What do our online writing classes offer students and families?

  • As a parent, how do you feel about education? 
  • What worries you about this current moment in history? 
  • What do you fear for your student’s future?

Developing solid writers, thinkers, and creators

We are here at Carrier Shell Curriculum and Classes to build your students up, treat them as human beings, and teach them skills to encourage growth and creativity as people and scholars.  We strive to make sure they feel known by our instructors and other students.  Our year-long online classes provide a safe space for learning; over the course of the year, learners’ personalities emerge. Middle school and upper elementary students in particular really enjoy the camaraderie in the online classroom.

Our classes meet once a week for 60-75 minutes, going 12 to 15 weeks per semester (two semesters a year); with this number of class meetings, students and instructors develop rapport. Our classes use an online learning management system (LMS) such as Google Classroom, where students turn in work and receive thoughtful and productive instructor feedback. In our experience, students quickly master turning in work in Google Classroom. Several years ago, we had a sixth grade student who after taking one of our classes, independently set up a Google Classroom for her family so she could teach an art class to her family members. Our learners tend to be great LMS teachers for their parents!

Common humanity

One of our classes’ strongest benefits is the humanity in our courses.  Our courses are live – not asynchronous or simply a computer “program.”  We know homeschooling students and families have quite a bit of variety in how they operate, employing everything from unschooling to a classical approach to a traditional educational approach.  Our courses are places where individuality is celebrated, and students are treated like unique people.  With the birth of AI impacting writing in significant ways, our classes are a place where we strive to help students uncover their unique reflections, so they are able to put in their distinctive thoughts into a combination of words that fits who they are. 

Here is what Ms. Chenning had to say about a parent who might be unsure about enrolling their student in our writing classes:

“I would encourage [the parent] to join the class!  If he or she is worried about the workload or special needs of her students, I would explain that we will work with them and work things out – whether through scaling assignments or extra communication with that family.  Also, that her child will receive personal attention and feedback on their assignments.  I will work very hard to fulfill my responsibility of being prepared and teaching a great class!”

Ms. Chenning, instructor of Writer’s Odyssey for grades 8-9

There is room in our classes for students to be authentic.  We are a program of human teachers teaching human students in human families.  We are not bots!  With the development of AI and its adoption and impact on young students, Elon Musk has a good point:  “The consequences of AI going wrong are severe so we have to be proactive rather than reactive.” A part of being a proactive student is to learn how to think and express oneself; meeting elementary and middle school writing milestones will be helpful to human autonomy and give students the ability to objectively evaluate the positive and negative impact of this new technology.

Building self-confidence

Ms. Tracy teaches our elementary writing class using IEW’s Discoveries in Writing.  Here are her reflections on her writing class for grades 4-5:

“It is so rewarding to see the kids grow in their confidence such that they want to read their writing aloud to the class.  It’s a wonderful way to celebrate their work, their creativity, and their unique voice.  The kids inspire one another to do their very best.”  

Ms. Tracy, instructor of Writing to discover for grades 4-5

In our cultural moment, there are so many forces that tear people down:  social media, negative, and unrealistic self-image projections, etc.  Through interacting over the course of the year, students increase their comfortability in sharing their work in class and in the process become known by their classmates.

Opportunities for creativity

“I often encourage students to make videos of mini-mysteries they’ve written.  One student made a video with establishing shots, close ups, background music, cross fades – it was better than most TV shows were when I was a kid!  It’s also fun to see students make use of parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles, who are often roped into playing parts in some of these videos.”

Kevin O’Brien, instructor of Adventures in writing for grades 6-7

Creativity is often one of the lesser-cultivated values in education today; as students get toward high school, “what they should know” becomes the focus.  At Carrier Shell, we allow students to adapt their learning and make it personal.  Youth naturally have a creative bent and we seek to help them uncover this force, whether it be in baking, creative writing, filmmaking, pottery, or other disciplines.  Many don’t realize it, but creativity is one of the only ways we can uncover our humanity and steer a course truly illuminating solutions for the issues of our day.

In the pursuit of academic excellence, schools often unintentionally stifle creativity. Innovation and change stem from creativity, allowing people to solve problems openly and think critically. A society that has lost touch with its creative side becomes sheltered and close-minded,” from The Creativity Crisis (Wingspan).

Join us!

We’d love your students to join our writing classes to embrace their uniqueness, build their self-confidence, and foster their creativity; these traits are vitally important for this generation, and beyond.

Meet our excellent writing instructors!

We will have a public Info-Session featuring our instructors on Tuesday, August 13th at 10am PST.

Sign-up to receive meeting information!

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