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Friday, June 21, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Jump In, 2nd Edition Midddle School Composition

One of the hardest subjects for me to choose curriculum for my boys is language arts, especially when they passed the elementary years.  One of the skills we want them to have is to be able to communicate effectively, and writing is a big part of that.  Writing is not their favorite thing to do and learning difficulties make it even more challenging. As we were finishing up our curriculum for the 2018/2019 school year I started looking for ideas for next year.  I had used other products from Writing with Sharon Watson with my older boys and was very excited to see that her Middle School Composition curriculum had been recently updated.  Then I discovered it was an upcoming review item and I was thrilled to be chosen to review Jump In, 2nd Edition.  

Jump In, 2nd Edition  is a writing course for middle school students in grades 5-8.  The course contains 98 daily lessons called skills, plus an additional 19 skills that are the assignments and checklists.  The lessons vary in length from 5-20 minutes. Students will learn about constructing a paragraph, topic sentences and main ideas.  They will learn to write persuasive essays, exposition including how to and compare and contrast paragraphs, descriptive essays, narration, and poetry. The course can be completed in one year or spread out over two or three years.  Different word counts are listed for each assignment for more experienced writers. 

There are two components to Jump In, 2nd Edition:

Teacher's Guide ($10) : This book is a 115 page paperback book and contains everything the teacher needs for the course including: suggested schedules, Teacher's Backpack with information to help your students along the way, Sample Essays with suggestions on how to grade, 10 Minute Writing Plunges and guidelines, Answer Keys for questions asked in the book, Essay Assignments and Suggested Writing Schedules, and Grading Grids for all of the assignments.

Student Guide ($40): This book is a 286 page paperback book.  It is consumable and you will need one for each student taking the course.  Each lesson has sections for the student to read and then spaces for them to record answers to questions they are asked.  Essay assignments and suggested writing schedules are also in the book. Checklists are included for writing assignments so they can check off tasks as they complete them and evaluate their assignments after they complete them.

Digital versions of the Student and Teacher's Guide are also available.  The Student Guide is $35 for the digital version and the Teacher's Guide is $8.

I have been using Jump In, 2nd Edition  with my 13 year old son who just finished the 7th grade.  Writing is very difficult for him.  He has dyslexia which makes writing and spelling a very big challenge and he also has a very hard time coming up with topics to write about.  He struggles with organizing his thoughts about topics and getting them down on paper.

We dived in to Jump In, 2nd Edition  a few weeks ago. He hasn't complained one time about the assignments because they are short and to the point.  Plenty of space is given in the book for the student to write down their answers. Sharon Watson writes the text to the student in a conversational tone that they can relate to and adds bits of humor throughout.  Anthony has a very interesting sense of humor and with the book being written in the tone that it is it has made him feel like that is ok for him to use too.  When brainstorming the advantages of owning a pet in the Get Your Feet Wet section one of his was: "Protection: Anteaters eat termites." ( how many people do you know that own anteaters?)

I love the examples that are given in the books, they are very kid friendly, and the way the lessons are broken down.  Reluctant writers wont feel like they are working forever and those that love writing can complete the assignments and move on if they want to.

I like the way the lessons build up to the writing assignment  preparing the student for what they will be writing.  Several options are given for each assignment.  This is great for reluctant writers!  I am not focusing on assignment length right now, just working through the assignments in the book and organizing thoughts to get them down on paper.  Here is a first draft on an opinion piece of why pizza is the best food ever.

I think the writing plunges are a fantastic idea.  These are split up into four weeks over each month of the school year.  They are designed to be given to your student on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday writing for just 10 minutes.  Then they can choose their favorite and hand it in for a grade or you can skip that part and just use it for writing practice.  You can also choose to skip these on days they have a lot of writing they are already doing.   

I LOVE the checklists for the students to break down the writing assignment and to take a look back at their work.  There's something about checking off a little box that can make you feel so accomplished and the checklist gives students great ideas of what to look for in their writing.

From a teaching standpoint, Jump In, 2nd Edition  is very easy to use.  The teaching part is done for you.  The Teacher's Guide has a lot of helpful information and examples for grading your child's work.  The grading grids for each assignment is a wonderful tool for teachers.

We will be taking a summer break until Mid-August, but I like Jump In, 2nd Edition  so much that I am going to purchase a second book to use with one of my other boys who will be going into 7th grade.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

1 comment:

Sharon Watson said...

Lisa, thank you for your great review of Jump In, 2nd Edition. I love all the images you included of your son's work, and I especially love his ideas about the benefits of owning a pet. They made me smile. And, really, who doesn't enjoy a good pizza??! He has made me hungry!

Have a great summer together. :-)