Writers in Residence: A Review of Apologia’s Homeschool Writing Curriculum

As the mom of an eleven year-old who loves to write, you would think we could use any old homeschool writing curriculum and be satisfied.

Well, that’s true to some extent. We could work with nearly any writing curriculum, but that doesn’t mean every writing curriculum out there will guide my eager writer through the process, give him the tools he needs to grow, and challenge him to step out of his comfort zone.

The good news is that I found a writing curriculum that does all of those things and I’m excited to tell you more about it!

Writers in Residence: A Review of Apologia's Homeschool Writing Curriculum

*I received a free copy of Writers in Residence for review and have been compensated for my time writing this. These thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Also, this post contains affiliate links. See disclosure for additional information.

You already know that we’re using two language arts resources from Apologia this year if you’ve checked out our 7th Grade homeschool curriculum picks. I shared about one of those resources, Readers in Residence, a couple of weeks ago and now I’m happy to tell you what I’ve learned about Writers in Residence.

Writers in Residence: A review of Apologia’s Homeschool Writing Curriculum

You may be like me in the sense that science immediately comes to mind when you think of Apologia. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve even relied on their What We Believe series to help your kids with Christian worldview.

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It turns out that Apologia is more than a go-to publisher for science and worldview curriculum. Apologia is now changing the way we approach language arts in our homeschool. One of the ways that’s happening is through Writers in Residence.

Writers in Residence Overview

Writers in Residence is a writing-focused language arts program for grades 4-8 that teaches students to communicate effectively through writing. This happens through author interviews, emphasis on grammar components like sentence structure, parts of speech, and usage, and engaging writing assignments.

The Writers in Residence program comes in a worktext format, meaning it’s a textbook and workbook all in one. The worktext consists of six units that focus on sentences, creative writing, research writing, opinion essays, autobiographies, and short stories. Within these six units, four types of writing tasks are presented:

  • I remember tasks – writing prompts based on personal experiences
  • I imagine tasks – creative writing assignments that include elements of fiction that draw upon memories and experiences
  • I investigate – writing prompts that introduce research skills and research writing
  • I think – writing prompts that teach the fundamentals of argument writing.

Writers in Residence: A Review of Apologia's Homeschool Writing Curriculum
Also worth noting, Apologia’s biblically-based posture is weaved into the pages of Writers in Residence. In the student welcome pages, author Debra Bell reminds us of the following:

Our ability to create — stories, poems, reports,and even essays — is one way we are made in the likeness of God. Using our creativity shows how we are like our Father in heaven.

Now that you know a bit about the curriculum, I want to share our experience with Writers in Residence.

Our Path to Apologia’s Homeschool Writing Curriculum

The thing you need to know about my writer is that he’s been working on a book for more than a year now. He has an epic story in his mind and, while he’s been working to get it out of his mind and on paper, he’s learning that there’s more to writing than getting it on paper. Structure, clarity, and attention to detail all have to be present in his writing if he’s going to share this story of his.

So, I need you to know that I believe in freewriting. I believe in supporting all the natural ways that writing shows up in our day-to-day lives. I even believe in a language-rich homeschool atmosphere that lays the foundation for a love of words and sharing them.

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I believe in all of those things and happily integrate them into our homeschooling lifestyle, but my writer now needs more than those things to help him take his next steps. That’s why he jumped at the chance to explore Writers in Residence. He’s an Apologia fan through and through and welcomed the idea of trusting them to coach him in his writing.

Writers in Residence: A Review of Apologia's Homeschool Writing Curriculum

What I Love About Writers in Residence

My kiddo has been working through Writers in Residence for a couple of months now and I’ve discovered several things that set this homeschool writing curriculum apart from others we’ve used.

1. More Than Composition

I’ve come across several writing programs in the past that focus solely on providing writing exercises. Writers in Residence is different from those because there’s great emphasis on grammar, punctuation, and usage in addition to writing instruction.

Writers in Residence: A Review of Apologia's Homeschool Writing Curriculum

If you’re looking for a book of writing prompts, this isn’t it. On its own, Writers in Residence thoroughly teaches fundamental language arts components through the lens of writing. Combined with Readers in Residence, it’s a more than a homeschool writing curriculum. It becomes a complete language arts curriculum.

2. Requires Little Parental Involvement

Since Writers in Residence is aimed at grades 4-8, it makes sense that parental involvement would vary with homeschool makeup. My kids, however, are 5 and 11 years-old, and I’m grateful for the independent nature that Writers in Residence encourages.

I’m in a season of homeschool that requires lots of one-on-one time with my daughter. That’s why I welcome opportunities for my son to work independently through his Writers in Residence lessons.

I’m also grateful for the help provided to parents through Writers in Residence. There’s a suggested daily schedule included in the worktext. That’s a huge help for parents who aren’t quite sure how to divide each module into reasonable chunks.

Writers in Residence: A Review of Apologia's Homeschool Writing Curriculum
In addition to the daily schedule included in the worktext, the Writers in Residence Answer Key provides detailed explanations for grading rubrics, checklists, and evaluation guidelines. These are extremely helpful since students work through the curriculum independently.

3. Introduces Authors

Lastly, I appreciate how Writers in Residence highlights authors throughout the curriculum. This happens through expert models that provide examples of specific writing methods from notable authors like Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, and Mary Pope Osborne.

Writers in Residence also introduces students to several Christian authors. I especially appreciate this because it provides concrete examples of people who are using their writing skills to fulfill God’s calling on their lives. In other words, it helps kids connect the dots and see why writing well matters. 

Bottom Line: I happily recommend Writers in Residence to other homeschool families. My kiddo enjoys this homeschool writing curriculum and it’s a great match for our lifestyle and family culture. Additionally, it’s exceeded my expectations because of the way it integrates grammar principles and real examples of authors who serving God through writing. 

Where to Find Writers in Residence

Ready to learn more? You can download a sample of Debra Bell’s homeschool writing curriculum or visit ChristianBook.com to purchase Writers in Residence.