Review: Creative Freewriting Adventure

Creative Freewriting Adenture
Both girls like making up stories, and Raine loves to write, so when the opportunity to review Creative Freewriting Adventure from Home School Adventure Co.  came up, I grabbed it. I also loved what it says on the website: No prep required.

What you need to unleash your creativity: colorful crayons and a corpulent cat.

What it is (and who used it)

Creative Freewriting Adventure is a book (or in our case, a digital download) of guided writing prompts. It ties in with Home School Adventure Co.’s Philosophy Adventure curriculum and The Wise Woman study, although Creative Freewriting Adventure is a stand-alone product. Another version, the Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition, comes with a related coloring page for each exercise.Creative Freewriting Adventure Coloring Book Edition

Raine, my fourth grade, soon-to-be-ten-year-old, used Creative Freewriting Adventure.

The setup

There are 10 exercises. Each starts with a background reading or story—four from Philosophy Adventure, and five from The Wise Woman—and then continues with ‘Your Journey’ and ‘Your Assignment’. Your Journey sets up the back story of what you’re going to write. Your Assignment breaks down the writing into manageable chunks by prompting for details. Finally, there’s a blank page for you to write on (and if you got the Coloring Book Edition like we did, an image to color).

Each Creative Freewriting Adventure exercise starts with a detailed back story or reading.

Your Journey sets the direction for the writing prompt.

After reading all the text, all you need is a pen or pencil, and a timer. Set the latter for 15 minutes and get writing. This exercise is a no-judgement one—the technical stuff like spelling and punctuation are not corrected. This is meant to be a fun, free-flowing exercise to help release creativity and, I suppose, ‘prime the pump’ for writing. There is no specific timing for the coloring page, but I generally let Raine do it after the writing exercise. If she really can’t get jumpstarted, I let her do the coloring as she mulls over the writing prompt.

Your Assignment gives you guide questions to help draw out your writing

Our experience: a quick rundown

I have been trying to get Raine into the discipline of writing to spec. When she gets to higher school levels, when she gets a job, when she starts her own business—she’ll need to be able to write about Harry Potter vs The Chronicles of Narnia for a book report; or send out a concise email; or even create a snappy press release for her company. She can’t just wait for inspiration to strike (and the underlying message is don’t be like mommy, who feels the urge to bake cookies and declutter and go to the grocery whenever she has a writing deadline). I was hoping that Creative Freewriting Adventure (henceforth, known as CFA) would help set her on the right track—or write track, if you will.

It’s taking us some time to get into the groove of Creative Freewriting Adventure. Perhaps the prompts are a little over her head? One in particular, the one inspired by Pythagoras, was unproductive. Raine sat in front of her paper for nearly an hour and produced nothing. I let her use the laptop, just in case typing would uncork her writing juices, but nope. No go either. I sat with her and tried to prompt her with the Assignment questions: Is there anything you would like to say to set up the scene? Why were you drawn to the Pythagoreans? What did your leaders say? How did the group respond?

Nothing. I quit that exercise before we strangled each other in frustration.

I tried a slower approach. We read the backstory for one session, then discussed it a bit. Next session, we’d discuss the Journey and the Assignment, to give her time to develop some ideas. I also allowed her a bit more time (because at the end of 15 minutes, she’d have only a couple of sentences). I also found a free copy of The Wise Woman and let her read it, hoping it would help connect her to the prompts more. She enjoyed the book, but we still struggle with the actual writing.

What we liked

I like the way that CFA is laid out. It gives rich details for the background stories, and the guide questions for the writing prompt also help jump start ideas when you don’t know where to start. Exercise 1, using the philosopher Thales’ supposed absentminded tumble into a well, produced a few laughs and the best work we’ve had using the program.

Raine’s review: “I liked that there are coloring pages. And that I get to write freely, meaning no need for correct spelling and punctuation and capitalization and spacing. I also like The Wise Woman book.”

My favorite among the exercises that Raine did. This one is so funny, and completely her.

What was so-so

CFA is well-written and done nicely, so I am not too sure exactly what didn’t click for us. But in Raine’s words: “It’s not as free as I like it. Not like they just give you words and you make up your own story, or they start with a small sentence and you continue…The prompts could have been more exciting. The stories were not that interesting to write about. The prompts were not that clear; I didn’t really understand them.”

The verdict

Creative Freewriting Adventure did not work for us. But it’s our issue, not the program’s. I used a couple of the prompts—Thales and Democritus—with three other girls, and not only did they come up with engaging writing, they enjoyed the exercise. I saw real smiles—something that was missing when I did it with Raine. She eventually did come up with writing, but her heart was obviously not in it.

So now, I’m torn. I really want to like and use CFA, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the struggle. I think I will put it aside for now and try again when Raine can focus more.

What helped the writing flow for this Creative Freewriting Adventure exercise: a new fountain pen.



To read about other homeschooling families’ experiences with Creative Freewriting Adventure and other products from Home School Adventure, click below.

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