Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I absolutely love to read and to write. However when it comes to teaching these things, I admit that I tend to struggle a bit. Maybe more than a bit? Especially with my older ones, who do not have even a touch of a writing bug, I am always looking for materials that will encourage them to become strong writers and maybe even enjoy writing one day. Having the opportunity to review Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers by Everyday Education came at the perfect time too since my oldest son is in a writing class as I type this (and not doing so well if I may be totally honest).

We received this as a pdf download and were able to get this onto our kindle quickly, to use.

This contains over 400 pages of instruction and resources broken down into two main sections. This begins with an introduction to essays and arguments; this is where we learn how to write a good essay. Quality matters. This also helps them to know the main components of an essay and the various types of essays. Here we learn how to put it all together well, to share our perspective in a respectful and informational way. For my oldest son (15) so much of this was a great refresher as we spent a few years in speech and debate (how he misses it too). I love when there are moments in learning where we say “aha”. or “I remember that.”

“Communication is the great goal that lies at the heart of all literature study and
writing. In order to communicate clearly, we must understand basic principles of
grammar, style, and usage, and learn to use them consistently. I have never met a
writer or editor who does not have an ample supply of reference materials at his or her desk.”

This handbook begins by introducing Essays and Arguments; reading through the first few pages we learn the principles that relate to this before moving into the task of Defining the Argument. We also find examples as we go along so we can see (and read) for ourselves. With my older boys, I find they enjoy having a sample nearby as they work – something they can compare their own writing too and self check as they go along.

As you develop your essay, you find additional examples, sometimes of what you should do and other times of what you should not do. It is helpful, is it not, to sometimes see what a poor statement looks like also. As we explore statements more, we are even given an exercise in identifying statements that are useful.

There is a large section that speaks to Defining Key Terms, This is good because I think even I need that refresher as I read and write. Something that really stood out to me was how she wrote:

“…the analysis of an argument requires you to pay the closest attention to any definitions, simply because a devious or inadequate or misleading definition can produce something that looks plausible but which is, in fact, problematic because the initial definition is self-serving or ambiguous.

Is this not true of so much more than just a paper we write? The power and the impression that our words can have upon others; this is a reminder of how important it is for us to be cautious in the words that we share.

As we move further into this book, we find sample outlines for essays and research papers. These can help our less experienced writers to have a model to work with as they write. The second section of this book is very helpful also as it includes many helpful tools: basic punctuation, phrases and clauses, modifiers, logic – This is really a very thorough book!

There are also paragraphs within these pages for the purpose of rewriting to correct, also to make a sentence flow.

I also need to mention the website which is amazing. There is a very large collection of resources specifically for the study of literature and writing. They also host a library of author biographies, poetry, music, and art, as well as so many articles by professors, scholars, and other experts. You can download some great free resources for teaching classic literature at Excellence-in-Literature.com too! I know I get lost on their site whenever I go there. 🙂

We will certainly be continuing to use this as a resource as my oldest especially, moves through his higher level studies. There are many areas where he has weaknesses when it comes to writing and I do believe this can really help him to grow in this area. It is especially helpful since we can customize how and what we use based upon the needs identified.

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For my middle and high school level students (even for myself) I find this to be a wonderful resource. This is definitely one of those materials that we can use continuously, especially as we become older and more developed in our writing requirements. Make sure to click on the graphic below to see how other members of the Review Crew used this book with their families.

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers {Everyday Education Reviews}

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers {Review}

Everyday Education ~~ A Crew Review

My older son does not like practicing handwriting; my younger two on the other hand really enjoy tracing and copywork. When I saw Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com available for review I was eager to give it a try because handwriting matters. I think it says a lot about us and its a great exercise for body and mind in my opinion.  Besides, with three children, all in different places, I am always up for something that can be used with every one of them! And I admit, I kind of saw this as a challenge, for myself mostly, to see if I can get my kids all reading and writing beautifully in 60 days! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

I have always considered myself to be a fairly intelligent person. But an intelligent parent? Sometimes I wonder! ha-ha When it comes to reading and writing, I have to say, I always like to stick with something that is simple. Nothing fancy here. Just clear and concise; short lessons each day ranging from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. And of course it all goes so much better when reading is a part of our everyday life. I know I have always loved to read; how I desperately want to inspire my children to enjoy it as much as I do one day!

 

 

There are for ways that this book is recommended to be used. I think we used every one of these ourselves as we completed each lesson.

 

 

First, this program is meant to teach young children how to reading write. This was the purpose for two of my four (my youngest is 18 months so I won’t make her start yet ha-ha). Using this we go through each letter of the alphabet, learning the different sounds as well as how to write each letter.

 

 

This is also designed to teach children with reading difficulties to read effectively. And I suppose this was the main focus with my oldest son (He is very reluctant to read. everything and anything.). Also because he really has a hard time with attention and focus; there are challenges he faces that we have to acknowledge when it comes to reading and writing.

 

 

Another wonderful benefit of this program is that it teaches our children how to have fat, legible, attractive handwriting. That is important. No matter how advanced technology may become, it matters that we are able to take the time to write something with our own hand. Whether it is a letter to a friend or family member, a paper for class or copying a recipe perhaps, with the right instruction, our children can write well.  And Italic, which is the style used within this program, certainly is beautiful to look at. And not at all difficult to read.

 

Lastly, who doesn’t want to have beautiful handwriting? In this program, from lesson to lesson, we can all learn and advance our skills in this area. How fun it is to write in Italics too; pleasing to the eye, and so I am told, great exercise for the mind even!

 

 

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is recommended for early elementary students, designed to help them learn how to read and write well win only 60 days.  That said there are 60 lessons in all (and if you are wondering this is a phonics based program).  This could be used with older elementary students too, like my oldest son, who are reluctant readers and struggling in this area. This is intended for both children and adults who see and value both reading and writing.

 

 

There are lots of great tips she has too for us as we start out. Page after page she speaks to concerns regarding phonics, early learning, what age is the “right” age to begin teaching reading and how to encourage our children from day one to become good readers and writers. She even goes on to explain the great value which handwriting has (even in this day and age) as well as why Italics is a “better”method of handwriting for our children to learn.  As a side note, we did notice that the scriptures used in this are not from the King James Bible, so we did “correct” that as we went along since that is what we are most familiar with.

 

 

We started with my two younger ones in Chapter 2 where they learn the individual letters beginning with vowels and then the remainder of the alphabet.  The worksheets all provide plenty of opportunity for them both to practice paper letter formation both tracing the letter and also forming it independently. With my oldest son we went straight to Chapters 3-5.  This is where there are pages specifically for practicing letter formation and also for interaction in reading.  These are  full of words and sentences, each teaching a skill, while also encouraging handwriting practice.  Especially fun are the silly sentences! And then there is Chapter 6 where we find lots of pages for practice.  There is a writing project, the final project if you will, which requires copying “The Night Before Christmas.”  This is also where they learn how to slant letters and join some letters together while writing both legibly and quickly.  That takes some talent and lots of practice right? 🙂

 

 

For those who are looking to go beyond, who want a bit more in their and handwriting program there is a special section on calligraphy. You can learn how to use an edged pen; write serifs and flourishes, and join the letters as you write in calligraphy.  This is an area my oldest son is really looking forward as he really enjoys all kinds of artistic pursuits. And I am hopeful that this will help to encourage and inspire him in his own handwriting. And for myself, being that I have always wanted to learn calligraphy, this is a fun opportunity for me to inspire my children as they see me learning something new too!

 

 

 

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