Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Power in Your Hands

The Power in Your Hands  Writing Nonfiction in High School by Sharon Watson

For Grades 9-12

Student Book $39.98
Teacher Book $14.98

Order from Create Space

Student Materials

This writing course is designed to be used by high school students over the course of a year. It contains 23 chapters, some of which are designed for more than one week of instruction and writing. The final section is toolbox of many helpful charts, lists, and information for writers. It is designed to be used in school classrooms, homeschools, and coop settings.

What you will find in The Power in Your Hands  Student book

Writing Persusaion
  • What is it?
  • Writing Logically
  • Comparison and Contrast
  • Morals and Ethics
  • Emotional Appeal
  • The SAT Essay
  • Proofreading
Expository Writing
  • Letters (Condolence and Thank You)
  • Process Writing
  • Position Papers and proper documentation
  • Devotionals
  • Newspaper Writing
  • Biographies
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Literary Analysis
  • Definition Essays
  • Descriptive Essays
  •  Personal Testimonies/ Spiritual Journies
  •  Turning Interviews into Narratives
  •  Personal Narratives
Each of these topics is defined and described briefly to help the student learn what makes them an unique type of writing. There are also many helps to direct the student to edit and improve their own work. Instructions on proof reading are also included.

Teacher Materials

The teacher's book contains answers to questions and exercises in the student book, but it does not contain the entire student text.

Unique to the Teacher's Book

The teacher's book (well, the whole course) is designed so that a parent can conduct a professional writing course on a schedule appropriate for their needs. To facilitate this some of the topics you will find in the teacher's book include:
  • Grading and Evaluation Rubrics and Forms   "What does an A paper look like?"  "What does and F paper look like?" and all levels in between.
  • Ideas to help Reluctant Writers
  • 14 Minute Writing Power Surges  - ideas to write about for 14 minutes - for the whole year
  • Answers and Discussion ideas for the student work corresponding to each of the chapters
  • Tips for Proofreading and making exciting word choices

For additional helps and ideas Sharon maintains a blog and offers weekly writing prompts by email.

 Sharon Watson has also written Jump-In, a writing course for junior high and Writing Fiction [In High School].

My Thoughts

I used this course with my 13 year old daughter. While she is below the target age range for this course  I felt she could handle this material based on her previous writing experience. She did fine. The topics and examples used  feature teens or teen issue, but not material I felt was inappropriate for her. A couple examples are teen driving and texting, the dilemma of giving teens a credit card,  and high school classes. Most examples and sources are science or history topics, literature, and personal stories.

Various types of paragraphs ie. direct, climatic, transitional are discussed and explained. This course also contains a fair amount of instruction about constructing introductions and conclusions. We did not spend a lot of time on these sections as I wanted to get a feel for multiple sections of the book during our limited review period, but there is a lot of valuable information to help students learn and master these challenging skills.

By the end of this course students will have completed a wide variety of writing projects for many different occasions and needs. This I find to be very beneficial.  I also like the writing prompts as I want to give my daughter the opportunity to practice the step by step skills she has learned with the text examples, but this way I don't have to come up with the ideas on my own. I could do it, but having it done for me is a time saver.

Another feature I found helpful were the ideas regarding requirements for writers of different skill levels. Most major writing assignments give a word count. While these are realistic targets, they can also be intimidating to younger students or those with less experience.   Thus by giving the instructor 'permission' to require less of newer writers this course should be easily adaptable for most students.

My daughters' thoughts:
"I think it is a really good book that is written towards a student rather than a group of people. During the lesson at some points it is funny so that makes it more fun to use. If I had gotten it earlier in the school year I would have wanted to continue using it as I found it more fun than the program I was currently using. For what I have used of it the topics it chose were interesting as they talked about things teenagers are interested in."

I was surprised by the amount of  Christian content in the book as the only mention I saw of this in online information was one line at the very bottom of the order page. As you can tell from some of the topics listed above there are lessons for writing several types of Christian literature. There are also numerous Bible verses throughout the text. One chapter talks extensively about making moral judgements. (An example in this chapter mentions abortion and lesbianism.  My daughter is aware of these issues and the conflict the letter discusses). It gives good ideas regarding writing about moral issues where people have differing opinions, but it is definitely slanted towards a Christian world view.

I will continue to use The Power In Your Hands with my daughter along with the next volume of the writing course she has just completed. There are many valuable skills to be learned and practiced from The Power in Your Hands  which will increase her writing proficiency.

Read what other Home&School Mosaics reviewers thought of this and Sharon's other writing programs on the Home&School Mosaics blog.

Disclaimer: I received  free copies of the student and teacher books reviewed above for the purpose of writing this frank and honest review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Curriculum for Sale

I have the following items for sale. Postage costs for buyers choice of shipping method is in addition to prices. Items are from a pet free, smoke free home. Pictures are available upon request. If you are interested leave a comment or email me at

Teaching Textbooks 6
Book, Answer Book, CD's $100
One year old, used by one student

IEW Student Writing Intensive A
Binder, Student Pages, CD's $50
A couple pages are bent, but are all there.

WriteShop Primary Book C (Teacher Book) $25
Brand New - looked through first lesson, but never used

Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book 3 $25
Second Edition
Very Good Condition

God's Great Covenant New Testament Book 1 $30 for set
Student Book and Teacher Book
Very Good Condition

Evan Moor History Pockets Ancient Civilizations $7
Grades 1-3
Good Condition

Evan Moor How to Report on Books Grade 1-2 $7
Very Good Condition

QuikPix Addition and Subtraction game $3

Menu Math  $5
Very Good Condition

Also see this post for more books, games and learning activities for sale.