Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Essentials In Writing Review - An Excellent Writing Curriculum



Are you still searching for a writing/grammar curriculum for the 2012-2013 school year? Then check out this review about Essentials in Writing. This is definitely the program we will be using for our writing curriculum next year along with some notebooking pages.

I was blessed with a review copy of Essentials in Writing Grade 1 at one of the homeschool conferences I recently attended. This curriculum is comprosied of two key components a DVD with the video lessons and a CD which contains the student worksheets in PDF format. One thing that makes this such a  great curriculum is that it appeals to all three of the learning styles - visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

In the elementary programs students will have traditional writing lessons and practice including sentence and paragraph structure, grammar, mechanics such as capitalization and punctuation, and a variety of writing formats including paragraph, friendly letter, essay, expository. etc.

In grades 9-12 students will have formal writing lessons and practice including research paper/project, essay, and business letter. Later this year there will also be two elective courses available - creative writing and technical writing.

This program is based on the premise that we study writing to apply writing in everyday situations. Which I think is wonderful. The writing classes I remember the most from my schooling days were the ones where I learned to write proposals, business letters, resumes, newsletters and research papers.

On the left is Gwyn participating in the video lesson which you see in the middle photo. After the lesson she worked on her workbook lesson left photo.

A moms review:

We slowly started using the curriculum in May but won't really get into it until we officially start our 2012-2013 school year in August. Gwyn (age 6) and Rowyn (age 5) have both enjoyed using this program so far. I really enjoy having the PDF worksheets available at my disposal in case a certain perfectionist little girl needs an extra copy. I decided to print all of the worksheets at one time and have placed them into a binder for safe keeping.

Since we utilized the 1st grade program I would like to share a little more with you about it. I really liked that the DVD began with a review of letters and their sounds. This was great for Rowyn who is almost 5 and not ready to begin writing yet. I plan to have him watch the first few lessons a few times a week. Since he's my tactile one he really enjoys learning through DVDs and air writing letters. This was also a great review for Gwyn my 6 yr old and I was pretty shocked when she begged to trace the letters on the worksheets because she REALLY dislikes writing her letters. But she did them all and was very proud of herself. Gwyn is not really constructing sentences on paper yet and that is fine because after the letter review the DVD goes on to explain how letters are used to make words and how words are used to make sentences and then how sentences are used to make paragraphs. Spelling is not covered in the program so a spelling curriculum will be needed. There are 37 Video Lessons and 76 Workbook Pages.

I am really looking forward to learning alongside the kids this Fall as we progress through the curriculum. I got back into writing last year when I started this blog and boy have I noticed that my writing skills are a bit rusty (I am sure you have notice my many grammatical and spelling errors). In my previous job before becoming a stay at home/homeschool mom I mostly just wrote emails and I had someone readily available to proofread them if need be. But with my blog I am writing much longer paragraphs and I do my own proofreading. Writing has always been a passion of mine and I am looking forward to digging more into this wonderful curriculum that will hopefully assist my children in becoming good writers who can be proud of their writing.

This curriculum has everything planned out for you yet still gives you flexibly. If your child already has mastered a particular concept it is okay to skip it and move onto the next lesson. Need help grading those papers? The curriculum has that covered for you as well. There are checklists included to help you grade your child's extensive writing assignments for grades 1-6.  For the upper grades there are checklists and/or rubrics to help you grade your child's papers. There are also "samples" in the answer key for you to use as a comparison. 

The creator of Essentials in Writing is Matthew Stephens. He taught in the public school for several years before creating Essentials in Writing.  Stephens is a Christian father who now homeschool his three children.

How to best utilize this program:
1. Look at the worksheet/assignment sheet for today’s lesson.
2. Watch the video lesson.
3. Complete the assignment. (Only if concept taught in video is understood.)
4. Have your child explain what he/she has learned.
5. Look at the next lesson.

It doesn't get much easier than that. The time it takes you to complete a lesson will vary depending on the child. But we averaged about 1/2 hr per lesson on the 1st grade program.


On the website under each grade level you will find further details about each program as well as a Scope and Sequence and a sample worksheet/assignment.

Check out this sample video lesson:


Links to follow:
-Essentials in Writing Website
-Essentials in Writing Facebook

Where to buy:
The curriculum can purchased on the Essentials in Writing website. The DVD which also contains the CD with the worksheets is $40.00. If you don't want to print your own workbook you can add a printed copy to your order for $20.00.


*Disclaimer - I received a copy of Grade 1 Essentials in Writing in return for my honest review. Please note that prices indicated in the post are subject to change. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions are our own! Many of the links found on my side bars and in my blog posts are affiliate links. As a result, I might get paid money and I will most likely spend the money on homeschool supplies.


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