WriteAtHome Review

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With high quality, focused instruction, plenty of fun writing assignments and cadre of professional coaches providing assessments and detailed feedback, WriteAtHome’s online courses can take a lot of the stress (and tears) out of helping homeschoolers sharpen their writing skills. 

What We Like

Affordable
Lengthy trial periods with money back guarantee
Flexible course offerings and schedules
Blends flexible self-study approach with accountability and oversight of personal coaching
Live lit classes are recorded
Coaches are high quality and experienced professionals, certified teachers or writers
Coaches provide more detailed and meaningful feedback on writing
Very safe with lots of options for parental oversight
Easy to use and intuitive online platform
Brief lessons and quizzes, plenty of opportunity to practice writing and receive useful feedback
Web browser based means it can be used anywhere and on practically any device

But Be Careful

Can’t really choose teachers or substitute coursework
Is not a full language or grammar course, very weak students may need to supplement
No placement tests, may be harder for novice homeschoolers to find the right level for their kids

What is WriteAtHome?

Founded in 2001 by long-time English teacher and writing Coach Brian Wasko, WriteAtHome offers live and recorded writing lessons and coaching for homeschool students in middle and high school. 

WriteAtHome’s cadre of teachers and writers help students hone their creative and academic writing, while the company’s online lessons help students develop a stronger understanding of writing mechanics, structure, style and form. 

Grades Covered

WriteAtHome is designed for middle and high school kids from about the 5th or 6th grades to grade 12.

Its lessons and coaching are designed around the writing skills, concepts and expectations commonly required of students in this grade range, and in general follows a logical and fairly traditional pathway of writing development. 

Students at the younger levels (middle school) are given more technically oriented lessons and assignments, working more on concepts like sentence and paragraph construction and the general mechanics of writing. 

As such, students work on their fundamental writing and editing skills before progressing to multi-paragraph creative and practical writing, e.g. reports, biographies, narrative composition and more. 

WriteAtHome’s high school courses, on the other hand, build on these skills and place a stronger emphasis on significantly tightening up their planning, writing and editing skills. 

The idea at this level is for students to slowly progress into more structured and sophisticated writing that will serve them in their academic careers, and the bulk of writing leans more towards formal essays, research papers and literary analysis.

Of course, with courses designed for homeschooling students and built around coaching, WriteAtHome is quite flexible and there is no real hard and fast rule dictating when kids are “ready” to take each course.

It is certainly possible that more precocious middle school students can take high school classes, for example, and of course students that are a bit behind on the fundamentals can always drop down a course. 

That said, since WriteAtHome does not formally teach grammar and its earlier courses do assume some basic ability to compose sentences and paragraphs, as well as the maturity to follow a self-paced course, we wouldn’t recommend the program for most elementary school students below grade 5. 

Unless they are already quite strong on language arts fundamentals, younger students may feel a bit too far behind and they may not receive the full benefit of WriteAtHome’s writing coaching. 

Sadly, although the company has some resources on its website to help parents find the right level for their child, it does not offer any real placement test.

As such, it can take some time and effort for novice homeschoolers to work this out for themselves.

WriteAtHome Courses Offered 

WriteAtHome has four courses for students and parents to choose from – three writing courses and a literature course. 

The three writing courses (which are the main focus of this review) are divided up mainly by length and topical coverage, while the literature course is a separate course altogether. 

Full Year Writing Courses

WriteAtHome’s full year courses are 32 weeks long.

They offer 30 or so weeks of instruction, touching on a variety of topics and offering students plenty of practice in writing before culminating in a final paper or project. 

In general, these are the most comprehensive courses offered by the company and provide students with the most in-depth instruction and writing practice. 

Semester Writing Courses

In contrast, WriteAtHome’s Semester courses are 16 weeks long and, rather than being simply half of a full course, are more of an abridged version. 

This is to say that they cover the essential material of a full year’s course, but simply have fewer lessons and provide fewer assignments overall. 

They are, however, less of a time commitment for parents and students and less expensive than a full course. 

Writing Workshops

In addition to full year and semester courses, WriteAtHome offers a variety of workshops that students can opt to enroll in instead.

These workshops are 8 weeks long and focus on a specific type of writing, such as narrative writing, expository writing, the short story, essay writing, and literary analysis, rather than being a general writing course. 

Although relatively brief and less comprehensive in terms of writing topics, these workshops can be an excellent option for targeted skill development, for those on a budget and for those whose busy schedules may preclude them from taking anything longer.

Wasko Literature Course

Finally, WriteAtHome offers a literature course called Wasko Lit.

Rather than focusing on writing and writing skills per se, this is a course designed to encourage students to explore the great works of Western literature (The Aeneid, Beowulf, The Inferno, Moby Dick and more). 

In this course, students read, analyze and discuss literature together during a live webinar, and then work on their own to produce their own literary analysis of the material, as well as submit relevant creative writing projects. 

Unlike the writing course, Wasko Lit is offered as a live class with an instructor.

It is also offered as a less expensive recorded class, albeit with no papers, projects or discussion questions to answer. 

Overall, WriteAtHome offers students a lot of flexibility in terms of course offerings, which is something we appreciate. 

The company’s courses can not only fit various schedules, but also different student needs.

Those requiring more broad help in writing can sign up for full year or semester courses, while those in need or help with one specific kind of writing (essays, for example) can sign up for the company’s shorter and more targeted workshops. 

Similarly, because WriteAtHome’s courses do differ in price, they can fit a wide variety of budgets – those unable to afford the full year’s course can sign up for shorter, less expensive options. 

Note: While this review focuses more on WriteAtHome’s writing courses, we do also feel that Wasko Lit can be a great addition to a classical homeschool, as it can provide more of a structured and guided approach to the study of the Great Books. 

How WriteAtHome’s Writing Courses Work

WriteAtHome’s writing courses are something of a blend between a self-study and personal coaching program. 

Lessons

The teaching portion of WriteAtHome involves a series of online lessons and quizzes from which students learn the proper mechanics of writing – proper use of commas, active vs. passive voice, points of view, character and pacing, parallelisms and so on. 

Students can access these lessons at any time through their account on the WriteAtHome website, and they go through the material on their own at their own pace. 

These lessons are in a written format, are centered around an important topic in writing (e.g. Avoiding Wordiness) and are generally quite brief, taking only a few minutes to go through. 

Students are also given weekly online quizzes to complete.

These are very brief and fairly easy assessments that are directly linked to that week’s lesson.  

Screenshot of WriteAtHome online quiz

As such, they are highly targeted around a single concept and really serve to help students brush up on the learning material and student’s skills before starting their assignment. 

Finally, students are given a weekly assignment to put their lessons into practice.

Assignment outlines are in PDF form and offer directions, a due date (assignments are usually due on a Thursday), and criteria for length.

Students then, of course, get busy writing.

Coaching

Upon signing up for WriteAtHome, students are assigned a coach by the company.

Once students complete their writing assignment, they upload them into the system and these are sent to their coach for assessment.

WriteAtHome’s coaches go over the student’s writing sample, offering corrections and detailed feedback in order to help the student improve their writing and style. 

Students can then access these corrected versions (with all their coach’s notes) in a digital format from their account. 

Unlike many other tutor-involved writing courses, the coaches at WriteAtHome do offer a good deal of constructive feedback to their students, far beyond a typical “good job” or “needs work.”

We found that the coaches tend to leave specific and immediately useful comments and notes in some detail.

They explain both what was good and what needs improvement, and more importantly why, and will let a student know if and why a revision is necessary. 

The coaches also leave a “score” of sorts, on a scale of 50-100.

Although not really a grade per se, can be a nice quantitative benchmark for students to use to better measure their improvement over time.

Aside from saving parents a good deal of time in correcting coursework, we feel that WriteAtHome’s coaching can be very helpful to both parents and students in a more personal way. 

It be hard for many parents, even some experienced homeschoolers, to objectively critique their own child’s work.

They are often too harsh or too lenient on their student’s writing, which can be counterproductive in the long run.

Similarly, kids don’t always respond well to receiving feedback from their parents, especially when they are trying to express their own thoughts and feelings about various subjects. 

A neutral, experienced third-party, however, can often assess a piece of writing more effectively and leave more specific, professional and helpful feedback that will be more readily accepted by all parties. 

We also like the flexibility offered by WriteAtHome’s courses, feeling that they offer perhaps the best parts of self-study and guided coaching. 

Students can work on lessons at their own pace and fit the coursework into their own, often busy, schedules quite easily. 

At the same time, however, they still receive oversight and meaningful guidance from professionally trained writing coaches, and are still ultimately held accountable through quizzes, deadlines and, of course, their coach’s feedback. 

Parents (and students) should be aware, however, that there is a bit of a time commitment to these courses. 

The assignments are full writing assignments and aren’t particularly short, taking anywhere between 1-3 hours plus editing and revision, and they do have scheduled deadlines. 

Although we appreciate the responsibility and accountability that this can instill in students, those with extremely packed schedules may have a little trouble budgeting time for their work. 

Finally, WriteAtHome does require some ability and capacity for self-study on the part of the student in order to keep up to date, otherwise it will require parents to chase their students down to make sure the work gets done, which is not always pleasant for anyone involved. 

Digital Learning Platform

Students using WriteAtHome access it through a Canvas-powered educational platform of sorts that helpfully centralizes pretty much everything students need to do throughout their courses. 

Students logging in through the WriteAtHome website can: 

  • Access their courses, lessons, quizzes and assignments
  • Submit papers
  • Message their coaches for help or clarification
  • View corrected papers
  • View their grades
  • Access and manage their own calendar of upcoming courses and deadlines

Overall, the WriteAtHome student dashboard is pretty clear and easy to navigate and does make using WriteAtHome quite easy and intuitive, allowing students to learn, administer their tasks and get help all from one central area. 

One thing we appreciated is that parents can have their own login credentials, allowing them to access and oversee their student’s account, view their grades and work and monitor any communication for safety reasons. 

WriteAtHome Safety

It goes without saying that it’s important that parents be careful anytime a child and an adult come into contact on the internet, even in an educational framework. 

To their credit, we feel that WriteAtHome does a good job at keeping things pretty safe for kids, building a lot of safeguards into their program for their protection.

Aside from vetting their coaches fairly thoroughly, the company has put in warnings to students about sending out personal information and parents have a good deal of oversight features to keep track of and view any communication with coaches. 

As an added precaution, parents are also CC’d on any correspondence between student and coach, which is nice. 

What are the Coaches Like?

Being around since 2001, WriteAtHome has built up a fairly sizable and high quality cadre of coaches. 

All of WriteAtHome’s coaches are from the US, many are certified teachers with a good deal of experience in teaching language arts to students, and some are professional writers who bring a good deal of practical writing experience to the table. 

In line with the company’s overall positive online reputation with past students, our tester found their coach to be quite friendly and professional and received fairly detailed feedback on their assignments in a timely manner, typically within a week. 

When it came to internal messaging, our tester found their coach happy to respond to their questions. Parents should note that, due to the 1-to-many nature of the program, it can take a little time for coaches to respond to complex emails, around 1-2 days. 

Due to the self-paced, coaching nature of the program and 7 day deadlines for assignments this is generally fine, although students who leave things to the last minute may have issues from time to time. 

Is WriteAtHome a Secular Program?

Although the company founder and some of the teachers are Christian, WriteAtHome is a completely secular program. 

There is no religious point of view and no religious material is included in any of the company content or assignments.

WriteAtHome Pros and Cons

Pros

Affordable writing coaching

At less than $500 for the full 32 week course, and far less for shorter courses, WriteAtHome can be a surprisingly affordable way for students to hone their writing skills. 

Each course provides students with valuable writing instruction, practice and professional, individualized feedback, and considering that better known tutoring centers can charge $150-200 per month, WriteAtHome’s online method can represent considerable savings for families in the long run. 

Flexible course packages

With 32 week, 16 week and 8 week courses available, WriteAtHome offers homeschools a variety of options that can fit their schedules and budgets. 

Similarly, the company’s various course options allow students to work on their writing as a whole (year and semester courses), one specific aspect of writing (workshops), or work on their literary analysis skills with the Classics (Wasko Lit). 

Experienced teachers and writers as coaches

WriteAtHome’s coaches are a mix of certified teachers and experienced writers. Overall, we feel there is a good blend of professional language arts and writing experience that can really help students hone their writing skills more effectively. 

Self-teaching mixed with individual coaching

WriteAtHome’s blend of self-paced learning and coaching provides students with the schedule and pacing flexibility of a self-taught program, as well as the accountability, professional feedback and oversight that a tutoring or coaching-based program can provide.

Lots of writing practice

As students complete an assignment each week, students in WriteAtHome will complete 32, 16 or 8 full writing assignments (depending on course length), giving them ample writing practice and plenty of constructive feedback to help them develop as writers. 

Coaches provide a lot of good, actionable feedback

Unlike some other courses out there, WriteAtHome coaches do seem to spend a good deal of time reading and assessing student work, and generally leave a fair amount of notes, and comments on each assignment. 

This fairly detailed feedback can give students better guidance on how to improve their writing, as well as eventually give them a better idea of what to look for when examining their own work so they can become better self-editors. 

Easy to use online platform centralizes tasks

Using WriteAtHome to read lessons, upload work, keep track of assignments and contact coaches for help is remarkably easy thanks to its use of a centralized online platform that is visually clean and very intuitive to use.

As an added bonus, parents can login themselves to keep track of their students’ work and monitor any communications for added safety. 

Cons

Coaches are assigned

While WriteAtHome has a rather extensive list of coaches from a variety of backgrounds, unfortunately parents and students don’t really have an initial choice of who to work with. Instead, the company assigns coaches and parents can request to change coaches should an issue arise. 

This can be an issue for parents and students who prefer a bit of choice or those who want to work with a particular coach. 

Students have to follow course assignments, no substitutions

Some homeschooling parents may wish to integrate WriteAtHome into their own curriculum or lesson plans by including their own assignments, such as might be done in a unit study. 

Unfortunately, the assignments used by the company are set ahead of time by the company and cannot be substituted. 

No real placement tests

WriteAtHome is pretty flexible when it comes to its different courses and grades, with students and parents being able to find their own appropriate level based on their knowledge and skill. 

Newer homeschoolers can sometimes find this a challenge, being less personally experienced and knowledgeable about their student’s skill and ability. 

Although the company does have some online help available, there is no real placement test that can help parents determine where their child should start. 

Who is WriteAtHome Ideal For?

Students looking to work on their writing in a personalized way

With WriteAtHome, students get detailed, individualized feedback on their writing from experienced professionals that can help them improve their writing in a more focused manner. 

Parents who don’t feel comfortable critiquing their own child’s writing

Many parents either don’t have the experience at writing themselves or simply don’t feel comfortable critiquing their child’s work, particularly if the child is just beginning to express themselves and their ideas. 

 WriteAtHome’s coaches can provide more neutral, professional and constructive feedback that can be easier for parents and more readily accepted by students. 

Those looking to hone specific skills in writing

As well as general writing courses,  WriteAtHome also offers highly targeted workshops that can help students improve very specific modes of writing, such as helping them write better essays, research papers, literary analysis, and more. 

Those looking for a structured writing course that can fit their schedule

With coaching, schedules and assessments, WriteAtHome does offer students a lot of structure and oversight as a writing program yet, at its heart, it is a self-study program and students are free to work through their lessons and assignments more or less at their own pace and according to their own schedules, assignment deadlines aside. 

Who is WriteAtHome not Ideal For?

Students with severe language arts and grammar deficits

While WriteAtHome does help students hone their grammar usage along with their writing, it is not really designed to be a formal grammar course and assumes at least some ability in language arts and the mechanics of writing at the start (at least a 5th grade level).

Students who struggle with grammar and writing altogether may be better served by a more formal course in Language Arts or one on one tutoring. 

Those who struggle with self-study or who do better with live instruction

As students are expected to explore their own lessons, take quizzes and complete and submit their assignments before a deadline, we feel WriteAtHome is best for students who can better manage their time and are comfortable learning on their own. 

Similarly, as the instruction provided is mostly in written form, it may not be best for more visual learners and those who learn better in a classroom setting.

Homeschools that like a lot of freedom in their choices

With WriteAtHome, both the coaches and the written work are assigned by the company to the student. 

As such, it may not be the best choice for homeschooling parents who want a lot of control over what their kids are working on or who they are working with. 

Those looking for intensive, individual tutoring

While WriteAtHome does offer a good deal of constructive and actionable feedback, it is designed to be a one-to-many writing course and the company’s coaches do not act as individual tutors. 

As such, parents and students should not expect to receive intensive, one-on-one instruction from their coaches but rather more focused help on specific submitted writing assignments. 

Those looking for a greater amount of individualized attention and teaching might be better served by a Language Arts tutor. 

Price

Note: Prices correct as of writing. All prices in USD. 

As mentioned previously, WriteAtHome has a few packages and courses that students can choose from. 

Writing Courses

Full yearSemester
Length32 weeks16 weeks
Price$499$289

Interestingly, while the semester writing courses are half the length of a full year’s course, they are not half the price. 

This is, as we’ve mentioned above, due to the fact that the courses are abridged versions of the full year’s courses and not just a year’s course split in half. They touch on the essential concepts of the full course but with somewhat fewer lessons and assignments overall. 

For this reason, we do feel a full year’s course provides better value overall for parents and students, although we do appreciate the flexibility a 16 week course can offer homeschoolers on tighter budgets and schedules. 

WriteAtHome Workshops

WriteAtHome offers a variety of workshops that each focus on a specific mode of writing that students in middle and high school are commonly expected to produce, such as persuasive writing, research papers, essays and more. 

Regardless of the precise topic, these workshops run 8 weeks and cost $179.

Wasko Lit

Although we have focused more on the writing courses offered by WriteAtHome, the company does offer a Literature course based on the Classics, called Wasko Lit. 

The course is offered as a more premium priced live seminar and a more limited, but less expensive, recorded version.

LiveRecorded
$499$199
Live Class
Recordings available
Assignments and Projects
Discussion Questions
Projects

In terms of price, WriteAtHome is fairly competitive with other writing programs for kids. 

It is a little more expensive (but often more comprehensive in scope) than the individual courses offered by competitors such as Time4Learning and BraveWriter, for example, and around the same price as Word Up Kids and similar courses. 

It is, however, significantly more affordable than private tutoring, which can start at around $40-80 per hour for individual tutoring and tutoring centers, which start at around $150 per month or so. 

That said, parents should always check the company website for the latest prices and discounts.

Is WriteAtHome Worth the Price?

Ultimately, we feel WriteAtHome can offer a lot of value to the right homeschooling families. 

Although not a complete Language Arts solution, WriteAtHome offers a variety of courses that can provide students with focused, self-paced instruction in writing, with options for full year and semester learning, as well as workshops and literature courses. 

Regardless of the exact course they choose, students get a lot of focused writing practice across a diversity of topics and structures. 

In addition, with WriteAtHome students are able to submit their written work to their own high quality and experienced writing coach, who can then provide them with useful guided instruction and feedback to help them improve, and perhaps even blossom, as writers. 

In this way, WriteAtHome is not only highly beneficial to students, but can be a great time saver and stress reliever for parents, especially for those who don’t necessarily feel comfortable (or haven’t had much luck) critiquing their child’s personal writing and would prefer the help of a professional, neutral third party. 

Bottom Line

Helping kids become better writers isn’t always easy for homeschooling parents…or their students.  

With high quality, focused instruction, plenty of fun writing assignments and cadre of professional coaches providing assessments and detailed feedback, WriteAtHome’s online courses can take a lot of the stress (and tears) out of helping homeschoolers sharpen their writing skills.

Photo of Jennifer Keenes, a writer for the smarter learning guide

Jennifer

Jennifer Keenes is a writer and a new mom living in Florida. She studied education and, prior to becoming a freelance writer, worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary and middle school level. She is a big fan of the beach, working out and homeschooling her two daughters.