Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When do courses begin and end?
Q. Why do you require email addresses for students?
A. Every student must have a unique account in our program and the system we use links accounts to email addresses. Parents have their own separate observer accounts, which makes it impossible for family members to share a single email address.
We understand that not all parents want their children to use email. That’s fine. Email is not an essential part of our program. We simply need a unique email address as an identifier for each user account. An easy solution is for parents to create multiple email addresses for themselves and use them for their students.
Q. How much time does WriteAtHome require?
A. This varies from one student to the next, and one assignment to the next, but a typical WriteAtHome™ assignment requires 1-3 hours per week. Keep in mind that first drafts will often require more time and effort than revisions. It is not uncommon for the revision of a strong paper to require only a few minutes in a given week. Keep in mind, however, that the benefit of our program is in the consistent, ongoing work throughout a course (or multiple courses). And remember that your writing coach invests roughly the same effort on each draft.
Q. What is Canvas? Instructure? Go Sign Me Up?
A: In order to provide our services, WriteAtHome makes use of two online programs: Canvas, learning management system offered by a company called Instructure and Go Sign Me Up, a course enrollment program that integrates with Canvas. We manage enrollment and payment through Go Sign Me Up and our courses take place in Canvas. Don't worry; it sounds more confusing than it it.
Q. Do your courses include grammar?
A: WriteAtHome lessons address grammar, usage, and mechanics, particularly in Middle School Composition 2 and High School Composition 3. The focus of these classes, however, is on grammar and usage issues that are particularly problematic for student writers--neither course was designed to be a comprehensive grammar study. Because grammar and usage comprise an important element of all writing, our writing coaches will address any grammatical issues that arise in their comments on student papers.
We believe a thorough knowledge of English grammar is always helpful to a developing writer. Supplementing WriteAtHome™ with a separate grammar curriculum is therefore recommended, especially if the student is weak in this area.
Q. Can I count a WriteAtHome course as a full credit?
A: It is important to check the local and state guidelines for homeschooling in your area, but in most cases, decisions like this are up to parents. Some parents combine WriteAtHome™ with a literature program for a single English credit. Others count a WriteAtHome™ annual course as a full composition credit.
Q. Will I have to purchase any books?
A: Not with WriteAtHome. Our writing classes include weekly lessons and assignments that students download from our site. No further texts or materials are necessary.
It's a different story with Wasko Lit. You will have to obtain the lit books. You can find the book lists here on our website and order them on Amazon, find them in your local library or some other way of your choosing. We don't provide the books for Wasko Lit.
Q. Is WriteAtHome a Faith-Based Program?
A. No. Although the Waskos and most of our writing coaches are evangelical Christians, there is no spiritual or religious content to our program. We seek to help students of any and all backgrounds to grow as writers. Writing coaches are not permitted to seek to influence a student's faith, worldview, or political position.
Q. How involved should I be as a parent?
A: WriteAtHome exists to support families seeking improved writing skills for their middle and high school aged children. Most of our customers are homeschoolers, and we respect the right of parents to be the academic authority in the home.
That means we generally defer to parents with this decision.
Parents may be very actively engaged in the process if they desire. Some parents work alongside their students on writing projects. Others ask to do a quick proofreading before assignments are submitted. Still others do little more than check occasionally on student progress.
We welcome as much involvement as parents wish, trusting that they are the best judge of their students' needs and learning styles.
We only ask that parents participate at least in the following ways:
Keep students accountable for turning in assignments on time, and for communicating with the writing coach when circumstances might result in late papers.
Regularly read the comments provided by coaches and check on the assessment scores provided on final drafts.
Communicate with your writing coach about needs and concerns if and when they arise.
Q. Does WriteAtHome provide grades?
A: Yes. Sort of.
We try to balance our respect for the autonomy of homeschooling parents with a desire to serve them as much as possible. We therefore provide an assessment score on every final draft. As of 2018, these scores will be created through our unique 3 X 3 +1 Assessment Rubric and will range from 50-100 points.
These scores look like grades. Our learning management system refers to them as grades. But we don't think of them as grades. They are assessment scores created with a rubric that is designed to inform more than evaluate.
Homeschooling parents are free to do whatever they like with these scores. You can count them as grades or simply take them as helpful information that you can use in giving your own grades. WriteAtHome is a tutorial service, not a school, so we don't have any real authority to assign grades. Parents do.
Weekly quizzes are automatically graded and students and parents can access both quiz and assignment grades whenever they like. They can even download and print their grades/scores for their records.
Our Wasko Lit courses provide more typical numeric and letter grades based on quiz scores, contribution to weekly discussions, and grades on two papers and one creative project. There are no tests or exams.
Keep in mind that in most homeschooling situations, Mom and/or Dad is the sole authority. We're just here to help. That means if you disagree with a grade and think it should be higher or lower--change it. It won't bother us at all. You don't even have to tell us.
Q. We will have to miss a week or two. Is that okay?
A: No problem. We offer classes with a schedule to provide structure and accountability, but we stay flexible enough to accommodate family trips, as well as unexpected emergencies. Illnesses and computer problems happen with unfortunate regularity, so we have learned to adapt. It helps to have advanced notice, but if things come up which postpone assignment submissions, we will work with you to help get students caught up.
Same goes for Wasko Lit courses. All sessions are recorded, so absent students can get caught up.
Q. I don't know where to start. Do you offer any placement services?
A: Yes and no. We don't have a formal method of determining class placement. We trust that parents are the best judges of student ability. We will, however, be glad to offer advice regarding placement. Keep in mind that because our courses are all tutorial in purpose, course selection isn't as important as you might think. There's no passing or failing a WriteAtHome course and our writing coaches gladly work with students from a wide range of abilities.
Still, if you want help deciding where to start, check out our Which Course Should I Take? page. There we explain our various course options and considerations for enrolling.
We also provide a simple Course Recommendation Survey that walks you through several questions about your student, leading to the course or courses we recommend.
If you try the Which Course? page and the Survey and still aren't sure, feel free to contact us by phone or email and we'll be happy to listen to your situation and offer an informed opinion.
We can change courses at any time if you feel your student is in the wrong class, but honestly, this almost never happens. Our classes are tutorial in nature and bend to accommodate students of a wide range of abilities.
Q. Can parents substitute an assignment of their own choosing?
A: In most cases, no. Unless the assignment is essentially the equivalent, and there is reasonable cause to substitute it, we ask that all students follow our course of study. This keeps things simple for our hard-working writing coaches, and assures that students progress through the course in a systematic way.
Q. May I request a particular writing coach?
A: You are welcome to request a coach, but we cannot guarantee that you will get the coach you ask for. Most of our coaches work with just a single course or small group of courses, which may or may not include the course your student is enrolled in. But don’t worry -- all of our writing coaches are fantastic. In the unlikely case that you are dissatisfied once the class begins, we are able to move you to a different coach.
Q. What if I am dissatisfied with WriteAtHome?
A: If you are dissatisfied with any WriteAtHome or Wasko Lit course, we will refund 100% of your tuition as long as you inform us before the end of the trial period (100 days for annual courses, 50 days for semester courses and 30 days for workshops).
Of course, most concerns can be addressed and corrected if they are communicated to us early. If you find anything about our program that doesn't live up to your expectations, please inform your writing coach or our wonderful support staff. We promise to do everything in our power to make your WriteAtHome experience wonderful.
Q. Can non-homeschooled students take a course?
A: Certainly. The program was designed as a comprehensive writing course with homeschooled students in mind, but students enrolled in public or private schools could benefit from the additional instruction. It is very difficult for a typical English teacher to assign and respond to student papers on a weekly basis (most class loads exceed 100 students). WriteAtHome™ can provide important supplemental instruction in this area. The flexible schedule allows students to work on assignments after school, or at any convenient time.
Q. Can adults take a WriteAtHome course?
A: Sure, if you like. Just be aware that the assignments are designed for teens and may come across as a bit juvenile at times. If that doesn't bother you, go for it!
Wasko Lit classes are another story. Those are reserved for teenaged students.