Apologia Jump In

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  • Reviewed on Monday, April 18, 2016
  • Grades Used: 8th
  • Dates used: 2016
Jump In is a very popular writing curriculum that works well for many kids, but it did not work at all for my son.

In trying to figure out why it didn't work, I believe the reason is similar to what a previous reviewer called "lame, fairly shallow" subject matter. The topics for writing were very simplistic and my son simply couldn't think of enough to write about.

The format was attractive and the instructions were good, but it just didn't click with my boy.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, November 25, 2014
  • Grades Used: 7th
  • Dates used: 2014
Jump IN did not work for my son. We wanted something that would keep his writing skills up to date in an affordable, easy to use format, just for 7th grade. He had done an extremely advanced and intense writing course through Calvert School last year in 6th grade and this year I wanted it to be a little lighter.

Unfortunately, Jump In is not working. Here are our problems with it:

1. It is too broken down into bits. Learning to do something step by step makes sense. But Jump In is broken down too much for my son. Each step is broken down into many tiny other steps, making the writing process drag out for weeks.

2. The organization of said steps is even worse. For example, you are often asked to write the body paragraphs before the Introduction. This makes no sense. I can see revising the introduction after writing the body paragraphs, but my son was really frustrated by the illogical order presented in this book. We have re-written the process many times.

3. The ridiculously simplistic writing prompts/subjects/themes. In my experience (and maybe this is just my kids), kids want to work hard, and they want something they are really proud of to show for their hard work. My son complained several times about writing assignments with Calvert, but in the end when he had very deep essays about literature, the world, choices he had made, and history, he was extremely proud of these papers and even called grandparents to read them. Jump In's writing prompts are, well, fairly lame, and shallow.

4. The fonts and colors are annoying and distracting, and therefore insulting to the age range this book was written for.

Here's my final take...(and I am really really stretching for something nice to say here)...maybe if you have a 5th grader that just wants to "play around with" writing and produce a few very simple papers and he or she doesn't mind if any given day is hardly connected to any previous day, then maybe this might be fun?

But, in the end, I cannot grasp the illogical order of many things presented in this book. Whole chunks of concepts are introduced over the course of up to 20 days. During that process, side exercises are used to get the kids to practice aspects of thought and writing (but they aren't really writing their paper or even pieces like their paper)...then they finally start writing the paper and by that time they wonder what those 20 days of introduction and exercises were for. And then, once they start writing the paper, it's often done out of order.

I just cannot recommend this to anyone. The book actually gets worse and worse as it goes on.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, August 16, 2014
  • Grades Used: 6th
  • Dates used: 2013-2014
-Absolutely wonderful, but not for everyone. Jump In* is not for advanced students who will become bored with simple tasks. It is perfect for the student who does not like writing, but is able to study independently. My son was in 6th grade, scores high in reading and math, loves science, and hates, hates, hates writing. Before using Jump In, he would try so hard to think of something to write, come up with nothing (often frustrated to tears), and end up turning in a blank paper. Despite the efforts of several talented teachers, he made little progress.
-It builds confidence. My son used to think he was too stupid to write anything. Jump In lessons (“skills”) include short tasks that walk the student step by step through each aspect of writing. Each completed task builds confidence. They also assign tasks that will not be graded, so the student can try it without pressures.
-It gives tools to make writing easier, including how to proofread using the “mistake medic”, trying out various brainstorm models, understanding what to include in each paragraph, and finding out what sequence of steps works best for them.
-It will take the dread/fight/tears out of writing lessons. Jump In uses a casual, fun tone, engaging the student. It also lets the student write about things they want to talk about. While I wouldn’t say he enjoys writing, my son will now make up a story and record it or draw a comic of it, just for fun. You cannot know how astonishing this is.
-Let’s be realistic. It probably will not transform a poor, unwilling student into an eager, talented writer. But, it will improve their writing abilities. My DS is not at grade level, does not enjoy writing, and will probably not become a journalist or author. But, I am confident that his writing will not hold him back from applying for a job or taking a school course or doing whatever else he wants to do in life.

*This review is for both the Student workbook and Teacher manual set.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, May 23, 2013
  • Grades Used: 6th
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
I would not recommend this program for a student who struggles with language arts in general because it's designed to be used independently (the book is written to the student and there isn't a teacher's manual to teach from (there's a guide for helping you grade papers, and that's about it.) While you can read along with your student, if you aren't comfortable teaching writing, you'll basically be learning alongside your child with no "intel" from a manual to assist you.) My son struggles with writing and dislike it as a result, so I thought this might be a good fit; however, it did not work well for him and didn't do much to improve his attitude about writing or improve it much overall. It may be a good program for a student who can work independently in language arts, learns things fairly easily, and doesn't need much teacher instruction. If, however, your student would benefit from a teacher-led program, consider looking elsewhere.