Yes, we have many siblings who sit together at the computer to take the class.
You will need either a PC or a Mac computer with Microsoft Word or Microsoft Works. If you have neither of these, you can download a free Microsoft Word equivalent (and compatible with Word) called OpenOffice from www.openoffice.org. You cannot use WordPad.
You will need internet access. High speed internet is, of course, the best way to go; however, dial-up works fine (just a little slower).
You will also need to update two programs that are probably already on your computer. The first is Java. Go to www.java.com and download and install the latest version (free). You will need this to be able to access the online classroom.
The second is Adobe Acrobat Reader. The lessons and many handouts are in PDF format (so that everyone can read them, no matter what word processing program you have), and you need the latest Reader to open these. You can download and install this from:http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
Other than that, you will need an e-mail program (any e-mail program is fine).
The only thing you may have to do is to adjust your firewall program on your computer to allow the use of Java. You can get the latest version of Java for free at: www.java.com
All classes have assignments due each day. A Daily Schedule is provided to assist the student in planning and organizing his or her workload.
The Fundamentals 1 and Fundamentals 2 classes require about 2-3 hours a week, in addition to the 1 hour weekly online meeting. This may be more or less, depending on how quickly your student works, and how many edits are required.
The Beginning Creative Writing, Narrative, and Report Writing classes require about 3-4 hours a week, in addition to the 1 hour weekly online meeting. This may be more or less, depending on how quickly your student works, and how many edits are required.
The Paragraph Writing, Writing About Books, Creative Writing, Expository, and Literature Analysis Classes require about 4-5 hours a week, in addition to the 1 hour weekly online meeting. This may be more or less, depending on how quickly your student works, and how many edits are required.
The goal and philosophy of these classes is mastery. A student will almost always have at least one round of edits, and often will have two or more. Instead of providing a grade, which shows the student has mastered a certain percentage of what he or she has learned, students must revise until their work is as close to mastery as possible.
Classes usually fill 1-2 months in advance, so register as early as possible to avoid disappointment. We often have waiting lists, especially for the Fundamentals 1 class and the Paragraph class.
Should I register my student for all sessions right away in order to hold a spot in future sessions?
No. You will register your student for the first class. After that, towards the end of each session, we provide a recommendation for the next class. This may be a repeat of the same class (6 weeks is not a long time to completely master every element), or a recommendation to take an earlier level of class, or to take the next level. Parents need to focus on the goal of the classes, which is to build a strong foundation and mastery of the elements of writing. It is not a race to move ahead. Current students will always have priority registration and a guaranteed spot in the next session, as long as you meet the registration deadline that is sent to you.
Yes, the material covered in each class each session is the same.
The Narrative, Report Writing, and Paragraph class may each have up to 15 or 16 students (many times less). We try to keep the limit for the younger classes at about 10-12 students.
Yes. Actually, for any class higher than the level of Fundamentals 1, we will most likely ask for a writing sample. This is to ensure proper placement. Please see the Writing Sample Requirements page for more information.
No. We have our own online classroom.
What if my student is older than the recommended age range shown at the Description of Classes page?
The age ranges are general guidelines. If you have an older student who needs work on building a strong writing foundation, we will recommend the lower level classes. Students must have achieved mastery to work above any class level. Mastery means that he or she can apply the elements taught in the earlier classes on his or her own (no help) in all of his or her writing – not just “in theory” or on worksheets. Many students have learned these elements, but cannot apply them consistently in writing, which means they have not really achieved mastery.
The classes move rapidly, and have assignments that are due daily. Students cannot get behind in their work. If your student will miss an online class meeting, he or she will need to carefully read the transcript from the online class (which is sent to everyone each week), as well as the lesson, and do the assignments by the due dates. If you plan to be gone for a week or more, you will need to wait to enroll your child in a session that will not have interruptions. Students have extreme difficulty in catching up with missing assignments. In addition, it is unfair to the student and to the teacher to have a student rush through assignments.