Posted in Ramblings

Jump In, 2nd Edition {Review}

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I have always loved to read and write. I expected my children would as well. Our walls and tables are covered in books; books that are well loved, worn and written in and tear stained. They say you only have to model the love of it for your kids to fall in love as well. That hasn’t really been the case in our home. While I love to read and write and doodle in whatever free time I can find, my oldest son goes out of his way to avoid reading and writing. Yet these are skills that matter; how to think and then how to share those thoughts with others. There is so much more to this than just writing. For this reason I was hopeful and eager to review Jump In, 2nd Edition (a writing program for middle grades students) from Writing with Sharon Watson. We received a student workbook and a teacher’s manual; these are available in both print and digital formats.

Jump In Middle School Composition 2nd Edition by Writing with Sharon Watson

I love the image on the cover of this book! I can just image that big brown bear jumping in and how his jump would cover everything surrounding him too! Kind of like when we really fall in love with writing. Our words come, they flow, and they touch others. I love the power and peace that comes from water – this cover made me think so much of that. I was really hopeful too that my oldest would see it the same way.

This book is 270+ pages that break it all down into the simplest of pieces allowing our kids to slowly learn and begin to enjoy writing on so many different topics every day. Over 98 daily lessons that can be broken down so that we don’t have to fuss and worry, over composition because all that they need to know is taught within this book. By the end of this course, our students will have written a research report, about 9 essays, poetry and there is also story writing.

I have to admit, my oldest son was not at all excited about this one. It has taken me some time to figure it out, but I see now, that he becomes easily overwhelmed by a big book sitting in front of him. Instead of seeing it as a journey to enjoy, he sees a mountain that he cannot climb. We are in that place right now where we are really trying to light that fire in him. For quite a few years he was part of an amazing speech and debate group that met weekly. I was always amazed at the work these kids would put into the speeches they gave and their presentations ranged from demonstration, to persuasive and opinion pieces, debate and informational. There was a wonderful variety of topics and styles that they were introduced to and encouraged to explore; this book covers so many of those itself. I love the variety within the lessons – so many that I admit would be challenging (at best) to teach myself. While this is something we are not doing as a group, I did get some ideas for the fall because there are so many things in this that could be lots of fun to use in a group setting too.

I knew my son wasn’t looking forward to this so I figured starting the day with writing would be best. While he completed the first couple pages, Get Your Feet Wet, I sat down to read over the Teacher’s Manual and get a handle on what part I played in all of this. Two great tools I learned about (and loved) immediately were the Create your own Paragraph and the Mistake Medic. There were great tips given to help our students with proofreading and a list of steps of writing that I think I need to keep handy myself. As I read Why a Reluctant Writer Hates to Write I reflected quite a bit on my own son and his reluctance to write. This really helped me to find some things to discuss and watch for as my son and I worked through this book.

My oldest is definitely a perfectionist; he also has a mind that works faster than his hands write. I could think back even, as I looked over this list, and see how there were definitely a number of things listed here that hit the mark. For each lesson and writing assignment in his workbook, there was a great plethora of information in my book to help me feel a bit more certain of my ability to assist along the way. There is answer key too for just in case we need it. 🙂

After we got our feet wet a bit we moved right on into something that my son said was “his thing.” Opinions – You’ve Got Them. He certainly does. He has an amazing way of making sure that everyone knows what he thinks about just about everything. The challenge here, is to do it in a way that is always kind and eloquent, without trying to force an opinion on someone as fact. Balance in all things; learning that we all have an opinion and are allowed to even if we disagree, even if sometimes we know that the way of another might be wrong. I think how the Bible tells us to let our words be seasoned with salt; always spoken in love. Beginning with listing favorite things and least favorite things, we progress to opinions and the reasons that we hold said opinions (this was tougher for my son – I love the need for him to think more critically about why he feels as he does about certain things).

Some of the topics for writing include:

  • Write Your Opinion of Writing
  • Write About Something You Love or Cannot Stand
  • Write About an Invention that has been Harmful or Helpful
  • Write About an Historical Event from the Bible Sharing Highlights
  • Write a How-To in Essay Form
  • Research and Write About a Current Disease, Event or Trend
  • Research and Write About a Country You Wish to Visit

There are also Ten Minute Writing Plunges for September through May. These are fun to encourage our more reluctant writers. It is recommended that these are given four days a week; they can keep their own work and we are not to grade them. They simply write on the topic given for ten minutes and then once a week choose their favorite from the week to evaluate themselves (or for us to grade at a later date perhaps). This I thought could be really fun for a writing group or co-op. There was also a fun suggestion of Grab Bag prompts which I don’t think I ever would have thought of but that I definitely want to use, especially with my younger ones. My son actually really appreciated that one of the prompts was a short biography of Harry Houdini – an encouragement to think and write about what we would like to learn this year. Others took an imaginative slant on things like creating your own weather forecast or changing the ending of a familiar movie. Some allowed for drawing images to go along with a traffic sign or warning label being created, Others were more serious asking for reflection on which character you might relate to most in the story of the prodigal son or how you got through the loss of a loved one. Some of these were pretty serious topics – My son took on one or two of them; I was grateful to see that they definitely seemed to help in him healing a bit more in some areas.

This is so amazingly easy to use! I love it! My son doesn’t hate it. I think that is a good sign and I do believe as we continue with this he grows a bit more fond of writing. Baby steps right? There is just so much within the pages of these books to make writing a lot less painful for mom and student. So many helps and reminders strewn through the pages – it really does make such a difference!

If you don’t believe me click below and read some more reviews from fellow members of the Crew.

Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

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I am a God loving and fearing Apostolic Pentecostal - All about Holiness, a tongue Talking Homeschooling Mommy of Two AWESOME little men and two darling little ladies, with a precious one in Jesus arms too. I love to study His word, and the stories and histories that go along with it. Seeking truth at all expense and learning so much as we go along. We are truly blessed to homeschool - blessed that we may school our children for such a small cost. I believe in the power of the name of Jesus and the power of His people when they come together in prayer. Standing firm and speaking out! There is nothing that I seek more than His kingdom and the joys that follow Him! Ultra conservative, growing Jesus follower, mommy to two awesome boys, one precious little girl- with a great family and a wonderful life that I am so blessed to have! Living and loving as best I can, with the Lord-Holy Ghost filled and speaking in tongues-WOW!

3 thoughts on “Jump In, 2nd Edition {Review}

  1. Jennifer, thank you for your review of Jump In, 2nd Edition. I like your idea of using the writing prompts in a writing group or co-op, and I love this: “I love it! My son doesn’t hate it.”

    One of my students came to the first day of class with a notebook he had labeled “Prisoner No. 469812.” That’s how he felt about having to come to a writing class. One year later, he had written an article for his favorite magazine, and they published it! You just never know.

    Have a great summer!

    1. I love that! Prisoner No. I could see my younger son doing that. LOL
      seriously though we really enjoyed this and I have been looking at your other materials because I am thinking we will be using many more years to come. Jesus bless you abundantly!

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