"Writing with Ease Strong Fundamentals" is authored by Susan Wise Bauer. She is a faculty member of the College of William and Mary and co-author of "The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home."
"Writing with Ease" teaches the student on how to take inarticulate ideas, put the ideas into words and how to put the words down on paper. The curriculum is divided into three stages: Writing with Ease (Grades 1-4), Writing with Skill (Grades 5-8) and Writing with Style (Grades 9-12). In Years 1 and 2 the student will focus on practicing narration, copy work and dictation. In Years 3 and 4 the student will focus on putting the steps of narration, copy work and dictation together. In Years 5-8 the student will focus on Diagramming: Sentence-Level Ordering, and Outlining: Composition-Level Ordering. In Years 9-12 the student will focus on the Thesis Statement: Deciding What to Write About, The Progymnasmata: Techniques of Persuasion and Constant Short Papers.
"Writing with Ease" is divided into four parts, Part 1: Understanding the Process, Part 2: The Lessons, Appendices and Bibliography of Excerpts. Part 1: Understanding the Process consists of four sections: Why Writing Programs Fail, The Three Stages, Using This Book and Where Should I Begin. Part 2: The Lessons consists of five sections: Preschool and Kindergarten, Year One, Year Two, Year Three and Year Four. The appendices consist of four sections: After Year Four, Troubleshooting, Frequently Asked Questions and Resources. The bibliography of excerpts is included as a reference resource.
To accompany each level of the curriculum the author has created teacher/student workbooks.
Each work text is divided into a scripted four day lesson plan for 36 weeks, student pages and a reading selections index.
Presently the "Writing with Ease" curriculum consists of "Writing with Ease" hardcover book and workbooks for
Levels 1-4. "Writing with Skill" Level 1 workbook is scheduled to be released in 20112. Subsequent levels of "Writing with Skill" and "Writing With Style" are in development.
I would highly recommend purchasing the hardcover book along with the teacher/student workbooks.
This program has been a disappointment. I am using level 2 for the second time around (with a second student) and am having the same sense I had last time: is my child learning anything? She is actually doing very little writing - almost none of it original or creative. The copywork is short, and the summarizing, summarizing, summarizing gets very old.
So far so good. We are enjoying this program, and for the first time my kiddos are writing with out complaining. Yeay! I would say if you buy the book you don't really need the workbook. Also, if you buy the workbook you probably don't need the book. They basically have the same information...the workbook just lays the whole year out for you.
This book is the guide book. You do not need it if you want to use the program. The one valuable piece of advice in the book is that you can substitute passages each year if you feel the passages that were chosen aren't right for your kids. I have used this program for 2 full years and am now going to use it for only 6 or 7 weeks in year 3. There is no creative writing in the program and my daughter cannot write a story or paragraph or descriptive sentence as a third grader. There are strengths to this program--learning to summarize and immitate good grammar (because of the repetitive copywork), but I would not recommend this program.