Complimentary Product Received

Just like speaking, the ability to write efficiently is such an important skill to master! Many homeschool families search year after year to find a curriculum to help sharpen writing skills. The Melanated Gold Review Squad had the opportunity to review Essentials in Writing, a complete grammar and composition curriculum for grades 1-12.

“This homeschool writing curriculum features a slow, systematic approach for students 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.”

Essentials in Writing

Tell Me About Essentials in Writing …

Matthew Stephens, the creator of Essentials in Writing, is a Master’s prepared educator who uses video instruction and a systematic, step-by-step instruction method to help students complete various writing tasks. This program encourages independent student learning. Parents function in the role of learning facilitator rather than a full-time instructor.

Recommended Age/Grade(s): 1-12
Print or Digital: Both
Special Notes: Essentials in Writing offers online courses. Creative Writing and College Prep Writing classes provide the opportunity for independent study with teacher assistance. The Virtual Class for Struggling Writers is a semester-long online class that meets weekly from September to May.

Students in the same grade level can use the program together, but each student should get a separate student workbook for practice.

The Essentials in Writing Scoring Service is an optional service available to parents. It runs from August to May and helps parents grade student compositions.


Which Product Did Melanated Gold Review Squad Review?

The Melanated Gold Review Squad had the pleasure of reviewing Essentials in Writing Level 7 (2nd Edition).

Image Credit: Essentials in Writing

How Does the Product Work?

Essentials in Writing Level 7 (2nd Edition) comes with a Student Textbook/Workbook, Teacher Handbook, and access to a video component (streaming or DVD). There is also an optional assessment booklet available.

Although this course is for 12-13 years old students, age is not the only factor when selecting this curriculum. Students should have a basic understanding of spelling, grammar, sentences, and composition to ensure course success. There is a placement level wizard on the website to make suggestions about course placement, and curriculum specialists are available for additional assistance.

Now for the course details…

The course is divided into two units:

Unit One: Grammar and Parts of Speech
In unit one, students learn about parts of speech and sentence structure.

Unit Two: Composition
In unit two, students will learn about and write: personal narratives, news articles, business letters, expository essays, and a research project.

The recommended timeframe for completion of this program is 34 weeks. Students write 15-30 minutes per day, up to four days per week. There is an optional course plan in the Teacher Handbook.

Each week, students are provided with various tasks to help them sharpen their writing skills. They watch a video lesson and apply the information learned to short, daily assignments. There is an answer key available in the back of the Teacher Workbook for grading daily assignments. Scoring checklists, rubrics, and sample compositions are available to assist parents with grading compositions.

Video content is available on the Essentials in Writing website. Navigating the online program is straightforward. Over 90 videos are available on the site. Some videos assist parents with managing the course, while other videos provide lesson instruction for the student.

There is lots of support for families using Essentials in Writing, including access to an optional Facebook group for homeschool parents using this curriculum. Another excellent feature of this curriculum is the Essentials in Writing’s Education and Customer Service Team. This free resource is available to provide parents with assistance for a variety of topics related to writing.

Find out what the Melanated Gold Review Squad thought about Essentials in Writing Level 7 (2nd Edition)!

I’ll let you in on a little secret, my son CAN write, but it is not his favorite educational pursuit. So, when I told him we would be trying out a writing curriculum, he was less than thrilled. But he promised he would keep an open mind (and that’s all I ask).

The very first assignment, Introduction to Writing, grabbed his attention. Instead of a boring writing prompt, here is what the first assignment entailed:

“Do you have a dream about what you want to accomplish now or in the future? Write an expository paragraph explaining this dream and how you plan to achieve it.

My son dreams of being a veterinarian and attending Tuskegee University. He was thrilled to write about his dream and how he planned to accomplish it. This assignment got to the core of who he is, allowing him to write about something important to him. It was fun and did not cause him to feel overwhelmed. It was a great introduction to the program. As we navigate the program and all the optional course offerings, we enjoy it even more.

The videos included in this program are not too long and uninteresting, which is a plus. My son enjoys that it does not add a lot of “fluff” to decipher. Lessons are comprehensive, easy to understand and help students learn and retain the information.

As a momma who has been out of school for a few years, one of my favorite parts of this curriculum is the Intensive Grammar Review, located on the website. These videos offered a short explanation of common grammar terms/concepts for refreshment. 

In our opinion, Essentials in Writing is a great writing program. Not only does it teach students the fundamentals of writing, but it also encourages superb writing skills. It is gentle enough to prevent the intimidation of struggling writers yet comprehensive enough to accommodate advanced writers. We love all the extra support provided by the team at Essentials in Writing!

Our family will continue using Essentials in Writing Level 7 (2nd Edition) for the rest of our 7th-grade school year. We are so excited the watch the progression of our student’s writing.

Where Can I Learn Even More About Essentials in Writing?

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