Danielle Nettleton
By: Danielle Nettleton
August 1, 2019

Choosing the Right Level of Essentials in Writing or Literature for Your Homeschool Student

Choosing the Right Level of Essentials in Writing or Literature for Your Homeschool Student

One of the most frequent questions I see homeschool parents asking in our official Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature Facebook groups (check them out, if you haven’t already—they’re great for additional resources, help with questions, and camaraderie with others who use the curriculum!) is the following: “How do I know which level is right for my homeschool student?”


Lack of rigid grade levels is one of homeschooling’s perks, but this same lack can also cause confusion and worry when choosing curricula for the year. After all, a homeschool student may be old enough for sixth grade but read at a third grade level, or vice versa. Or maybe you’ve never used Essentials in Writing before and aren’t sure what each level holds in store. Are the grade levels accurate? What if your student’s reading comprehension doesn’t match their current grade? How do you know which one to pick? Well, we hope that the following information will help solve your curriculum concerns.


  1. Know that each Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature level is evaluated by an expert for grade level accuracy.

That’s right—Essentials in Writing employs a Senior Consultant who evaluates each level of writing and literature for accuracy pertaining to the given grade before the level goes to publishing. That way, teachers and parents can know with a glance that “Essentials in Writing Level 2” or “Essentials in Literature Level 9” are indeed appropriate for second or ninth graders. As a result, if your homeschool student’s grade level is fairly standard for their age, then you can choose the right level for writing or literature with confidence and ease.


  1. Ask Customer Service for more information if you’re unfamiliar with the curriculum’s content.

What if your student’s grade level isn’t standard for their age? Your homeschool student may be the right age for seventh grade but read at a high school level, or perhaps the student is ten years old but reads at a third grade level. How do you know which level to choose without actually seeing the level’s content? Just reach out to our Customer Service team with your questions, and they will then check with the Curriculum Team in order to provide you with answers of which level is the best option for your student based on the information you provide. Customer Service can even schedule an appointment with Matthew Stephens, the company’s founder, to help you decide which level is best. We want to help you find the best fit, so never hesitate to contact us with your concerns!


  1. Check with other homeschool parents who have used Essentials in Writing or Essentials in Literature.

Experience is key! Just hop over to the Essentials in Writing or Essentials in Literature Facebook groups to explain your situation to fellow homeschool parents and EIW customers and then ask for their recommendations as to which level will be best. Many of them have been in your situation before and are happy to help a fellow customer find the right fit for a student! Then, in the future, you can keep the line moving and help someone else who’s in the same predicament based on your own experience. Bonus—once you’ve joined those groups, you’ll find all kinds of helpful resources and discussions that will further enhance your Essentials in Writing or Essentials in Literature experience.


  1. Remember that each Essentials in Writing or Essentials in Literature level builds on what the prior levels have taught.

If your homeschool student does read (or even write) at a higher level, then automatically choosing a higher level of curriculum can seem like the right choice. However, no two levels are the same when it comes to assignments, and each level is designed and written under the assumption that the student has completed the prior levels (or an equivalent of them). As a result, in each level, the student not only learns new concepts but also continues to practice and use concepts that were learned from previous levels. This does not mean that your student must use the level designed for their age or grade, but it’s an important fact to keep in mind as you choose a level for your student.


Overall, trust the process as you choose a level for your student. Contact Customer Service with your questions. Ask fellow Essentials in Writing parents for input. No matter which level you choose, your student will receive excellent instruction for writing and literature—and that’s what we’re here for.


Danielle Nettleton

Curriculum Editor

Essentials in Writing