Quirky yet seriously educational, A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story is a new and fresh take on what can be a complex subject.
I have a confession to make. When I was first offered a sample of A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story to review I thought I was reviewing a grammar curriculum. Imagine my surprise when I received a course, not about sentence structure, but about story structure. As I began to delve into the curriculum, though, I was pleasantly surprised. The “pirate jargon” of the storyline is fun and not overwhelming except for the intro section. However, the authors have graciously provided a normal speech translation of the introduction in the back of the guide for parents to read.
The Pirates Guide writing curriculum is split into 26 individual lessons. Based on the author’s recommendations of 20 minutes 2-3 times a week, this should take your child 6-13 weeks to complete. There are several lessons, however, that I estimate will take more than one session. If you are curriculum working this into an existing homeschool plan I would plan for at least 13 weeks if not an entire semester to complete this.
Each section gives instruction on a specific aspect of building a story. Each section contains some instruction and then several exercises that reinforce the material. By the end of the course, your child has all of the tools necessary to write a well-rounded story.
Some of the topics covered in this course include:
- Character values
- Character contradictions
- Princess and villain
While the sections slowly build upon each other, there are several places where the author has children stop and write a story themselves. In this manner, by the time your child has completed this course, they will have written several pieces of creative writing. This curriculum also include a “Heave Ho!” section and a “Scratch Yer Noggin’” section. The “Heave Ho!” section gives your students more challenging questions or activities to stretch their abilities. The “Scratch Yer Noggin” section functions as a unit or end of chapter quiz.
Who is this meant for?
This course is meant for children 8 years old and older. The media kit for A Pirate’s Guide states that they suggest that kids 8-11 work under the guidance of a parent or teacher and kids 11 and above can complete this course independently.
My kids are ages 16, 13 and 4. This was the sample set that I evaluated this course against.
Would my 16-year-old truly be able to complete this course independently? Absolutely. In fact, I worried at first that there wouldn’t be a whole lot that my daughter would get out of the course simply because it’s targeted at a bit younger of a set. However, she and I did the first several lessons together and found that we both came away feeling that we had learned something.
Would my 13-year-old be able to complete this course independently? The answer to that is a resounding NO. However my son has Asperger’s and ADHD, so requires extra support. I do feel, however, that the systematic nature of this course would work well with my son’s special needs. Although the language in the storyline is flowery, the structure and the core instructional material is very clear and understandable for him.
Finally, is there anything in this course that I could offer my preschooler? I fully believe in teaching involving my youngest son in everything the older two learn (after all, he is the only one that is doing full-time time homeschool with no public school component). What I found is that although he is not fully writing yet, I was able to do a modified version of the activities with him verbally. For example, we did the mindstorming activity as a family game with the kids calling out the words and me writing them on our whiteboard.
The title of A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story I think was slightly misleading. Yet, what serendipity that I happened upon this course. Finding a quality creative writing course that is usable by a wide range of ages is not easy to do. A Pirate’s Guide proved to be quirky enough to excite smaller children and teens alike. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t live pirates?
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