Understanding Writing

Susan Bradrick

This popular curriculum is now out of print.  One of our customers has a used copy for sale.  If you are interested, please contact us by email.

UNDERSTANDING WRITING is a Christ-centered, mastery-oriented, English Language and Composition Curriculum for grades 1-12 in which Mrs Bradrick has successfully combined the teaching of language and composition skills in a format that is totally Christ-centered in philosophy, and adapts easily to multi-level teaching. Her approach to writing places equal emphasis on development of skills and development of godly character.

UNDERSTANDING WRITING was written to correspond with the information present in the two recommended handbooks [Rod & Staff English Handbook and Abeka Handbook of English Grammar - both available from Light Educational Ministries in Canberra], and the instruction and exercises are keyed to the exact terminology and examples used in these resources. The text teaches students to refer to a dictionary, a thesaurus, and the recommended English handbooks at all levels.

The UNDERSTANDING WRITING manual consists of over 300 pages in a ring binder, and is divided into three sections:
  • the theory of writing
  • the basic elements of writing [which include content, style and mechanics]
  • daily lessons for teaching "effective, God-honouring written communication."
The content contains eight levels covering grades 1-12, that can be easily mastered during your children's school years. Every student will need to start in Level 1 or 2, regardless of age - older children simply move through the levels at a faster pace. An excellent diagnostic check list is included to help you evaluate what your child knows and needs to learn.

Students are instructed to write about personal experiences and observations, rather than fiction. Constant reminders are given to honour and please the Lord, and to write of first hand experiences. [Suggested topics are included in the appendix.]

Because the thrust of this curriculum is mastery of God-honouring communication, most composition assignments are to be written for a specific reader. They are also to be actually delivered (usually in letter form) to that individual so that a habit of skilful, genuine communication is the result of the student’s writing study.

A reproducible Composition Planning and Evaluation Sheet is used to help students think through their composition before they begin, then provide key areas for parents to address in their evaluations.

Lessons are designed to last about twenty minutes per day with the elementary levels taught by the parent. Upper levels are designed for fairly independent work and may last 45-60 minutes.

By the end of the program, you and your students will be proficient in serving the Lord through descriptive, narrative, informative, and persuasive writing—all the writing types that are used singly or in combination in any kind of writing you will do. This is not an independent study curriculum. Lessons are dependent upon teacher presentation at all levels, although students in junior and senior high should be able to do most of their grammar work and some of their writing independently.

Lessons are structured in units with daily assignments that include a balance of discussion and writing time that varies according to a child’s level. While most lessons require no parent preparation time, the few that do state this clearly at the beginning of the lesson.

It is not recommend to continue with another grammar program while using UNDERSTANDING WRITING.

Mrs Bradrick believes it is most important for students to learn how to use their grammar knowledge practically while learning to write, much the way piano students learn how to use music theory as they increase their skill in playing the piano. Grammar is taught gradually & systematically throughout UNDERSTANDING WRITING and interwoven with instruction in the various other writing skills. Students will likely be saying (or thinking) as they proceed through the program: “Aha! This is why I have been learning all these grammar terms and facts! Now it makes sense!”

Mrs Bradrick, a former English teacher, has used her curriculum to teach her own nine (now grown) children with much success. You may also be encouraged to know that there are now hundreds of UNDERSTANDING WRITING graduates, many of whom have impressed employers, college instructors, and others with their abilities to write—something extremely rare in our culture. Quite a number of these graduates are published authors of articles and books.

Please be aware that comprehensive as UNDERSTANDING WRITING is, there are some areas of language arts not included: phonics (learning to read), penmanship (letter formation), reading, spelling, and literature.

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