Essentials in Writing & Essentials in Literature Level 10 worked well for both my freshman and senior in our homeschool high school. Here are my final thoughts after using it for a whole school year.
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I can’t believe we are already at the end of another school year! We’ve really enjoyed using Essentials in Writing Level 10 and Essentials in Literature Level 10 in our homeschool high school this year. I provided our first impressions about a month into the school year and then did a mid-year update after Christmas. Now, it’s time to wrap it all up and let you know our final thoughts about this homeschool curriculum.
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Essentials in Writing Level 10
Essentials in Writing Level 10 covers
- Sentence Structure
- Paragraph Structure
- Research Papers
The way these topics are built upon one another is very effective. The paragraph structure carries over to the essay structure, and the essay structure carries over to the research paper structure. This allows students to use what they’ve already learned as they expand their writing to longer formats.
The consistency of this structure solidifies the writing process as the students repeat it for each type of essay:
- Compare & Contrast
Then, the same structure is implemented again as they do the final project, a research paper.
Just like the rest of the lessons in Essentials in Writing, Mr. Stephens breaks the research paper down into small, manageable steps:
- Choose and Narrow Topic
- Research Questions
- Citing Sources
He models the process for the students by choosing a topic and writing a sample research paper along with them as they write their paper. This was super helpful for my kids. They could easily look at his example to compare their own as they progressed through the steps.
We decided to use topics related to the novel we were reading, Around the World in 80 Days. It just so happened that there was a crisis in the Suez Canal (one of the stops on the trip around the world) while we were reading the book, so my senior dove into that as the topic of his research paper. My freshman decided to write her paper on the life and career of the author, Jules Verne.
I think the only modification we really made to the instructions given in the lessons for the research paper was that I allowed my kids to keep track of their sources and notes on the computer, rather than doing physical note cards. They each did this in whatever way made the most sense to them.
As long as they were gathering the information they needed, I thought this was a good compromise. I have one with dysgraphia, along with other learning differences, so physically writing things out by hand is exhausting. Learning the process is what is important here, so don’t be afraid to tailor it to fit the individual needs of your kids.
This research paper was the last assignment of the school year for my kids, so they were both ready for it to be done. One handled that by jumping in with both feet and doing it more quickly than I expected. The other was a little overwhelmed by it, so it took longer.
But that’s the beauty of homeschooling, isn’t it?! They both were able to go at their own pace. They did it, and they did it well, thanks to the step-by-step instructions given by Mr. Stephens in Essentials in Writing Level 10.
Essentials in Literature Level 10
Essentials in Literature Level 10 is also broken down into four sections:
- Figurative Language/Poetry
If you read my mid-year update, you know that we changed up the order of these sections, so we could read the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, earlier in the school year. Then, we went back and picked up the drama and finished up with the poetry.
My kids have been involved in many plays and skits over the years, ranging from short improvs to multi-act theater productions that lasted for months. So, they are quite familiar with all of the elements of drama and theater.
For that reason, we just did a quick review, chose the play that looked most interesting to them, and read it together.
The poetry unit does a good job of teaching the various elements of poetry in the first section. Then, it digs a little deeper into analyzing poetry in the next few sections.
The poems that are presented for study are interesting. Several of them took several reads for my kids to really grasp the meaning. However, reading the background of the authors and going through the exercises for each poem really helped them understand the context better and helped them develop an appreciation for the meaning behind them.
I didn’t have them do all of the writing assignments included, but we did finish up the poetry unit with them composing a poem in the style of their choice. It was so fun to see their creativity with this project!
We finished up Essentials in Literature Level 10 a little early. This was somewhat on purpose. We really enjoy reading novels together and wanted to fit one more in before the school year was over. My daughter was doing World Geography this year, so we summed it up with Around the World in 80 Days.
Final Thoughts about Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature Level 10
Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature Level 10 were a great addition to our homeschool curriculum this year! We enjoyed the fact that both my freshman and my senior could complete the same level, making it possible for us to read together, have discussions about the material, and peer review their writing assignments.
The short lessons were great for both my kids, but especially the one who has ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyslexia. I would definitely recommend it for those with shorter attention spans.
It was easy to modify things when we needed to in order to better fit the individual needs of my students. The way it is set up also allows for flexible scheduling, which is great!
Make sure you go back to my first impressions post to see how we scheduled things out and my mid-year update for tips on grading Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature!