4/26/13

Writing Fiction [In High School] {Crew Review}

For quite some time now Tailorbear has been begging to be allowed to write short stories or a novel.  She complains about having to write essays and other academic style papers for school. She thinks writing is boring, hard, and she dislikes it. Both Tailorbear and Turtlegirl have active imaginations and create stories ~sometimes written, sometimes oral ~ for fun on rainy and sometimes not so rainy afternoons.

When I saw Writing Fiction [in High School] by Sharon Watson on the Schoolhouse Review Upcoming Vendors list I knew that Tailorbear would be all over the idea of a writing class teaching how to write fiction. Turtlegirl, my avid book loving, book devouring daughter, fills notebooks full of story ideas and poetry, was equally as excited as Tailorbear to try this curriculum from Writing with Sharon Watson.

Logo for Writing with Sharon Watson

What is it? 

Writing Fiction [in High School] is a two semester high school level English curriculum written directly to the student. This course will teach students how to write a hook, to “ramp up the conflict”, create engaging dialogue, select a point of view, critique themselves and more.

Thoughts from Tailorbear:

I Personally love this product! I especially like the fact that she didn’t give me a chance to procrastinate on my writing work! I love how I’m already writing fiction. Even if it’s just bits and pieces here and there. I also love how she taught us to find story ideas everywhere. I was reading my history book about India’s Revolution, and how one soldier survived an attack. I thought “Hmm, This might make an excellent story!”. I have never EVER done this before I started! I also like the writing group. My sisters, OK maybe not them, but I love critiquing my work, and having others help out! This, is a five star writing program.

Thoughts from Turtlegirl:

I really liked this product. I liked that their was a reading section, and then a ‘hands-on’ sort of thing were you practiced what was taught in the reading section. I also love that while I am working through the product, I can also be writing a story. I can use what I am learning in the book to what I am currently writing. (Yep, I write a lot of different things at the same time, LOL) I love how you don’t have to be writing a short story/novella/novel to use the book. I love how clear the explanations are. I also like how there are examples from actual books/stories to help further demonstrate the concepts.

 

The Details

  • The Vendor: Writing with Sharon Watson
  • The Product: Writing Fiction [in High School]
  • Sold separately: Student book ($25.05) and Teacher’s Guide ($9.95)
  • Grade Range: 9th-12 Grade
  • strongly recommend creating a writer’s group
  • strongly recommend purchasing the book The Last Book in the Universe because it is used in multiple chapters.

 

 

My Thoughts:

I have not had to pull teeth, bribe or threaten my daughters to complete these assignments. I’m not even sure I’ve had to remind them to complete the assignments. I have had to tell them, “that’s enough writing for today, you do have other subjects to complete.” Though Ms. Watson is hesitant to recommend this program for students younger than 9th grade, it is working well for my nearly-finished-with-8th-grade daughter. She is highly motivated, has a strong foundation in language arts and, perhaps most importantly, has an older sister who is also using the program. If any of those key things were missing, I’m not sure she’d be as successful.

I agree with Ms. Watson when she states:

It works best when done with a group. You will write on your own, of course, but discussing ideas, submitting your work to the group for critiques, and critiquing others are important when learning to write fiction. If you don’t have a group (classmates, home school group, friends, etc.), find or create one. Meet once a week. The benefits will be worth the work.

Because we had two daughters using this it was natural for them to form a group but we also asked my oldest daughter to be part of the discussion.  Though she wasn’t writing material herself, her contribution was invaluable to the success of the “writer’s group”. Boobear was able to help both Turtlegirl and Tailorbear by making suggestions and offering constructive criticism. We really enjoyed our “Writer’s Group Meetings”.

I think this is an excellent program for high school students who want to learn how to write fiction. I think this curriculum would be a very fun class to teach or participate in with a home school co-op. I know both my daughters are loving this book. I’m looking forward to reading the fairytales at our next discussion group.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read what others have to say about either of the writing programs from Sharon Watson.

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1 comment:

  1. My son really wanted to be in on this review...but he's only now finishing up 7th grade. We'll be seriously considering it in a year or so!!

    ReplyDelete