Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Online Writing Co-op Work?

Depending on the session, it is a six or eight week course for homeschool students in grades 9-12. There is one lesson per week that contains a writing assignment designed to develop and reinforce good writing skills. Lessons are e-mailed by the instructor to the student each week. Students email completed assignments back to the instructor by the due date. The instructor provides encouraging feedback, also known as "constructive input", about the student's work and is available for students' questions throughout the Co-op Session.

It is not necessary for students to be online at a designated time. Students' lessons, assignments, and e-mail interaction can be done at their convenience. Each lesson's assignment is due a week from the time the lesson is sent to provide ample time for students to work. Average time students spend per week on a lesson and assignment is 2-3 hours, but this varies depending on the student.

 

What Tools Are Needed?

Students will need access to the internet and an e-mail account. They will also need a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word. Basic knowledge of the word processing program is necessary. A good dictionary and thesaurus are also handy.  If a student is willing to make the effort, they should reap results from the Co-op.

Students of all writing skill levels are welcome! Everyone can grow and improve in their writing and communication skills. Interaction between Co-op participants is done on the Co-op's private forum. The forum is where students can exchange ideas, read other's assignments, and provide positive and encouraging feedback among themselves.

 

Is the Co-op a Replacement for High School Language Arts?

No, the Co-op is designed to be a supplement to, not a replacement for, a High School Language Arts course. Lessons and assignments address general grammar and mechanics with the focus on the process of writing. Any student can improve with practice, encouragement, and the right tools.

 

How long has the Online Co-op been around?

The Online Co-op began in the spring of 2005 and has hosted sessions every spring and fall since. Students from all over the globe have participated, including from Canada, Japan, North Africa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Virginia.

 

How are the sessions scheduled?

There are three Co-op sessions during the school year. The early spring session starts in January; the late spring session in March, and the fall session starts in September. Co-op group size is limited to accommodate personalized feedback from the instructor and quality interaction between students at the online forum.

The sessions include a variety of lessons, assignments and a "Just For Fun" section to help improve writing skills. Even students who enjoy writing often find themselves bogged down with the mechanics and they may not realize that writing is a process. With the right tools and encouragement anyone can grow and improve.

 

How are lessons structured?

Each lesson contains four parts: One - Points to Review, Two - the Lesson, Three - the Assignment, and Four - Just For Fun. Part One includes a brief review of writing principles. Part Two includes the lesson, which focuses on the featured topic and includes examples and/or self-check questions for the student to keep in mind while writing. Featured topics include fiction, persuasive writing, advertising, and news writing, among others. Part Three includes directions and specifics about the assignment.

Often the student is given a choice of assignment options, and all reinforce previous and current lesson content. Completed assignment length varies depending on the lesson and the student, averaging two to four paragraphs. Assignments range from writing fiction to advertising copy, personal life experiences to interviews, etc. depending on the topics covered in a particular session. Part Four includes suggestions for further, but not mandatory, writing related activities or games that can be done alone or in a group.

 

How does feedback work?

Instructor Karen Lange emails each student with personalized feedback every week. This is a key element in the Writing Co-op, because students need to be encouraged in their writing.

Even the most reluctant writer, who thinks that they cannot write, or one who thinks they do not write well, has wonderful ideas to share. Gaining confidence through the process is key to success.

Co-op feedback highlights the positive aspects of student's writing and ideas and gently encourages the student in areas where they need improvement.

Those who enjoy writing benefit from this approach as well. Every writer at every level can learn something new and will improve with practice and encouragement.
 

Watch for upcoming sessions on Literature and other writing topics.

 

Questions? Want to register your homeschool teen?

Contact Karen Lange at writingcoop@y ahoo.com.