You will get a variety of opinions on this. Many find it too teacher intensive, and some do not enjoy the step by step b/c they find it overkill or they feel too boxed in.
I am not of that opinion.
We just finished lesson 4, that's 8 weeks into the program. I am very pleased with the results already. The program does assume basic paragraph writing abilities like capitalization, punctuation, topic sentence (in idea if not in good use ) and generally that a dc can write a sentence.
The things I enjoy about WriteShop I:
- The systematic approach makes sure dc or I do not miss anything in the writing process. It takes the dc through the steps via a daily routine (you choose the pace of the routine as teacher).
- Very explicit teacher instructions not only give ideas on how to teach, but a great outline of common errors and ways in which to approach their correction. I feel like I'm really getting the benefit of experience from home school moms who have taught a great many students about writing.
- Word lists to expand the vocabulary, which has blossomed style in my writers.
- Encourages self-checking, via checklists, to ensure the student is owning his work, improving by recognizing common errors and has a coupled list for the teacher so she can be sure they're following the program.
- Most of all, I see results. The Elders were solid in basic writing like formatting paragraphs and writing essays, reports, factual sort of stuff. Now, in just 4 lessons, their topic and closing sentences have blossomed, they have eliminated boring verbage and are using a lovely variety of adjectives. I'll say their writing is almost...really close to being pleasant
- I appreciate the ready made dictation and copy work.
- I like that each student can have their own notebook and I'm not living in the land of making copies (sometimes convenience matters enough to claim a place in even my frugal budget!)
I do hear IEW is outstanding, I'm just stopped b/c of $$ this time.
We did not enjoy Writing Strands at all.
I like Writing Aids, but felt like *I* needed a more systematic approach to ensure I was staying on task and not missing any styles or vital elements. I feel like WShop is improving my skills as a writing teacher.
If all this crumbles, I'll let you know...but for now, I'm a happy teacher, momma, college counselor and prospective high school english prof. :)