I have always felt that in order to be a great writer, one needed two things. First, one must be a great reader, and second, one must write often. With that philosophy in mind, I approach high school writing instruction differently than the traditional method. Rather than using a composition textbook, I assign my high school students lots of really great classics to read, I have them keep a daily journal and they write about what we study in our other classes. In my heart, I felt that my oldest child and guinea pig of my school (a 16 year-old daughter) would do well when stacked against her peers, but I could never really be sure. I mean, just because I like her writing doesn't mean anyone else will. Even though I stuck to my philosophy in teaching her, I still had many moments of self-doubt. What would a college professor think about her writing skills? What about a potential employer? Did my unconventional teaching methods work?
When I had the opportunity to review the Essay Rock Star Expository Essay Writing Course from Fortuigence, with realteacher feedback, I was thrilled. Finally, my methods would be put to the test. Someone from the outside would be reading my daughter's work and making those hard calls -- someone who wasn't as emotionally involved in the life of my daughter as I am. If my daughter couldn't even write a grocery list and make someone understand it, well, at least we would know, right? And not only would we know, we would have help. Ms. Lily Iatridis of Fortuigence could take over and teach her how to write well. If there were holes in my daughter's writing education, Fortuigence would help us find them and strengthen them. It was an amazing relief to feel that it didn't rest entirely upon my shoulders to make sure my daughter acquired this important skill.
The Essay Rock Star Writing Courses are geared toward Middle and High School students. There are four main writing courses to choose from, or you can receive a discount when you order them all at once. We chose the Expository Essay Writing Course. It covers the most common form of writing that your child will be asked to do in school, college or on the job. This is the form of writing in which you give your audience information about a given topic. (Hmmm... Kind of like a blog post... A super useful form of writing, in my opinion.)
Getting set up with Fortuigence is incredibly easy. Ms. Lily Iatridis (Ms. I) sends very clear emails that walk you through every step to set up your account and become familiar with what the site has to offer. After you get your account set up, you are ready to begin. The basic gist of how each lesson works is as follows:
1. Watch the introductory video. The video gives your student instructions for downloads, etc, and gives an overview of what he/she is about to do in the lesson. 2. Read the lesson (you can also listen to an audio recording of the lesson). This segment is the meat of the program. This is where Ms. I teaches the principles that your student will be applying in the assignment. 3. Do the assignment. This is your student's opportunity to fly. He/she will apply what was taught in the lesson. 4. Turn in the assignment. Once your student has completed the assignment, his/her work will be evaluated by an experienced teacher. Turning in your work is easy. You can either go to the website to do the assignment and turn it in there (don't worry, you can save it there and turn it in only when you are ready), or you can do the assignment on your preferred word processor program, save it in one of the acceptable formats (i.e. ZIP, pdf, doc, txt, jpg, gif, png or XLS -- there is something for everyone) and then attach the file on the website assignment page. It is easier than it sounds. My daughter had never done anything like this, but the instructions were very clear. She was able to turn in her work without any tech help from mom. ;) 5. Receive feedback. Within a couple days, the teacher (in our case, Ms. Lily Iatridis) will give feedback telling you what works, what doesn't, what needs to be changed or tweaked. We really liked this portion of the program. Ms. I gives thorough and helpful feedback. She teaches you to be a better writer in a way that makes you want to keep writing. And isn't that the point? 6. Move on to the next lesson. Once you have completed your lesson satisfactorily, you'll get a pretty little red check beside your completed lesson. Then it's time to move on to the next lesson (which is marked with a green arrow, by the way.)
Uh-oh. I have interrupted a master authoress at work.
The format of Fortuigence will appeal to both visual and auditory learners in that the video segment works for both types of learners and your student can either read or listen to the lesson segment. My daughter also liked the course, because, as she said, "The lessons are sprinkled with examples to help you understand what they are talking about. In the first lesson, the site has rubrics and examples of really good essays. I found this helpful because, after I read them, I knew what I was going for from the beginning." So many times, writing assignments can leave you feeling like you are shooting in the dark, but the Rock Star Essay Courses are clear about what the student is expected to do. And, although your student will know exactly what to do, Fortuigence doesn't force your child to write about a prescribed topic. What your child writes about is entirely up to your child. How well your child writes is what this course is all about.
My daughter said of the course, "The more I got into the program, the more I wanted to do it. I found it has been simpler and more fun than I expected, especially since you can write about whatever you want. I saw the need for writing well from the beginning, and their introduction to the program helped me to see the benefit of what I would learn in the program." She felt that the course made great recommendations and gave her ideas that she will continue to use after the course is over. She found the information about writing to your audience very helpful. The brainstorming and mind-mapping activities made things much easier for her as she put together her rough draft on a very in-depth and difficult scientific topic. (She chose to write about storm formation from a meteorological standpoint, if you're wondering. I know, I know. I would have chosen something simple, too. Teenagers these days...)
The teacher interaction is great. The feedback is both encouraging and helpful. My daughter has gained confidence by hearing someone other than her mother tell her she writes well, and I have gained confidence as her primary teacher by seeing the feedback provided by an experienced English teacher. The teacher feedback has helped validate my teaching philosophy and solidify my daughter's writing skills.
My daughter and I are both glad she did this course. My daughter personally recommends this course to anyone who would like to further their writing skills (and she thanked me for letting her do the course. Fortuigence is worth it just to hear your student thank you for extra school work!)
If you would like to enroll your child in one of the Essay Rock Star Writing Courses from Fortuigence, each course is $57 or you can get all four courses for $197. You can read more reviews by clicking on the banner below:
Have a great day!
P.S. I am secretly just a teensy bit scared that Ms. I is going to read this review and recommend that I take her course to... you know... improve my writing skills... ahem.
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