This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis ~ a TOS review

Today I am excited to share with you my last review of the 2017 Homeschool Review Crew a division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. If you are looking to do a few changes in the high school writing department, keep reading because today I am sharing with you the new homeschool high school writing program from Writing with Sharon Watson called Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis.
Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

If you are not familiar with the products by Sharon Watson let me tell you a little bit more about her. Sharon Watson is a former homeschool mom who only quit homeschooling because she ran out of children of her own to teach. She began her company Writing With Sharon Watson after sitting in a friend’s kitchen chatting it up with Dr. Jay Wile {Yes, the Dr. Wile, how cool is that!} about how many mothers were outsourcing, i.e. driving their children here and there and everywhere, for writing and composition lessons. At the suggestion of Dr. Wile she wrote up her first middle school course, Jump In, and the rest is history.

Mrs. Watson holds these beliefs for her curriculum: 
 ~ students are more important than the material in the textbook
 ~ teaching writing is tough but she shows you the way ~ writing assignments should not be issue driven, especially in the beginning 
~ She wholeheartedly believes that the Bible is the Word of God and that it reveals to us our precious Savior, Jesus Christ 

Our Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis includes for following products:

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Teacher’s Guide: this book contains everything you need to be a successful writing teacher for your child. All the monthly lesson plans, grading grids, and answers to questions asked in the student textbook are found in this guide. There is even information on how to start your own monthly book club if that’s your sort of thing.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Student Textbook: This textbook includes everything your student needs to be successful as a writer. Background information and interesting author facts are also included. Within this program, students read complete novels, not just short passages.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Quiz and Answer Manual: this manual is completely optional but a life saver for those who prefer to have your child take written tests on paper instead of online. This manual also includes all the literary term quizzes, the “Yes, I read it” quizzes, and the opinion surveys for each book or short story. *If you prefer digital and saving paper, you also have free access to all the online quizzes and opinion surveys online by clicking HERE.

*You must have the textbook or Teacher’s Guide to obtain the passwords though.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Novel Notebook in a FREE PDF download: This is a required part of the course and is available as a free download and coordinates with the textbook. Throughout the course the student answers question, collects information and draws conclusions about what they have been reading. I printed this notebook at home and bound it for ease of usage. You can also put it in a 3-ring binder. Over the course of using this writing curriculum your child will learn almost 100 literary terms and devices. They also will be reading good, quality novels and stories. There is no room for twaddle here!

Below is a list of the stories and books read during the course:

 • “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, in the textbook
 • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dover Publications 
• Silas Marner by George Eliot, Dover Publications
 • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, Dover Publications 
o An Assortment of Short Stories:
 o “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, in the textbook
 o “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges, link provided
 o “Haircut” by Ring Lardner, link provided
 o “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton, in the textbook 
o “Of the Passing of the First-Born” by W. E. B. Du Bois, in the textbook
 o “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas, link provided 
• Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Dover Publications
 • Biography or autobiography of student’s choice
 • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Mariner Books

This curriculum is perfect for college-prep work and reluctant readers alike and is especially written for Christian high schoolers, homeschools, and co-op settings for grades: 9-12. The course is written to the student with easy to follow homework schedules and directions. With two semesters of work your child will earn 1 high school credit with completion of the course.

This review came at the perfect time for us! I needed to make a switch with Mikayla’s writing program as it just was not working. The catch to that is that Mikayla’s courses all have to be high school level material. Because Mikayla is interested and on the track to be a NCAA Collegiate gymnast, all of her courses must be high school level work and they have to be approved by the NCAA. I have no doubt that this homeschool writing curriculum will be approved with the rest of the courses that make up her English 1 class when we submit our courses because it is so thorough.

This course has been lifesaver! Not only is Mikayla able to work somewhat independently on the assignments I am able to see that she does indeed understand with the included quizzes to test her knowledge of the novel and stories. Mikayla enjoyed having the online quiz option the most and she was able to complete her assignments while at the gym on training break. She is still plowing through Frankenstein but with great success and we hope to finish before Christmas break.

Overall, we have truly enjoyed his program and give it two thumbs up! The cover is stunning and I find myself staring at it all the time. It meets our needs for a writing curriculum and as I said before I have no doubt that it will pass the NCAA scrutiny. Having one less thing to worry about with this program is a huge blessing! If you want to check it out yourself, you’re in luck! You can download free sample chapters, grading grids, and quizzes on the course page by clicking HERE or on this one:

Don’t just take my word for it, check out what my CrewMates thought of this by clicking the banner below.
Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

 Price ~ Teacher’s Guide $18, Student Textbook $43, Quiz and Answer Manual, $9, Novel Notebook FREE 
 Ages ~ College Prep, 9th-12th

Writing with Sharon Watson

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