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WriteShop: An Incremental Writing Program – 12-17 years
Reviews Index

WriteShop: An Incremental Writing Program – 12-17 years

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Publisher: WriteShop
Author: Kim Kautzer
Debbie Oldar

List Price: $14.95 - $87.95

Ages: 12-14 Years

Reviewed By: Deborah Deggs Cariker

Teacher and Student Editions in 3-ring Binders
Teacher's Manual (covers both student books), 274 pages
WriteShop I Student Workbook, 16 lessons, 304 pages
WriteShop II Student Workbook, 14 lessons, 275 pages
Handbook for Teaching in a Group Setting (for co-ops), 66 pages

I met veteran homeschoolers Kim Kautzer and Debbie Oldar, saw their curriculum, and knew that I was looking at something special. I am a writer, but I never really learned how to write. No one sat down and taught me how to paint pictures with words. I did very well in English and Literature, but can't tell you why. I won the National Council of Teachers of English award my senior year and had my essay published in an English textbook, but can't tell you what was so special about what I wrote. I have believed throughout my ensuing writing career-for radio, television, newspaper, and magazine-that "my ability" is God's gift. I also thought that this was impossible to teach.


I stared a lot as Debbie Oldar described WriteShop to me. It wasn't because I was tired and about to fall in a pile along with the sacks of goodies I was carrying (we were at a homeschool convention). Well, ok; that might have been part of the reason. Actually, I was carried away by the possibility of actually being able to teach my children this intangible and oft-times daunting skill. I want them to be able to express themselves in such a way that they can, in view of the Great Commission, persuade people to their beliefs. A good writer, like a good orator, can do that. The Bible has been doing it for hundreds of years.

WriteShop takes the guessing and the frustration out of teaching writing skills. Beyond knowing what a noun is and how to find the verb in a sentence, WriteShop shows, line upon line and precept upon precept, how to master this task. Just like in learning a new math skill or learning to play an instrument, there is a way to learn, practice, and build on each step as you grow in your ability to express yourself more clearly.

Kim and Debbie strip the mystery out of this skill and teach your technical writer, your research reporter, your story writer, your debater, and every other type of writer five easy steps to be a better writer: brainstorm, write a "sloppy copy," revise it and write your first revision, hand in your work for parent editing, and write your final draft. Using a detailed checklist and specific models, WriteShop can turn the reticent and reluctant writer into an enthusiastic wielder of the pen.

Learn to write a good paragraph. Learn to tantalize the reader's five senses with your adjectives. Learn how to narrow a topic to a main idea and to marry that to an interesting topic sentence. And don't worry about how this curriculum might or might not "mesh" with what has come before it. WriteShop can be as simplistic or as meaty as you need it to be. Do you have a strong writer? Use the early chapters as review or to catch a missed skill. Is he a weak writer? Use WriteShop like a bible (lower case!) that shows the exactness of writing, like crossing a "t" or
dotting an "i".
The WriteShop books are tab-divided into units. WriteShop I teaches descriptive, informative, and narrative writing and WriteShop II covers descriptive narration, point of view, narrative voice, and persuasive/essay writing. Use the 30 lessons contained in WriteShops I and II in one, two, or three years, depending on the needs of your student.

WriteShop is NOT for you if you want to throw a book at your student and have them struggle alone toward pseudo-mastery apart from your encouragement, your Teacher's Manual, and your time. WriteShop is a partnership between you and your child that can encourage and nurture your writer, causing a blossom in the writer's garden that was heretofore populated by only weak, rambling, witless weeds.

What? You're not a writer? Don't fret about grading the new Pulitzer Prize winner that just fell from the pen of your literary genius. Use the composition evaluation form and stay close to the Student Writing Samples section for hints on how to positively praise and encourage, while pointing to bettering the composition. You really can do it!

"WriteShop I's workbook (recommended for 6th-10th graders or advanced 5th-6th graders), is $45.95. WriteShop II's workbook (8th-11th graders) is $45.95. The Teacher's Manual (covers both student books) is $55.95. Workbooks are not designed to stand alone; the Teacher's Manual is vital to the success of the program. Most people begin with the Basic Set (the Teacher's Manual and WriteShop I), which is $99.95."

WriteShop I at a glance, WriteShop II at a glance
More Information
Available From: WriteShop
Address: 5753 Klusman Avenue, Alta Loma, California 91737
Phone: (909) 989-5576
Other Notes: Teacher and Student Editions, 3-ring binders; Handbook for Teaching in a Group Setting, paperback 8-1/2" x 11".

Add Your Own Review

Deborah Deggs Cariker
A Houston-area veteran journalist, Deborah Deggs Cariker is a ninth-year homeschooling mother of two, and Assistant Editor of the EHO Product Reviews Department. Cariker and fireman husband, Bill, make their home near Montgomery, Texas.
Copyright © 2002 Eclectic Homeschool Association


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