I love writing, and I am the happy beneficiary of several excellent writing courses taken in high school and college. Unfortunately, this has not translated very well when it comes to teaching my own children to write well, especially for my oldest, whose writing skills are advanced.
I’m a bit of a “softie” and don’t usually require as many re-writes as might be necessary to produce truly stellar work. Inspiring (pushing?) my son to do his very best in an area that is often subjective has also been difficult for me. My biggest problem is finding the time needed to thoughtfully correct my son’s work, and to guide him step by step through the writing process, particularly with several other young children who also need daily help from mom.
About 18 months ago we found Write Guide, an online course which pairs students with experienced, highly qualified writing teachers. It has been a fantastic fit for our family, and my son’s writing has improved by leaps and bounds through Write Guide.
The Write Guide teachers are willing to assign work if you prefer, but in our case, I wanted to be more involved in my son’s writing course. I want my son to write about topics he is studying in history. I wanted him to follow the writing program recommended in our Tapestry of Grace material, but I was having a hard time making it happen on my own.
With Write Guide this is no problem! At the beginning of each semester I put together an outline of the topics and types of writing my son will do, and each week the teacher and I communicate about the coming week’s assignments. She implements my vision, assigning work to my son and making all the corrections and recommendations for revision. The teacher communicates with my son daily, 5 times per week, about his assignments. She and I are also in regular communication about how my son is doing, how many more days he may need to finish a given assignment and what is on the horizon for his next project.
My son is writing better than ever before, as I find that he pushes himself to do higher quality work for his writing teacher than he did for good ‘ol mom. It is easy to get him to excel in areas like math and science, where work and grades are objective. I never really knew how to grade his writing, though, or how judge whether he was capable of more. His Write Guide teacher has been able to find the balance between pushing him to grow with every assignment and knowing when “enough is enough” before boredom sets in.
Online classes don’t make sense for every family, but they have been instrumental for our family in continuing to educate our oldest child at home. Courses like the Write Guide provide enough of a challenge for this gifted student to continue growing, and I am freed up to spend more time with my younger children who are dependent on spending time with me for virtually every subject.
At this time, a Write Guide course costs $75 for the first month, with a slight break in price once you hit the 3-month mark. The cost for a 3 month course works out to about $3.50 per day for a 5-day school week. This has been well worth it for us, in terms of both the time it saves me and the quality of work my son is producing.
It has been wonderful accountability to have a teacher to report to daily. The student is allowed to submit 5 papers weekly, with feedback from the teacher Monday through Friday. Siblings are even allowed to share a course, with one child submitting work (for example) Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the other child submitting work Tuesday and Thursday. For more information, read Write Guide’s Frequently Asked Questions page.