One Year Adventure Novel, Homeschool Writing Curriculum Review

We found a creative writing curriculum that has inspired our kids.

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.

OYAN Forum

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.

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  1. says

    I have never heard of this! I'm ordering the demo right now. My kids are always writing stories of all types, and one daughter has a 64-chapter draft done. This sounds like a perfect curriculum to hone their craft. Thanks!!!


    Joy Reply:

    You'll LOVE it. It's NOT your typical writing curriculum, as I said in my post. And the Schwabauers are wonderful people, and care so much about the students. I'd love to hear how you and your kids like it if you choose to use it. My daughter is doing the second module for it, Other Worlds, this coming year. She is SO excited.


  2. Maris says

    Joy, I forgot to get your card, but I found your blog through this review. I echo everything you shared in your writeup. My 3 oldest boys went through the curriculum last year and all completed a story. I was especially surprised that my 12 year old, Seth, wrote a story. I allowed him to watch the videos and do the assignments with his brothers although I did not purchase a workbook for him thinking he wasn't ready for it.

    Seth not only completed the story, but his spelling, vocabulary and sentence structure all improved (without tears, I might add)! I did not expect the curriculum to be so much fun, as well as inspiring. Ad a result, my children are all writing because they WANT to. They also have developed some very advanced writing techniques from Mr. S. I also agree the the Schwabauers care deeply for the students in their program.

    Our house is all abuzz about next year's OYAN summer writing workshop. I will be bringing at least one more son next year. One year Adventure novel was one of the best investments I have made in homeschool curriculum in my 13 years of homeschooling!


    Joy Reply:

    @Maris, It was so great to meet you at the workshop! My kids both had a great time, too, even my reluctant-writer son. We're planning to attend the workshop next year as well. I'm not entirely sure what Jerah's reaction would be if we DIDN'T go next year…and I don't want to find out! :) This curriculum has been SUCH a blessing!


  3. Felicia says

    This is my first year using the One Year Adventure Novel program and I love it! 😀 It has helped me so much! I have always liked writing short stories, poems, and screen plays, but all my attempts at writing a novel failed. They all failed until I started the OYAN program. Now I'm halfway through my first book. ^_^ And I have about a million ideas for more books! The DVD's are great and the Map book really exercises my imagination and helps me figure out how I'm going to do a specific chapter, or rescue my hero from a pack of blood thirsty wolves. (Or perhaps just hand him a dagger and let him fend for himself gladiator style. O.O) Also the Summer Workshops are supposed to be a lot of fun! I'm going for the first time this year. I'm sure it will live up to its reputation! 😀 I definitely recommend the curriculum to any young beginning writers! 😀 The OYAN community is awesome. If I'm having a bad day and I can't seem to write anything, I can find an abundance of support from my fellow writers on the forum. I've made a few really good friends there that I hope to see this summer. :)


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