We have had some luck with programs, in the beginning, only to have his interest peter out once he has used them for a few weeks. After looking through Jump In, I was cautiously optimistic but I didn’t allow myself to get too certain that this would be the right program for us to take into seventh grade as his main language arts curriculum.
What we Received
We received the digital format of both the student textbook and teacher’s guide. I printed several weeks worth of the student textbook and worked with the teacher’s guide on my Kindle so save paper (and the weight of carrying around its 23 pages). This worked well for us as we spent time while out on errands and traveling this summer but I plan to print the textbook for the fall and bind it since it is almost 300 pages and will be much easier to keep track of this way.
There was one extra book that I purchased, Sharon Watson’s Let’s eat Fifi, Commas, word usage, and other goofy essentials of grammar, to go along with the writing program. It isn’t required but I felt it was a good idea to have both grammar and writing from the same curriculum designer to help keep things go smoothly for our reluctant writer. (You can also access the grammar tutorial bundle on Sharon’s blog on her website.)
We really liked that the digital versions of each of these books were in color so we had the option to print them that way or simply in black and white. There are times when a bit of color can be helpful for EJ to keep track of things.
How we used the Program
The first thing I did upon receiving Jump In was to have a look through both the textbook and the teacher’s guide to see what was covered. I was pleased to find one, two, and three-year schedules for the program. This assured me right away that we would be able to customize it to suit EJ’s learning style, ADHD, and dyslexia. This is always a concern and I appreciate when these types of considerations are made. Having flexibility plus 98 daily Skills lessons that run from about 5 to 25 minutes each is another positive. If lessons get to be too long, EJ has a tough time staying interested.
EJ was happy to see there were writing prompts for different months throughout the year. He finds coming up with an idea a tough part of the writing process. He also enjoyed beginning the program by answering questions and sharing his opinions in a safe, no-graded area. He felt it helped him get started and gave him ideas for going forward.
So he sat down with a juice and a bear paw and took the time to think out his answers. I was impressed at not hearing any complaints about having to print his responses, a positive sign.
Over the next few weeks, EJ continued to work through the lessons and take time to practice his storytelling abilities with the 10-minute writing plunges. He tends to want to do all of his writing and correcting at once no matter how often I remind him to allow his ideas to free-flow onto the page and worry about editing later. He did say he was trying hard to remember this and did try his hand at story organizing with post-it notes (you’ll note he had to have an even number of each color).
We found it was easier to have EJ either dictate his story or type it out. This way he had an electronic copy to edit later. He also finds it less stressful to type things out rather than use a paper and pencil so he used a mixture because he wants to practice his printing and writing.
We both found Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson to be complete with all of the important things a middle school student needs to know about writing. As I said, with the addition of the grammar book, we plan to use this as our main writing curriculum for the coming year.
EJ liked how his textbook was written as though Ms. Watson was speaking to him directly. He said it made her words and the work easy to understand and he liked how she included some funny parts too (he is sure she didn’t mean to say we should “eat Fifi”)! He says he is looking forward to learning more about writing biographies and newspaper articles. He has an idea that some of this will tie in with writing about his opinions.
I appreciated the variety of topics and activities plus all of the resources in the teacher’s guide (backpack as it is called) including how to grade a paper. These are some of the areas that can be challenging to a homeschool mom, particularly when your student heads into junior and senior high school grades.
I found all of it nice and clear. And very easy to use right out of the box (one of my favorite things). If you are looking for a solid writing curriculum for your middle student I highly recommend Jump In, 2nd Edition from Writing with Sharon Watson
But don’t just take my word on it, several other Review Crew families have been trying our Jump In 2nd Edition, be sure to click the image below to hear what they had to say about it.