I have frequently mentioned that I have been home-schooling for twenty years (since 1990 to be precise). As a matter of fact, out of my four children, only my daughter (my oldest child and only girl) actually went to a traditional school, and that was only for kindergarten. Our home-school journey began when she started first grade.
When my daughter was 15, she began attending the local community college through our county’s dual-enrollment program. If you’re not familiar with dual-enrollment, it is a program where high schoolers can take college classes and receive high school and college credits simultaneously. She was in the dual-enrollment program for two years, after which I “graduated” her from our home-school program at the age of 17. She spent one more year at the community college earning her A.A. degree before transferring to a four-year college.
At the age of 16 my oldest son began taking classes as part of dual-enrollment, and after graduating from our home-school program two years later transferred to FSU (where he received his business degree at the age of 20). I now have another 16-year old (my second son) who began dual-enrollment this semester.
Why am I relating all this and what does it have to do with my subject today? I simply want to illustrate that, having home-schooled two children through high school, and now with one child in the middle of his high school studies, you can imagine that I have used a multitude of curriculum and materials throughout the years of educating my children. Lots of curriculum. Lots of materials. In fact, I am quite certain that there are some materials that I have used that I don’t even remember using.
On the other hand, there are some materials that I have consistently used over the years (some I have mentioned in previous blog posts and some I will reference in the future) – and there are other materials that I discovered only after years of searching for just the right program for a certain subject. Write with the Best is an example of the latter.
Write With the Best is the program I now use to make sure my children write well. I have to tell you, I searched for a good composition program for years! I don’t even remember how many programs I tried and discarded, so when I recommend Write With the Best, that is a strong recommendation.
Write With the Best (by Jill Dixon, who has a B.S. and a Master’s degree in Education) comes in two volumes. The cover states that it is recommended for grades 3 through 12 but I personally wouldn’t start any composition program until the fifth grade. The two volumes combined have seventeen units, and since I do not like rushing through such a program you could easily spend 3 to 4 years going through the assignments in the two volumes of Write With the Best.
The premise of Write With the Best is that your child learns how to write through studying the works of great writers. For instance, in learning to write a descriptive paragraph of an object, they carefully study an excerpt from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In learning to write dialogue, they examine an excerpt of The Wind in the Willows. And in learning to write rhyming verse they examine “The Daffodils” by William Wordsworth.
Because Write With the Best requires a careful and thorough study of the passages that are selected for each particular type of writing, the child will have great success in being able to produce good content and will certainly develop their writing skills even as they discover the types of writing they enjoy, and may want to continue to explore on their own!
Write With the Best includes many helps for home-school parents that I found to be very useful. I also love that a study of grammar is inculcated into the program which allowed me to forgo using a separate grammar program. In addition, for every type of writing that is covered, Ms. Dixon has included several examples, besides the one that is used in the main lesson, that can be used as resources for teaching and reinforcing the material.
If you are looking for a writing (composition) program to use with your middle- to senior-high schoolers (as I did for so many years!) – look no further than Write With the Best. I don’t think there is a better program out there!