Essentials in Writing Level 8 Bundle (Textbook, Teacher Handbook and Online Video Subscription) 2nd Edition
|Note:||Subscription emailed from publisher in 14 business days at this time. (Sept 2022) Returnable only if not activated.|
Level 8 Bundle with Online Video Subscription includes print Textbook, Teacher Handbook, and access to online video and the online Textbook/Teacher Handbook. The books will be shipped with your order, and information on accessing the online video will be emailed to you by Essentials in Writing within 1-3 business days.
This homeschool writing curriculum features a slow, systematic approach for eighth grade students, aged 13 to 14, to learn to write well. The step-by-step approach allows students to focus on small, daily assignments, so they don’t feel overwhelmed and retain the information.
Homeschool students will learn to apply parts of speech and different sentence structures as well as use them as tools for effective communication. They will address common problems in writing, including sentence errors, pronouns and antecedents, subject/verb agreement, homophones, unclear subjects, paraphrasing, and summarizing. They will practice crafting compositions including paragraphs, a narrative, a business letter, essays, and a research project. Students will explore expository, descriptive, persuasive, compare, and contrast writing.
Includes: Printed Textbook, Printed Teacher Handbook, Online Textbook, Online Teacher Handbook, and Online Video Subscription. The 12-month online video lesson access comes with free renewals, free customer service and teacher support.
This 2nd edition provides the same solid instruction as the first edition, but with significantly expanded content (over 120 pages of new material) and updated video teaching. Courses require the student textbook, the included online instructional video, teacher handbook, and an optional assessment resource. Online access is initiated with an email from the publisher to set up an account and includes video lessons, PDF textbooks, and Teacher Handbooks. Another distinctive is the spiral teaching approach: a key element in developing writing skills. From year-to-year, you’ll see repeated concepts and tasks, but exercises will differ and build in difficulty.
Unit 1 helps students apply proper grammar and word choice: selecting words with skill. Unit 2 begins the composition instruction focusing on 5 styles (expository, persuasive, descriptive, compare, and contrast). For each of these writing types, 3 lessons progressively teach through key brainstorming steps; organizing and drafting; and revising and final drafting. Then, lessons 41-78 move to learning various essay methods, applying previously learned skills while learning new skills tailored toward specific purposes: Narrative, Expository, Compare/contrast, and Persuasive writing. The year culminates in a research project with 15 lessons specifically guiding students through key researching steps such as summarizing, paraphrasing, taking notes and sourcing material. Instruction requires that students create source cards for bibliography and notetaking. (A side note: when I taught research writing, I loved this technique as a tangible tool. As an 8th grader, not so much—but it was good for me.) Twelve, blank, preprinted source cards are included at the back of each student text with more available in the Assessment Resource. Included in combo kits, the updated lesson Video Instruction (12-month online access) creates the sense of a one-on-one tutorial with instructor Matthew B. Stephens, who guides students through assignments, modeling steps, and applications. The engaging videos help make skill acquisition and writing tasks significantly more palatable.
Most lessons spread out over 2 days. When introduced to a new skill, your student receives descriptions and definitions, examples, graphic organizers, word banks, and the like. Students will work through steps and then complete a draft on separate paper. Each writing assignment includes formatting rules, directions for editing, a comprehensive project checklist, and a detailed rubric for each composition assignment. Rubrics are my favorite way to grade compositions, assigning a point value to measure skill levels in specific areas. For example, the directions state to give your student 8 points if the word choice and sentence structure is rich and varied. Give 2 points if it is basic, lacking variety. If students choose to revise, or when students begin the next assignment, they have tangible information to improve their writing skills, style, and content.
The page layout significantly improves legibility: well-organized typesetting, just-right-amount of color accents; and bolded instructions. Grading is recorded right in the text using a point system. While the typesetting (16-point font) is a perfect size and legible in instruction, some students might initially struggle with the italic font (used in sample sentences, paragraphs, and the like).
The Assessment Resource book provides 20 assessments, 2 comprehensive unit tests, and additional resources, organizers, and research cards. The Teacher Handbook provides a quick explanation of the course, possible course schedules, answers for all questions (in 8 pt font) and includes sample responses to assignments.
Items are sold as a bundle (textbook, teacher handbook, and online video subscription, with an additional online textbook/workbook/teacher handbook available free); the bundle with the Assessment Resource book; individual Assessment Resource books; and individual additional Student Workbooks. Note: any products which are digital download are non-returnable. Printed in the USA.
Please note it may take up to 14 business days for an online profile to be set up once Essentials in Writing receives your email request. Looking for a complete English course for all grade levels that is well organized, thorough in explanation, effective in teaching and easy to use in a homeschool or group setting? Then consider Essentials in Writing! Video instructor Matthew Stephens taught English at the elementary and high school levels for years, and he used his experience to good effect in authoring this course.
Video lessons featuring Mr. Stephens are the essence of the course, with supporting workbook activities as follow-up. Mr. Stephens is doing the heavy lifting of presenting and explaining the material, leaving only clarification and follow-up questions to the home instructor. Lessons are presented in bite-sized chunks, so each day’s lesson features one main point. The quality of the video and audio is good, showing Mr. Stephens teaching in front of a classroom on a white board. For younger grades, the teacher and student would watch the videos together, then discuss to make sure that the student grasps the main ideas of the presentation. Students at more advanced grades can watch the videos on their own (as the instruction is always directed to the student), leaving only follow-up discussion of the material and assignment to the teacher. Of course, the instructor should preview the video material to ensure knowledge of the material and consistency of approach in working with the student.
Lesson lengths are age appropriate. Grades 1 and 2 average 15 to 20 minutes total, including about 3 minutes of video presentation. By grades 6 to 12, lesson length totals 20 to 40 minutes, with 7 minutes of video presentation. Material covered is also age appropriate and features a building block approach. While not a learning-to-read phonics program, Level 1 begins with reviewing letters and sounds and progresses to using letters to make words and words to make sentences. Grammar is taught in context, not in isolation, so the grammar instruction is more likely to stick. Mr. Stephens believes that the program covers grammar sufficiently, but if you want to cover sentence diagramming, a separate course would be necessary. Spelling is not covered in the course; All About Spelling is the recommended course. By Levels 8 to 12, the focus is sentence and paragraph structure as used in essays, research papers and personal and business letters.
The workbook coordinates with the video lessons. Ideally, the student and teacher would look at the worksheet before viewing the video for that day’s lesson. Worksheets are used sequentially with some lessons being completed in one day and some being split into multiple days (for instance, Lesson 1A, 1B, 1C). Grade 3 will take from 100 to 110 lessons to complete, while Grades 5 to 12 will take 125 to 140. Scheduling is simple – just play the video for the next lesson in the workbook. Worksheet clarity is good; the examples and directions are clear and the assignment is focused on the topic at hand. Grading is made easier with checklists and scoring guides included right in the lesson and an answer key to specific exercises included in the back of the workbook.
Each course is sold as a Combo with video content either on DVD or online. Combos with online video include a print workbook and online access to video content. DVD Combos include video on DVD and a Workbook. Please note that DVD Combos are being discontinued in 2022, but we will have remaining inventory while supplies last.
For those wanting more comfort that their student is learning the material, an assessment/resource booklet is now available for several levels. These consist of 26 assessments and 2 comprehensive assessments. The resource part of the book consists of a few pages of word choice lists for improving writing interest, writing checklists, writing organization tools and answer key to the assessments.
Mr. Stephens, a Christian, taught in the public schools, so he designed this course to be used in either a secular or Christian environment. The courses were put together before Common Core came along and no effort has been made to make them compatible with Common Core. I believe that Mr. Stephens has given us a course that is easy to implement, with an effective teaching style, at an affordable price. ~ Bob