Friday, August 28, 2015

Writing with Sharon Watson- Crew Review

We've had the pleasure of reviewing a Writing with Sharon Watson product called Writing Fiction in High School before and we truly loved it.   So when the opportunity arose to review a second product from her, Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide, I may just have jumped up and down yelling pick me, pick me!  My 17 daughter, who is a junior but technically done with high school, even eagerly agreed to go through it for me.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

When Worlds Collide is a literature program written for Christian High Schools and Homeschools.  It focuses on 8 books-

Pudd'nhead Wilson
The War of the Worlds
The Friendly Persuasion
Peter Pan
Warriors Don't Cry
A Tale of Two Cities
Fahrenheit 451
The Screwtape Letters.

We were provided with the Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide Teacher's GuideWhen Worlds Collide Student Book, free download of The Student Novel NotebookWhen Worlds Collide Quiz and Answer Manuel and the books Pudd'nhead Wilson and The War of the Worlds, neither of which my daughter had read!

The glory of homeschooling- reading anywhere!

In the When Worlds Collide Student Book, each Unit begins with a section called Before You Read the Book.  This section talks about the author as well as any historical context your student may need to know.  Following this section are several lessons to prepare your student for literary concepts they will encounter in each specific book.  After those initial lessons are completed, it is time to read.  Sharon gives a loose weekly lesson plan to help you schedule your chapter reading.  Once the reading is complete, your student then moves on to additional lessons.  These lessons include quizzes, review questions about the literary concepts as well as review questions about the book, and then ends with activities to choose from to complete the book study.  Examples of literary concepts discussed are alliteration, irony, satire, plot stages, hyperbole and more. Activities for each book vary, but include things like short story writing, book and movie comparisons and research and essay writing. Your student is encouraged to choose one.  Each book and its corresponding lessons are completed in four weeks.

The Novel Notebook, a free downloadable PDF file is a fun addition, though not required.  It is used during the reading portion of the study to help your child focus on the story in more detail.  In the notebook, or a composition book if you choose, they will record things like their favorite passages, quotes, examples of the literary devices they have learned, things they liked and parts they disliked.  Think of it as a personal journal of sorts where your child is free to think outside the box critique and even dream.

The Teachers Book has the answers and everything else you may want or need to know.  I have never seen a teacher's guide that is so thorough.  It guides you to lead an individual through the course as well as a group, whether in a class setting or as a reading group.  It has background information, fun facts to share, teaching hints and discussion starters,  and even quotes and links to share with your students.  Grading grids are provided to help you in grading as well as fun treat ideas to provide a little fun in between the work.

The When Worlds Collide Quiz and Answer Manuel provides two quizzes and an opinion survey for each book.  The first quiz is a "Yes, I read it" quiz with multiple choice questions pertaining to the book.  The second quiz is a "Literary Terms" quiz, that tests the students comprehension of the literary terms that have been learned in the study of each particular book.  It too, is multiple choice.  The Opinion Survey for each book is an ungraded quiz that allows your child to express their opinions, but also in a multiple choice format.  Your child can take the quizzes online if you prefer and they will automatically be graded for you.  If you choose that option, an email will be sent to them with their grade and a full report of the questions they got right and wrong.

Doesn't every teen do homework in Disney Minnie ears?

How we used this program-
Because of the age of my daughter, she did do all of this program independently, with me just spot checking her work occasionally.  The program is written with the student in mind and is easy to follow, which is one of the reasons we like Writing With Sharon Watson products so much.  It is my opinion that once your children hit the high school level, they should be self motivated enough to work independently, as well as use products that teach them how to follow directions and learn on their own.  By all means, we should know what are kids are working on, but by the time they are teens, teaching independence is a skill that will behoove them.

Riley therefore followed the suggested schedule in the student book, filled out the Novel Notebook while she read and did all of the quizzes on her own.  She completed the first book, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and all the related quizzes and activities in four weeks.  She is now ready to begin War of the Worlds.

What we thought- In Riley's own words-
I like that Mrs. Watson picked a wide range of authors and genres and they are not all the typical novels that everyone reads.  I also like that she writes conversationally without dumbing things down!

As for me, well, YES, I love this program!  Like others that Sharon has written it is fun and engaging while being a good, solid, unapologetically Christian worldview program.  I love that it it asks deep, thought provoking questions, and yet encourages a little fun like themed based snack ideas if you are hosting a group of students.  I love that it encourages reading good literature and helps students think outside the box while analyzing that literature.  I also love that the activities offered at the end of each book are interesting and varied to fit many students' needs and learning style.  It it not just a one fits all approach.  Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide is well written, well organized, and a joy to use!
Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Now THAT is a good Literature curriculum, don't you think?  Plus now through August 31st, you can use the code HM3US4QH  to get 20% off this program!

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Michele! There are times when I stare at my computer screen waiting for inspiration (or motivation), but now I know that this is due to my lack of Minnie ears.

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful review of Illuminating Literature, including what Riley thought of it.

    I'm thinking we teachers should get a snack item when we finish a chapter, too. Any ideas?

    Have a great school year!


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