lessons are short and do-able. My son likes the provided examples so he can see what other kids his age are doing. It gives him room to have pride in the work he does, and teaches him the skills he needs to do it better. Though he might struggle with the shortness of some lessons, and wonder about the need for others, the fact remains…he is being successful. He talks to me about Jump In, he shares what he is learning, and that means a piece of our curriculum is proving successful.
It may well be just what you need as well. 🙂