Sunday, February 1, 2009

The One Year Adventure Novel

For most of us teaching writing is a daunting task. I personally love to write. I write for my homeschooling association’s monthly newsletter, I have written for my local suburban newspaper, I have two blogs and I am working on a book. And I hate teaching writing to my kids.

I think the reason I (and many others) hate teaching writing so much is that it is so subjective. It’s not like math where 2+2=4, every time. When I write an article, I think about my subject, let the idea run around in my head for a few days, then I sit down and start typing. I am often surprised where I end up.

Working on something bigger, a book for instance, is a little more complicated. Yhere are character sketches and outlines and whatnot, but the way I do it will look vastly different than how someone else does it. See? Subjective.

When I was sent the One Year Adventure Novel to review I did the happy dance. Truly. I was happy. There was dancing. I could not wait to start this with my 11th grader. Will is an avid reader and a decent writer, but with practice I know he can become a much better writer. This is just the type of program I was looking for.

The curriculum comes with DVD’s, a textbook, a workbook, a teacher’s guide, a copy of the book The Prisoner of Zenda, a resources disk with computerized quizzes, FAQ’s and frequently make mistakes and copies of a few classic adventure novels. You also have access to the website where there are forums your student can connect with other users of this curriculum. We did not actually get this far though; you’ll see why in a minute.

The lessons are scheduled to be done 3 times a week for 26 weeks. You start by watching the lesson on the DVD’s which are about 15 to 30 minutes in length. You then take out the textbook and read the lesson that goes along with it. At the end of the lesson there is an excerpt from an adventure novel and some questions about it. You might then be required to read a chapter in the book that comes along with the curriculum, The Prisoner of Zenda, to help cement the concept you are learning about. You can then do the lesson in the workbook. This is meant to help you write your story. The creator of the curriculum says in the Getting Started section of the DVD that ‘By the time you’ve finished the workbook (this is done in the first semester), you’ll have outlined your entire novel, written parts of several chapters, and learned the basic elements of story.’

My son and I got out all of the stuff, looked it over and watched the getting started DVD. I went on and previewed a few of the lessons and looked over the teacher guide. I could not wait to get started!

Sadly it was not to be for this child. He went and broke his right hand before he ever got one word written. This curriculum is sitting on the shelf, mocking us. I so want to use it, it looks so very fun and cool and we were all ready to go! So there it sits waiting for Will’s hand to heal or Bob to hit high school next year. At the rate the healing is going, I think Bob might actually get to use it before Will.

If you are interested in checking out this very cool High School curriculum (which btw, counts for an English and Literature credit) go here. There are samples there for you to check out.

You can also go here to see what others are saying about.

Happy Homeschooling!

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