HERE’S A GOOD EXPLANATION OF THE WRITING COURSE
There are 21 lessons in The Writing Course and another 18 in the Essay Course. We no longer offer a free lesson, but we do give 45 days to try out the whole thing (remember it can be used for every member of the family). We do give an introductory training
QUESTION: Since I’m not that great at writing I don’t really know how to give feedback. Do you show us how?
Absolutely! The course shows you what to do. We include an ‘over my shoulder’ video for you to see the marking system we developed applied to an actual paper in real-time.
QUESTION: Is this course only for Homeschoolers?
ANSWER: NO, but it was born in a homeschool and was designed for homeschoolers. ANYONE who works through these lessons on a regular basis will learn how to figure out grammar and punctuation for themselves (without rules), as well as learn to overcome fear & spark new ideas with their writing. I think anyone who needs to write well would benefit greatly…especially college students who didn’t quite figure it out in high school.
QUESTION: What about grammar?
ANSWER: Honestly, I recommend our whole process as found in The Writing Course. To answer your question, I do believe grammar studies works against learning how to write well. However, reading and writing are essential to learning grammar. In other words, grammar is something we must get ‘into our bones’ as we think through how we want our writing to sound. Here’s my little rant about grammar: State requirements vary, so check them out. For writing, however, the more you write, the better your grammar.
Here you go:
Question: What about spelling?
I’m sure lots of folks have some great programs to pursue. I just have a couple of suggestions:
- Relax (especially with young children) :-). You treat each child the same by treating each one differently.
- Start building a list of your child’s own ‘commonly misspelled words’ and learn them first by regular review.
The second point especially will build confidence in the child. Personally, I”m not sure we worried about spelling in any formal way until the kids were at least 10 years old.
As our children grew and we checked the spelling with the writing and it all worked out over time…even with our poor speller (he’s fine now!) The key in our material is to teach a child how to stop ‘guessing’ when they spell. Either know how to spell it, look it up, or use another word. The Writing Course shows you how to teach your student not to guess..
Hope this helps,
Question: Actually, I would like to get the course for me, I’m over 50 and would like to improve my writing…will that for me?
ANSWER We do have a version (includes a little different material) for folks who want to improve their own writing. I’ll attached the link, and will give you the same guarantees you saw on the web page.
I finished my doctorate a couple of years ago and got a strange compliment from my Harvard-graduate Professor. He told me that my dissertation was the best written (grammatically, especially) he’d read.
Well, I couldn’t have heard that even as recently as a couple of years before that paper was written. I sure didn’t tell him that I didn’t think about a single grammar rule the whole time!
Basically, what I discovered, and can show you through the course…is exactly how you can go about getting to a much better (and far more enjoyable) place with writing. I really cover everything (I only mention grammar because I have to teach you how to quit thinking about it in order to write better) as the basics of writing creatively and effectively and properly. Here the link to the page:
Question: I’ve reviewed the free lessons and am wondering how many lessons there are in all and what grade level is The Writing Course used for?
There are 21 lessons in The Writing Course and another 18 in the Essay Course. We don’t offer the Free Lessons anymore because we have been overwhelmed with proof that The Writing Course works…and…that getting a ‘taste’ of the curriculum was doing a disservice to people who were ‘getting the idea’ and felt that was enough for them. Naturally, there is a big difference between five lessons and 39 lessons.
We’ve had great success with about 5th grade and up through high school. Obviously with older kids there is less involvement needed from adults, except for the ‘grading’ of papers.
In our experience it is a good idea to have each child go through the material AT LEAST once a year. As children age, they interact with material in fresh ways. Additionally, our lessons are really ‘open ended’— which means they are designed to a new experience each time through. The Writing Course allows you to reprint a workbook yearly so the course is treated like something brand new.
QUESTION: This is for 9 years old and above? I have a daughter who is just turning 10 and she is a little behind in Language Arts. Would it work for her?
ANSWER: We’ve had success with the course from 9 year olds and up (14 is when they start really ‘getting it’, though we have our kids review it yearly until they head off to college)… given your daughter’s being ‘a little behind’ it just might mean that you’ll want to spend some time with her going through the lessons (I’d print a workbook for you AND her).
The way the course is designed it sort of works with each person on the level they’re at…the answer is YES I think it would work well.
It’s a different model than the schools, but chances are she’s going to become a fan as she starts enjoying(and in time ‘making sense of’) writing.
If it doesn’t work…you can get a refund…that’s the only real way we know to let you find out!
QUESTION: Is this curriculum entirely digital or does it come as a physical product?
ANSWER:The curriculum consists entirely of digital files which you will download onto your computer. You can do the whole course from your computer or you can print out the 46 page workbook yourself and burn the audio files onto your own CDs, but consider the advantages:
1. You can print out a copy for yourself and work through the material with your child.
2. You can print workbooks for ALL your children (we print 5 each year).
QUESTION: What comes with the course? What do I get?
ANSWER: The Writing Course was built from a public seminar and private weekly tutoring model which has been tried and tested over the past several years. If you become an owner of the course, you will received the following:
1. 21 audio lessons to instantly download on to your computer covering the 12 Secrets, numerous corollaries, and specifics on our revolutionary approach to grammar, punctuation, style, creativity, freedom from fear,giving helpful feedback, and much more.
2. A 70 page PDF version of the full transcript from The Writing Course-Basic Seminar.
3. A 46 page PDF re-printable workbook to use as fresh instruction each semester.
4. A PDF Answer Key for the workbook.
5. A PDF of complete step-by-step directions for using the method properly.
6. A PDF reference guide to our unique approach to punctuation and how to give successful feedback to the student (or yourself).
7. Strategic PDF documents to frame or post on your wall.
8. Coaching support by email, website, and FaceBook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWritingCourse/ )
9. One 100 Day money back guarantee (upon our receipt of your completed Course Workbook) to give you plenty of time to prove to yourself that The Writing Course is unlike anything you’ve ever seen…and that it works as promised.
10. 13 Training Videos (online) covering the essential principles
11. One “How to Grade” Video that shows you exactly how to give helpful feedback to your student.
12. Numerous extras on spelling, language, motivation, etc.
13. The Essay Course adds its own 17 audio lessons to the curriculum / training.
QUESTION: You’ve taught 9 year olds, but you say it is for 5th grade through Seniors in high school; how does that work?
ANSWER: Actually it is for anyone up to age 100. The fact is that younger children need a little more “hands on”; but once they can physically write, they can use the principles. At about 12 years old, you’re pretty safe to use The Writing Course by letting them “teach themselves” (or yourself) with regular feedback (and we teach you how to give the feedback). Age and skill just make the experience and use of the principles fit the student.
QUESTION: Does the course cover instruction for the different “forms” of writing?
ANSWER: The Writing Course-Basic does not cover “forms” in a direct way because it is disruptive and ineffective for the basics of learning how to write. Similar to painting, the first thing you really want to do is help a student understand that there is “no right way to paint.” They first learn to play with colors and forms, etc., particularly when they are young. After a certain amount of comfort with a brush and paint…training in form, structure, and techniquebecomes useful.
“Forms” is basically a strategy of using mechanical templates (INCLUDED IN THE ESSAY COURSE – BONUS). This can be very helpful for classwork and certain kinds of writing AFTER a student is comfortable with the basic building block of writing: The Sentence.
The difference with our approach is that we show you how to allow the sound of what your student is writing to become his faithful guide in learning how to work with language. Our experience and research shows that the more we instruct a child in grammar…the worse she does in writing.
The Writing Course is designed to get the student comfortable with using words in sentences and paragraphs…using templates is something that can be introduced anytime (because it is mechanical).
Additionally, learning “forms” too early can create some frustration in college, and the reason is simple; each professor will have his own “form” of how he wants things written in that class.
Finally, forms are about con-forming…writing for impact is about freedom and the uniqueness of style and VOICE.
QUESTION: Is there any way to see a sample of the course? It seems like a lot of money for a ‘writing’ course, even if it is for several years or multiple children.
There are 21 lessons in The Writing Course and another 18 in the Essay Course. We don’t offer the Free Lessons anymore because we have been overwhelmed with proof that The Writing Course works…and…that getting a ‘taste’ of the curriculum was doing a disservice to people who were ‘getting the idea’ and felt that was enough for them. Naturally, there is a big difference between five lessons and 39 lessons. It is far better in learning to write to get the course and give the whole thing (at least The Writing Course itself) a FULLY GUARANTEED 365 days. You literally have nothing to lose and much to gain.
ANSWER: YES [But with our guarantee, why not sample the whole course and not get distracted with having to come back and add the rest of the course?]
However, it’s hard to sample parts without learning the whole. The Writing Course is unlike anything available; I know because I’ve spent 38 years studying how to think about the subject of writing blocks, grammar, creativity, etc. Moreover, what I’m teaching is quite contrary to conventional “wisdom,” especially the way most teachers understand language. In The Writing Course (which is really a Writing System) we have combined 12 strategic insights to create an overall approach to writing & learning to write. Showing a sample (which would be one principle) only gives you a part of the story…even 5 lessons doesn’t get you where the complete system takes you.
Although the free lessons were a help, the only real solution for your trust with this kind of investment is to guarantee the course for 100 days. If you use it for a 100 days and it doesn’t start developing your child into the writer you really want him or her to become…make use of our guarantee. Honestly, we’ll extend the guarantee for you…we really want your child to learn to write.
We have a leaky faucet in our laundry room. A plumber looked at it and gave us a price of over $500 to replace the faucet. Now, I know that his price is ridiculous, but I’ll probably have to pay something like that (since I’m not a plumber) to fix the faucet (to use for many years to come). I can tell you that the value for the smaller price of learning to write well is massively beyond any hundreds of faucets…because no career, schooling, or job is untouched by the power of the written word. Isn’t it funny how we value things sometimes?
QUESTION: On your homepage you stated that this was a 21-day course. If the course only lasts a month, what then? Do you just ask your children to write ‘something’ everyday after that?
ANSWER: Similar to swimming, you can only learn writing by writing. Actually the 21 day course teaches parents how to give feedback to their children. Our children write every school day between 30 minutes to an hour, including making corrections to grammar, punctuation, spelling, use of words, etc. The principles in The Writing Course become the basis for such feedback, and we show you how to develop an effective feedback approach. In a way, The Writing Course is as much for the parents to learn about writing as it is for the kids to learn to write. Once the parents and the children understand the principles (enough), then the interaction on writing everyday has a common vocabulary…so the parents and the kids really understand what they are both trying to accomplish.
One Parent wrote:
The second answer on this page (the question above) is exactly what I wanted to know when we purchased the Robinson Curriculum going on 10 years now. That is: how will I know how to help my children learn to write; who is going to teach me?
Thank you for this ray of sunshine!
You’ll know how to give feedback to your child (or yourself!) after learning the principles in The Writing Course…Guaranteed!
QUESTION: My daughter could use help with reading comprehension. Can reading comprehension be improved with this writing course? Do you know of a great way to help her improve her focus, comprehension skills and her reading level?
ANSWER: Your question gets at the heart of The Writing Course because reading and writing are intimately related. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to find a really good writer who is a poor reader…since both activities are about written words. A lot of the time a good reader hasn’t made the connection to writing because of the very mistakes we address in The Writing Course. If you want to improve your daughter’s reading & comprehension, one thing will impact her more than anything else: have her practice READING ALOUD. I’m assuming she knows, or has had a good course in, phonics. If she reads phonetically aloud (this means NOT GUESSING at words…which may be a habit in her reading), then her brain begin to make sense of the reading as she actually HEARS what she is reading. With our two kids who struggled with reading comprehension, 15 minutes a day did wonders for them in the course of time.
Another solution Jody (My wife) suggested is to practice narration, which was made famous by Charlotte Mason. Jody practiced this with the children for many years with great success. You can easily find her resources on the web.
QUESTION: My child is a student at a private school. Could we teach this course at home in addition to her school work?
ANSWER: Absolutely. The lessons themselves are about 30 minutes each. Practice, as you wish, could add another half hour to the lesson. For a student in school, a minimum of two lessons a week should begin to make a huge difference. Also, the design of The Writing Course would allow you to repeat the lessons at the beginning of each semester…and, since your daughter will become more advanced over time, it’ll be like a new course offering more insights along with the value of repetition.
QUESTION: So, nothing’s perfect. What are the shortcomings of this course?
ANSWER: The greatest shortcoming with this material is that’s its too easy. One of my mentors, Robert Fritz (www.robertfritz.com), observed to us that “things are hard because they are easy.” You see, when something is easy [like the first step in a goal], we often won’t do it because we think that “if anything is worthwhile, then it must be HARD.”
“Easy” has a second part too: Simplicity. Working through The Writing Course can give one a sense of “well…duh!” at times. This sense, however, is the very thing that keeps people from learning how to really write well enough for life. Remember the Pythagorean Theorem? It is a simple formula for figuring out the length of the sides in a right triangle; you can teach it to a sixth grader. What you may not realize is that took A LOT for Pythagoras to think it up (or notice it)!
The Writing Course is that sort of thing…it is simple and profound. I wouldn’t say I’m a genius like Pythagoras, but “blind hogs root out acorns too!” I’ve gathered and practiced insights from a variety of sources which have been used throughout the ages. You could figure this out too…but The Writing Course will save you a lot of time, money, and mistakes.
Finally, the greatest shortcoming is that this material will do nothing for anyone unless he or she practices it with feedback. The principles must be experienced. Feedback must be given and received (you can do this yourself, too). There is no way around it…you cannot be convinced of the value of this material until you actually experience it yourself…so, the greatest shortcoming is that I can’t make you learn and practice it; and if I could, I wouldn’t…your freedom to make your own decisions about learning to write, instructing your children, etc., are far too important to your life and learning.
It not only really comes naturally, that’s the only true way for grammar to come. I have a book that gives you over 30 different rules for commas…who can remember all of those?
My oldest son received an A and 3 hours of credit when he entered college for ‘english / grammar’… When he told me I asked him what an adjective was and he answered, “Something that modifies something? I don’t know.”
My daughter (a poor test taker) did not do well on her SAT…but took a placement quiz on grammar at her college and did very well. Also, an essay of hers is used by one of her professors as an ‘example of how to do it’…
I ‘flunked’ the ACT section on grammar in High School…but was told by my Harvard-grad-prof that my doctoral dissertation was probably the best written (grammatically speaking) he’d seen.
All of this because of getting grammar in our bones! If you’ll give our process a little time every day(after they’ve gone through the course once), you are going to see your kids learn what ‘sounds right’—now, in time, if she really ‘must’ study grammar, it will still make more sense having spent the effort on working with the sound of things as we teach you in The Writing Course.
I know it seems outlandish to say don’t study grammar…but reading quality material and spending time writing with good feedback (as we show you) IS TEACHING GRAMMAR.
Question: What’s the Difference Between The Writing Course and IEW (and other courses)?
On the RC Group (Robinson Curriculum) I was asked about the difference between our course and others that are out there. Here’s my answer:
Good News: I’m completing a video training on setting up your writing training.
My plan is for this to be a free or very inexpensive introduction to The Writing Course…and honestly, it’s kind of all you need. But I’d say RC is kind of all you need too. The key to writing is to write (and to read good stuff as food for writing).
We developed The Writing Course to simply ‘fill in’ the process for writing every day. I began by tutoring kids in my home and found that the issues in reluctant writers had to be addressed in the whole way (philosophy) they thought about writing. Of course, I had them write too.
Frankly, The Writing Course can stand as its own curriculum, but I think of it more as a great-to-have supplement to any curriculum. We also discovered, by accident, that our approach to writing dramatically helps lots of kids with LD issues. I think the reason for this is simply how we help kids get all the ‘mind trash’ (fears and confusion) out of their head so they can write—and so PROVE to themselves that they can write.
I’m sure IEW is great, along with all kinds of grammar and writing training. However, most all of these systems are still trying to teach kids to write the ‘right’ way.
I show them how to learn to write their OWN WAY, and STILL do well in collee and life with it! This is why I say that I’m trying to ‘grow writers’ vs. ‘growing kids who can write well’.
LISTEN: RC is adequate, do that and don’t worry about it.
ALSO: If IEW or something works, then use it. But, do be mindful that the majority of kids learn to hate writing over time if ‘how they say it’ becomes more important than ‘what they say’. Kids need some grammar in order to graduate high school in every state (I think). I’m a fan of all education that works, and if you find something that helps your home-students excel at writing, use it. You may find it’s a combination of things that works best for you.
ALSO: Our approach is weird and seemingly no big deal, but I’m not teaching the rules of grammar, I’m teaching the WAY of Writing, and the list of successes keeps getting longer
FINALLY: Did I mention that you don’t really have to add a course to the Robinson Curriculum for writing? You have enough. They just need to WRITE MORE than they STUDY ABOUT writing (grammar, punctuation, etc.).
FINALLY FINALLY: If you want more help and conversation, come to our FB Group and join / ask questions. Also, IEW (etc.) is following a ‘children need to be taught’ model; The Writing Course is following a ‘children need to teach themselves model’. The great thing is that humans can often learn in spite of the methods used!
Blessings to all (and especially to Arnold and Art),Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand
QUESTION: When should be begin The Essay Course?
QUESTION: I wondered how the price of your course could be half of his (Dr. Robinson’s) 12 yr curriculum.
I’m a little confused about your comment on Robinson’s pricing. I’m thinking you are saying that his course is priced well and mine is over-priced (especially because his is a 12 year curriculum). You could be right, however, to be accurate, wouldn’t you want to compare The Writing Course to other writing courses? You can pay up to $3,000 for writing courses (for a family of 5 like ours).
Robinson is $195 over 12 years…………………. ……….$16.25 a year The Writing Course is $127 over 8 years………………. $15.88 a year The ‘cost’ of the Robinson Curriculum can be easily misunderstood (though it is still the cheapest option out there).
For the complete Robinson Curriculum you must also at least add in:
Replacement Print Cartridges
Saxson Math (each book, answers book, etc.)
These add up— so Dr. Robinson’s curriculum is more costly than it first looks.
Also, honestly, there isn’t much to the Robinson Curriculum except a philosophy / approach. You do math, you read, you write. The books and the vocabulary can be compiled over the internet or at the library. The issue is always the value you receive. I get letters all the time from people who have seen my materials change the lives of their children. I understand difficulties in these times (I have them financially myself), but the Course is a really good value (along with the guarantee)…no writing curriculum is less expensive, or more helpful, than The Writing Course. Additionally, I’ve had many adults take the course with effective life-change as well.
If you look at what people spend on hamburgers, Ipods, books, etc., you get the picture of how inexpensive a course like this really is, and what it can mean to the long-term impact and employ-ability of a person. I have probably invested well over $250,000 dollars in my own education…The Writing Course is giving the gems and essentials of all that labor and cost. I think it is certainly worth it; in fact, I think it is worth a great deal more.
I trust the Lord will lead you all to work and wisdom in these trying times.
Will your writing course be something I could use during the hour of writing each day, or is it a course meant to jumpstart that process? I have 5 children, but only 3 of the age to write. The older kids are 11, 13 and 14.
The younger two of the boys are VERY reluctant writers, but when they are inspired, they are fantastic(a couple of times a year). I just feel a bit lost on how to get them to consistently be in that comfortable writing space.
First – Inspiration is the worst thing in the world for writers smile emoticon Waiting for inspiration is often a long wait. What we want (especially for college, eventually) is the ability to sit down and write whenever we choose.
The design of The Writing Course is to initially go through the material as a foundation for writing every day. We had our kids go through the course yearly for a lot of years. It’s open-ended so it feels like a different course every time (so, you print out a new workbook each time through). In-between, the kids will then write to practice the key principles (13 in all) and you’ll give them feedback exactly how we show you.
In this way they are learning how to improve grammar, punctuation, spelling creativity, confidence, etc., as little writers. Reluctance is a function of fear and lack of confidence. Most courses just throw gasoline on the fire of fear, which is why most people get out of school and hardly ever write again.
A school is now using our course and are reporting a dramatic change! I didn’t mean to help schools :-), but I did mean to help students!
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand
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