Monday, February 2, 2009

One Year Adventure Novel

Wow. My first reaction upon opening the box containing the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum was an exclamation of pleasant surprise. I was impressed immediately. OYAN is very professionally done and visually exciting, but would my interest continue after I actually took it out of the box? You bet.

The One Year Adventure Novel is a high school writing curriculum that will guide your student through writing an adventure novel in one school year, just as the title suggests. All the teaching is done for you by author Daniel Schwabauer via seven DVDs. You also receive a textbook, workbook, Teacher's Guide, and the adventure novel, The Prisoner of Zenda. It can be used three days per week for about an hour and a half each time, or you can spread it over five days at about an hour per day. Upon completion your student will have earned one credit in English.

Daniel guides your student through setting up her novel, setting parameters to help her find success in what can be an overwhelming prospect. He states in the first lesson that "boundaries inspire creativity" and then has your student perform an exercise effectively demonstrating this principle. The limitations he gives the student provides definition and shape and breaks the novel writing process into chunks a high schooler should be able to manage.

The program is set up in two semesters. The first semester is spent looking at good stories to help your student understand the elements of story, outlining the novel, and writing several chapters. The workbook will be completed by the end of the first semester. The second semester is similar to the first but instead of answering questions in the workbook, the student will be writing the novel.

The textbook is referred to as The Compass and the workbook is called The Map. They both completely lived up to my expectations, as I found them to be appealing, well laid out, and easy to follow.

The DVDs did not disappoint either. Daniel Schwabauer is easy to listen to and quite interesting. These are professional looking DVDs and include video clips that illustrate his points. Again, I was very impressed and quite excited about this wonderful program!

Each day your student will watch the DVD lesson (these usually run about fifteen minutes, but they can be up to thirty minutes long). She will then turn to The Compass where she will read an excerpt of a story and answer questions. Some days there will be a chapter of The Prisoner of Zelda assigned. Then it will be time to work in The Map or write the novel. Every third lesson there is a quiz.

As all the teaching is done on DVD, there is no prep work and it is very easy for the parent to use. All that is required for you is to read your child's novel as they write it and provide feedback. Daniel gives you simple instruction on how to provide the feedback your student needs. He also gives you a basic grading Rubric, which is explained in the teacher's guide, so that you have an objective way to provide your student with a grade at the end of the year.

The web site states that "The content of this product is licensed, not sold, to you by Daniel Schwabauer for the exclusive use of one student in your household. Household means you and your immediate family living in the same residence. Additional students in your household may use this product under this household license if they purchase a separate workbook and forum registration." I'm not fond of this type of restriction but it wouldn't keep me from using this product. Even at $199, it is less expensive than many of the writing courses I have looked at for myself. It may be more pricey than the typical High School English program, but I feel like the quality of the instruction is worth the cost, especially if you have a student who would flourish with a less typical English program.

You can request a free demo DVD on the One Year Adventure Novel web site. Check it out! This is one product that's going on my list of favorites. Maybe it'll be one of yours as well.

My thirteen year old is chomping at the bit to get started but I am holding him off until we can devote the full year to this program. I am looking forward to watching the DVD's with him and gleaning what I can to help with my own writing! I will update late next year and share our experiences upon completion.


Tammy said...

I'm so glad you gave this a thumbs up. I wanted to review this one, but wasn't chosen I have an aspiring writer in our home, and I think, I'll get this one for her!

Lori said...

I've used another one year novel program in the past and find this one to be much more exciting and engaging. :-) Hope you guys love it! Let me know what you think when you get it.

MaryEllen said...

Sold! I am so glad you reviewed this. I'd never have known about it otherwise. After I received it and my son investigated the package, he told me he is looking forward to the subject of writing this fall - this has *never* happened before.

Cindy said...

So it's been a couple of years now. What did you think of it?

Krista said...

I am hoping you will update your experience with this program! It's been 3 yrs?


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