Friday, August 28, 2015

Writing with Sharon Watson~ Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide Set ~ Review

My Middlest isn't quite as much of a reader as my Eldest (and currently my youngest), so I am always happy to be sent something for review that might entice him a little further into the world of literature. For this reason, I was delighted to be sent Writing with Sharon Watson's new set Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide. The set includes a Student handbook, a Teacher's Guide, a Quiz and Answer Manual, and a PDF download Novel Notebook (Not pictured). We were also sent the first two novels covered in the manual, Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain, and The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.

Other books covered in this course include 
  • The Friendly Persuasion by Jassamyn West
  • Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Because this came right before we went away on vacation, we got a bit of a late start, but still managed to get through the Introduction (1 week) and the first unit on Pudd'nhead Wilson (4 weeks). Yes, we're getting a head start on those school hours for the 2015/2016 school year~ which is helpful come baseball season. :) Getting one course out of the way before it begins is always a good idea! 

The Curriculum~ Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide~ 

I really appreciate the philosophy of this course, as Sharon Watson very pragmatically understands that these books are written by humans who had flawed lives and natures. However, regardless of their backgrounds, they give us stories that in one way or another "reflect some redeeming truth and are, therefore worth reading." The stories can serve the purpose either to inspire us, or to convict us~ both of which are necessary for character growth. 

Right now, my son is beginning to grapple with the concept of multiple worlds colliding within a single storyline/lifetime... ;) (sometimes our lessons take a little longer than normal, when he breaks out into a YouTuber routine...) 

The consumable Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide (Student Book) is very nicely laid out, and written directly to the student. This is the "text" that goes along with the Literature selections. The student is guided through background information on the novel, the author, and many of the literary devices used in the story. There are also questions and mini-quizzes for the student to answer/fill out within the text of the Student Book. Things like vocabulary quizzes, and identifying conflict.
Same Lesson areas for both books... to give you an idea of what they look like.

The Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Teacher's Guide does not include the exact same text as the Student Book. It outlines the objective of each section, summarizes what is being discussed in the student book, gives direction and answers to any questions that show up in the student manual.

Each unit includes quizzes, as well as a survey of the unit. These are available  in two formats:
  • Online: (Password protected) These allow the student to complete a comprehension/content quiz and a Literary Terms Quiz and have them "graded" online, with the results emailed to them (or to you). Now there is a feature to appreciate! :)  There is also an online Opinion survey that isn't graded, but can give you insight to what your student is thinking, and you can give them a grade for participation, if you wish. I think having an online survey like this is particularly helpful for the one student class of the typical homeschooler, especially for those who don't enjoy participating in verbal discussions, as it removes the pressure of an immediate answer when trying to give an opinion.
  • Hardcopy:The Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Quiz and Answer Manual is available to purchase, if one wishes to use paper and pencil for quizzes rather than completing them online. 
The Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide:Novel Notebook is for the students to use if they prefer more graphically designed sheets than a simple notebook can provide. Some people like the simplicity of a composition book with bound pages and little margin for error.  Others like to be able to print more copies if they goof, or maybe just enjoy the more colorful version provided by the Novel Notebook pdf. The choice is yours, as this is offered for free. :) 

Sharon Watson has very generously provided sample chapters and pages from each of the books, for your perusal. They can be accessed from any of the product links in this review. 

You can visit Sharon Watson on Facebook (Where we just finished a fabulous launch party for this product~ 8/27/15. If you have a minute, go check out her page, and enter the giveaways she has up until Aug. 31, 2015), and on Pinterest.

All in all we like the set-up, the content, and the user-friendly aspect of this curriculum, and would recommend it for a high school course. I am looking forward to covering one of my favorite novels from high school, Fahrenheit 451, which I recently re-read. It was just as good from an adult perspective as it was from that of a teen. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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1 comment:

  1. Hi, Lis! Thank you for all the pictures--AND THE VIDEO!!!--in your review! What fun!

    Have a great baseball season and school year!


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