Last year Jaden and Jerah both took a writing class from another homeschool mom who used the Write Shop curriculum. At the time, Jerah already enjoyed writing, but Jaden changed from hating writing to developing a real love for it as a direct result of the class. I was so excited to see both of them so eager to write!
So this school year I looked for a curriculum that would help them develop their writing skills — and I found one that has more than exceeded my expectations.
One Year Adventure Novel
Written for students 8th-12th grade, OYAN is a DVD-based curriculum consisting of 78 lessons. OYAN creator Daniel Schwabauer takes students step-by-step through a process that ends with the creation of an original, fully structured adventure novel. He does an excellent job teaching about what makes a story a story, one that not only engages the reader's interest, but that has real meaning.
Students learn about the art (and dare I say science?) of storytelling. OYAN is not a curriculum about grammar, spelling or topic sentences. It's a fun but intense study about the structure and elements of story. At the end, not only will students be able to write their own novel, but they'll have a much better understanding — and appreciation — of other literature.
How does OYAN work?
Students watch the lesson on the DVD, read the lesson in the textbook (The Compass), and then complete the assignment in the workbook (The Map), usually consisting of thought provoking questions which help the students flesh out their novel. Students outline and plan their novel during the first half of the curriculum, then spend the last half doing the actual writing. You can read FAQs about OYAN here.
We worked through 36 lessons in the curriculum before checking out the OYAN forum, and I'm a bit upset that it took me so long to register my kids. The forum is incredible!
Only students who have purchased the OYAN curriculum can register on the forum, which makes it quite an exclusive community. I say exclusive, but that doesn't mean that it's a small community. There are well over 1,000 registered members and 25-35 of them are usually online at any one time. It's a very active forum to say the least.
On the forum the OYANers talk writing, critique each other's works, write cooperative stories, and chat about any number of other writing-related topics.
The supportive atmosphere among the members is quite evident, and I've been very pleased with how well the forum is moderated. I am very comfortable with my kids participating. They'll be having fun, but they'll be learning and improving their writing at the same time. Definitely a win-win situation.
Mr. Schwabauer also offers free Webinars for OYAN students during which he talks about specific aspect of writing. Webinars are interactive, so students are able to ask questions in real time. We've not done a Webinar yet, but we're planning to attend next week's Webinar on the subject of "Dread."
Summer Writing Workshop
While investigating the forum this last week, I also discovered that OYAN will be holding a writing workshop this upcoming summer. In true OYAN style, it's billed as "4 full days of epic epicness" — and I have no doubt it will be exactly that. Fun, information, and educational. The workshop is definitely something the kids are excited about attending.
Free Demo DVD
When we first looked into using OYAN, I ordered a free demo DVD that contained sample lessons and a thorough explanation about how the curriculum works. If you're interested in learning more about OYAN, I'd strongly suggest you order a free demo DVD. If you want to look at some samples lessons from the written part of the OYAN curriculum, you can see them here.
Other Worlds Curriculum
We'll be finishing up the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum this year, but thankfully that won't be the end. Next year we'll be using Mr. Schwabauer's Other Worlds curriculum which is about writing science fiction and fantasy.
We're obviously in love with OYAN. What about you? Have you heard about One Year Adventure Novel before?
For more curriculum reviews, visit the Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup at The Happy Housewife.