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Homeschool Blogger Product Reviews for Essay Rock Star

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Linda_Perry"With the Personal Statement online writing course, your student watches videos, then writes their assignments right on the Essay Rockstar website. I like that while the lessons are on video, that the lessons are also written on the same page, below the video. For the pages that don’t have a video, there is the written lesson, with the option to listen to an audio recording of the lesson. This allows your student to learn the way that they learn best, whether they are an audio or visual learner. If they want to listen to the audio while they read, they can do that, too. The classes are not scheduled, so your student can work at their own pace.

"With the Fortuigence Essay Rock Star Personal Statement online writing course, your student will learn the steps to writing a great essay. Then your student will apply those steps to writing a personal statement that they can later use for their college applications."

~Linda Perry, Linda's Lunacy
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Jenn_Kasprzak

 "Now one of the things I liked about this course is although it is taught and graded by a teacher other than me, her name is Lily Iatridis. It is still what you would call self paced. Alyx likes to work at night and for this course that was no problem, he could work any time day or night on his assignments and submit them for the teacher to look at and give feedback on his work. In the past we have done online classes that were a set time and day and they just did not work well for our on the go lifestyle. This was the extreme opposite of those classes in that there was no schedule or time if life happened it was ok. This was perfect for Alyx's extra busy fall schedule. So therefor much more relaxed, Alyx enjoyed this aspect and it helped make him more successful."   

~Jenn Kasprzak, Fresh Start Academy Homeschool
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Diane_Knecht"We found everything about this process easy going and enjoyable. I very much liked the fact that someone else was evaluating Grace's writing skills. Ms. Iatridis was extremely prompt in emailing us back with what Grace needed to correct or change on each editing stage. The lessons were very easy to understand and the website was easy to navigate. I loved all the resources provided throughout the lessons. The capability to simply read over them or print them for later use was nice. I think what Grace got the most out of attending this class was the brainstorming ideas assignment and feedback from a teacher other than her mom. My only negative would be that a couple of the recordings may need to be a bit more polished where the teacher stumbled over a word or became tongue tied. Other writing courses they offer include: The Persuasive Essay, The Expository Essay, and The Textual Analysis."  

~Diane Knecht, Cabin In The Woods
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Cristi_Schwamb"In addition to the comments directly relating to Addison's assignments, Ms. Iatridis went above and beyond when Addison asked additional questions. Since this class involved writing a personal essay, Addison asked if she could share any tips for doing an interview. (Both writing an essay about yourself and doing an interview both include the awkward feelings of not wanting to seem like you're bragging about yourself.) Ms. Iatridis not only offered a few suggestions, she also contacted someone who had recently applied to several colleges to get his recommendations to be prepared for an interview.

"Addison and I were both pleased with Essay Rock Star: The Personal Statement class. Her writing improved, and she now has an excellent personal essay that could be used for college applications. More importantly in my mind, the encouragement from Ms. Iatridis gave her a hefty dose of writing confidence that will serve her well as she finishes high school and moves on to college assignments."   

~Cristi Schwamb, Through the Calm and Through the Storm 
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Amy_Fleeker"My daughter’s favorite part was brainstorming. Makes perfect sense because she is a planner and likes to have a daily to- do list on her at all times. She also loves the ability to have all the items right there in the program. She could type in the program, save her work and not worry about her work being lost. The flexibility was something that she loved to. She could go her own pace, giving her time."   

~Amy Fleeker, Counting Change Again
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Amy_Blevins"I received the login information and was able to quickly and easily set up my teacher account and her student account. After that, she did all the work. She logged in each day, watched a short video, got her assignment, and set to work. Her assignments were turned into an actual person, and that teacher responded with guidance and opened up the next assignment as each was completed. My daughter worked her way from the opening exercises (turning in a sample of her writing) to a finished personal statement essay in the course of about three weeks.

"Clara has decided to finish the other courses in the Essay Rockstar series. She liked it that much."   

~Amy Blevins, Homeschool Encouragement
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Meg_Falciani"As a parent/teacher, I really like this program so far. Because it is for students ages 12-18, it shows what an adequate/good middle school essay contains. I am considering the program for Matthew - so while expectations would not be as high as they would be for Luke, it is a program that would benefit him as a middle schooler, and help him establish a strong foundation. I also think this would make an excellent adjunct program for a student that is in a "regular" school and needs a bit of extra tutoring and support, particularly in a specific area of writing - the self-pacing aspects means a student could work a few days a week after school, fitting it in around regular assignments. I'm very impressed at how professional yet understanding of her students' ages Ms. I has been - while Luke hasn't hit any real snags thus far, I've taken a peek at the other reviews... and seen that criticism is truly constructive and giving direction, while still encouraging the student. Fortuigence's Essay Rock Star is a well-crafted program for helping students become better writers."   

~Meg Falciani, Adventures with Jude
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Lisa_Maynard"Jam found the examples of essays given throughout the program very helpful. It made it easier to understand the expectations. Jam thought that the information given was very clear. He also liked that fact he didn't have to wait ages to get feedback on what he wrote. Jam thought it was great that he could choose his own topic. This made it easier for him to write with confidence, because he already knew his subject matter."   

 ~Lisa Maynard, Chickens, Bunnies and Homeschool
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Darrell_Letha_Paulk"The writing instruction involved 5 basic steps: brainstorming, organization, free writing, revision and editing. These were arranged into several lessons. For each lesson we visited the Fortuigence website, entered our password and clicked on "classroom." (Always an easy process!) For each lesson, my son watched a short video with the teacher. He then listened to the teacher as she gave further audio instructions. He was able to read along with her on the screen as she read. Several links and pdf's were available for further instruction and help. My son then completed the assignment. It was typed and sent to the teacher via the website.

"We would then wait a day or two and then my son would receive an email back from Mrs. Iatridis (or "Mrs. I"). She would then instruct what the next step would be. The "classroom" was automatically updated each time an assignment was completed. (A gray check indicated an assignment being graded/turned in. A red check meant it was all done.) Everything was done very linearly and was very self-explanatory. Each level is mastered before moving on."   

~Darrell Letha Paulk, Just Pitching My Tent
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Renita_Bentz"Does teaching your teenage students to write well make you quiver in fear? You don't have to worry anymore - they can become rockstars at writing, even if you have doubts about your writing ability. Essay Rock Star Textual Analysis Writing Course from Fortuigence takes the fear out of writing at the upper levels.

"I was genuinely impressed with the level of effort that my tester put forth. He was eager to please the instructor, and to get positive feedback, not something I always get from him. Her feedback was very encouraging, and helpful. I could tell by her comments that she was investing time on monitoring his personal progress - and not just putting in some "canned" type comments. The instructor began by asking for a sample of my tester's writing. Building from that she was able to guide him through the process to complete an AP worthy essay!"

~Renita Bentz, Mom of Many
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Audra_Silva"I love what I’ve seen of the course, what Chrystiana has shared, and the enthusiasm she’s had in writing her essay. I also love that Lily breaks down essay writing in five key components. Lily’s feedback has been encouraging, and I feel Chrystiana has learned some new things. Most of all, she has learned to share her work with someone other than me, organize her ideas, write, and then go back through to fine tune, and most of all, she’s fallen in love with writing. She definitely found the course a lot more interesting than she thought it would be originally."

Chrystiana: “I like it. It’s enjoyable and I’m learning a lot from it. The videos vary from introducing material to instructing about the material. I’ve learned the difference between a thesis statement and a fact and how to write one. It’s sparked an interest in writing for me, and not just for school, but for myself."

~Audra Silva, SimplyAudraMarie
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Nikki_Hinkle"I love the writing course. I think that it is helpful if you are unsure yourself as to how to get your child started. I really like that the classes are not scheduled. You can go in anytime and work as you have time for them. The website is easy to maneuver and has a ton of information on it. You might want to go and look around just for that purpose. It is definitely a step toward making the writing process easier."

~Nikki Hinkle, Angels of Heart
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Miranda_Hupp"Alyssa completed the course and was given an A+. I am so proud of her and I honestly can not rave enough about this program. Alyssa is a talker. She asks a lot of questions and she is determined. Ms. Iatridis could not have been any more wonderful. Her and Alyssa had almost daily interaction. She always responded quickly and answered every question that Alyssa asked. She took the time to walk her through information that Alyssa didn't understand. This program was a perfect fit for her.

"It also was a perfect fit for me! I really enjoyed getting the feedback from Ms. Iatridis . It was a weight off my shoulders to have someone else looking over her work. This was the first time Alyssa ever had the instruction of someone else. She handled it wonderfully. I never had to push her to do each assignment. She really enjoys writing and she did not look at this class as a burden but as an opportunity to better her writing. She talked about Ms. Iatridis many times over the last few weeks. I would definitely recommend this course. We are excited for Alyssa to move onto a new class soon."

~Miranda Hupp, The Pebble Pond
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Lisa_McClanahan"Delaney is 12 and she worked through the course herself. There are instructions at the beginning of the course that tell you exactly how to turn in your assignments. Once the writing assignment is turned in a grey check mark appears next to the assignment. The writing assignment is then read and critiqued by an actual person. In the response emails Delaney was told if she needed to correct anything and email it back or if she could proceed to the next lesson. When she was ready to move onto the next lesson there would be a red check mark next to the assignment indicating it had been completed and she could move on to the next one.

"Lily was Delaney's online teacher and she is very encouraging in her emails. She told Delaney things that she did well & she told her things that she needed to correct and offered suggestions to help her out. Delaney has felt very comfortable taking this course and looked forward to her feed back from each lesson."

~Lisa McClanahan, The McClanahan 7
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Lisa_Rupertus"We both like that we received real feedback from Ms. Lily. This is really the best part of this course. It was so helpful that it wasn't just 'moms' opinion. When Austin asked to revise his essay - Ms. Lily said the same things I did! However they were received much better from her. The break down of the lessons is also pretty awesome. You brainstorm and free draft. He even created a thesis statement. All of this is preparing him for college and college entrance exams. I find that so beneficial because it has been almost 20 years since I had to do those myself."

~Lisa Rupertus, A Rup Life
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Angie_Wright"What did we think? We are still not quite finished. However, I do enjoy the site. Many online writing courses make the log in and finding your class the hardest part of the program. ha. This program is simple to log in, and very easy to navigate. The teacher got back to us in a very timely manner with personal responses – we knew she had read his work and thought about it; this is not always true with other programs we have used. For us personally, I think it has shown us that we can move on from the ‘how to write an essay’ to just expecting his narration to come in essay form. We have several courses this year that ask for a report in response to work completed, and now I know that the reports should be easy to generate. It is interesting to note, he is due to take WR121 at the local community college this winter. The college was pleased that he would be taking a refresher writing course prior to taking the class. If your child is ready to take the dual enrollment classes, but you are unsure how he / she will do with the assignments, this class would be most excellent." 

~Angie Wright, Pebblekeeper
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Jennifer_D"The program is completely online and easy to use at your own pace. Possibly the best aspect of ERS is the personal attention of an ACTUAL teacher. Each lesson is composed of video lessons, short lessons to read and assignments. The assignments are uploaded and looked at by Lily Iatridis (the teacher). After assessing the work, she gives feedback to the student via email. Oscar was delighted to receive emails from the teacher. The program is set up so that the student cannot move on to the next lesson until the previous lesson is received and checked off by the teacher. Personally, I think that’s a great idea and keeps the kids from hopping around and rushing through the work."

~Jeniffer D, Thou Shall Not Whine
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Renita_Kuehner"The lessons are not complicated and easily explain what is expected of the student. It also explains why we need to write things in specific ways. You could read or listen to the materials in roughly 15-20 minutes and then just add in your writing time to the schedule. Some kids might be able to finish their assignments in under an hour. Some students might need a bit longer.

"The instructor also gave wonderful feedback on Joey's assignments. She focused on how he could improve and not what he was doing wrong. This is exactly any student needs. I was very impressed with her concern for Joey and making sure that he gets the most from the program. They work really well with students who have special needs or learning disabilities."

~Renita Kuehner, Krazy Kuehner Days
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Melanie Reyn"How simple do you find teaching writing to your homeschool students who are ages 12-18? We have always enjoyed our writing assignments and have used a variety of curricula for writing. And we are definitely a word- and story-loving family. However, I was quite thrilled for Jackson to have someone else teach him writing in an enjoyable yet precisely taught course. I was hoping for: a teacher who could clearly teach different components of writing; someone who could plainly but gently correct and encourage; and for a course that would be both appealing and interesting. Essay Rock Star provides all of these, and more!"

~Melanie Reyn, FinchNWren
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Kym_Thorpe"Landon definitely falls into the category of reluctant writer, and having someone with real writing and teaching credentials (which he knows I don't have!) tell him he needs to do each step and take his time learning writing skills thoroughly is so helpful. He's got good ideas and things to say, so I want him to properly learn the tools to express himself well. He hasn't reached the point (yet) where he likes writing, but he realizes that it's an essential skill, and does the Essay Rock Star assignments without complaint and gives it a good effort. For this homeschool mom, that's what I'm looking for, and I'm glad he is working on this course and look forward to the final product when he completes the course."

~Kym Thorpe, Homeschool Coffee Break
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