I was really anxious to review the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition by Home School Adventure Co. with my 7th grader.
WHAT IS IT?:
The Creative Freewriting Adventure product comes in the regular edition and the coloring book edition. We tried out the coloring edition, which is identical to the regular version with the addition of one coloring page for each of the 10 story-writing adventures.
This is a short freewriting program that uses story starters and probing questions to encourage students to let their creative ideas flow from their fingertips and onto the paper, not worrying about grammar, punctuation, or style. Students are encouraged to set a timer for just 15 minutes and let their imaginations take over from there!
The regular edition is available in both print and digital formats. The coloring book edition, which we used, comes only in digital format for just $21.95.
Haylee is in 7th grade, and I’ve never really pressured her to do a formal writing program. She was always resistant to the idea, and I didn’t want her to develop an early distaste for writing by being forced to do it when she wasn’t ready and/or interested. I figured in time, she’d start to take an interest naturally, and then we’d work on structure when she was older. So instead, we focused on basic grammar and punctuation and read lots of solid literature over the years.
We dabbled in a couple of things over time. In elementary school, I just had her free-write in a story journal where she’d draw a picture and write about anything on her mind…usually just a couple of sentences. It wasn’t until this year that I got her doing some informal writing, and she started taking an interest in it and not complaining. So when the opportunity came up to try out this freewriting program, I thought it would be the perfect time to add this in so she could get even more comfortable with getting her thoughts from her head to the paper. She’s a creative kid anyway, and she loves to color, so we chose the coloring book edition so that she’d have those extra coloring pages available when she wanted them.
Each assignment in this program gives an introduction to a topic or tale (whether based on an existing book or pure fantasy), and it sets up the beginning of an adventurous writing prompt, encouraging the student to finish this scene in the story by describing to the reader what happens next. A series of questions are given to help guide the student to think through the next events. The questions are broken down into categories like background, dialogue, and incorporating your senses. This really got her creative juices flowing!
The printable workbook gives a full blank page where the student can write openly for 15 minutes without worrying about perfect grammar and punctuation. That way, the “rules” of writing don’t hamper the student’s creativity. I have to say that this proved true, because Haylee truly surprised me with this program! She never complained about the writing assignments, and I didn’t even need to set the timer, because she just scribbled down her story until she literally ran out of room on the paper! Then she would read the story prompt aloud to me, along with the rest of the story she’d created. She got so wrapped up in some of them, and they turned out to be pretty exciting! She incorporated plenty of dialogue, which I’d never seen her do before (thanks to the provided questions), and most of the time, she didn’t even bother to color the coloring pages, which blew my mind! But it was nice to have them available for when she did want to color one.
She completed the program in no time, doing at least 3 of the writing assignments each week. I really like how the freewriting program got her into writing down her stories so quickly. It wasn’t a long, involved process that bogged her down and discouraged her from completing assignments. It was just the opposite! I’m very impressed. Now don’t get me wrong. I can see from reading her stories that she paid even less attention than usual to avoiding run-on sentences and properly using punctuation marks in dialogue, probably because she knew I wouldn’t be critiquing her on that. But for this project, grammar and punctuation were not the primary goal…it was getting her thoughts on paper, which she did earnestly. Bravo!
Now, I think she will be less afraid to tackle writing assignments in the future, and next school year, we’ll be ready to learn about more formal writing. I’m thankful that she had this opportunity to see firsthand how writing doesn’t have to be dull and really can be a fun adventure!
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