Is writing just NOT your forte? Are you frustrated with a teenager who simply doesn't understand the whole writing experience? Having troubles explaining how to write? If so, there are now online options available to help you with your struggling writer.
is one of the sites that is designed to help you assist your budding young author. As its owner Benjamin Ludwig states on the web site, "We like to view our course as a partnership between two teachers (the parent and the writing consultant), so frequent parent input is essential!"
is a small, family-owned company based in Palmer, Alaska, operated by former public school teachers who decided to homeschool their children. It offers a course called the Individualized Writing Course, which is conducted entirely online. Students are able to work at their own pace with a writing consultant who holds at least a Master's degree in Writing, English, or a related field. The consultants are available at the click of a button, to correspond directly with the student. Because of this daily, one-on-one, personal attention, students are able to complete several pieces of work with the consultant's assistance.
What types of assignments, you ask? You, as a parent and homeschooling teacher, initially discuss goals with the consultant, and assist your children by keeping them on track as they write an assignment. The choice of work is entirely up to you as the homeschooling parent, and up to your student, who may have a wide variety of interests or assignments. WriteGuide.com
offers consultants who are capable of helping a student complete any writing assignment that may consist of creative or expository writing. The consultants are capable of offering assistance in a multitude of tasks, be it editing an existing paper or creating one from scratch. The papers don't have to be pure writing papers, either - they can be assignments from other classes, such as history, literature, or even science.
has a philosophy it calls The WriteGuide Method (located on their web site
), which takes a project from start to finish, and includes teaching a student how to:
1. Create ideas
2. Take notes
3. Write a rough draft
4. Edit the rough draft (reviewing grammar, punctuation, mechanics, tone, sentence/paragraph structure, and literary devices)
4. Revise, revise, revise
5. Write the final copy ready for grading
With this program, a student keeps track of assignments on a daily basis by corresponding with his or her consultant throughout the week (M-F). Once a teacher receives an email with a writing assignment or question, he or she will contact the student within the next 24 hours (weekends and holidays excepted). The teacher will then give the student feedback so the assignment can be completed, usually enough information to keep the student busy for 30 to 45 minutes, and the cycle begins anew.
A few perks to this program include the following points:
1. More than one student can share the assignment, although only one submission/attachment can be made a day. So if you have more than one child, you can pay for one course and still get the benefit of having both children complete the course.
2. This course is very individualized, since it is a self-contained tutoring class for your child.
Using email as a corresponding tool can be convenient for many, but perhaps not so convenient for others. I noted some problems while using the electronic format:
1. If you or your child do not have consistent access to a computer, you will have a few logistics issues.
2. There is a certain amount of isolation that a computer provides - this is something to consider when you are trying to decide whether your child should take a class with other students or through an online class.
3. If your student is a visual learner, consider using Microsoft Word's online editing option. Consultants can explain the problems in a text paragraph, but sometimes the visual effect of red marks is lost in a text email.
Once you decide to initiate an online class, there are several rules that should be followed in order to get the most benefit from this course:
1. Parents should be mindful that they and their students are only allowed to correspond with the teacher once a day, with only one attachment. Copies of mail cannot be sent to secondary email addresses, including a parent's email address. To this end, WriteGuide.com
requests that any parent communication be included with the student assignment whenever possible, and that attachments be combined into one file (which may be cumbersome with Microsoft Word), or embedded into the email message as plain text. To make this process more convenient, you may want to set up one email address where mail can be reviewed by both you and your child as it progresses. WriteGuide.com
believes "our course is not meant to be observed, but instead to be participated in by parents."
2. Students may need to be reminded to write to their consultant, because the consultants won't write until they hear from the students.
3. Students may also need to be reminded to include their assigned student code in the subject line of each email in order for WriteGuide.com to correctly identify the student and his/her assignment. (Using the reply button usually keeps the subject line intact.)
4. Messages should be written with salutations, as in a proper letter format. Students and parents should also remember to sign their names for identification purposes, especially when more than one student is using the same writing program.
Courses are available in one, three, four, nine, and twelve-month categories. WriteGuide.com
notes that a student should be able to complete one full writing project in a month if the program is used consistently. Prices are as follows:
One Month: $ 60
Three Months: $140
Four Months: $186
Nine Months: $420
Twelve Months: $520