Please note: I received this program in exchange for an honest review. I was compensated for my time in writing this review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a favorable review. See disclosure page.
Knowing that writing was one subject in particular where my high schooler was resistant to constructive criticism from me, I looked for outside options for a composition class. Soon after that, I heard about Fortuigence, an online essay writing program.
In my opinion, no matter what specific subjects are covered, and no matter what style of homeschooling, every student needs strong basic math skills and strong writing skills. Anything beyond that can be learned as needed in whatever job or life opportunity presents itself down the road. Though Lindsey has always said she enjoys writing, she really only enjoys writing what she wants to write. I do see merit in simply writing for pleasure; that’s something I personally enjoy myself! But there are occasions in life that call for more developed writing skills. According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education, 73% of U.S. teens tested failed to demonstrate writing competency. While I’m not a fan of standardized testing, that’s still a scary statistic!
Essay Rock Star Online High School Writing Course
This course is intended to teach teens to write well. Though primarily used by homeschoolers, some public school teens also use this online program to hone their skills. (Check out this free course for parents, too!)
About the writing teacher:
Lily is a teacher who has worked with over 1,000 students during 10+ years of teaching in both public and private schools. In my dealings with her, she has been completely professional, encouraging, and when it was clear my student was trying to take short cuts, Lily was diplomatic but didn’t let her get away with it. A perfect balance, in my opinion.
For the in-lesson videos, Lily is always personable, pleasant, and clear in her explanations.
I appreciate how easy it was for me to communicate with Lily. She was quick in her responses to any email questions I had for her, and always sent me emails with updates on Lindsey’s progress, as well as any potential issues. Fortuigence is set up so that students and instructors may message each other within the program, and I set it up so that I received an email anytime Lily send a message to Lindsey.
How this program works to improve writing skills:
In this self-paced course, students learn to write four types of essays that they’ll use regularly for most written assignments requested of them:
1. Personal Statement– often requested in college applications
2. Persuasive Essay– often requested in college entrance exams
3. Expository Essay– explaining a process; a “how to” explanation
4. Textual Analysis – often requested in upper grades or at college level
During every step of the process in each essay, students receive personal feedback and suggestions for improving the essay. Another bonus: PDF resource guides students (and parents) can keep to refer to later.
Each essay has about five assignments within it. Students watch and listen to Lily’s instructional video, then submit the assignment when they’ve completed it. Once the instructor has reviewed the assignment, she sends the student a message with feedback. If the assignment has not been done correctly, the student may re-do and resubmit as needed. Once that step in the process is complete, the student may move on to the next step, where they will receive instructions and continue on with feedback after every step of the process.
The course is full enough to count as one full semester’s worth of composition. Working through all four essays usually takes anywhere from 3 – 6 months, depending upon the student. The time-frame depends almost wholly upon the student; there is very little wait-time for responses from the instructor (usually within 24 hours) so students can move on to the next step in the process as quickly as they’d like.
Students may write on any subject they’d like, as long as it fits within the parameters of the type of essay. I find that to be a big plus because writing on a topic they’re interested in makes the writing process more enjoyable.
I’m immensely impressed with this 100% satisfaction guarantee: If you realize this course isn’t a good fit for your child — or if the instructor finds that your child isn’t ready for this course — they will issue a full refund. (Please ask for details to clarify specifics if this is a selling point for you.)
Limited time offer — a FREE course for parents:
Lily, the founder of Fortuigence is offering a FREE course for homeschool parents: Top Teach is a short online course (a $79 value) is that supports you in setting a powerful setting for your kids to become strong writers. Utilize these “7 steps to gain the confidence, the know how and an easy to follow framework to ensure your child learns to write well at home.”
Our experience with this online writing course:
My high-schooler was a very reluctant student. As I said, she does not respond well to any sort of criticism from me — particularly in regards to writing, since this is a subject where she felt she already had strong skills. While this program can be done completely without assistance from the parent, with a reluctant student like mine, it required a bit of prodding.
The self-paced aspect is wonderful, but does leave room for a less-than-diligent approach to working through the essay assignments. This is really the only negative I found in the program, but that’s not even about the program but really about the student’s personality and work ethic. Because the instructor tailors all input to each student’s abilities, I believe the program would work for almost any high school level of writing, from average to advanced, and probably for struggling students as well.
Connect with Lily at any of the following sites:
Wife, mom, grandma. Introvert who finds joy in good books, sunshine, and authentic conversation. Fitness enthusiast and personal trainer. Often seen with a steaming mug of tea in hand.