Do you ever wonder about the circumstances that have inspired your favorite homeschool products? It’s likely the authors first created those materials to meet their own children’s needs.
And you know what? That’s exactly how WriteShop was born!
The Boys Who Couldn’t Write
Academics came easily to our daughters, but our sons struggled terribly. We were desperate to teach our boys to write, so in the fall of 1997, as they were entering 7th grade, we offered a writing class for a small group of homeschooled junior highers. As our core curriculum, we used bits and pieces from established writing programs; it wasn’t even on our radar to write such a program of our own! While each program had its strengths, we also discovered holes we wanted to fill.
We knew the value of helping kids develop a strong writing foundation. Most parents had enrolled their kids in our class because of their own admitted weakness in this area. While most programs were great about encouraging kids to “get their ideas onto paper,” they often failed to help parents teach, guide, and evaluate in a simple way.
We longed for a curriculum where lesson built upon lesson and concepts become firmly rooted through practice.
Our Wishlist for Teaching Writing
We drafted a wishlist of components for our “ideal” writing class, including:
- Prewriting games to stimulate creativity.
- A way to introduce and help students develop new skills.
- Creative, varied writing exercises with clearly defined expectations.
- Incremental lessons that built upon previously learned material.
- Writing checklists to help students edit their own work.
- A simple evaluation tool to help us grade final drafts objectively.
To be honest, we never imagined WriteShop would grow beyond the materials we created for this class of struggling middle schoolers. We never set out to write a curriculum. In fact, we were just happy just to hammer out one lesson at a time for our class by Monday at midnight!
WriteShop Is Born
Within weeks, when writing finally began to click for each of our students, we knew we’d struck gold. Two years later, when our class waiting list soared to 50, parents started asking us to write a teacher’s guide and turn our ideas into a curriculum so they could teach it at home. Eventually, we bit the bullet and developed what would become our flagship curriculum: WriteShop I and II for junior high and high school. Shortly thereafter, in January 2001, we officially launched our company.
New Levels for Younger Students
Even with the success of WriteShop I and II, it never occurred to us to write or publish any more books. But when we met children’s author Nancy Sanders—and learned about her heart for developing teaching materials—we commissioned her to create WriteShop Primary for young children in K-3rd grade. Nancy took our core ideas and developed a gentle, engaging way to introduce the writing process to much younger learners. WriteShop Primary’s success prompted us to keep going, and since then, Nancy has followed suit with the creative—and wildly popular—WriteShop Junior for grades 4-6.
Kudos for WriteShop
Not only is WriteShop a top curriculum choice among homeschooling families, our materials are a favorite of private schools as well as homeschool classes and co-ops, meeting writing needs that extend far beyond the kitchen table.
Over the years, WriteShop has received numerous honors and awards, including The Old Schoolhouse’s Excellence in Education Award, Practical Homeschooling Magazine’s Reader Award, Schoolhouse Review Crew’s Blue Ribbon Award, and inclusion in all three editions of Cathy Duffy’s Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
We’re glad you’re here, and we invite you to poke around the website, blog, and store. You’ll find ideas, tips, and products to help you teach writing with confidence!