A Writing Curriculum for Jr. High and High School {Beyond the Book Report Review}

Do you have a child who loves to write? Do you have a child who hates to write? Either way, you need to read our story.

Reviewing the Beyond the Book Report program by Analytical Grammar has been both difficult and remarkable. The past few weeks have been among the most emotionally charged of our home school years.

Since my childhood, I’ve loved writing. Hearing a teacher assign an essay or report was the highlight of my day. My daughter, on the other hand, loves to read but I recently learned that writing is her nemesis. She’s scared of it. Simply telling her that she needs to write anything other than a friendly letter makes her want to hide in her room, under her bed, with the door locked.

When I first reviewed the Analytical Grammar site, I watched every video, falling more and more in love with everything they offered. I didn’t know which item would be assigned to me for review, but I knew whatever arrived in my mailbox would make me happy.

Beyond the Book Report is a writing program geared towards students in 6th-8th grades and expandable into high school. Since my daughter is entering 7th grade, this was the perfect time for us to work through a structured writing curriculum.

Analytical Grammar Review

The Beyond the Book Report package arrived, and I immediately opened it and organized the teacher pages into page protectors. BBR may be used with more than one child, so I put all of the seasons into a regular 3 ring binder with a pouch for the DVDs.

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We popped the DVD into the laptop and eagerly awaited the first lesson! Watching them was just as expected. The teachers and authors, Robin Finley and Erin Karl, were a delight to listen to. Straightforward and lacking fluff, I wanted to take this course! It was everything I hoped it would be and more!

Then I looked at my daughter.

She stared at the screen with tears welling in her eyes.

I tried to be positive, “What do you think? I think it’s great!”

“I don’t get it,” she replied.

After explaining that we could review the lessons together and replay the lectures, she only became more frustrated. She didn’t want to review the lectures; she wanted to find the escape hatch.

Even though there was a rocky beginning, she continued to be a good sport, read her book, took notes, and tried to understand the different terminologies. Some days were more difficult than others.

But then things clicked, and she liked it! Activities designed to help students delve deeper into the literature, such as writing out questions for a crossword puzzle or a word search, were no longer scary; they were fun! I  gave her the option of only doing one of the activities for now, but she wanted to do it all!

She now understands literary terms, knows how to use a rubric, has an appreciation for different genres, and is no longer afraid of writing. Because of our experience seeing the complete turnaround in our daughter, we plan to use the products from Analytical Grammar as a comprehensive Language Arts curriculum.

What’s the point of this story? One person loved writing, and the other didn’t; but in the end, both came out smiling!

Now, let’s get to the nuts and bolts!

How it Works and What it Covers

Analytical Grammar Review
Unless otherwise noted, the lectures are directed to the students. Several comments of “you’re older now” and “now that you’re in Jr. High” are mentioned, encouraging students towards independent work and to take responsibility for learning.

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The “seasons” build upon one another, so if your child is in 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade, the suggested schedule begins with Season 1. If a student is beginning in 10th grade or above, it suggests their going straight into Season 3.

Within each season, the student begins by watching the lecture. Everything is nicely laid out and easily navigated. Pages for note taking are printed and correspond with the lecture slides.

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Season 1 covers different report types:

  • Basic Book Report
  • Pamphlet Report
  • Journalism Report

It also covers several literary terms such as:

  • Paraphrase vs Summary
  • Point of View
  • Protagonist and Antagonist
  • Mood, Setting, Tone, and more

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Even though my daughter felt intimidated in the beginning, it was exciting to hear her explain the protagonists, antagonists, conflict, and point-of-view of other stories we read and movies we watched.

She also enjoyed creating her own puzzle and writing comprehensive reading questions.

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Season 2 is more difficult and covers poetry and drama. Both writing and in-depth literary analysis are included.

BBR7As part of this season, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream are used for study. When we began Season 2, my daughter initially reacted the same as she did when we started Season 1. Fortunately, it didn’t take as long for her to warm up to it, and she went on to enjoy the poetry study, explaining the different types of poetry we encounter on a daily basis.

Topics included:

  • Limerick
  • Sonnet
  • Haiku
  • Narrative Poem
  • Drama and Stage Scene
  • Alliteration
  • Figurative speech and more

BBR8Season 3 covers:

  • essays
  • research papers
  • thesis statements
  • formulating an argument
  • outlining
  • public speaking
  • preparing for the SAT essay and more

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While my daughter isn’t ready for the rigors of Season 3, I enjoyed a sneak peek and know that when it comes time for her or any of our other children to work through it, they’ll be equipped, having a well-rounded education in writing.

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Where will we go from here?

While I plan to use Beyond the Book Report during our upcoming school year, we’ll shelve it until after we’ve completed Analytical Grammar Season 1 and follow the 3-year-plan. Using their grammar curriculum isn’t required to begin Beyond the Book Report; there are notes available for those who haven’t used Analytical Grammar, but I feel she’ll have a stronger understanding afterwards.

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Even though my daughter struggled in the beginning, her current understanding of literary terms has increased. The improvements I see are real, and I look forward to seeing her have a strong grasp of grammar as well.

Cost:

Each season of Beyond the Book Report is $24.95, or purchase all three in a bundle for $69.95. Since Beyond the Book Report can be used with more than one child, it’s an economical option for families with many students.

For more information on Analytical Grammar’s Beyond the Book Report:

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Five Ways to Making Childhood Magical

a mamas story

Photo courtesy of Arztsamui/freedigitalphotos

 

A few years ago when I had 2 little girls at the ages of 1 and 2, I started to feel the calling on my life against the feministic mindset of our culture. I was being led by God to fully embrace all aspects of motherhood on my life from my fertility, homeschooling, and raising a large family well. My motherhood mission is to raise them the old-fashioned way. I want to bring childhood back to life while preserving their innocence in a world that wants to take it.

 

These are my five best tips to make that happen.

1) Teach them the Gospel and how to pray. It all starts with the foundation of what they were created for. To teach them that there is a God that died for them and loves them unconditionally so they can go to heaven is a beautiful story. It is where all hope and good things of this world are stem. Imagine the awe and wonder in their eyes when they first learn to pray and are able to watch those prayers get answered. Their prayers don’t have to be any major crisis, just something that they care about. My children have prayed that it won’t rain many times:)

 

2) Give them the element of surprise and keep them on their toes. Once again, it’s not about the big fancy things but the little things to show you care. Cook their favorite meal for no reason, eat breakfast outside, cancel school for the day and go to the park, run up to them out of nowhere and yell,” Tag your it!” Everyone loves surprises. There is just something about a momma being silly.

 

3) Get them outside. Outside is where some of my fondest memories of childhood became embedded in my heart. It is where you can fully experience life with all your senses. To feel the breeze on your face, to smell fresh-cut grass and bonfires, to see God’s creation, to climb trees and let your imagination soar. I firmly believe being outside is healing for our bodies mentally, physically, and emotionally.

 

4)Ask them questions. Little ones are notorious for asking questions. As moms, it is all we can do to keep our self-control and answer them with smiles on our faces. Try turning the tables and be the one asking the questions. This is beneficial for numerous reasons. It instills confidence and shows them that we believe in them and think that they have the answers. It cultivates their curiosity and gets them thinking deeper. Asking questions stimulates their brains, gives them more to think about, and brings about all of the possibilities. As they ponder for answers they are given opportunity to have one idea lead to another.

 

5) Be available. This is a BIG ONE for me. As women we want to be able to do it all and we are quite good at multitasking. If we aren’t careful it can come back to bite us. In a time where the world is at our fingertips this one can be easily missed. We play the most vital role in making childhood some of their fondest memories. We must get on their level. We must pull them in our lap, look in their eyes and truly listen to their hopes, dreams, as well as the little petty things that get them upset. To be fully there for their sweet embraces. If not, then we aren’t giving them that extra sparkle of magic. When they are older and look back, where do you want your children to picture you in the home? Sitting at a computer? In front of the TV? In the kitchen? Outside? Our time with them is precious so let’s make it count for both of our sakes.

 

This is the only childhood they have. Let’s give them some awesome stories to share with their children when they grow up with their own families. Let it be about catching lightning bugs, watching fireworks, throwing rocks in the creek, climbing trees, building forts, playing board games, praying for their dead chicken (it happened) This is what will carry them to do the same for their children. This can give a generation of children a childhood where they don’t have to grow up so fast and can enjoy and relish in the sweet times that so quickly pass by.

 

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Brittany Styron is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, and momma to four amazing kids. She has a passion for country living, cooking, gardening, homeschooling, and encouraging women in their roles as wives and mothers. She blogs honestly about all these things at Sweet Country Roots.

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Mama Moments Monday {Link Up}

Welcome to Mama Moment Mondays!

If you’re featured below or have been in the past, help yourself to a featured button (you’ll find the codes on the sidebar). :) As usual, the weekly featured are based on your visits and will be pinned to pinterest and shared across social media.

3) Waiting and Hoping During Infertility
2) Room for Two: My Reaction to Having a Second Child
1) Five Favorite Kitchen Clean-up Thingamabobs

Now, onto this week’s link-up!

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Topics may include

  • homemaking
  • homeschooling
  • natural living
  • personal wellness
  • family-life
  • attachment parenting
  • working with or parenting children with special needs etc.

My rules are simple:

1) Please place a hyperlink in your post or a link-up button on your post or sidebar so others can find us and participate.

2) As a courtesy, please visit at least one other link and leave a comment for that blogger, letting her know that you’ve visited. :) Positive comments are a great way to make a blogger’s day.



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