Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review of Time4Writing

As part of the Review Crew, my daughter, Therese, was able to take the Middle School "Welcome to the Essay" course from Time4Writing.  

Time4Writing offers 14 writing courses from the elementary to the high school level.

Time4Writing's courses are all done online, and no parental involvement is required.  Instead, students follow an outline of lessons and assignments online.  Lessons teaching a particular concept are introduced, followed by the completion of graded assignments.  Your child's teacher then grades the assignments and gives your child feedback.  It is only after passing on a particular assignment that your child can move on to the next one.

Time4Writing has done an amazing job answering just about any question on their FAQ, including what I think must be the most asked - yes, you can change courses after you start anytime until the 14th day.  Although sometimes a change might be necessary, Time4Writing's descriptions are so thorough that deciding where to place your child is pretty easy.

We used Time4Writing as follows: Therese logged on (with my email address so I could see all her correspondence with her teacher) and began completing the lessons.  Any assignment she was to turn in was shown to me first, although I did not evaluate it.  She then turned her lesson in.  When she got it back, we went over Mrs. Gilg's (her teacher's) remarks together to make sure she understood before she moved on to the next assignment.  

I very much regret that we won't make it through the entire course in the allotted 8 weeks.  I blame myself for not setting out an exact schedule for Therese to follow in order to insure that she would finish.  I guess I am too used to letting her set her own pace! I would advise any family who participates in Time4Writing to set out a schedule from the beginning to make sure that the student finishes the course.  Time4Writing suggests that students spend 2 hours per week for each of the 8 weeks of the course in order to finish.

Although Therese did not learn anything new in her course, I would recommend Time4Writing for families who have trouble teaching writing.  As a writer, I have been teaching Therese how to write since she was very young, just as my father taught me.  I could have probably enrolled her in a high school class, but I am always anxious to see if she is where I think she is academically.  Her experience with this course, coupled with the teacher feedback, has convinced me that she is where I think she is - upper middle/lower high school level.

At $99 per 8 week course, Time4Writing is not cheap, however I must stress that this is a parent-free class. The teacher does every bit of the grading and feedback.  Again, for families who want their kids to learn to write academically, but who don't have the tools to teach them, Time4Writing may very well be worth the cost.

I like Time4Writing, even though Therese did not really learn anything.  Her teacher was wonderful and provided very detailed and helpful feedback.  It was obvious that she cared about Therese's performance and absorption of the material.  We liked Time4Writing; to see how other Review Crew members felt about the program, read the Crew blog.

Disclaimer: I received an 8 week course from Time4Writing free in exchange for my review.  I received no other compensation (apart from the relief of having someone else teach my daughter for a couple of months).

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