Co-ops and Classes FAQ
Using WriteShop I and II in a Class Setting
- Does WriteShop work well in a co-op setting?
- Am I qualified to teach a class?
- What’s involved in teaching a co-op class?
- I’d like to teach a writing class. Where can I find students?
- What grade levels should I teach?
- How many students should I teach?
- Should I accept 4th and 5th graders?
- I teach language arts in a private school. Would WriteShop work for my junior high class?
- If I use the Handbook for Teaching in a Group Setting, do I still need a Teacher’s Manual?
- Will parents also need a Teacher’s Manual?
- How do I deal with details such as setting a fee or structuring my class time?
- Does WriteShop give group discounts for class purchases?
- Is WriteShop secular?
1. Does WriteShop work well in a co-op setting?WriteShop I and II were originally developed for a homeschool co-op, making them a natural curriculum choice for anyone wanting to teach writing to a small group of students. Whether you do all the teaching, editing, and grading—or share these responsibilities with others, WriteShop will help you with lesson planning, classroom management, and teaching suggestions. Since 2001, classes have continued springing up all around the country. Others have taught WriteShop with success—and you can too!
2. Am I qualified to teach a class?If you are a fairly confident writer with a good eye for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you can teach a WriteShop class! You don’t need to be an English major or have a teaching credential to successfully guide a small group of students through the basics of writing simple compositions. Because of its step-by-step approach, the WriteShop Teacher’s Manual will walk you through the process and provide helpful tools for teaching and evaluating.
3. What’s involved in teaching a co-op class?Generally, classes are held weekly. You’ll need a minimum of 1 hour per week, but 1.5- or 2-hour sessions are ideal. The more time you have, the more material you can cover.
Classes can meet in a home, church, or community center. During a class session, you can do any or all of the following:
- Teach new lesson and skill-builder concepts.
- Review previous material.
- Do pre-writing activities as a group.
- Work on a class paragraph together on the white board.
- Involve students in peer editing.
Most teachers do all the teaching, editing, and grading. Others teach with an assistant or with regular or rotating parent help. Find out what the parents need or expect from you. Do they want you to do it all? Or do they want you to teach the class but leave the editing and evaluating to the them?
Something else to consider: If you plan to charge a fee for teaching a class, you’ll probably want to charge more if you do all the work and less if the parents take on the time-consuming tasks of editing and/or grading.
4. I’d like to teach a writing class. Where can I find students?It’s possible to have a class drop in your lap when group of parents seek you out to teach their teens. But if you’re the one searching for students, look for opportunities to offer writing classes to homeschooling families through local independent study programs, support groups, and co-ops. Advertise in your area’s homeschool discussion boards, newsletters, and Facebook groups.
5. What grade levels should I teach?For best results, we recommend teaching WriteShop I classes of 7th- to 10th-graders and WriteShop II classes of 8th- to 12th-graders. Some 11th- and 12th-graders may not be ready for WriteShop II at first, never having learned the basics. Consider forming a WriteShop I class to help bring these older students up to speed. The program is flexible and adaptable for most teens.
6. How many students should I teach?Your class can have as few as three students and as many as 20. When the class number goes above ten, it’s a good idea to find an assistant, a parent helper, or a team teacher. First-time teachers might want to start smaller, especially if you are teaching the class alone, perhaps beginning with the manageable number of four to eight students.
In addition to class time, think about how many hours you can devote each week to grading papers. (Be honest with yourself. If you’re homeschooling your own children, or your kids are involved in extracurricular activities, you’ll have less free time than if your children are grown.) For each composition you edit or grade, plan to set aside up to one hour. If you’re teaching six students, for example, you’ll need about six hours a week to edit and grade.
Finally, how quickly do you plan to move through the program? Covering one WriteShop level in a semester instead of a year will obviously require more editing hours per week.
7. Should I accept 4th and 5th graders?WriteShop I is junior-high and high-school level material and would totally overwhelm most younger children. They would struggle to keep up the pace and demand of the curriculum, mostly because of their cognitive immaturity—and often end up hating writing. It’s better either to wait till they’re older or to open up a fun-focused WriteShop Junior class for the younger kids.
8. I teach language arts in a private school. Would WriteShop work for my junior high class?Teachers can easily adapt WriteShop for use in the traditional classroom. Since you see the students every day, follow a daily schedule (see the Teacher’s Manual) rather than one of the weekly or biweekly schedules in the Handbook. Spend class time teaching new concepts and overseeing student writing and self-editing. As needed, assign Skill Builders and unfinished compositions for homework.
If your school offers classes for both 7th and 8th graders, plan to teach WriteShop I to the 7th graders and WriteShop II to the 8th graders. During your school’s first year of using WriteShop, however, it’s best to use WriteShop I for both grade levels. Then next year, when the 7th graders move up to 8th grade, they can advance to WriteShop II while incoming 7th graders begin with WriteShop I.