As a classical homeschooling parent and tutor, I am excited to use this curriculum myself, not to mention with my kids. The skill of story writing is brilliantly presented in a user-friendly manner. The fun-loving story, divided up throughout the curriculum, provides the student with a model of story in which to recognize the elements learned in the lessons.
My daughter is home schooled. I pulled her out of public school in the 4th grade. They made her write chapter books since KINDERGARTEN. She reads for hours a day but loathes writing. I didn't push the writing bc she wrote enough for a lifetime in school. I bought this book this summer. She is entering the 6th grade. She LOVED it and devotedly completed one lesson every morning. (on her own free will) The book is completed and now I don't know what to do to keep up the inspiration to write! She told all her friends about the book and two of them are also on their own doing the lessons! Thank u and I hope u come out with a new book ASAP!!!
I know this curriculum is aimed at kids, but I bought it for myself! I am working on a fantasy story and love how clearly the aspects of story are broken down. The exercises are so valuable for my project! I have my sights set on having my youngest pirate take a run through this workbook as well - the authors were surely thinking of a ten year old boy when they decide to come at this from a fun pirate monkey angle! ;-) Or maybe (like so many of us) they are just ten year old kids in grown up bodies. :-)
As a classically minded homeschooler I love that the Grammar of Story teaches the building blocks of what makes up a story. Our three children are all at different levels in their writing ability and some are naturally more creative than others. This workbook had something for each of them - a humorous story that engaged each one, exercises that were simple to understand, and while stretching them creatively, did not require more than they could handle. It also has plenty of review to make sure that they were catching all that was being taught.
I am a teacher trainer and am in schools weekly observing teaching in action and reviewing lesson plans. When I came across this Pirate's Guide, I was delighted to find such engaging lessons. I encourage my teachers to track down authentic, inclusive, interactive and learner-centered curricula. This writing guide meets all those criteria and I highly recommend this as a fun way to bring out the best in emerging writers. This is a swash-buckling approach to getting students to become more proficient writers. Chris' storyline will draw you in and will get you and your students ready to set sail with new stories to be told!
From a Student in a Pirate's Co-op Class:
As a homeschooling parent and creative writer (author), I am often skeptical about curriculum that claim to have a new approach (or better approach) to creative writing. However after reading through the first few pages of this book (seeing if I thought it would work for my junior higher) I realized this was much different then anything I'd ever seen. In fact, I became a little excited about this concept and couldn't wait to pitch it to my kid to see what he thought. The first bits (Chapter Aye and the letter from Yogger) hooked the kid right away. He laughed at the pirate talk and even read it aloud so I could laugh with him. The next few chapters read just like a book, then launched right into some exercises (Similar to Life of Fred, only for creative writing). The exercises were clear and easy to complete and off he went on the next part of the story not even asking if he "had to". That is a true win! While he is not finished yet, he is not treating this curriculum like work! This is an excellent tool and resource for the creative writer!
This book is not a typical book about writing a story. As the title makes clear, this book is about the grammar of story. Just as a sentence needs a structure in order to make sense, a story has to have a structure to be successful in telling its tale. Reading this book and doing its exercises will provide a potential author with well-developed characters, a polished plot with clearly defined conflicts, and a setting that supports the saga.
"A Pirate's Guide..." is a delightful way to introduce someone to the craft of storytelling. In a self-demonstrative kind of way, it interleaves an actual story (of being transported to a magical universe where a story-teaching pirate captain is off to hunt for jelly beans with mystical properties) with pedagogical bits and exercises. It doesn't focus at all on 'grammar' in the usual sense of vocabulary, diction, etc... For that, you'll need to look elsewhere. Rather, it teaches the reader how to think about the 'grammar of story' itself: the larger and more abstract building blocks from which it is possible to construct an engaging narrative. I am heartened to see this kind of creative invitation held out to students or other interested readers. It's a welcome relief from the typical focus on low-level mechanics of writing on one hand or mere discussion (rather than creation) of literary works on the other. For that reason I recommend it especially for those teaching literature or writing.