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TheAttachedMama

Did your child take an online writing course that you LOVED?

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Hi Everyone,

I have a middle school aged son and daughter, and I am trying to formulate a plan to get them up to speed in writing and composition before high school.  I am not a strong writer myself, and I am finding it VERY difficult to give them the type of feedback they need to improve.   I even doubt my ability to edit a paper.  ☹️ (I am sure that there are a lot of errors that I am letting slip through the cracks.).  I also feel like writing is a very subjective thing---in general.   I think it is very helpful to have a variety of opinions over the years when learning to write.  For these reasons, I am strongly considering an online writing class for next year.   

The problem is---I am totally overwhelmed with my options.   Both of my children have taken Latin and Classical Study classes at MPOA (Memoria Press Online Academy).   So I feel comfortable with that platform and the quality of instruction.  I also love how they teach literature and classical/christian studies.   Very slow, fewer books, and more depth.   HOWEVER---I am not sold on their writing classes.   I've heard grumblings on the MP forum about students not being prepared for more "modern day writing assignments" after completing the progym..... and this concerns me since people don't usually say anything negative on the MP forum.   Their path with MPOA would basically be 8th grade- Foundations of Composition (IEW C with a bit extra thrown in); Then they would work through the progym in 4 years with their High School Composition I-IV courses.   

I've been looking at TPS (both their integrated humanities course and their standard English classes.).  I like that they have a placement test, and I like that going with them might give me a "spine" of sorts to put my high school plan together.

I've also been looking at the composition courses at WHA.   

And...I've been looking at the composition courses at Lantern English and IEW and even Brave writer.      Basically, my head is spinning at this point, so I am turning to the HIVE for some much needed help.

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IF your child has taken an online writing class that you were really impressed with, could you tell me about it?   THANKS...

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27 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I would say Cindy Lange’s Intro to Persuasive Writing course is the best preparation for high school writing. It’s worth the price tag.

 

http://www.integritasacademy.com/about-register.html

Thanks!   Could you tell me more about this class?  What specifically makes it so special?    

 

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What @Roadrunner said. (But my kid took the class for less $ before she started her own classes.)

My kids have done Lit, Writing, or Lit/Comp classes at Center for Lit (Lit only), CLRC, Lukeion, Wilson Hill Academy, and Coram Deo Tutorials. One started & quickly dropped a writing class at WTM Academy for bad fit (teacher & class structure with very little feedback). Same kid took an essay writing class from Bravewriter specifically for college application essays. It was not well run & a bad fit for that student.

There was a writing-only class that did wonders for my writing-phonic DD#1 at WHA but it is now taught by someone different & isn't something I would recommend for a strong writer. (The class only wrote 3 or 4 essays the whole year but they were writing a little bit every class day & also worked on grammar topics. As long as your kid could write a good paragraph, it helped them build up to full essays. And if they couldn't write a good paragraph, it helped them get there, too. It was remedial, IMO, but exactly what my kid needed at the time.)

So, we've been around the block. There is only one Lit/Comp teacher I consistently recommend & that is Cindy Lange. She meets every kid where they are at & makes them better writers. Her feedback is specific & not overwhelming. It is also timely.

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I'm going to echo RootAnn and would NOT suggest BraveWriter online courses for this situation. We have used them before and while i was happy enough with the class, for our purposes it was simply getting more writing out of an already strong writer over a summer. I would not recommend it for a struggling or non-natural writer. I look at BW in general as a supplement, not a core for high school classes unless the person directing it is a strong writer and fine with grading, and that's clearly not your situation. 

We have had luck and dd has enjoyed WTMAs Rhetoric courses, but sounds like you need a bridge between then and now. (We used IEW). 

If you like IEW, they do offer online classes themselves. 

For any online class, definitely ask here for instructor specific reviews AND make sure you look at the withdrawal/refund policy in case there is a bad fit. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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So, looking at Cindy Langes class---I would pay $1250 for a class that met twice per week---and this would cover both literature and composition for the year?   

I am considering IEW's courses.   However, I keep seeing mixed reviews about the online classes.   

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Another vote for Cindy Lange’s Integritas Academy. I could only afford her for one year (8th), but it was great.

Same DD took WWS 1 & 2 at WTMA (also very good) in 6th & 7th followed in 9th by one year of CLRC Great Books (amazing quantity of reading/writing required, with solid instructor feedback). She is now taking and doing very well in AP Lang as a 10th grader. 

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2 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Thanks!   Could you tell me more about this class?  What specifically makes it so special?    

 

 

As everybody mentioned, she doesn’t overwhelm the kids with material and reading, but focuses instead on building essay writing skills with her approach - broken down exactly how and what to do. And her feedback is extremely detailed. Plus she covers literary elements, and holds two live classes to discuss the reading. She is amazing and for anybody who wants to teach a kid how to write an essay, that would be my go to class.

I would also recommend CLRC Intro to Lit course. That’s more lit focused and kids have less hand holding for essays, but Tessa is amazing. She even gets kids to do timed essays during the exam, which we found to be an excellent skill to acquire. Between those two courses, you have all the foundation you need. CLRC intro class is harder than Lange course, and surprisingly more work that many other CLRC “supposedly” higher level lit courses. At least that was a case when my kid took them. 

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It’s been a couple of years, but I remember one thing in particular I thought Cindy Lange taught very well: how to support your assertions with quotes from the text, and further, EXACTLY how to integrate those quotes into your essay. Obviously she taught many other things well, but I specifically remember marveling over how logically and precisely she taught this point. DD nailed this during 8th grade and it has been a great asset to her writing ever since.

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5 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Hi Everyone,

I have a middle school aged son and daughter, and I am trying to formulate a plan to get them up to speed in writing and composition before high school.  I am not a strong writer myself, and I am finding it VERY difficult to give them the type of feedback they need to improve.   I even doubt my ability to edit a paper.  ☹️ (I am sure that there are a lot of errors that I am letting slip through the cracks.).  I also feel like writing is a very subjective thing---in general.   I think it is very helpful to have a variety of opinions over the years when learning to write.  For these reasons, I am strongly considering an online writing class for next year.   

The problem is---I am totally overwhelmed with my options.   Both of my children have taken Latin and Classical Study classes at MPOA (Memoria Press Online Academy).   So I feel comfortable with that platform and the quality of instruction.  I also love how they teach literature and classical/christian studies.   Very slow, fewer books, and more depth.   HOWEVER---I am not sold on their writing classes.   I've heard grumblings on the MP forum about students not being prepared for more "modern day writing assignments" after completing the progym..... and this concerns me since people don't usually say anything negative on the MP forum.   Their path with MPOA would basically be 8th grade- Foundations of Composition (IEW C with a bit extra thrown in); Then they would work through the progym in 4 years with their High School Composition I-IV courses.   

I've been looking at TPS (both their integrated humanities course and their standard English classes.).  I like that they have a placement test, and I like that going with them might give me a "spine" of sorts to put my high school plan together.

I've also been looking at the composition courses at WHA.   

And...I've been looking at the composition courses at Lantern English and IEW and even Brave writer.      Basically, my head is spinning at this point, so I am turning to the HIVE for some much needed help.

---------

IF your child has taken an online writing class that you were really impressed with, could you tell me about it?   THANKS...

This would be a good description of myself...decent writer, but I don’t know how to edit and give constructive feedback.  I love MPOA, but I was the complainer about writing on the forum awhile back and I did find more company than I really expected.  My daughter completed HSCOMP 1-3 and I liked many things about it, but it didn’t serve her well at all In writing about literature.

The foundations class looks good, but I didn’t like the teacher.  My daughter had her for a literature class and she was very slow in getting feedback to the students and what feedback she gave was minimal.  There were posts on the books, but very minimal writing instruction.  That was part of my complaint.

I liked the IEW class my son had a few years back, but one thing to watch is that grammar is included and each level moves up a book so the intro high school class uses something like fix-it book 4 or 5.  

This year my son in 8th didn’t continue to the high school classical comp classes with MPOA, but is taking Intro to Lit and Comp with CLRC. He is in the two day per week session with Mrs. Grey.  It is a challenge for him because he is very slow, but I think he is learning.  She breaks the writing up, makes them submit a thesis and rework it if necessary before requiring an outline, etc.  It includes grammar, literary terms, literature, and writing so it is pretty complete.  I don’t know what direction we will go next year, but I do like CLRC and the price is pretty reasonable.  Great Books looks amazing, but I might have him do the Intermediate Lit and Comp first. His writing still has a ways to go.  My son’s only observation is that he feels MPOA is better setup technology-wise than CLRC.  He doesn’t care for Canvas because it is hard to navigate.

I am interested in hearing about some new to me teachers like Mrs. Lange.  Thanks for starting this thread.

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My oldest is taking English 2 with The Potter's School. Overall I think that the writing feedback has been really valuable for him.  We spent years in IEW and then tried Lost Tools last year (it hurt us, but that's another thread) followed by Elegant Essay (ugh).  Anyway, he tested into English 2 which I was happy about since I was worried, and he has kept up fine. I would say overall the course is more writing than lit.  I know they can only cover so much in a class that meets one day a week. One thing that I have since read on here and I would agree with is that they teach structured writing and there are a lot of rules (very few "be" verbs, pretty much no "passive" voice, no two sentences with the same starter word in one paragraph, etc.). However, we had a lot of that with IEW also. 

If you are looking for a program that teaches writing from an outline, TPS does not do that. There is a structure they use, but they do not teach an outline.

I originally chose TPS over CLRC because I felt like their humanities classes looked more doable for my two kids. We had tried GC1 at WHA and that made me doubt if the traditional great books class structure was going to be our best path forward.  It may just have been a maturity thing. There's another thread on here about that. LOL. Another reason I chose it is two local friends have used it with multiple children with much success. Anyway, you (apparently) just have to be careful about how you schedule because I didn't know scheduling English 2 would prohibit my son from taking their American history, lit and comp next year because it is the same level. 

I would have loved to pursue Lange's classes but I cannot afford to pay $2400 for my two boys to take writing and lit.  =(

We did also look at CLRC and ironically, one of the pluses of theirs for us was that there was no placement test.  The negative was that I wasn't sure on the Great Books classes, especially for my youngest. Ultimately it was the more accessible looking integrated humanities at TPS that drew us that direction, although now I am not sure about that choice. 

I am tossing around switching things up again. It's good to read the reviews of CLRC on this thread. 

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1 hour ago, Mom2mthj said:

This would be a good description of myself...decent writer, but I don’t know how to edit and give constructive feedback.  I love MPOA, but I was the complainer about writing on the forum awhile back and I did find more company than I really expected.  My daughter completed HSCOMP 1-3 and I liked many things about it, but it didn’t serve her well at all In writing about literature.

The foundations class looks good, but I didn’t like the teacher.  My daughter had her for a literature class and she was very slow in getting feedback to the students and what feedback she gave was minimal.  There were posts on the books, but very minimal writing instruction.  That was part of my complaint.

I liked the IEW class my son had a few years back, but one thing to watch is that grammar is included and each level moves up a book so the intro high school class uses something like fix-it book 4 or 5.  

This year my son in 8th didn’t continue to the high school classical comp classes with MPOA, but is taking Intro to Lit and Comp with CLRC. He is in the two day per week session with Mrs. Grey.  It is a challenge for him because he is very slow, but I think he is learning.  She breaks the writing up, makes them submit a thesis and rework it if necessary before requiring an outline, etc.  It includes grammar, literary terms, literature, and writing so it is pretty complete.  I don’t know what direction we will go next year, but I do like CLRC and the price is pretty reasonable.  Great Books looks amazing, but I might have him do the Intermediate Lit and Comp first. His writing still has a ways to go.  My son’s only observation is that he feels MPOA is better setup technology-wise than CLRC.  He doesn’t care for Canvas because it is hard to navigate.

I am interested in hearing about some new to me teachers like Mrs. Lange.  Thanks for starting this thread.

Well, for the record I really appreciate you starting that thread on the MP forum.    I wanted to send you a private message several times telling you that...but I chickened out.  

I never knew what was meant when people talked about a "culture" on a forum until this year.  However, I think I understand now.   On the MP forum, people hardly ever share anything negative about the curriculum.   Memoria Press representatives are very active on the board, and many of them have personally worked very hard to make those books/classes/lesson plans.  And they are such nice people that I think many parents are hesitant to give them any criticism.   (Which I totally understand!  I feel the same way). For the most part, their books and classes are great so there isn't a problem.  However, no company or person is perfect.   And the problem is---sometimes many of us are having similar problems / thoughts, and we can't actually help one another if we aren't honest that a problem exists.

Now TWTM forum is very different.   I hope poor Ms. Bauer has very thick skin because people are never afraid to criticize her books or products here. 😉  Said wtih tongue in cheek.   (THANK YOU MS. BAUER FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR HOMESCHOOLERS...just in case you happen to be reading this!  We do love you, and we are grateful for the freedom to express options on your forum.). 

SO--all that to say thank you for being brave and speaking up about a problem.   With their progym program, we kept being told to just "trust" the process and MPs chosen path.   However, I don't like to *trust* things blindly!    So thank you for speaking up.   You might have saved me hundreds of dollars...and more importantly YEARS of time that I would never be able to get back.   SO thank you!    (And as an aside, I am grateful for people speaking up about their science path.   For a few years, everyone was towing the line saying, "Middle School Physical science in 9th grade.   It's fine."   NOW--thanks to a few brave people that has changed to, "Physical Science in 9th grade is fine IF you are weak in math in science."  

 

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2 hours ago, Farrar said:

Curious... is Integras, where Cindy Lange teaches, secular?

 

Most kids are religious and so is she. My kid definitely stuck out, but we loved the class anyway. It all depends on your tolerance levels. We are super secular but I am willing to overlook a lot for good instruction.

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5 hours ago, Mom2mthj said:

 

This year my son in 8th didn’t continue to the high school classical comp classes with MPOA, but is taking Intro to Lit and Comp with CLRC. He is in the two day per week session with Mrs. Grey.  It is a challenge for him because he is very slow, but I think he is learning.  She breaks the writing up, makes them submit a thesis and rework it if necessary before requiring an outline, etc.  It includes grammar, literary terms, literature, and writing so it is pretty complete.  I don’t know what direction we will go next year, but I do like CLRC and the price is pretty reasonable.  Great Books looks amazing, but I might have him do the Intermediate Lit and Comp first. His writing still has a ways to go.  My son’s only observation is that he feels MPOA is better setup technology-wise than CLRC.  He doesn’t care for Canvas because it is hard to navigate.

I am interested in hearing about some new to me teachers like Mrs. Lange.  Thanks for starting this thread.

 

So Intro to Lit has plenty of writing weekly. I want to warn you about CLRC Intermediate Lit. My kid loved book selections and loved class discussions. Teacher was excellent. However, unlike Intro to Lit, there was very little writing in this class. I believe two essays per semester was it. Now my kid took it when it was her first year of teaching, so do ask for a syllabus to make sure my info is still correct. 

 

And a warning on CLEC Great Books writing. In addition to massive reading load, the writing load is on average 10+ paragraphs a week. For a fast writer  it’s probably not a big deal. It could be overwhelming for many, especially STEM kids.

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One thing I will say about Lange is that IME she is uncanny about identifying what’s lacking in a piece of writing and **providing the exact feedback** necessary to move it along. I’m an excellent writer myself, but I don’t know how to work with a piece without just re-writing it. I’d just tear it apart basically but she works with whatever little is there 😂. I’ve not encountered that sort of thing anywhere else. 

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9 hours ago, madteaparty said:

One thing I will say about Lange is that IME she is uncanny about identifying what’s lacking in a piece of writing and **providing the exact feedback** necessary to move it along. I’m an excellent writer myself, but I don’t know how to work with a piece without just re-writing it. I’d just tear it apart basically but she works with whatever little is there 😂. I’ve not encountered that sort of thing anywhere else. 

This makes me want to get a part time job just so we can take her class.  Ugh. Maybe somehow my dh's salary will magically increase?

How long did you take classes with Lange? I am really looking for a long term solution for lit and comp--all four years of high school preferably.

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15 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

And a warning on CLEC Great Books writing. In addition to massive reading load, the writing load is on average 10+ paragraphs a week. For a fast writer  it’s probably not a big deal. It could be overwhelming for many, especially STEM kids.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Yes, I should have also said that my son is a STEM kid.   His math alone takes him a few hours per day.   I want him to be able to write well, but there are only so many hours in the day.   One thing I like about Memoria Press is that they tend to do fewer books, but REALLY teach them in a thorough manner.   I do not want a program where it feels like drinking from a firehose!   🙂

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1 hour ago, TheAttachedMama said:

 

Thank you so much!

 

Yes, I should have also said that my son is a STEM kid.   His math alone takes him a few hours per day.   I want him to be able to write well, but there are only so many hours in the day.   One thing I like about Memoria Press is that they tend to do fewer books, but REALLY teach them in a thorough manner.   I do not want a program where it feels like drinking from a firehose!   🙂

 

In that case, I would avoid WHA Great Conversations and Veritas Omnibus. I thought WHA's reading was crazy but Omnibus' list seems twice as long!  

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23 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Well, for the record I really appreciate you starting that thread on the MP forum.    I wanted to send you a private message several times telling you that...but I chickened out.  

I never knew what was meant when people talked about a "culture" on a forum until this year.  However, I think I understand now.   On the MP forum, people hardly ever share anything negative about the curriculum.   Memoria Press representatives are very active on the board, and many of them have personally worked very hard to make those books/classes/lesson plans.  And they are such nice people that I think many parents are hesitant to give them any criticism.   (Which I totally understand!  I feel the same way). For the most part, their books and classes are great so there isn't a problem.  However, no company or person is perfect.   And the problem is---sometimes many of us are having similar problems / thoughts, and we can't actually help one another if we aren't honest that a problem exists.

Now TWTM forum is very different.   I hope poor Ms. Bauer has very thick skin because people are never afraid to criticize her books or products here. 😉  Said wtih tongue in cheek.   (THANK YOU MS. BAUER FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR HOMESCHOOLERS...just in case you happen to be reading this!  We do love you, and we are grateful for the freedom to express options on your forum.). 

SO--all that to say thank you for being brave and speaking up about a problem.   With their progym program, we kept being told to just "trust" the process and MPs chosen path.   However, I don't like to *trust* things blindly!    So thank you for speaking up.   You might have saved me hundreds of dollars...and more importantly YEARS of time that I would never be able to get back.   SO thank you!    (And as an aside, I am grateful for people speaking up about their science path.   For a few years, everyone was towing the line saying, "Middle School Physical science in 9th grade.   It's fine."   NOW--thanks to a few brave people that has changed to, "Physical Science in 9th grade is fine IF you are weak in math in science."  

 

I'm totally agreeing with this.  I love MP, however, not every piece is for every kid.  I asked lots of questions about Introductory Physics for my 9th grader and decided to go with it, but it turned out to be a disaster for my son.  Had I known how much math was in it, I never would have chosen it for this year.  I love the mastery idea, but my kid just detested the book and assignments.

He is also in MPOA High School Comp I as was suggested to me.  He took two years of the progym with Schole Academy (Classical Academic Press) and their head writing teacher didn't think my son's writing was far enough along from his Schole classes and recommended HSCI, which he is sailing through.  Now I wish I had picked something else for him because the course is mostly review. 

My other issue is that there is no interaction between the students and teacher.  The students can't even see each other.  They  communicate with the teacher and each other by chatting, which I don't like.  Schole was very interactive, and was more like a regular class, and a better fit.  Since they are small there were no class times that would work with our schedule this year. Now I don't know what to do for next year.  I was hoping MPOA was going to take us through high school writing, but I don't see it working out.  I'll have to look into these other options.

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On 11/21/2019 at 2:54 PM, cintinative said:

 

In that case, I would avoid WHA Great Conversations and Veritas Omnibus. I thought WHA's reading was crazy but Omnibus' list seems twice as long!  

My daughter is STEM bound and she did The Great Conversations 1+4, 5, 3, and presently 6.  In fact, she is graduating from Wilson Hill Academy in May 2020.  However, she did not do additional writing classes that required reading addition literature.  She started with Fundamentals of writing at WHA and got a good base to make up for doing Classical Conversations Challenge A & B in 7th and 8th grade.  She found Logic 2, Rhetoric 1, and now Rhetoric 2 continued to improve her writing.  WHA has added additional writing classes since she started.  I have 2 friends with students in the Advanced Composition classes, and they really like that the classes only meet once a week, have good feedback, and use the same literature from TGC classes. 

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My son took 2 online Bravewriter classes.  They were wonderful for him.  I posted a lot about Kidswrite Basic on Learning Challenges area.  Generally possible to find by searching for “Long ships” which terms aren’t common on WTM, but were in his writing.  He was a reluctant writer with dyslexia and dysgraphia.  

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My son took a writing class with Jess Woods through Excelsior. She gave excellent feedback and I felt she knew how to push the kids to do better and improve. I plan to have him take more classes with her.

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