Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TOS Review - The Write Foundation

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I had a chance to try out a level from The Write Foundation. The Write Foundation is a writing program with three levels:

Level #1 - Sentence to Paragraph Writing - suggested ages are 11-13.

Level #2 - Paragraph Writing - suggested ages are 12-15.

Level #3 - Essay Writing - suggested ages 14-17.

There are several options for ordering.

Package # 1 is the complete level package - Lessons 1-30 Instructor manuals - spiral bound, Student worksheets and an additional resource CD. The price is $100 plus tax and/or shipping.

Package # 2 - Includes the above materials for Lessons 1-15 only $65. plus tax and/or shipping.

Package # 3 Includes the above materials for Lessons 16-30 for $65 plus tax and/or shipping.

You may also order additional worksheets for $25 plus tax and/or shipping. Worksheets are reproducible only for your family use. If this were being used in a co-op setting then each student would need to order their own copy of the worksheets for use. The worksheets are not stand alone and the teacher manual and CD are required to complete the program.

Optional but highly recommended are Mindbenders. This page speaks about their use with the program. We did not use these with the program when we tried it but I can see the benefit if I had differently abled learners.

Samples can be found here. There are samples of all three levels and I highly recommend reviewing all of these before making a decision on a level for your learner.

Since I have three very reluctant writers I chose to try Level #1 - Sentence to Paragraph Writing.

The Instructor's Manual states from the beginning that assignments - other than some specified exceptions - should be typed. This was appealing as my boys all struggle with the mechanics of handwriting and are pretty adept at keyboarding. From there the objective and requirements of implementing the program is laid out along with a definition of terms used in the materials. It is recommended that one lesson be introduced weekly with the remaining days of the week for completing the assignments.

There are suggestions for Daily Schedules: 5 Day and 10 Day - a Classroom setting and an alternative schedule to stretch the course out for two years instead of one.

The first lesson in Level I starts with organizing notebooks. It is suggested that a binder with 8 tabs labeled with:

1. Assignments
2. Checklists
3. Word Lists
4. Class Notes
5. Reading List
6. Graded Work
7. Semester Worksheets
8. Mind Benders (if used)

The notebook should be set up prior to the first lesson. We did not set up the notebooks but I can see how this would be necessary in a co-op setting.

At the top of each Lesson Sheet are a list of supplies needed for the lesson. For Lesson 1 the student notebook, the worksheets 1-6 from the student worksheet packet are needed to complete the lesson. The student also needs highlighters of six or more different colors, a thesaurus and a dictionary.

We did one worksheet a day - the introduction on Day 1 and worksheets 1 & 2 and then Day 2/worksheet 3 and so on. The Mind Benders immediately gave my boys trouble - mostly because I didn't fully grasp how they work Since they were optional we left them out after that. Since we didn't set up the notebook I gave them a basic overview of what we'd be covering for that week and on Day 2 we went over the Sentence Writing Worksheet Checklist along with the Teacher Presentation for the day. We followed that pattern for the rest of the week.

(The Teacher Presentation sheets are on the resource CD along with Checklists, Games, Grading Sheets, Reading List, Syllabus, and Supply List. There are also Weekly Assignment Sheets and Writing Lists.)

The boys did like the highlighting of different parts of sentences but they did not like typing up to ten sentences a lesson. I had a lot of trouble adapting the teacher instruction - which seems to be written for a classroom/co-op setting more so than a homeschool. After the Mind Bender disaster, we dropped the use of those but we only managed one more lesson before I could just not engage them.

This is truly not a reflection on the product. The instructions are quite clearly laid out and would be wonderful for use in a co-op setting and I'm sure would be much easier for children without the language weaknesses with which my children struggle. I believe a large part of the reason we weren't quite successful with this product was due to my failure to comprehend and adapt the curriculum for my particular students.

Please head over and see what other TOS crew members have to say about this product here.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I was given use of this product for the purpose of obtaining my honest opinion. I received nothing else. This is my honest opinion. Please consider that every family is different and results may vary.

1 comment:

Lori Lynn said...

Thanks for your efforts Peggy. This review is very thorough and gives all the necessary information and then some. And your review is excellent. Great job.