Standing in the parking lot at church today, one of Nathan’s mentors asks me if we are all set for school this year. I tell him that we are- there are a few things I need to finalize, but academically – I think we have it. He offers a few of the courses at the local high school as options – and I kindly turn him down – besides, with one car, driving to Taft High isn’t really an option. The boys wanted to play football this year – but not if we have to drive across town each afternoon when we are usually settling in for our reading times. He gives the question that seems to be high on everyone’s excitement list – “Has he tried online options? We have a lot of online options for the school.”
Well – Yes. He has tried quite a few online options – but not through the school. A couple of years ago he tried Time4Writing – Middle School Paragraph Writing. We really enjoyed it. He had a really sweet involved teacher named Mrs. Burrows. She helped Nate to realize that he needed to work on his vocabulary bank. She gave him the tip to look through the paragraph and look for duplicated words, especially adjectives and adverbs and try to replace them. Time4Writing really taught Nate to simply write a solid paragraph, how to stay on a schedule, and how to communicate with the online teacher. He also learned to take tests and be responsible for his work being turned in on time.
Flash forward to this year – we tried the Time4Writing with Jon. This will start his 6th grade year, and we were not sure what ‘level’ he was at with his writing. We know that he does not care for online computer learning. He has a couple of places that he goes online to chat with friends, but still does not use the computer much outside of graphic design for advertisements.
I wanted to see if this Time4Writing would be the same for him. As many of you know, my boys are really polar opposites. Jon wasn’t into the online learning. I had to have him sit with me each time. When we were busy during the day for VBS or Surf Camp, it was impossible to get him to focus at night. We had Mrs. Burrows again and REALLY love the interactions with her.
The class seemed to be a bit unchallenging to Jon. He didn’t see any benefits of going over work that he already understood. He worked on a couple of assignments while his friends were here and they gave him a bit of a hard time at the level of work. This was supposed to be an intermediate course of Middle School writing. For Nathan’s course, the content was really simple, but we simply wanted him to write a paragraph.
So I have mixed feelings for the course. Was it worth 100 dollars for Nate to quickly learn to write a great paragraph and learn daily discipline in his work? YES. Would I pay to do this with my own money, hmmm not sure. Was this course worth the money for Jon? Well. Sort of – It was a review- so it wasn’t my cash, but I’m assuming Mrs. Burrows still gets paid by someone. It was worth the review to know that Jon still does not relate to learning on line. Would I pay to put him in a bit more advanced course? No. Not really.
Please note that we are pretty hands on learners. Charlotte Mason Style, and enjoy learning together as a family centered around literature or history or science or literature about history and science, or , you get the point.
If you have need to have an online tutor. If you need your student to learn from another teacher? Two months with Time4Writing is A LOT less than a tutor or private school alacart!
I’d look through their site, look through the other crew reviews, and see how it worked for other families.
Middle School (6-8) – MS – Middle School Writing Enhancement
$99.00 “This eight-week course is the second of two courses focusing on “boosting the basics” at the middle school level. Middle School Writing Enhancement emphasizes the technical parts of writing such as comma and semi-colon placement, compound sentences, words often confused, and capitalization. These are the areas where many good, young writers who have creative talent often need reinforcement. A creative writing tutor provides writing tutorials that allowing mainstreamed and homeschooled students alike to strengthen these important writing skills.”
Disclaimer:I received this course for free as part of my tour with the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for using it and sharing with my readers.