Entries from April 2008 ↓

Jane’s grammar nugget: No lie!

Jane Straus, author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, is back as a guest at our blog with another helpful grammar nugget. Jane promises:

“You will impress your family and friends with your grammar skills if you can distinguish between lie and lay. However, these words confuse even the best editors, so you pretty much have to memorize a chart and then practice to build your confidence.” Continue reading →

Timed-release curriculum?

You’ve heard of timed-release cold capsules, motion-sickness patches, and fertilizers. But timed-release curriculum?

In a sense, that’s what these past couple of months have been about—a slow-release introduction to our up-and-coming WriteShop Primary series for grades K-3. Today, let’s “release” just a bit more about this exciting new program!  Continue reading →

The story behind WriteShop, part 1

Question markAS YOU pick up a grammar program, geography book, or other curriculum from the shelf of your local homeschool store, do you ever wonder how it got there?

Do you perhaps envision a talented team at work in some big-city corporate office building comparing research or collaborating over cover designs?

If so, let me QUICKLY dispell that myth for you! Continue reading →

It’s vs. its: What’s the difference?

The most common problem I’ve seen in my years of grading papers has to be the misuse of the apostrophe, and specifically, the mix-up between the words “its” and “it’s.” 

In early WriteShop I lessons, as students describe objects, pets, and foods, their papers are often riddled with sentences that misuse “it’s”:

  • It’s surface feels rough; or
  • It’s long, shaggy fur hangs in it’s eyes; or
  • When I take a bite, it’s creamy filling melts in my mouth.

Cringe. Continue reading →

Book review: Secret of the Scribe

 I have Secret of the Scribealways loved to supplement our history studies with historical fiction. I found picture books and novels aplenty when we were studying Greece and Rome, the Renaissance and Reformation, or the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. But ancient Sumer? The closest I could get was the story of Gilgamesh, but it’s an epic, not a novel, and not nearly so appealing to eight- to twelve-year-old girls!

Happily, both girls and boys alike will delight in Secret of the Scribe, the first historical novel about ancient Sumer I’ve seen. Author Jennifer Johnson Garrity transports the reader back 5000 years to the time of Abraham and the bustling city of Ur. Told in first person, it’s the story of a young girl, Tabni, who grows up in comfort as a slave to a Sumerian queen—until a great calamity forces her to flee the palace by night and make her way into the world alone. Continue reading →

Spring Into Writing | Poetry Ideas

Whimsical poetry ideas to celebrate spring | Acrostics and color poems

In Spring into writing, part 1, we dipped our toes into some fresh descriptive writing and journaling ideas. Today, in honor of the season, let’s play around with these whimsical spring poetry ideas!

Spring Acrostic Poems

Who says poems have to rhyme? Using the letters in the word SPRING, create an acrostic poem about the season. A line can be a single word, a phrase or partial thought, or a complete sentence.

The first poem makes use of simple descriptive phrases. Notice the repeated letters and sounds? Continue reading →

FAQ: How much time each day?

Here’s another popular question that shows up in our WriteShop mailbag with regularity!

WriteShop mailbagAs parents plan their students’ schedules, they often ask us to help them figure out how much time each day’s activities take. Our answer? The ever-popular: “It depends!” Continue reading →

An interview with David Borrink

David Borrink is the owner of Arts & Letters, Inc, a small company that specializes in graphic design and editing services.  We’ve just loved working with him on WriteShop Primary and watching the project unfold under his designer’s eye.

You and I are so used to zipping down to the store (any store) and buying just about anything ready-made, from food products to clothing to books, yet we rarely think about how those items got there! So I thought it might be fun for you to become a fly on David’s wall and learn how a book actually comes into being. Continue reading →

Jane’s grammar nugget: Who or whom?

Jane Straus, author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, is back as a guest at our blog, bringing you yet another grammar nugget. This week, Jane helps us crack the code of who vs. whom.

Jane promises, “It is easier than you might imagine, which will give you the confidence that you can master this distinction. I will also give you a trick for learning when to use whoever and whomever.”

The following are Jane’s Rules, meaning that they are informal but foolproof. Continue reading →

Another cover unveiled!

WriteShop Primary Book B

Everyone is all a-buzz about WriteShop Primary Book A and its adorable cover artwork! Now you can enjoy another delightful illustration by Deborah Thomson as we officially unveil the cover for WriteShop Primary Book B. Aren’t these whimsical characters just the cutest?

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