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Reviews - Heidi Ciravola"After talking with other parents about writing courses their children have taken, I can see how Essay Rock Star truly shines in its feedback to the student. When [the teacher] responds, she not only responds with a statement about the student's readiness to move on to the next step, but she also tells the student something she really liked and felt was strong about the piece. On the flip side, if the piece was lacking in some way, she will offer constructive advice, possibly pointing your student back to a video or example from the course to review again. Your student can take one quarter, one semester, or one year to complete her writing assignments with [the teacher] just an e-mail away the entire time! Essay Rock Star has also solved my problem of worrying about being an objective reader of my child's writing. While I am a reasonably strong writer, I always second guess myself and my abilities. Thus I don't want to take any chances with my child. Having my teenager take the full semester Essay Rock Star course is giving both of us more confidence in her writing skills."

~Heidi Ciravola, a member of the Homeschool Blogger review team for Hip Homeschool Moms
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Reviews - Jimmie Lanley"The Essay Rock Star course came at the perfect time for my eighth grade daughter. Although she is already a strong writer, she had never been assigned a writing topic and had never been taught how to write by anyone but me, her mom. I loved the break from teaching writing. I offered some advice here and there, but for the most part, I was hands-off. At the end of the first month, my daughter had composed a beautiful five paragraph essay essentially without any help from me. Lily's notes prodded my daughter to correct her own mistakes and hone her writing while offering enough positive feedback to motivate her to persevere. I consider Essay Rock Star an excellent tool for pushing homeschooled writers toward more independence in their writing and toward greater confidence with real world writing tasks. I fully recommend the course."   

~Jimmie Lanley, founder of iHomeschool Network and Jimmie's Collage

 

LP - adbundant_headshot"Our homeschool contains more than a few dyslexic learners. This complicates our homeschooling days in several ways; our kids tend to be less independent in their studies and mom-intensive schooling means that mom has limited time to teach each child individually. The Essay Rock Star program meets both of these needs in our home by providing audio instruction which helps my auditory learners learn independently and step by step instruction that takes a seemingly huge assignment and makes it manageable. Secondly, I'm a strong believer in the continuing education of homeschooling parents. The extensive list of resources included with the Essay Rock Star program is a huge benefit to both the student and the involved parent. Even if I was confident enough to teach my kids writing skills, it is sometimes hard for my children to take correction from me. Having such a professional teacher to provide the feedback relegates me more of a co-learner. Lily was able to provide just the right feedback that my daughter needed."   

 ~Marianne Sunderland, Abundant Life
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LP - holistic_headshot"So many online courses are automated, the program itself "checking" the child's work. Not so with Essay Rock Star. With this writing course, you have a real instructor helping your child. Lily provides prompt feedback on every assignment. She doesn't issue grades, which I appreciate. The program is great! My child, however, does have several difficulties. One is dyslexia, and the other is bipolar disorder. Lily has been incredibly understanding and accommodating, never pressuring Alexis forward at all. And that's probably the best aspect of this online writing course: the teacher is human. In the end, we're getting through the program together. Progress is successfully being made and I highly recommend the program."  

~Michelle Cannon, Holistic Homeschooler
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LP - athome_headshot"My daughter thrived with Lily's gentle way of critiquing her writing. I was pleasantly surprised by the extra effort that Kaylee put into her writing and by her genuine desire to please Lily. Lily's sincere praise was an inspiration to Kaylee as well – positive reinforcement coming from someone other than "just mom" really boosted her confidence in writing. As a larger homeschool family, it can be difficult for us to fit in multiple outside commitments. With Essay Rock Star, Kaylee was able to turn on the laptop and do a lesson any time of the day, without ever leaving the house. Because Kaylee's writing improved so much with Essay Rock Star, I've already purchased the course as part of my son's tenth grade homeschool curriculum this year."   

~Judy Hoch, Contented At Home 
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LP - sidetracker_headshot"By using the Essay Rock Star writing course, my son was able to dramatically improve his writing skills. He was not at all confident at the beginning of the course, asking me lots of questions as we went along. But, as time went on, he rarely asked me anything. I'd have to ask him or log into the platform to see if he had completed his assignments. The longer he was in the program, I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing results that I was finding! Each communication that Lily (a.k.a Mrs. I.) sent to my son was always so very encouraging. She never made him feel dumb, but always helped him to build his confidence in writing with her encouraging words of instruction. She has a gift for teaching children! Each time she communicated with my son, she would give useful tips to help him improve his essay, if needed. It was always just enough information to guide him in the needed direction, so that he could complete the assignment as instructed. My son went from hesitant writer to confident writer in two essay assignments. To say that makes me very happy is an understatement!"   

~Sarah Robinson, Sidetracked Sarah
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LP - journey_headshot"I like when my children are good writers, but I don't necessarily want to be the one to get them from point A to point B. And (for shame) I tend to neglect the mechanics of writing because of it. Enter Lily Iatridis of Fortuigence. Last semester, as a tenth grader, my daughter took Lily's online Essay Rock Star Course which…well, rocked. Lily made sure those missing mechanics were plugged into my daughter's writings! Lily is very positive in her feedback, but doesn't allow lazy writing. I love that! Do you ever feel like you might not be quite strict enough with your expectations as a homeschool mom? Me, too. It was really good for Mahayla to be accountable to someone else for a change! Of course, you already guessed that I LOVED not having to teach or evaluate the writing myself, right?"   

~Cindy West, Our Journey Westward
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LP - flourish_headshot"Olivia, my budding authoress, seemed to breeze through the course essays. Even though she was already a strong writer, she still needed to learn some formal writing practices. This course helped hone her writing skills, and Lily's feedback and high praise spurred her own through the process. Alec, my reluctant writer, was a different story. Because I was determined to take a 'hands off' approach with this course, I would ask him how he was doing and if he needed help, to which he would reply he was 'fine.' So, I went on with whatever I was working on. Big mistake. Apparently, he didn't understand some things from the very beginning, and rather than asking for help, he thought he would just plod through the course until he was miraculously freed him from his bonds! Thankfully, Lily intervened by emailing me and asking to schedule a phone call with Alec. After sitting down with him and looking over his work, we got him back on course. I greatly appreciate the fact that Lily brought this to my attention."   

~Alisha Gratehouse, Flourish
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LP - jamie_headshot"In my dealings with Lily, she has been completely professional, encouraging, and when it was clear my student was trying to take short cuts, she was diplomatic but didn't let Lindsey get away with it. A perfect balance, in my opinion. For the in-lesson videos, Lily is always personable, pleasant, and clear in her explanations. I appreciate how easy it was for me to communicate with Lily. She was quick in her responses to any email questions I had for her, and always sent me emails with updates on Lindsey's progress, as well as any potential issues. Because the instructor tailors all input to each student's abilities, I believe the program would work for almost any high school level of writing, from average to advanced, and probably for struggling students as well."   

 ~Jamie Worley, See Jamie Blog
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LP - shewrote_headshot"I had my 9th and 7th grader work through Essay Rock Star (in addition to their regular studies), and they both enjoyed it for different reasons. My 9th grader loved the computer interface. He prefers to draft his writing on the computer so working with the webroom has been very enjoyable to him. My 7th grader loved the online graphic organizer she was introduced to through Essay Rock Star. Bubbles with words inside make her very happy! Both students will continue until they finish all the essay assignments as 10th and 8th graders."   

~Heather Woodie, Blog, She Wrote
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Reviews - Susan Williams"Since we are wrapping up our middle school studies and looking forward to high school level work I knew it was important to help my children address their writing concerns head-on and fine-tune their skills. We decided to get a little outside coaching to assist with this effort and we found exactly what we needed through the Fortuigence Essay Rock Star Courses. I have to say that one of my favorite parts of this program is the teachers's personal involvement with her students. Before we began using the program I emailed with her and shared my son's writing challenges due to his dysgraphia. She understood our concerns and offered suggestions for helping him work through the material at a pace that was most effective for him. Once my children submit an assignment they wait about an hour and then begin checking their email to see if they have a return email! They really enjoy receiving help and feedback on their school work from someone other than mom for a change. There are no "canned" responses here (we have received that kind of "feedback" from other online programs), the feedback is always personal and constructive, providing direction to help the student move forward."

~Susan Williams, contributing blogger for The Curriculum Choice
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Reviews - Adrienne Bolton"Right about the time I was beginning to worry that I had not required enough writing last year we received the opportunity to review the Essay Rock Star program from Fortuigence. This program couldn’t have come at a better time for us. My son took the online writing course over the summer and it was so nice to breathe a sigh of relief knowing he received quality writing lessons. I do have to say that any student would benefit from this course. Homeschool or not. If your child is in public or private school and you’re looking to perfect his essay writing skills, this would be a great supplement to any program. My son was able to successfully work through this course with little to no help from me. I answered a few questions here and there, but that was it. He completed a beautiful essay from start to finish independently. I was able to check his work, view assignments, and stay up-to-date with his course, but it required absolutely no instruction from me at all!"

~Adrienne Bolton, The Mommy Mess
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Reviews - Mary Prather"After spending the summer in the Essay Rock Star online writing course, Anna has a new and improved set of writing skills. And guess what? I didn't have a thing to do with this improvement! Anna chose to take Essay Rock Star: The Expository Essay, a 7 lesson course. She completed this course at her leisure (it took about 6 weeks). Anna had ample say in what she was writing and her instructor offered much constructive, supportive encouragement along the way. She knew what to expect in each lesson and also received prompt feedback from her instructor. The whole process took NO EXPLANATION from me - my daughter took ownership of logging in, checking assignments, and communicating with her teacher. I love it."

~Mary Prather, Homegrown Learners
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Reviews - Amy Toombs"My daughter chose The [Essay Rockstar] Expository Essay as her course, which is broken down into seven lessons and assignments. She had to submit a sample of her writing as a pre-assessment. Lily Iatridis is very kind but also direct. Many of the video lessons that we’ve done in the past were so scripted that they became monotonous, but watching her videos is like sitting across the table from her and having a conversation. My daughter felt like she formed a relationship with Ms. I (how she signs her emails). Ms. I made sure to say something encouraging in every email that she sent. There is absolutely no insistence to speed through the course. No timer. No due dates. It took some of the pressure off of my reluctant writer. There are no grades given for the assignments. Instead, the student must master each step before being allowed to advance to the next lesson. We use the mastery approach in our homeschool for most of our subjects, so this really appeals to me. It was SO nice to be able to step away from the writing boxing ring. There were a couple of times when my daughter asked for my opinion on her assignments and I almost stepped in until I remembered … “Nope! Turn it in and see what Ms. I has to say.” How wonderful to feel confident that she was receiving the instruction she needed."

~Amy Toombs, Are We There Yet?
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Reviews - Daniele Evans"A strong writing curriculum, a great experience! We chose the persuasive writing course, which offered bite-sized lessons on how to write a strong, compelling paper on a topic. My primary goal was for evaluation and for our daughter to gain insight into someone else’s perspective on her writing, grammar, content, etc. Fortuigence teacher Lily offered us just what I was looking for! A student can NOT move forward without sufficient mastery of the previous lesson’s skills. I really appreciate this approach; it leaves me feeling confident that my student won’t simply sail through without understanding and correction of her work. Email feedback was quick, and while my daughter is just wrapping up the essay course, Lily completely nailed what I had an inkling would be the strengths {strong writer with good content} and things to work {grammar & sentence structure}. Both Mom and student appreciated affirmation of strong writing skills! My girl did agree that her grammar could be tweaked and improved in certain ways. Thank you Fortuigence for being a ‘second opinion’ (ahem)."

~Daniele Evans, Domestic Serenity
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Reviews - Jasmine Lucero"Maddie will be entering the 7th grade this fall and had never done any formal writing before. After choosing one of the four Essay Rock Star classes, Maddie was signed up with her own account. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but to a 12 year old girl this was a big deal. She was able to log in to her class on her own and receive emails directly from Ms. I, as her teacher is affectionately called. I decided it would be best if Maddie took the Essay Rock Star: Expository Essay class. In this class, Maddie learned to write an essay that explained a specific subject or topic. After watching the video, reading the lesson, and printing or saving any of the extra learning tools, Maddie would work through each step of the writing process. One thing that stuck out to me as Maddie went through the writing process, was the willingness of Ms. I to work with her students right where they were and teach them in a personalized way. I look forward to seeing her build on the foundational skills she learned in this writing class. This has been a rewarding experience and has helped her enjoy learning to write!"

~Jasmine Lucero, Guest Writer for Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus blog of Tina Robertson
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Reviews - Marlene Griffith"When my daughter began her course with Fortuigence I let her take things at her pace, not mine. I helped her understand the classroom portal, and helped her understand how she would submit her work. After that, I just let her navigate the course on her own. I wanted to see where she really was with her writing skills, and after hearing the wonderful encouragement from Lily during a hangout, I hoped to see her course be the tool to help my daughter improve her writing skills. I was right! My daughter took the Essay Rock Star: Expository Essay Course. After the first class, I knew this was going to be a fruitful and amazing experience! From the very beginning Lily was personally involved with my daughter. One of my concerns was that everything would be systematic. It was not! Every single time my daughter submitted an assignment, she would receive a personal response via email from Lily (her instructor). What makes Fortuigence writing programs stand out:

  • No scheduled classes
  • A live trained teacher reviews students’ work
  • Teachers work with parents to accommodate special needs learners
  • When you start and finish the course is completely up to you
  • We work toward the goal of skills mastery for your kids, however long it takes!" 

~Marlene Griffith, A Diligent Heart
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Reviews - Amber Oliver"I’ll be blunt; I’ve been hoping to get the opportunity to review a Fortuigence writing course for a while now. The idea of letting someone else teach my kids to write seemed so appealing! I’ve finally received the opportunity and I think you will like what I have found. Going into this course, there were a few things that I already knew we would be getting out of this experience: a live teacher, online lessons, a knowledgeable expert, a high school credit course (worth .125 credits for one short course.)What I did not expect to receive:
A daughter who was eager to complete her lessons.
A daughter who impatiently checked her email for feedback and critiques.
A daughter who independently worked through the course with no nagging.
Removing the parent/child relationship in this case was very helpful. But also, I believe it was the instructor’s warm teaching manner that encouraged her the most. If I were handing out stars, I would truly give our experience with Fortuigence Expository Essay five of them."

~Amber Oliver, Classic Housewife
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Reviews - Susan Williams"Because writing has been such a struggle for my son we knew we couldn’t jump into a course that didn’t meet our needs. I sat down with both of my kids and we explored the Fortuigence website together. Immediately my sons commented about how informative and friendly the website site seemed. We also checked out the Fortuigence YouTube Channel. My kids enjoyed all of the videos (just as they aren’t fans of writing, they aren’t fans of reading a lot of information online either!). Both children selected the Essay Rock Star: The Expository Essay course. With the expository essay course students can select their own topic to write about…I couldn’t believe the topics they selected, but they were happy! All of the Essay Rock Star courses follow a consistent 5 step writing process. Working through each step was very helpful for my kids. It showed them that writing is a process. They had always put a lot of pressure on themselves thinking they had to produce quality work in one sitting. Now they understand that it’s not magic, but rather a series of steps and a fair amount of work to get their ideas on paper. The course is written directly to the students and each lesson is filled with useful information. Students are encouraged to review the information as many times as needed, set their own pace for completing the assignments, and ask questions of the instructor when they need help or clarification. Both of my kids agree their favorite part of the course is the instructor feedback. When my children submitted an assignment they would wait a few hours and then begin checking their email to see if they have a return email from Lily! They really enjoy receiving help and feedback on their writing from someone other than mom for a change. My children’s writing practice is still a work in progress. We plan to include additional Essay Rock Star courses in our language arts curriculum this year to continue to build skills and confidence. But we are very happy to begin a new school year with improved writing skills and a positive attitude for moving forward."

~Susan Williams, Education Possible
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Reviews - Christin Slade"I am becoming more and more fond of online learning when it’s a high quality, student focused program. Fortuigence is one of those programs. It has allowed my 12-year daughter to work on a writing piece throughout the summer with very little help from me–and when you have seven children, this is super wonderful! I felt very confident that my daughter was learning well and receiving great feedback. I would periodically check her work and was very pleased with her instructor’s feedback. Having help with a solid, trusted, online program is truly a gift for busy homeschool moms. We don’t have to do it all, and I think that recognizing that fact is truly freeing. In addition, it’s good to allow my children to experience being taught from someone other than myself. My daughter did the Textual Analysis and it has been a wonderful [new] experience for her."

~Christin Slade, Joyful Mothering
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Reviews - Jen Dunlap"Writing is one aspect of our homeschool that is not a strong point. I chalk it up to the fact that my two oldest are boys. Neither of my boys, ages 13 and 11, enjoy writing. At all. When I was presented with the opportunity to review a Fortuigence course I jumped at the chance. Specifically, Jacob completed the Fortuigence Rock Star Essay – Expository Essay. I was fairly confident it would be a good fit for us. I don’t particularly like to teach writing, and I have a reluctant writer. Not exactly an invigorating mix. I also wanted my son to be able to experience a class on his own, without me hovering. What exactly is a Fortuigence Essay Course? It’s a self-paced, on-line classroom that you can do anywhere, anytime. Your child is led through the writing process, step-by-step, with doable assignments. Not at all overwhelming even for those who haven’t had much writing experience. We appreciated the flexibility of going as fast or as slow as we wanted. I was very impressed with how his final essay turned out. I also know he gained confidence from this course. Confidence that he could get the job done without me hovering and confidence that he can indeed write an essay. I know what he has learned from this course will carry over into other subjects. Perhaps he won’t be such a reluctant writer now that he has experienced some success. We will definitely sign up for other courses throughout Jacob’s 8th grade year and beyond."

~Jen Dunlap, Forever, For Always... No Matter What
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