I'm going to go over the Teacher's Guide first. I appreciated the simplicity and clearly marked pages, there was no guessing going on about what is provided to you to assist your Kiddo in their writing journey. I decided early on that I was going to read the Teacher's Guide completely and not just skim through it. Right off the bat Sharon Lists why we will Love Writing Nonfiction in High School.....I agree with all of them. My Favorite is the Actual Examples of Professional Writing in many of the chapters to show Effective Writing. Next she includes an outline of the Student's Book for easy reference along with a list of all the Major Writing Assignments. I used this section to help me plan out Mahala's work schedule. We will be taking this on our RV trip and I planned it to where she can focus on one Major writing Project while we are gone. After a quick overview of Objectives regarding the Course, Attitudes and Skills comes one of my most Favorite Parts.... The Grading Toolbox for Teachers!!!! :) I don't know about you, but when my Kiddos write about their heart, convictions, goals or dreams I turn to mush. I can't grade that!! All my common sense leaves the building once I stat reading about how they plan to carry on Holiday Traditions or the time spent in the hospital after a difficult surgery. Even when she battles it out about Autism Awareness or pros and cons to Homeschooling I just can't focus on the task of grading without grading with emotions. Sharon has taken care of all this by giving us evaluation forms/rubrics for each assignment. She says when grading to look for something noteworthy, tone down the negativity and to remember...Don't aim for Perfection; aim for Progress. I love How she laid out How to Earn an A, B, C, D and an F. She shows an actual Student work that reflects the given grade and explains why the Content and Grammar/Mechanics within the paper gave them the grade they received. Wow!! I felt like I was given a free pass....this really did help me distinguish between emotional grading and actual grading. I've since realized maybe I was harder on Mahala grading wise because I thought I was too emotionally attached. Hey it's Progress....not Perfection!
There are many other tips and help for teaching a reluctant writer, proofreading marks chart and a complete outline of the Student's Toolbox. The rest of the Teacher's Guide is filled with the 14 minute Power Surge writing prompts for your student to complete each day. I like how it's divided into months with prompts pertaining to the Holidays or Festivities in that month. The rest of the Guide goes through each chapter, lesson by lesson. I also appreciate that the Guide isn't huge in comparison to the Student book. The Teacher's Guide has just enough to guide you through with your Kiddo. It doesn't give you scripts to pre-read, read to the Student, follow-up reading and so on. That can be overwhelming for even a seasoned homeschooling Parent! I promise you will find just enough and a dash more help to give you the confidence to get your Kiddo through this High School writing Course!
Ok, so now for the Student book....it is Huge, but there is a lot to learn. And out of the mouth of my Daughter, Mahala this Course Rocks! Mahala loves the friendly conversation Sharon has with the Students. It puts them at ease and helps break down any walls that have been built up around the scary task of Writing!!! Mahala has always been hung up on expressing herself....letting her guard down and actually exposing her thoughts and feelings on paper. This past year with using Jump In by Sharon also and starting this program Mahala isn't worried about College English anymore. And I'm feeling a little more confident too. Chapter by chapter your Kiddos will experience the same confidence as they find their voice. You can use this course for a whole year and then some or just by topic. I decided to do the 4 days a week path. Right now we are getting ready to leave on vacation, so we are mainly focused on the 14 minute Power Surge Writing Prompts this past week. Mahala has found it extremely helpful to have the Student Tool Box and she learned and shared with her Brother all she learned from Chapter 10...Common Grammar Mistakes. The visuals were helpful in this section.
So, what did we think? I'm head over heals with this Course. I couldn't ask for anything more in a Writing Program. To have something that I don't have to force Mahala to do in a Subject she has struggled with is awesome! It's easy to start and you can go in order or skip around and it's a program that promotes independent working. I look forward to many more writing pieces that Mahala produces thanks to The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition. If you have a Kiddo in High School and they are College bound I would definitely look into this program. Even if they aren't going to College, the benefits they will receive from this Course will be used through-out their life.
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