Essentials in Writing and Literature Level 8 Bundle with Online Video Subscription 2nd Edition
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Includes: Printed Textbooks, Online Textbooks, Printed Teacher Handbook, Online Teacher Handbook, the novel Night and Online Video Subscription. The 12-month online video lesson access comes with free renewals, free customer service and teacher support.
If you would like to use both Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature, you can now purchase bundles of these programs together. They work well in conjunction with each other. Both offer video-based lessons available with DVDs or with online access (12-month subscription).
Essentials in Writing is a well-organized grammar and composition course. 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 are presented in bite-sized chunks, each focusing on one main point with supporting workbook activities as follow-up. The quality of the video and audio is good, showing Mr. Stephens teaching in front of a classroom using a white board. For younger grades, the teacher and student watch the videos together, then discuss. Students in middle school watch the videos on their own (instruction is always directed to the student) with follow-up teacher-student discussion of the material and assignments. Lesson lengths are age appropriate ranging from 3-4 minutes of video and 15-20 minutes total in lower grades to 7-8 minutes of video and lesson totals of 20-40 minutes in the upper grades. Grammar is taught in context (no diagramming) and covered more in the elementary courses. By levels 8-12, the focus is sentence and paragraph structure as used in essays, research papers and personal/business letters. The Workbook worksheets coordinate with the video. 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. 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.
The Essentials in Literature program spans four main literature genres and utilizes video teaching, assignments, and assessments. For each genre, units introduce genre-specific modes including a variety of types. For example, the Nonfiction unit may include biographies, propaganda, and more, while learning about bias, purpose, and researching. Fiction lessons focus on genre and key literary elements. Study Novels in a separate unit, examining characters, conflict, theme, etc. The Poetry unit examines figurative devices, rhythm, diction, and more. The Student Workbook combines thorough, comprehensive instruction and analytical worksheets. Activities occur throughout the reading process and include analysis, vocabulary and literary composition practice. The Teacher Handbook contains a course overview, content handling directions (identifying difficult or questionable content), a course syllabus with clearly marked daily lessons and video clues, and a detailed answer key.
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