Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

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Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by Carrie » Sun May 17, 2015 3:57 pm


I am excited to share another sneak peek with you from our upcoming American History guide. :D Today's peek is about the composition part of the English credit for the upcoming guide. Just to give you a fuller picture, I'll share that the English credit in high school is typically comprised of literature, grammar, composition, and vocabulary. These areas can be covered in any combination of ways, however usually they are all represented somehow within the credit. The combined English credit often leans toward 150 hours or more in a year for a credit. :D With this in mind, the piece I am sharing today has to do with the composition and grammar portion of the English credit. :D

Our plan for the new American History guide is to schedule Creative Writing That Puts You in Their Sandals for the area of composition. We will alternate this course with the first half of Rod and Staff English 8 so that students will do In Their Sandals twice weekly and Rod and Staff twice weekly. :D Usually, we will plan for the time slot that these two alternating subjects share to take approximately 35-40 min. each day. Students will complete the first half of Rod and Staff 8 in the first American History Guide and will complete the last half of English 8 in the final high school American History Guide yet to come. Of course, students who are new to HOD (or who came to Rod and Staff late) may be on a different Rod and Staff sequence, however I just wanted to share our "ideal". :D

The combination of In Their Sandals and Rod and Staff English 8 works well, since the first half of English 8 covers expository, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive paragraphs; outlining; writing compositions; proofreading; researching; note-taking; and developing oral and written reports. Yet, In Their Sandals is a strong program on its own as it takes students through the writing process (teaching many elements of literature and composition along the way) and guides them in writing from various styles and points of view. It includes note taking and writing from notes, summarizing narrative stories from varying viewpoints, summarizing multiple references, researching for reports, epistolary writing, and creative writing, as well as taking students through the writing process (i.e. research/prewrite, outline plot, develop descriptions, write, apply, revise). This composition course hits areas of writing that are often neglected, and also goes well with the New Testament Survey we will be doing for Bible in the upcoming American History Guide. :D I am very excited about In Their Sandals, and the differing approach to writing provided in this course. I pray your students may be drawn into the creative writing process and be drawn closer to our Lord through the process. :D

Publisher's Description of In Their Sandals:
God is a master storyteller, and for proof we need look no further than His Word. He gave us the Bible to share the best story of all—the one of His glory and love. As we read the Word and meditate on what we find there, God will give us a better understanding of Himself, the Author and the Hero of Scripture.

This study challenges you to look deep into the Bible, to read it, to meditate on it, to experience it like the characters you see, as if you were "In Their Sandals." You'll tackle creative writing exercises that ask you to think hard about Scripture. You'll learn writing disciplines that help you communicate truth clearly and concisely. And as you abide in the Word, you'll discover how God reveals Himself through it all. :D

By the end of this study, students will . . .
*Write eight stories based on events and characters from Scripture
*Read Scripture meditatively, with a mind to seek God's majesty in His Word, then share Him with others
*Research the historical and cultural context behind well-known Bible stories
*Approach writing systematically, with appropriate research, preparation, drafting, and revision
*Practice the disciplines of a good writer
*Build a basic literary vocabulary
*Understand the importance and use of certain grammar structures

Sample to "see inside" In Their Sandals Student Book: ... NuxWGU.pdf

Featuring reformatted content taken from the self-contained Student Manual, this free downloadable Teacher's Resource document allows the parent or instructor to follow their students through each lesson and writing exercise. Link to free downloadable Teacher's Resource: ... ources.pdf

Read Cathy Duffy's review of In Their Sandals below and also linked here: ... andals.htm :D
Positive Action for Christ is best known for their great Bible study courses, but In Their Sandals is a gem of a book that launches from Bible study into composition. It might be used as an adjunct to Bible studies. But it really provides serious, structured work in developing composition skills, so it is better suited to that as its primary purpose.

Creative writing assignments are based on detailed study of biblical stories. For example, the first lesson is to write a story as if the student were one of the "hog farmers" whose herd of swine drowned in the story related in Mark 5: 1-20, while another lesson, “The Inn and the Stable,” is based on Luke 2: 1-20.

There are eight lessons in the book. Lessons are divided into sections so it's easy to figure out how much students should tackle each day. Suggested lesson plans offer schedules for spending either one or two weeks per lesson. Expanded lesson plans allow more time for each step of the process as well as time on the last day for sharing the story with classmates (for those in a group class).

The 2013 edition of In Their Sandals has added more instructional information in the introduction. That information is so useful that you should plan to add additional lesson time to go through it with students before tackling the lessons themselves. The lessons themselves really walk students through the writing process with many brief writing prompts to help students develop their story bit by bit. Students really learn how to construct a story!

Some helpful details and background information are provided for some of the biblical passages. While this enhances understanding of Scripture, it also makes it easier for students to “put themselves into the story" and write in a more interesting fashion.

At the same time, the course helps students who already know how to construct a story to refine their writing skills. For example, the "Rough" section in one lesson presents five different strategies each for beginning and ending a story, with an explanation of each one.

The fourth part of each lesson has students step back from the writing process to do some spiritual application using the Scripture passage used for the story and other passages—essentially a Bible study. Design of this section in each lesson seems much improved over the original with more subjective questions for the study itself, and good personal application questions.

The final part of each lesson is revision of what the student has written. This section always has the students revise for "economy, variety, and clarity." But each revision section also has a unique "Tools of Grammar" lesson that reviews a particular grammatical or usage concept then directs students to apply it in some fashion to the piece they have just written.

I expect that in most situations the teacher/parent will work through at least the first lesson with students to help them understand the methodology. Once students have experienced a lesson, they might be able to work independently a good part of the time, although some discussion is still required. This course design makes it ideal for a homeschool group meeting once or twice a week.

The final lesson in the book differs from the others. Students are free to select their own Bible passage from which they will develop their story. The lesson includes general prompts rather than the specific questions found in the rest of the lessons. This is an excellent way of ensuring that students are able to apply skills and strategies they have been learning with little assistance.

Two pages of "Extra Exercises" at the back of the book provide suggestions for nine additional writing projects from other genres such as a monologue, a poem, and a brief article.

I really liked the original version of this course, but this latest version is even better with the additional instructional material and improved questions throughout the lessons that should really help students become enthusiastic story writers. And the fact that this happens by using Scripture as the source material is a real bonus. In addition, the price is unbeatable; the student book is inexpensive, and the teacher manual is a free download at the publisher's website.

Table of Contents of Rod and Staff English 8 (first 5 chapters): :D
Chapter 1 - Sentence Elements - Writing Letters
1. The Gift of Language
2. Writing Friendly Letters
3. Complete Sentences
4. Subjects and Predicates
5. Subjective Complements
6. Writing Business Letters
7. Object Complements
8. Objective Complements
9. Appositives and Independent Elements
10. Chapter 1 Review

Chapter 2 - Sentence Structure - Writing Paragraphs
11. Sentence Types and Word Order
12. Phrases and Clauses
13. Paragraph Unity and Topic Sentences
14. Simple and Compound Sentences
15. Complex Sentences
16. Compound-Complex Sentences
17. Sentence Styles
18. Achieving Paragraph Coherence
19. Transition Between Paragraphs
20. Chapter 2 Review

Chapter 3 - Mechanics - Developing Paragraphs
21. Capitalization
22. End Punctuation
23. Commas
24. Types of Compositions
25. More Comma Rules
26. Quotation Marks
27. Colons and Semicolons
28. Methods of Developing Paragraphs
29. Dashes, Parentheses, and Brackets
30. Italics (Underlining) and Numbers
31. Apostrophes and Hyphens
32. More Methods of Developing Paragraphs
33. Chapter 3 Review

Chapter 4 - Nouns - Using Outlines
34. Nouns and Substantives
35. Outlining
36. Plural Nouns
37. Possessive Nouns
38. Developing an Outline From a List of Notes
39. Using an Outline to Write a Composition
40. Verbals and Verbal Phrases Used as Nouns
41. Noun Clauses
42. Proofreading Your Composition
43. Chapter 4 Review

Chapter 5 - Verbs - Preparing and Giving Reports
44. Gathering Information About a Topic
45. Identifying Verbs
46. Principal Parts of Verbs
47. Organizing Your Notes
48. Simple Verb Tenses
49. Perfect Verb Tenses
50. Simple, Progressive, and Emphatic Forms of Verbs
51. Giving an Oral Report
52. Transitive Verbs
53. Intransitive Complete Verbs
54. Writing a Report From Your Notes
55. Intransitive Linking Verbs
56. Proofreading and Rewriting a Report
57. Chapter 5 Review


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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by LynnH » Sun May 17, 2015 6:56 pm

What an interesting writing program! I'm not a big fan of creative writing in high school, but this one is so unique and really involves so many different facets. My daughter who just finished her sophomore year was sitting hear as I read the description out loud and she said that sounded like it would be a very useful course for some of the more unique type of papers she had to write for her composition course and for her bible course at her college. She also liked the critical thinking element that was involved in it. I am always amazed at the resources you come up with.
Mom to:
dd 22 college graduate and employed as an Intervention Specialist
ds 18 US2, Loved Preparing, CTC , RTR , Rev to Rev, MTMM ,WG, WH and US1

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by Nealewill » Sun May 17, 2015 7:41 pm

Thank you so much for sharing yet another sneak peek. The book looks amazing and I can't wait for my kids to get old enough to use it!

DD 13 WG
DS 12 R2R
DD 10 R2R

Enjoyed DITHOR, Little Hearts, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, RevtoRev, MtMM

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by Mumkins » Sun May 17, 2015 8:38 pm

I'm really excited about this! My daughter loves to write! I think this course will be very beneficial for her.
7 awesome kids!

1 graduated
1 at highschool
4 at a Christian school
1 sweet toddler

Hoping to homeschool again!

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by countrymom » Mon May 18, 2015 6:41 am

What a neat program! I am very excited even though we are years away.
Wife to J
Big J - LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, Rev to Rev, Modern Missions, beginning parts of World Geography
Little J - LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, working in CTC

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by andreacress » Mon May 18, 2015 12:34 pm

Wow! The Sandals writing curriculum looks fantastic. My son tends to shy away from creative writing, but I think this will provide enough structure that he will see it's doable and even fun. Thanks so much, Carrie, for your well-researched, thoughtful picks.
Andrea in FL

ds, 10th grade, World History Guide

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by holdinon » Mon May 18, 2015 3:49 pm

2013-2014 year:
Geography, CtC, Preparing, Bigger, Beyond, and Little Hearts (and surviving!)

(Completed LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, Preparing, CtC, RtR, and RevtRev)

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by billswife » Mon May 18, 2015 4:13 pm

We are returning to Rod and Staff this year. We stopped at R & S 5. So would it be ok to do R & S 6 next year and not R & S 8? Will it still be an effective and good part of the writing program for an 11th grader? I'm not sure he could handle the higher level book.

DS 17 New American History
DD 13 Rev to Rev

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by Carrie » Mon May 18, 2015 4:19 pm


I do think that it would be best in your son's situation to do English 6. Rod and Staff is still a very strong program at that level in combination with In Their Sandals. Rod and Staff is such a strong English program that any levels your child can get through are a blessing (and most likely far beyond what public school kiddos are receiving in the English area currently). There is no need to rush through Rod and Staff, as it is steady progress that truly endures. I would do it twice weekly as scheduled in the new American History Guide, finishing the last half of English 6 in your son's final year.


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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by StillJulie » Mon May 18, 2015 4:27 pm

This looks so excellent! I'm really excited. I'd never heard of this company or program before (and I especially like the price :P )
16yo DD using US History 1 for 11th grade
14yo DS using World Geography for 9th grade
13yo DS using Rev to Rev for 7th grade
10yo DD using Creation to Christ for 5th grade
8yo DD using Bigger for 3rd grade
7yo DD using Beyond Hearts for 2nd grade

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by school4princesses » Mon May 18, 2015 9:24 pm

I want to get this for me!
DD 16 (in a performing arts charter school)
DD 14 (WH)
DD 10 (CTC)

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by stacey05 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:31 am

If we don't do Rod and Staff for English (we are using something else that is only grammar) and we do IEW SWI C and SWI CC, would it still be beneficial to add in this writing program? I guess I am asking if IEW could replace the R&S composition? Or would it be too confusing to have this writing program and the IEW? We will definitely be using IEW, so I am wondering if this would be beneficial or not to alternate with it. Thanks!

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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by Carrie » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:49 am


I do think that In Their Sandels has skills wound within it that are not necessarily a strength of IEW, or of many other writing programs for that matter. :wink: While it would definitely be of benefit to use In Their Sandels, it is worth pondering how writing heavy your student's work load already is and to consider how your student feels about writing overall.

If you do choose to add In Their Sandels, I would be inclined to omit some units from IEW to compensate for this addition (like the writing from pictures unit from IEW for sure). Balance is key in high school, and it is so easy to get out of balance quickly by adding without taking anything away. Yet, I do believe that In Their Sandels approaches writing in a way that differs from what most students have experienced curriculum-wise in writing and that makes it a program worth considering! :D


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Re: Sneak Peek #6: New American History Guide

Post by stacey05 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:04 am

Thank you, Carrie! That was helpful and gave me something to think about! I'm excited about this new guide! My daughter is loving WH right now and has really taken ownership of it! :)

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