I never knew how differently two children could learn until Madison entered high school. Everything that has worked for Logan so far has been a bust for her. Seriously makes me want to run into oncoming traffic at times. What makes this all the more confusing is that she is very visual like Logan. Despite not having autism, she most certainly thinks in pictures at times. This, however, was not the underlying issue.
Dance dictates that lessons be done around classes or on the one day off designated for rest. A full high school workload requires us to do lessons while eating dinner at Starbucks or while driving in the car. Writing lessons don’t lend themselves to completion at either of those places. This only left rest day available. Doing a week’s worth of writing lessons in one day wasn’t amenable to student or teacher. Teacher aka mom aka me had loads of other things to do during her one day at home. Can anyone say laundry, dishes, or meal prep? Not to mention Logan wanted to hang out with me which left no time for teaching writing. Poor Madison had to hound me to teach the lesson or fell woefully behind. It’s not that teaching took a ton of time or was hard just time consuming when your time is limited. Can anyone relate?
When Kim Kautzer of WriteShop approached me about reviewing their video lessons, I may have done a jig. Someone else teach the lessons so I only needed to grade the papers? Sign me up! Madison was understandably skeptical but willing to give it a try. Her motto was if it got it done without having to wait for me then she was willing to try. She has never been a great online learner in that she gets easily distracted without proper supervision. This has lessened as her time as diminished for things other than dance but it can still be tough to keep her on task for long lessons.
She started the lesson by the fireplace where any self respecting teenager would be which was the first thing she loved. She could watch them on her iPad anywhere. The lessons were short, concise and well spoken. The teacher spoke a bit slowly for Madison’s preference but I could see it being useful for Logan who has auditory processing delays. Madison was able to watch the lesson then do the Skill Builders. She only needed me to grade her papers after they were written. This , of course, is easy to do with the teacher’s checklist and grading rubric in the student workbook. I thought it was fabulous but if she didn’t then it would be a no go for us.
Much to my excitement, Madison liked it enough to start it the next week on her own. She is able to watch one of the 5 short videos for each lesson in the car while I’m driving then do the written work during break. This has enabled her to get the lessons done during the dance week which has turned out much better papers. The best part is that she doesn’t need to wait for me to get her lessons done. While increasing independence is not something that needs special focus with Madison, my typical child, I could see using this with Logan, my autism child. Allowing him to be in charge of watching the video would increase his feelings of independence while still making accommodations for the actual writing.
Our verdict is that WriteShop has a winner on their hands. This made teaching high school writing so much easier in our opinion. While I feel qualified to teach writing to my kids, this has freed up so much time to do other things. I could see this working for those who don’t like to teach writing, those who have only so much time in their day, or those who have children who learn better from others. Why pay a hefty co-op fee when you can have it taught at home?
WriteShop I & II Video Courses
- $100 for lifetime access per level for as many children as you need to teach
- Each child will need their own workbook
- You will need a Teacher’s Manual for reference
- You will need to edit and grade final papers but there is a teacher’s checklist as well as grading rubric in each lesson for your use
- There is an option to have them edit and grade the papers for you for an additional fee
- Lessons are short and visual.
- You can access them online from any device.