I used this with my eighth grade son this year, and he did very well with it. I like that the lessons are broken down into more-than-manageable pieces. For each of the days he had writing, he did one section of the lesson, usually taking around 10-15 minutes. Most of the time he was able to work independently. The author did a very nice job of simplifying different kinds of writing to walk students through it.
When I saw this book online, I was very excited about it. And just to preface, I still feel like the structure of the book as far as teaching the writing process, is very well done.
However, I must, in good conscience, give warning to parents whose children are still on the "innocent" side of childhood. When you reach the chapters that teach about writing opinion and persuasion, this book suddenly inserts topics such as abortion and homosexual marriage. Abortion is actually mentioned multiple times in this book.
If you have a child who doesn't even yet know "where babies come from", this book will quite suddenly take you into territory your child was nowhere near ready for.
As a Christian parent, the subject matter of this book is quite concerning. This is a book that will mention giving Christian testimony, how inventions such as the telephone helped society with the example of a church phone prayer chain, and kids' magazine publications by Focus on the Family on one page, and then abortion on another. There are very "innocent" examples given such as "persuade your reader to believe there should be a skate park in your neighborhood" or "why every student should eat a chocolate bar each day" and yet, the topics of abortion or gay marriage tossed in as well.
Though maybe less shocking, I'll also mention that there is a passage from a book quoted, and it talks about a child being given to another mother who could nurse him. Again, if your child knows nothing of these things, it might not be something you're ready to discuss.
I have not gone through the entire book yet, as it is quite an undertaking, but I have gotten 2/3 of the way through it and had to cross through or re-write several sections for my 6th grader to be able to use it.
I know every child is different in terms of maturity, but I feel that it was irresponsible of the publisher to not make those mature topics known in either their description or their sample pages.
Again, if your child is ready for mature topics and you simply need help with writing style, this is an excellent book to help him/her through the creative process, but if you want your child to remain innocent a bit longer, you may want to skip this book for now, or do as I've done and insert your own preferred subject matter into those sections. Thankfully, the book is printed on heavy enough paper that you can line through those mature sections with a black Sharpie and it won't bleed through to the other side that you do want to use.
I am so thankful for this product. Writing essays came naturally to me and so I didn't have a clue how to teach the art to my three, more math-biased, children. They have all improved so much after using this course. It breaks the task of writing down into achievable skills. It allows a lot of freedom in topic choice, which helped increase their motivation. Excellent value for money as it could easily supply two years worth of work.
I have used this product to help my daughter practice her writing. It was easy to use and she learned a lot from it without a lot of time or stress on her part. I have also used this product with a CoOp class of 5th thru 9th graders. All improved their writing and enjoyed the process at the same time.