A couple of months ago I was contacted by WriteGuide to see if I would be willing to write a review of their company and services. My sister, Naomi, loves to write and is always looking for ways to improve her skills, so she volunteered to go through a month of the course and then write a review. The following is based on her one-month participation as a student with WriteGuide:
When someone is interested in learning to play the piano or wants to get better at it, what do they generally do? They find a tutor/teacher to help them. Every week, the student attends his lesson and plays a variety of songs and other assignments for the teacher. The teacher normally praises his progress, then gives suggestions for improvement. Whether or not the student implements the suggestions is his choice, but if he doesn’t take the advice, he will stall his progress and won’t excel in piano. On the other hand, if he implements the advice, his piece will be that much closer to completion. The more the concept or skill is practiced, the more he will be able to transfer it to other repertoire he learns. Through this approach, the student will also begin to see for himself how to improve.
It may take many days to master the new approach – and even longer to master the entire piece – but the end result of implementing the teacher’s suggestions is so worth it! The student’s playing will rise to a new level with more color, musicality, and beauty. Helping the student become a better pianist is the teacher’s passion, so they will develop creative ideas to help the student achieve success. Thus, it requires the student’s utmost patience and determination to keep working until the song is finished – even when it means many hours of hard work. And only later will he be able to see how far he’s truly come.
This is the parallel experience that came to mind as I considered how to describe the writing course I just completed from Write Guide. Write Guide is a program that offers an Individualized Writing Course for elementary through high school students and adults. You can enroll from one month to a year; there is no curriculum and everything is done online through their website. Here is an overview of how the course works:
- The student is assigned a Writing Consultant who corresponds with you through an email-type messaging system for the duration of your enrollment. All the ideas, creativity, encouragement, and suggestions come from your Writing Consultant; they are the curriculum, so to speak. The parent/guardian who signed the child up is allowed full access to all correspondence and can tell the Writing Consultant specifically what they want their child to do. Alternately, they can request that the Writing Consultant determine and oversee all the assignments. Because Write Guide believes that parents should be the primary educators for their children, parental involvement is encouraged. The student and the Writing Consultant can only correspond once per day Monday-Friday.
- Write Guide is very easy-going when it comes to what you write. You can send in previously written papers you want critiqued, ask them to give you new assignments, or send other papers you write during the course time. Then they give you suggestions on how to improve your paper, but leave it up to you to implement the suggestions. Therefore, it is your brain power that has to be used. It isn’t a requirement to use their suggestions, but if you don’t you won’t have anything improved to send them the next time you correspond. Many times when I was incorporating my Writing Consultant’s advice, it sparked another idea for the article or helped me see how to improve other areas. So I definitely recommend using their suggestions in order to help your writing improve!
- You aren’t required to send in a certain number of papers before your enrollment is over and there aren’t specific deadlines. It is self-paced, so you can send in as few or as many papers as you want.* Don’t be afraid to let your Writing Consultant know if there are specific things you want to work toward, because they are there to help you achieve your goals.**
*If you have several different papers you want to send in, and have only signed up for a short amount of time (1-2 months), I highly recommend letting your Writing Consultant know this ahead of time so that you are able to spend equal lengths of time on each of them. Otherwise, the limited correspondence may leave you at the end of the time having primarily worked on one paper. Just keep this in mind so that you don’t get down to one week and realize that you don’t have time to work with them on the other papers you have remaining.
**The main areas we focused on with the course were: expanding my thoughts; learning to engage the reader by describing things so that they hear, feel, and see what I did; paying more attention to detail in order to make my writing more colorful; and learning how to structure my thoughts in a more organized manner.
So, if you want to improve in some of the above areas I highly recommend this course! But if you’re looking for something to learn the mechanics of writing (grammar, punctuation, etc.) I would recommend either checking out Write Guide’s Introduction to Grammar course or looking into other programs.
Overall, I really enjoyed this course. It was a new and interesting experience that stretched me because I had to rework my papers a lot and incorporate my Writing Consultant’s suggestions. But it always turned out for the better. I feel like I learned a lot of valuable things that I will be able to transfer to other writing projects in the future. Plus, one of the best parts was the experience of being critiqued by a non-family member for the first time!