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Mama's Coffee Shop Blog - WIR (Apologia)


Just because I write for a living as a blogger, does not mean I can teach someone else how to write well. So when the chance to review Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries appeared, I knew that this was a course we needed. I am so impressed with Debra Bell and her ability to teach others. I am grateful that we have been blessed to review is curriculum.

Writers in Residence

This is an incredibly large book, one years worth of course material. It has 576 pages, spiral bound (in adorable neon green no less!), and with a glossy paperback cover. The text is a little lager than normal, but it works well and makes reading it a bit easier for both me and Ana.Apologia Writers in Residence_zpsk9klb2vb

Writers in Residence is well laid out and encourages the student in many areas:

  • to discover their “voice”
  • to use life to draw from in their writing
  • to build their grammar skills
  • to make bold choices with their words
  • to find the joy in writing

These are such important areas that each student needs to gain the confidence to become a better writer.

The Writers in Residence (WIR) book is not just about getting students to write better, it is also helping them learn why they need to use certain words, phrases, and styles. The curriculum is set to teach six traits in writing:

  1. ideas
  2. organization
  3. sentence structure
  4. word choice
  5. voice
  6. conventions

Throughout the WIR book it breaks down each of these traits. They are introduced, thoroughly explained, and then there are ample areas of practice for each trait.

Students are also taught to use the Writing Process. This is vital for any writer to learn and experience. As absolutely no writing is perfect the first time it is written. The students are asked to produce a written piece, no matter how small or what subject and they are subjected to the writing process, which is the following:

  1. planning
  2. drafting
  3. revising
  4. editing
  5. publishing

There are so many areas of learning attached to this course, yet ultimately each student will learn to capture these things: their ideas, their memories, their investigations, and their stories. And they will have fun along the way. These lessons are long enough to teach the student yet short enough to hold their attention.

There are review sections sprinkled throughout the lessons, unit reviews to cover the concepts being taught, and there are mastery tests at the end of each module.


How This Worked for Us

Luckily for me, this is a pretty student-led course. Which for my hectic schedule works so well for me! After a thorough reading of the Preface, I was able to explain what exactly Ana was going to do. The directions in each lesson are easily understandable so Ana was able to work at her own pace and learning level.

Ana quickly was drawn into the lessons as they peaked her interest immediately. She enjoyed that she was able to draw from her memories instead of create something out of thin air. As a budding writer, it is often extremely hard to “create” without any references, so this was a huge plus for both of us!

Often Ana would complete up to three lessons at a sitting because she was just so involved with the thinking process that she just chugged right along. There were some occasions that she wasn’t exactly sure what she was supposed to do, but once I broke it down for her she was able to continue.

She wasn’t a fan of sentence writing, I have to admit. But after explaining that by writing sentences she would be able to add or subtract to the idea, she began to enjoy it.

Overall, this is a wonderful addition to our curriculum and I see gigantic improvements already in Ana’s writing ability. It was a course that she has come to see as a wonderful way to express herself without the stress that is usually attached to writing. And I appreciate that she doesn’t hate writing as much as she used to, and that is very, very good.

Are you curious to see how this worked for my fellow Review Crew members?




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I hope you enjoyed this latest review and that you visit again soon to see what the kids and I have to share with you.

In His Grace.






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