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Questions about The Power In Your Hands

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I am going back and forth between LAoW, Brave writer Help for High School and The Power in Your Hands for this year. This is for 9th grade, with my somewhat reluctant writer.

We are using BYL 9th which is already packed full. Open and go would be so nice!!


BW is lovely, but we did the first module at the end of last year and while I love it, the format makes it very difficult for DS to pick out assignment instructions from the rest of the text.


LAoW is also great but has major format issues.


The Power in Your Hands looks like it would be easy to read, has clear instructions and reasonable lesson lengths. It also covers many types of essays.


Has anyone used it and want to give me first hand experience?


Is there much religious content and if so, would it be easy to work around?


How long did it take your child to complete, on average?

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I am using it right now with my 10th grader, and the more basic version Jump In with my 5th grader. 


This is a great curriculum. Yes, it is open and go. I read through the student book with both of my students. This author walks the student through the writing process one step at a time. But her examples are fun, the topics she uses to introduce concepts really hold the attention of my two students. I am using Dianne Craft's Right Brain Writing approach with my youngest and also adapting it with my oldest who is using The Power in Your Hands. The book (Power) guides the student through various types of expository writing. This book makes it easy for me to give my girls the writing instruction in a clear, solid, consecutive way without me reinventing the wheel, so to speak. I have so much else to do, it is such a blessing to have such a well written resource to lean upon. This course teaches the students to be attentive to details in a good way. So far, I am very happy with it.


We are not just learning writing process, but how to order the supporting points. I was never taught to write like this in high school or college! It would have been so much easier! In the past, I have used Memoria's composition program, Writing by Imitation with Fairy Tales, Robin Finley's Beyond the Book Report and her Essay Writing for Jr. High; this is a perfect fit for us for this season. It is helping my student to apply what she has been learning in the previous years.


About religious content, this is only our 5th week of school, so I have not been through the entire book yet. From what I see, any of the assignments can be modified to fit in with your content areas.  The discussions will be easier though if you stick with her subjects to write about. I have seen much more Christian subjects in Sharon Watson's free writing prompts. You get these if you are on her email newsletter list. Not in all of them or even most are religious, and so many are FREE. But some of them do definitely rest of Christian subjects, for example comparing the God of the Bible to Santa. The first assignment in chapter one is for the student to come up with reasons either for or against teens having credit cards.   This definitely perked my student's interest.


Have you downloaded the sample chapters off of the author's website?

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I have downloaded the chapters and it looks great, I just wanted some personal experiences before spending even more money on writing.


I'm considering adding in the examples from Writing with a Thesis for each essay type.


About how long do you spend working on the assignments on a typical day/week?

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I am teaching this as a 1/2 credit course, so that I can use the book to teach structure, but still allow for my student to have time to apply these concepts in the essays for her history or lit classes. So, I teach short segments for about 30 - 45 minutes about 3 - 4 days per week.  This book is just what my student needs so I may need to take a slower pace to allow time for cross curricular application. Some lessons are very short and some are longer, so I am not always able to finish a lesson per day. I aim for 2 - 3 per week.


For my daughter, this course seems to be the missing piece she needs to make past writing teaching make sense. She has a disgraphia issue, so I am really trying to make sure she is a solid writer in order to prepare for college. We are spending extra time to work on this weakness. I sometimes use Sharon's assignments, and other times adapt the assignment to fit the needs of another subject area.

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