I own a lot of (expensive) writing programs, and I ditched all of them for this.
September 4, 2016
This book does not receive the accolades that it deserves. If you want a straightforward way to teach non-fiction writing, Jensen's is your source. We have used many of the popular and sometimes complicated homeschool writing programs over the years. My science minded, non-fiction loving boy, has taken to this straightforward approach with delight.
I used this text as a syllabus and taught writing from it using our white board. We changed the topics and made our own assignments. He enjoyed writing about things he knew a lot about, which made the lessons more interesting to him. Near the end of the paragraph section he noticed how his paragraphs were easier to write now. It was easy to use this book as a writing syllabus, however, it could be used independently as self-study material.
A common complaint I've read online about Jensen's is that it doesn't teach creative writing. If you use this text you will have all the time in the world to teach creative writing. I have found the best creative writing books to be the ones that focus only on creative writing. This is just a tool for non-fiction writing.
It also doesn't teach persuasive writing. We read The Lively Art of Writing with this, they compliment each other beautifully.
Jensen's Format Writing is a wonderful resource that WILL prepare your child to write high quality research papers. While poetry and creative writing are not covered, the step by step process of writing research paragraphs, then essays, then reports is one of the best I have ever seen. I highly recommend it.
I have homeschooling for 14 years, and had never found a product for writing that actually explained and taught the process in an incremental and manageable way until Format Writing. My son's essay writing went from a laborious effort to skill - real skill in constructing well-written and formatted paragraphs and essays. His college application essays were successful. He has just finished his first year at an academically rigorous liberal arts college and was well-equipped for the assignments.
My child went from suffering through writing a paragraph in an hour to enjoying writing a paragraph in less than 10 minutes. She can write now. This book breaks down the process of writing so than anyone can do it.
We haven't gotten very far into it, but just from looking through it, it is going to be a good fit for our family. We had tried another program which was supposedly for high school-but it was way below what we were currently doing. I'm glad I found this and I plan to use more of Jensen's writing/grammar for Jr. high with my youngest!