I love getting new curriculum. There's just something about a fresh workbook or a different presentation that seems to make things more interesting. At least for a little while anyway... As some of you may remember, I chose to really devote most of our time and energy this past semester to improving my daughters' writing skills. It is incredibly important to me that my daughters can write in a clear and easy to understand manner. Finding a writing curriculum that was interesting to them, while still teaching and reinforcing the importance of good writing? Not so easy. I'm not interested in learning how to diagram every word in a sentence or memorizing the various types of adverbs. I want writing instruction.
Enter Jump In.
Thanks to Home & School Mosaics, I received a copy of Jump In, as well as the teacher's manual The Lifeguard's Locker, by Sharon Watson and Apologia Press. Here is a bit about Jump In from the publisher's website:
Apologia Press’s Jump In is the writing curriculum your middle school student will use! Easy, bite-sized lessons guide your student through the complexities of writing persuasion, exposition, description, and fiction. The text is incremental, the tone is student friendly, and the assignments are very achievable. Teachers will enjoy the practical guides for grading and the fun writing-prompts program, 10-Minute Writing Plunges, found in The Lifeguard’s Locker.
You can find both books here. Jump In retails for $30 and The Lifeguard's Locker for $10.
First, my thoughts on Jump In ...
The text inside the workbook is very interesting. There are lots of diagrams and font changes that grab the reader's attention as well as text boxes that reinforce ideas taught in the main text. This book can be used as a consumable, there is plenty of room to write in answers and exercises. We are choosing to use it as a text and my girls will be writing their answers in a separate notebook.
The exercises in Jump In are super easy to handle, while still reinforcing major writing techniques. I love that the topics range from the basics to poetry. And some of the topics are just fun! For example, the topic at the end of the chapter on persuasion is to discuss whether or not each student should eat a chocolate bar a day. C'mon! Who wouldn't try to prove that hypothesis to be correct?!
There are lessons on writing bibliographies, quotation marks and book reports as well as different types of essays. Towards the end of Jump In, the topics move into Narration and Poetry. At the very end of the book there is a great feature called Your Locker. It's a concise collection of all the writing tips that are scattered throughout the book. It's a very useful tool that will be used in our house regularly, I'm sure.
We completed the first unit of Jump In during our last week of school. The length of the lessons is perfect - just enough that I felt my daughters were learning, but not too long that the girls were bored. The girls liked the way things were explained. I liked that they each sat down to write their lesson without too much complaint.
The Lifeguard's Locker is more than just a teacher's manual. It contains articles on how to help reluctant writers, how to help students proofread, a thorough explanation of how to grade papers as well as what a A paper, B paper, etc would look like. There are also answers for all the sections of Jump In. I've already read The Lifeguard's Locker from cover to cover and I'm sure I'll be doing it again.
In The Lifeguard's Locker, there is a section for the 10 minute Writing Plunges Program. It is a wonderfully organized plan for adding extra writing through your school year. For each month, there are four weeks of writing prompts, with four prompts for each week. It gives guidelines for add the Writing Plunges to Jump In (or any grammar program) or for using the Writing Plunges as it's own curriculum. I really like this aspect of the book and plan on using it in our homeschool.
Overall, Jump In looks like it will be a huge blessing in our house. We all love the layout and I think it's going to fit really well into our plans for the 2014-2015 school year. If you'd like to read more opinions of Jump In, as well as other writing curriculum by Sharon Watson, head over to Home & School Mosaics!
I received this product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and an honest review was not guaranteed. All opinions are my own.