I have high school students now. Again... For homeschooling moms, highschool is a scary thought. We've been through this once before. I remember being very overwhelmed when I was starting with my first highschoolers and still having babies! This time I'm not nearly as concerned. One reason is because of some awesome tools available like Writing with Sharon Watson. The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition is a comprehensive program without being additionally overwhelming. This composition program is extremely easy to use. I'm eager to share this review of the physical books. It is also available digitally for those who prefer e-books.
The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition starts with a "Your Writing Self" quiz which he found baffling. He only had one thing in the list that fit him, "I have trouble coming up with good ideas." (Realize this is from an oldest son who's older sister is a published author.) We had to defeat this lie & discouragement and then he learned how to brainstorm a seemingly boring topic to find an interesting angle. (He ended up with superheros...)
Part One starts with Opinion and gives the tool: point order. This is similar to outlining which is the next conclusion I would have gone to, but I like the way she puts the 'point order' into visual triangles. Sharon Watson also gives a daily task list for things to get done:
- Write intro & conclusion
- Print & proof again
- Submit to teacher
Part Two starts with Persuasion. I really like that Sharon Watson starts out giving a good illustration on the difference between opinion and persuasion. Most adults I know have trouble knowing the difference. I think it's very important for young men to learn this as early as possible. She then goes into creating a purpose statement. Mr. Science Geek's favorite part of the book seems to be the idea of creating a persuasive life stance on her example of, "Why teachers should not give homework." LOL, I may make him do that part again!!! He was also introduced to the concept of a Thesis Statement, Supporting Points & Call-to-Action. These are all such important concepts. I didn't learn some of these until after high school.
Later in the book we'll get into Exposition, Description, Narration, & Reference:
- Letters & Emails
- How-to Process Writing
- Compare and Contrast
- Literary Analysis
- Definition Essay
- Descriptive Essay
I have a good feeling that I will be learning as much as he does, besides our discussions are peaking the interest of everyone else in our home. (Yay!) As a matter of a fact, the Teacher's Guide has weekly discussion topics that are perfect for spurring the whole family. They are called "14-Minute Power Surges" and they are listed for each month from September through May. I have to confess, through harvest & summer craziness, we have not gone through any of this guide. It is awesome though. Each chapter in the Teacher's Guide is a summary of the lesson book with a lot of the charts included making it VERY easy for the teacher to get the gist of what the high school Space Cadet should be doing. (May I suggest a round of stretches and jumping jacks to get the circulation going to the brain, then a doughnut bribe to keep things moving?)
This is a program I definitely see using with our whole family. Everything is laid out for Beginning, Intermediate and Proficient writers so can be used for multiple ages and learning styles. Now that Mr. Science Geek has an intro, we'll probably go back and redo the first few lessons again with the other children. I have no doubt his portfolio for graduation will have some good papers because of our experience with Writing with Sharon Watson's The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition. I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to do this review!