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Textbook $45.00 


Teacher’s Guide $20.00 


What's new about the 2nd Edition?

1. Easily keep track of daily work with newly numbered lessons.

2. Teens learn common grammar mistakes (7 lessons).

3. The emotional appeal speech is shorter and easier to understand.

4. Students can look up items in the new index.

5. Grading essays just got a lot easier! Specific grading grids in the Teacher’s Guide are designed for each essay assignment. Parents have asked for this, and these grids will make grading student essays MUCH easier! Download the first one here.

6. The chapter on the old SAT essay has been removed. Find info on that essay here and here.

Are the two editions compatible?

Though much of the material has not changed, the page numbers have. In addition, the example speech for an emotional appeal has changed, along with all the work associated with it. Therefore, the two editions are not compatible.

The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School is for what grade levels?

The Power in Your Hands is for students in grades 9-12. Younger students will be frustrated with the material and will be better served by Jump In, which is for grades 5  – 8.

Can I use The Power in Your Hands for my homeschool?

Definitely. The Power in Your Hands was developed to take the burden of teaching a writing class from the shoulders of homeschool moms, and it has been used successfully in Christian schools and co-ops as well.

What will my students learn in The Power in Your Hands?

High school students will learn writing skills they can use the rest of their lives. These include brainstorming, organizing their thoughts, using appropriate point orders, citing sources, introduction and conclusion know-how, proofreading, writing for a specific audience, and much more.

In addition, they’ll learn how to write in all four modes of nonfiction writing: persuasion, exposition, description, and narration. This practical textbook includes specific instructions for writing at least 22 essays and reports and includes focused checklists for each assignment. Some of the assignments include the logical appeal, the moral/ethical appeal, process or how-to writing, a research paper with documentation, comparison and contrast, a literary analysis, descriptive essays, and much, much more.

Check out the table of contents and samples from The Power in Your Hands by clicking on the “Free Sample” button beneath each textbook cover at the top of the page.

The material sounds difficult. Is The Power in Your Hands for college-bound students only?

The Power in Your Hands has been specially engineered for beginning writers and college-bound writers. How is this possible?

Sharon Watson is experienced in teaching writers at all skill levels, and she brings her expertise to this curriculum. Beginning writers will quickly catch up with their age-mates and gain confidence to tackle the chapters. The incremental, conversational, practical text will equip them for school or professional writing. Experienced writers will learn new material early and be challenged by the Digging Deeper sections found throughout the text.

I've heard I can use The Power in Your Hands for more than one year. Is this true?

Absolutely. Here’s how: 1. When public and private schools give a writing assignment, the students do their work at home and still have classes during the day. This schedule is not necessary in homeschools.

You can assign the essay at the end of the chapter and then follow the suggested writing schedule. The daily tasks in the schedule can be done during your normal writing-class time. The book will last for two years with this schedule, and your student won’t feel hurried. (And neither will you!)

2. The Teacher’s Guide contains a fun program called 14-Minute Writing Surges. These writing prompts cover fiction and nonfiction writing for the school year. You can use this program for a whole year before or after you use The Power in Your Hands, or you can take a break from the textbook for a few days or weeks by using the Writing Surges. It’s a fun way for your student to write on an interesting topic without being evaluated on everything he or she writes.

3. If you combine numbers 1 and 2, you can use The Power in Your Hands for three years. This will give your teens a thorough knowledge of the material at a leisurely pace.

Many parents have successfully used another option.  They work through the first 13 chapters in the first year, stopping the year after writing the position paper, and finish the course the next year.  This seems to be a sensible pace for most families.

We don't have two years. My student is a senior. How can I use The Power in Your Hands?

Seniors definitely should know some basics about writing before being sent into the world. I suggest completing the following chapters in The Power in Your Hands as a bare minimum for your senior:

Chapters 1-4

Chapters 9-10

Chapters 11-13

Chapters 17-19

Chapter 20

Chapter 23

These will give your student a wonderful foundation for writing.  If you have time, you can add in other chapters of interest to your student.

If your child does only the chapters listed above, he or she will want to be sure to read through the other ones, especially the Grammar Factoids and the Toolbox portions that usually appear in the beginnings of the chapters. These portions are important to writing and are referred to in later chapters and on the checklists that correspond to the assignments.

How do I grade my students' papers?

You spoke and we listened. The 2nd Edition to the Teacher’s Guide contains new, easy-to-use grading grids for every essay assignment. You can download a sample here.

Additionally, The Teacher’s Guide contains a grading section with real essays and their explanations tucked into “How to Earn an A,” “How to Earn a B,” and so forth.

I always give two grades: one for content and one for grammar/mechanics. This gives a clearer picture to students about their progress and areas of strength or weakness. You may want to adopt this method, as well. All the new grading grids (except for the sample) reflect the two-grade method.

Will my student learn how to proofread his or her own work?

Yes. Be Your Own Editor, a one-page proofreading tool, teaches students how to catch their own mistakes by asking the right questions. Much time is spent in the textbook showing students how to proofread. In addition, they are asked to evaluate professional and student writing, which gives them a keener eye when evaluating their own work.

Also, in the 2nd Edition, students grapple with common grammar mistakes in a new chapter of that title.


The text uses humor, and some of the writing assignments are light-hearted. Why doesn't the curriculum teach students how to write about important issues?

Humor has been scientifically proven to alleviate fear and engage the more creative parts of the brain. The Power in Your Hands sometimes uses humor as a teaching ally. It is surprising to observe how quickly and completely students lose their fear of writing after they’ve written on the topic of why teachers should not give homework!

Thinking deeply about and writing about the complex political, social, environmental, religious, and other issues of our day are important. Some of the assignments reflect this need. However, making students write about issues while they struggle with the structures of writing is akin to throwing an aspiring athlete into the game before he or she has learned how to play. This textbook focuses on students learning, practicing, and perfecting the writing skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives.




the power in your hands

Take the guesswork and anxiety out of grading essays! Get your FREE sample grading grid here.

Students learn the research skills they need in high school—and beyond!

Frustrated with your current high school writing curriculum? Have your students almost given up on writing? Do they reach for the tissue box when you say, “Write an essay”? Do you worry they won’t be ready for high school or college writing? Do they say they think of things to write but can’t write them down?

With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition, your teens learn writing in a relaxed atmosphere with some humor thrown in. They’ll conquer what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing.

First, they’ll learn to write persuasively, learning persuasive strategies they will have to identify and write about in the new SAT essay. Later, they’ll navigate a comparison-and-contrast essay, a biography, a literary analysis, a research paper with MLA documentation, and much, much more. In addition, students will master description and narration essays.

Written by the same author who wrote Jump In, Apologia’s popular middle school writing curriculum featured in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, this course is the natural next step for those who value college-preparatory material presented in incremental steps with a conversational tone.

With over 100 daily lessons and complete instructions for 21 essays and reports, this is an engaging course students will enjoy–or not dread. And, more good news: the course is self-guided.  It almost teaches itself. Really. Perfect for your reluctant or skilled writer! 

Prerequisites: None.

Christian content? Yes.

SAT Essay Alert: The information in the old edition of The Power in Your Hands for the SAT essay is correct only through January 2016. The SAT essay is changing for the March 2016 test.  Learn more about the new SAT essay and its changes here. Students using the old edition of The Power in Your Hands after January 2016 will want to skip chapter 9 in the textbook.

Download your free sample of the student textbook.

Click here to purchase the student textbook The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition.

Follow this link to purchase the eBook version.

If you are teaching a group of eight or more students, please contact me for a discount.

Teacher’s Guide

Take the guesswork and anxiety out of grading essays with the 2nd edition of this Teacher’s Guide

You spoke, and we listened. The Power in Your Hands, 2nd Edition, Teacher’s Guide includes an easy-to-use grading grid for each essay. Now you can evaluate your teens’ essays by answering simple and clear questions. Whether you are new at grading or a seasoned pro, your nail-biting days are over. Download a FREE sample grading grid here.

Download your FREE sample of the Teacher’s Guide. This download includes the grading grid from chapter 3, which, among other elements, evaluates the thesis statement.

Answers to all the daily lessons are included, along with many student and professional essays from the textbook so you know what your students are reading.

Each assignment includes a specific checklist and writing schedule; these are included in this guide.

Also in the TEACHER’S GUIDE is the 14-Minute Power Surges, a fun program of daily writing prompts geared to interest even the most reluctant writers. This program is similar to Sharon Watson’s 10-Minute Writing Plunges found in Jump In, her popular middle school writing curriculum published by Apologia Educational Ministries.

The course contains some Christian-based content.

No prerequisites needed.

Click here to purchase the Teacher’s Guide to The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition. .

Follow this link to purchase the eBook version.

What Parents are Saying

120801-01-the-power-in-your-hands-teacher-testimonial “Sharon Watson’s course has made a huge difference in how prepared my son and daughter are for college and in their confidence in expressing their views on paper.”

— JAN B.

What Students are Saying

“This course has made a huge impact on my writing. Everyone who has read my work before this course and after agrees.”


“This course taught me that writing a report is not something to be afraid of. If you take it step by step, you can write a great paper every time without feeling intimidated.”


“I didn’t learn anything in my college writing course that I hadn’t already learned in Sharon Watson’s course. In fact, my professor held up my paper in front of the class and said, ‘This is how to write a paper.'”


“Now I like writing because it has become much easier.”

— BEN L.

What Reviewers are Saying

“Even if writing a ‘researched’ paper seems daunting for your student, Watson makes that skill as well as the others taught in this course very attainable by teaching them in increments with instruction, encouragement and examples. Watson’s casual and friendly writing style and her injection of humor also help students overcome any aversion to writing.”

— CATHY DUFFY (Read her full review!)

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