Writing with Sharon Watson develops easy-to-use writing and literature courses for homeschools, Christian schools, and co-ops.
It all began with a quiet conversation in a friend’s kitchen with Dr. Jay Wile, then owner of Apologia Educational Ministries. Sharon had been teaching writing and literature to homeschool teens and had noticed a troubling trend.
Mothers were outsourcing many courses (that is, living in their vans) and becoming frazzled. So Sharon became the Circuit-Riding Teacher and visited homes to teach middle school composition. That way, students could learn how to write without their family life being disrupted.
Dr. Wile suggested that Sharon write up her middle school course and send it to him. No writer in her right mind could resist such an offer, so she submitted her material and—voilà!—Jump In was born and quickly became one of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
What We Believe
1. The student is more important than the material in the textbook. We create humorous, informative, practical, and conversational courses that respect students and allow them to use a number of their learning styles.
2. Teaching writing and literature can be tough. That’s why our courses teach it for you. All of our courses feature lessons written directly to your students and include available teacher guides that show step-by-step examples of how to grade, including new grading grids. We teach. You facilitate. You are instilling worthwhile values and beliefs in your students; it is our deep desire to equip the next generation of writers to communicate those to others clearly and to be discerning readers of both popular fiction and literature.
3. Writing assignments, especially in the beginning, should not be issue driven. The tone of the courses is light, and the assignments are, for the most part, geared for fun.
Why? Because students find it easier to write about something they are interested in rather than writing about wars, economics, politics, and other heady issues. Sure, they eventually get to some
heavy stuff, but they begin with assignments designed to hold their interest. The purposes of the assignments are to supply them with the tools they need, get them writing, get them writing clearly and effectively, and equip them for their future writing life.
4. We believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is the Word of God and that it reveals to us our precious Savior, Jesus Christ. Though our courses are not Sunday school lessons, they do at times use Bible verses, along with other literary sources, as examples of certain writers’ devices such as parallelism and metaphors. Some middle school writing prompts and high school writing prompts underscore this belief. We also believe that God created the universe by his word and did not use the mechanisms of evolution. One or two writing examples reflect this belief, mainly in the paragraph examples for the position paper in The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School.
About Sharon Watson
I began my writing life by crumpling up my unfinished story about cats and heaving it into the trash. Next, I moved to one-liners, notably, “I Hate Math!!!” gouged into the top of my fifth-grade math homework one heart-squeezing night in the back of a dark closet. Weeping might have been involved. In a junior high English class, I read The Scarlet Letter from cover to cover but never could figure out what Hester’s “A” stood for.
All this has given me empathy for students stumbling through school who are trying to make sense of their English and writing classes. I love finding ways to make writing tasks and concepts more understandable, and I absolutely love to inspire a love of fine literature in students.
My husband Terry, whom I met in college in Upstate New York, and I homeschooled for 18 years but were forced to quit when we ran out of children. During our children’s school years, I taught literature, composition, and Indiana history to homeschool students, led a homeschool group, and established an educational homeschool group where there was none. Since then, I’ve enjoyed teaching middle school and high school composition, fiction writing, and literature to homeschool students.
My articles have been featured in The Old Schoolhouse, Homeschool Magazine.com, The Way Home eNewsletter, Apologia World, and others, and I love contributing lessons to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. My husband and I live in Indiana and enjoy three grown children, one son-in-law, and two delightful granddaughters.
Writing with Sharon Watson typewriter: Hannah Huthwaite
Photos of students and mothers with Sharon’s courses © Esther Moulder, ClickPhotography.biz