I have a confession to make: I'm not a great writing teacher for my kids.
My usual pattern is to give them a topic to write about, tell them to "just go and write something" and then correct the heck out of it for them to rewrite. I'm not sure this method is actually working to teach the concepts needed for them to become proficient writers. But frankly, much of the writing curriculum I've come across is unwieldy, unenjoyable, and not very parent-friendly.
So when the folks at Writeguide.com
asked me to review their online writing program, my interest was peaked. I got the chance to look closely at what they offer and read some testimonials written by parents who have used their courses.
is an online writing course established in 1998 and designed for homeschoolers. They provide customized comprehensive writing instruction with English teachers who are pro-homeschooling
, have years of classroom experience, and are all published writers
. Each course is customized to the starting skill level of your child, with constant feedback and instruction from his or her teacher.
Students can write biographies, memoirs, persuasive essays, book reviews, etc. and then select their own topics to write about.
As a parent with a B.A. in English, I have felt that I should be able to teach my elementary aged kids to write without help. But this hasn't been the case, mainly because I lack the expertise to know how to give them the best feedback and guidance to develop their writing. Writeguide.com
does what I cannot do by providing an experienced writing teacher who is invested in building and honing each students' proficiency.
Here are a few testimonials from parents.
I cannot express the enthusiasm my 4th and 3rd grade sons get each time they write their consultant Mrs. Lovett. and how much they enjoy reading what she has written and requested of them. My sons where absolutely afraid of writing and had know idea how to even start. Mrs. Lovett has done such a wonderful job walking each of them through each step of writing a paper. Now they both can't wait to start their next report
As parents of a home school family educating six children at once we are always looking for good resources that can help out in the areas where we are weak. One of those areas is writing. We are so glad that we have found the Write guide program. We have found it to be a professional, prompt and practical program. Professional in that the teachers are more than qualified, prompt in that their response to the assignments sent it is always timely, and practical in that they challenge our children, but do not overwhelm them in the assignments. Amazingly we are finding that our children are actually enjoying writing.
We are extremely happy with the quality of help we are receiving. We get prompt thorough replies to emails and a lot of very specific comments and guidance for the writing.
Our writing consultant has worked with us to give the level of guidance required for a ninth grader attempting some complicated writing assignments and goes step by step without overwhelming the student. She usually focuses on improving one aspect of the writing at a time, but is able to guide the student along so that the assignment gets completed also. Overall we are quite pleased with the arrangement.
Probably the best thing about the situation is that my son willingly does the work for Mrs. Hilton. This is something he has never done before. I wouldn't say he enjoys writing now, but he is self motivated to work on the assignments. A worthy start!
Writeguide.com offers both writing and grammar courses. Each enrolled student is given a personal account for submitting assignments and corresponding with his or her instructor. The students' parent is also given a private account to correspond with the instructor and is able to view all student-instructor correspondence. According to the course description, each student is introduced to all aspects of the writing process, including generating ideas, prewriting, outlining, research, taking notes, drafting, controlling tone, sentence and paragraph structure, literary and stylistic devices, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, editing, proofreading, and the process of revision. Writing courses are available in increments of months, the shortest being one month (for those who want to try it without committing to a whole semester or year at once.)
The grammar course is 3 months long and is comprised of 12 separate lessons. Writeguide.com describes it thus: The Introduction to Grammar course is designed to teach the basic concepts and terminology of grammar. It's ideal for two types of students: those who haven't yet had any formal experience studying grammar, and students who might have covered "the basics," but don't really have a thorough understanding of the subject yet. The course is intended for students who are at least 12 years old.
The bottom line is that Writeguide.com offers comprehensive, personalized writing and grammar instruction for students who need what some parents are unable to provide. The cost is not cheap (with a one-month course at $75) but bear in mind that you are not buying curricula, but paying for an online class that provides a 1:1 teacher to student ratio. I think Writeguide.com offers homeschoolers something unique and well worth the price.
If you have used Writeguide.com for your children, please be sure to comment and let us know what you thought of it.
Labels: curriculum, homeschooling, reviews