Thursday, August 20, 2009

Writing – EDUDPS - Review

TOS Crew Review

Publisher: Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services

* The following is a review of four different books *
Author: Jill J. Dixon, B.S. Ed., M. Ed.

I am amazed by the experience of Mrs. Dixon. She has been teaching for the past 18 years. Not only has she taught in public and private schools, but she has also worked with physically and mentally disabled children. She is a consultant for Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Her credentials are outstanding.


Product: Roots and Fruits – A comprehensive Vocabulary Curriculum covering Grades K through 12

Pages: 73
1. Author’s Biographical Information.
2. Introduction
3. What is Unique about this Program?
4. How to use this program
5. Weekly Schedule
6. Games and Activities

How I used this program:

The directions are very simple and easy to follow. I used this with my 14 year old daughter. We are doing 2 root words each week. I created a small chart on an index card.
Basically it looks something like this:
Root                           Word Meaning                            Examples
A         on                                               aboard, afire, aground
A         not           atheist, apathy, atrophy, amoral, atypical, anomaly

I had her copy this in her notebook. Next, she did the following:

1. Define each of the words, using a dictionary.
2. Write down parts of speech for each word. (Example: noun, verb, etc)
3. Write a synonym for each word.

She took her time with this. I made sure she understood the directions. She needed a lot of help at first. Once she understood, it was very easy for her to do. I have her work on these each school day. At the end of the week, she has to use each word in a sentence.

Mrs. Dixon has created a very effective curriculum. It takes between 15 and 45 minutes. She gives you clear instructions for each school day. The lessons are short and to the point.

There are games, such as goofy sentences; beat the clock; matching; word Bingo and trick sentences. This is such a fun way for children to learn. I love this program!


Product: The Complete Career, College, and High School Guide for Homeschoolers

Pages: 222 pages

How I used this product:

The first thing I did was have Matthew (16) and Amy (14) take the four assessment tests. Amy handed each one to me, as she finished, and said they were fun. The tests are:

1. Work / Service Preference Survey
2. Learning Styles Assessment
3. Personality Profile
4. Work Environment Questionnaire

This really helps the student understand their interests, goals, personality and how they learn best. I was amazed as I read over their papers. It really helped me understand their style of learning. For instance, Amy prefers to “work outside in the sunshine.” She also prefers to “study and discuss information with other people” rather than working by herself. She has a very “outward” personality and loves being around people. She also likes to do a lot of projects, artwork and drama, rather than just reading or listening to a lecture. . . Funny, I never really noticed this about her…. (smiles)…..

The book includes lists of college majors and careers for each personality type. It also includes a list of Technical school programs.

Mrs. Dixon offers detailed instructions for high school planning. This is very important for those who want to attend college.

There is a list of possible work opportunities for girls who plan to be housewives / mothers. I also loved her list of possible jobs for men who want to spend as much time at home as possible (such as self-employment; teaching; writing, etc.)

She has some fabulous articles in here, such as: “Twelve Principles for Raising Godly Teenagers.”

The book includes sample transcripts, worksheets, and much more. This is a very detailed book with all the information you need to help your homeschoolers plan for college or careers.


Product: Write With the Best – Modeling Writing after Great Works of World Literature – Volume 1
Grades 3 - 12
Pages: 108 pages

How to use this product:

All you have to do is follow the daily instructions. There is no advance planning. I can just open this book and see very quickly what the children have to accomplish. It only takes a short amount of time each day to complete the assignments.

Mrs. Dixon explains the purpose of this curriculum. It is “to produce successful writers who know how to write effectively, who know how to proofread their work efficiently, and who know how to properly analyze great literature.”

In her explanation of the program, she says that a child who is not used to taking dictation, only needs to do one sentence. She also says that all other students need no more than three sentences. This is such a relief to me. I have never done dictation with my children. I just assumed they would have to write down everything I had to say – page after page…. Boring minute after boring minute! But this is perfect! You can teach so much with just a sentence or two.

In this book, she tells you exactly what to do. Chapters include the following topics:

1. Writing a Descriptive Paragraph (describing an object, place and character).
2. Writing Dialogue, short stories, and fables.
3. Writing a friendly letter and poetry.
There is an extremely valuable proofreading checklist.
Mrs. Dixon has also included a “How to write guide” at the end of the book.
This program is such a blessing! I absolutely love it.


Product: Write With the Best – Modeling Writing after Great Authors of World Literature – Volume 2
Grades 6 - 12

Pages: 140 pages

How to use this product:

Mrs. Dixon describes the purpose of this book:

“To teach students to write descriptively, persuasively, and informatively through emulating the actual skills of masters of great writing.”

Units cover the following:
1. Writing poetry (Featuring the work of Emily Dickenson)
2. Writing a Business Letter (Featuring a letter by Helen Keller)
3. Taking notes, writing outlines, writing summaries.
4. Writing Essays (Featuring the work of Thomas Paine and Francis Bacon)
5. Writing a Literary Critique and a book review (Featuring the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Dean Howells and Mark Twain)
6. Writing a Newspaper Article (Featuring the work of Ernest Hemingway)
7. Writing a Speech (Featuring the work of Marcus Tullius Cicero)
8. Writing a Dramatic Monologue (Featuring the work of William Shakespeare)

Let me just share an example from the book:

On page 25, in Unit 3, (taking notes, writing outlines, writing summaries), the student is asked to do the following on Day One:

“With the help of your teacher, pick a newspaper or magazine article. . . . . Skim the article to gain general understanding and meaning. What do you think that the writer is trying to say? Write this down.”

This very simple lesson is all that is needed for the entire day’s lesson. It is very focused….very serious. It teaches a tremendous skill. The Student will spend some quiet time studying this and contemplating (analyzing). The child will then takes some notes and share some thoughts. This is an excellent way to learn.

My overall impression of the entire set of books:

This is a phenomenal resource. I dearly wish I had this when my children were younger. But I am very thankful I can use it now with my youngest three.  It will teach your children to write exceptionally well. Take your time with this. Let your children savor each lesson and they will enjoy the results their entire lives!

Mrs. White

To find out more about my reviews, please visit "Introduction to our Homeschool Parlor"