Three of our four boys have been helping me to review some products from author Joyce Herzog for a few weeks now. My twins, “Mr. loquacious” and “The Puzzler” have been using the Budding Authors Workbooks, and one of my older boys, “The Artist” has been working with the book 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar.
I’m going to talk first about the Budding Authors set. This set was different from what I expected it to be, as it is simply a set of workbooks with minimal instruction for the parent/teacher. Don’t let that scare you off, however, because they are quite easy to use!
I had my twins working in the first book, which is titled Step Into Writing. In this book, children will be taking first steps in writing sentences and stories. Since my twins have some developmental delays, along with educational delays that resulted from several years in foster care before coming to us for adoption, this was an appropriate beginning point for them. You may download a sample from this workbook here.
At the very beginning of the book is a page and a half section of instruction for the parent/teacher, primarily describing the kinds of pages you will find in the workbook, and how to use them. The first one listed is Copywork, which is exactly what you would expect it to be. Your child will have a short story to copy, the first one consisting of just one easy sentence. Eventually, the short stories for copywork will be five sentences in the Step Into Writing Workbook. Each day, the student’s work should concentrate on perfection, not on time spent. The idea is that the child is to use his or her very best printing, spacing of words for ease of reading, and remembering to include all capitals and punctuation. The author says that at this level, 10 minutes is a reasonable working time for the copywork each day.
The second type of workbook page in this workbook are the dictation pages. There is a page at the beginning of the book for the parent/teacher which will give you the short story to dictate to your child for each page. In my copy, the page giving me the dictation to read to the child began with dictation for page 9, but the first dictation page for the student to complete was actually page 6, so we skipped that and began with the next set of pages. You will be given a very short, simple story to read to the child, and they will then copy it on their workbook page. My boys really had a problem with the way the writing pages are laid out, though. I like them, they are formatted with two lines, similar to another handwriting program I’ve used with my oldest son, but the twins just couldn’t grasp how to write with this type of lines, and asked me to please allow them to use regular primary paper, so that’s what I did. Each workbook page has thin column sections at the far right with the headings “C” for capitalization, “P” for punctuation, and “S” for spelling. There is a fourth column that you can use for whatever other category you feel your child needs to work on. For my twins, I used a ruler to make the columns on their primary paper.
Next, there is the “Experience Story” page after each dictation page. For this page, you and your child discuss the picture at the top of the page, and decide what the story would be about. Then, your child will dictate the story to you, as you write it down for him or her.
My book says there is also a dictionary page, but it was missing from my copy. It is included in the second workbook “Step On Into Writing”, which we will move on to when we have completed Step Into Writing.
This set of workbooks is very nice, although as I said before, my boys didn’t care for the format of the lines for writing. If we continue using it, we will use regular primary paper for their writing. This set of workbooks is, in my opinion, perfect for anyone who enjoys the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. In our family, we use a mix of Charlotte Mason, unschooling, unit study and lapbooking, so the idea of this set is one that works for us at this time. You can purchase the set of Budding Author Workbooks at the following prices:
Step Into Writing – $10.00
Step On Into Writing – $10.00
Adventures In Writing – $10.00
Then And Now – $12.00
Writing US History – $15.00
As I said before, I had “The Artist” going through Joyce Herzog’s 6 Weeks to Understanding Grammar.
This is a small book, 40 pages in length, and much to my surprise turned out to be mostly review for “The Artist”, so what I ended up doing with it was to read it myself, simply to learn how to teach basic grammar to my younger boys when they are ready. The author has made it extremely simple to teach using this little book and some writing paper! You may download a sample of this book here. From the website, This book “follows the teaching style of a hundred years ago: state it simply and give an example.” This little book very easily clears up grammar confusion, and is available here for $12.00.
I think these books are at a good price, and will help your “Budding Authors” on their journey as writers!
Here is “The Puzzler” doing copywork . . .
And “Mr. loquacious” doing the same!
And a quick shot of “The Artist” working on grammar!
To see what other crew members thought of this and other products from Joyce Herzog, please click on the graphic below