Posted By: Kittykait
When people ask me about learning to sew I always say “Try it! Practice makes it easy, fast!”, and it always seemed silly to me when they returned with something like, “I couldn’t do it like you. You’re just naturally talented!”. But I always felt the same way about writing. Deanna and Megan could always just write well, with little effort. But I couldn’t and practice wasn’t going to change that. As it turns out, I just needed a pattern to help me along with my practice.
Several weeks ago Mom told Lydia and I that she signed us up for an online essay class, which didn’t excite me at all. It made me nervous. I’d never done something like it before and I didn’t know what to expect, especially when I found out there were in-class assignments! And a teacher! And worst of all, grades! I may have acted like a silly unsocialized homeschooler for a while. The upside to my nervous pessimism is that I’m usually pleasantly surprised!
The teacher is funny, entertaining and comprehensive. He uses a lot of quotes from famous literature to illustrate whatever aspect of good writing he’s talking about. He also uses some more lighthearted quotes. One week he pulled bits from both The Lord of the Rings and The Princess Bride movie, which won me and Lydia over for good.
The in-class assignments, which were my greatest fear going into this, are extremely helpful, because you get criticism on the spot. That way we know if we properly understand the concept that he’s going over, before the actual (graded) assignment is turned in.
The class is for five paragraph essays, which is a bit of a rigid format, but the principals carry over to most types of writing. After all, every bit of writing should have a bit of an introduction, and once you’ve written and intro you have to say something about the subject, then of course, you never want to leave a reader just hanging so you must wrap it up! Besides structure Mr. Vogel has plenty to say about keeping your writing from being choppy, making it interesting, engaging your reader from the beginning, and using different styles to aid you in whatever type of writing you are using to communicate.
The class is nearly over now, and I’ll be sorry to see it go. I like being forced to practice new things every week, which is a big deal. I used to be the kid that had emotional breakdowns over writing. Ridiculous. The skills I’ve gained from his class have given me a lot more confidence in my writing. Hopefully I’ll have the self-discipline to keep it up on my own, but for now I’m incredibly grateful for all that Mr. Vogel has taught me. I highly recommend it for parents looking to boost their emotionally incontinent writer’s confidence. Who knows? Maybe they’ll end up enjoying it.
P.S. If you ask *really* nicely I might post a few of my assignments.