Thursday, June 20, 2019

Jump In (A Homeschool Crew Review)

When you homeschool multiple kids, there's going to be multiple subjects that are very difficult for each student.  For Ashleigh, it's math.  For Garrett, it's writing.   Garrett hates writing with a passion.  However, for the last few weeks, we have been using Jump In, 2nd Edition, a student directed middle school writing curriculum from Writing with Sharon Watson and may have found the tool that we need to change that for him.

Student Book
Teacher's Guide
For this review, we received the 2nd Edition of the Jump In Middle School Composition curriculum in the digital format, as well as the accompanying Teacher's Guide, also in digital format.  Both of these books are also available for purchase in physical format from the author's website.  The Student book is 292 pages in length while the Teacher's Guide is 123 pages in length.

Jump In is designed to teach writing to students on the middle school level (mature 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade).  Throughout the curriculum, students work through 98 daily lessons (which are referred to as skills) as well as 19 addition activities and checklists.  These lessons are designed to take roughly 5 to 20 minutes to complete each day, depending on what is being worked on. Students begin by learning how to write simple paragraphs using topic sentences and focusing on main ideas in order to keep their writing on point, but as they progress through the curriculum they will learn to write nine various types of essays as well as a research paper.   Options are given for reluctant writers as well as eager, more experienced writers.

Jump In gives three different scheduling options to help incorporate the curriculum into your school year.  Schedules are given for a One Year Plan, Two Year Plan, and Three Year Plan.  Depending on the age of your student or how much time you have to work through the curriculum, there's an option that should work for you.

The main portion of the curriculum is the Student Edition.   Through each section, students are walked step by step through how to write various types of papers.

Papers that will be written include:
Get Your Feet Wet
Opinions—You’ve Got Them
Persuasion: The Basics
Cause and Effect
A Newspaper Article
A How-to
A Report
A Biography
Compare and Contrast
A Book Report
A Book Response

The process includes methods of brainstorming and then writing the initial paper, then moving on to proofreading, editing and revising that paper to create a more polished finished paper.

While Jump In is designed to be more student lead, there is a Teacher's Guide available. The Teacher's Guide is designed to help the parent/teacher guide the reluctant writer through each step of the process, as well as serves as a guide the parent as to how to grade papers, and also guides the parent how to monitor their student's progress.

Upon receiving the digital file for Jump In and giving it a good look over, I printed both files out.  The 123 page file for the Teacher's Guide was easy to print, punch holes and contain in a small 1/2 inch three ring binder.

Ashleigh and Garrett's student workbook file was 293 pages in length, slightly longer but still able to fit neatly in their 2 inch binder.

We didn't exactly Jump In with Jump In but instead decided to wade in a bit more slowly (especially with Garrett) by using the three year schedule program offered in the book.  We are currently working through a hybrid 5th-6th grade year, so this will allow us the full three years to really focus on the book and work slowly through it in it's entirety.   Garrett NEEDS the instruction in this book, so I'm very happy that we're receiving this now rather than later.

Using this Three Year Schedule, we have focused strictly on using the writing prompts for now in order to allow Garrett the opportunity to get use to writing.   An entire section of writing prompts,  called Ten Minute Plunges, are provided.  These prompts are broken down first by month and then by week, giving four prompts per week to choose from for each month of the normal school year (September thru May).

 As we are currently in the summer months and are doing less than we do during the regular year, so we are picking two prompts a week to focus on - one on Monday and one on Friday.   I simply write the prompt on the white board for the kids to see, we will have a quick discussion about the prompt and then the kids are given 10 minutes to write.

Writing Prompt Time
This process started rather clumsy to begin with.  Ashleigh, being ahead of her brother in the language arts/writing department, was quickly able to easily put her thoughts on a page or two of paper in that ten minutes. Garrett, on the other hand, struggled at the beginning.  For example, one of the prompts asked "If you could have an artist paint a picture for you, what would you have the
artist paint?"..  I ended up having to ask a ton of guided questions to Garrett, trying to get him to think what he wanted to write.  After asking a question and having him give an answer, I would tell him to write about that answer.  He would write one sentence, then look at me and ask "Now what?".  This continued for a number of the prompts, however, he is starting to figure out he can build upon his answers and write a bit more without my prompting.

Garrett's First Attempt at a Writing Prompt

We will take the entire summer, continuing with the various writing prompts (and adding a few of our own) before we will move on to our first paper.  With the three year schedule, students are asked to work on the writing prompts for a few weeks before working on one of the writing chapters, then switching back to the writing prompts again.  Our plan is to work thru the book in order, starting with writing an opinion paper (which I think might be easiest for Garrett), which would for him to write a paper roughly 150 words in length.  As he progresses through the curriculum, the hope is he would get comfortable writing a paper  closer to 300-400 words in length, depending on the type of paper being asked to write.

While we are still wading into the shallow end of this writing pool, I have taken a look at the various lessons included in this curriculum and I have a strong feeling that this will work very well for Garrett.  Just in the weeks of doing writing prompts, I've noticed that Garrett is getting more comfortable with actually writing, even with other subjects.  I've noticed that just the process of jotting words down on paper has seemed to become easier for him, with less frustration.

I am really looking forward to using this as our main writing curriculum for our upcoming school year.  I think the short, less demanding lessons will be perfect for him to build confidence as a writer.

For more information about Jump In 2nd Edition as well as other products from Sharon Watson, be sure to visit the website.  You can also find more information on the following social media platforms:


Be sure to click the banner below to see how other members of the crew used Jump In with their homeschool students. 
Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

1 comment:

  1. Brenda, thank you for your review. I love that you not only write out the prompt but also have a little discussion about it and use the "interview method" before your children dive into it. It kind of warms them up and gives them ideas. Very smart!


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