Kim Kautzer and Debbie Oldar, the founders of WriteShop, developed the curriculum to help instructors teach, guide, and evaluate writing in a simple way.
1997 – 2001
- Motivated to teach their tween boys to write, Kim Kautzer and Debbie Oldar offered a yearlong writing class for homeschooled middle schoolers. Most of their students struggled to write a basic paragraph. Because Kim and Debbie couldn’t find materials that worked for them, they developed their own lessons and teaching materials week by week.
- After the success of their first class, Debbie and Kim offered to teach it again. Meanwhile, they opened up a second class and wrote new materials. The first class was called WriteShop I and the second WriteShop II. As word of their success spread, parents asked for a way to teach their students at home. Debbie and Kim listened and wrote a teacher’s manual for their flagship curriculum.
- In January 2001 WriteShop became an official company with a business license and a legal partnership. WriteShop made its internet and homeschool convention debuts, with all sales fulfilled from the stock in Kim’s garage.
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!Kim Kautzer
2002 – 2014
- After a strong start, WriteShop grew exponentially through new product development, great online reviews, wholesale presence, convention attendance, and word-of-mouth from successful users. WriteShop’s market expanded into homeschool classes and co-ops and private schools, and the curriculum was awarded many honors.
- Children’s author Nancy Sanders was brought on board to develop the popular WriteShop Primary for young children. Nancy took the core ideas of WriteShop I & II and developed a gentle, engaging way to introduce the writing process to much younger learners. WriteShop Primary’s success prompted the development of additional products, such as WriteShop Junior and StoryBuilders.
- Operations moved from Kim’s garage to Debbie’s basement and to the warehouse of a local printing company in 2006.
2015 – 2020
- WriteShop continued to evolve with a brand new website that improved customer experience. The WriteShop I & II books received a fresh cover design and digital versions were offered. Product development continued and the final level of WriteShop Junior was released in 2017. Additional digital writing extras were added to support students’ learning.
- To help and support instructors, a curriculum consultant was brought aboard to assist and advise parents, co-op teachers, and schools.
- WriteShop co-founder Debbie Oldar retired.
- Through the pandemic, WriteShop shifted to participate in online conventions and to support newly homeschooling families.
- In January 2022, Demme Learning acquired WriteShop. Demme Learning is an independent family-owned and operated publishing company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Best known for our signature curriculum Math-U-See, we have provided innovative learning solutions for homeschoolers, parents, and small group learning environments since 1990. The Demme Learning mission is to empower parents to help their children grow into lifelong learners.
Read our blog post about WriteShop joining the Demme Learning family.