Thursday, October 9, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Fortuigence -- Personal Statement #hsreviews

Fortuigence Review

In 15 years of homeschooling we have certainly seen our share of failures.  There are curricula that don't meet our needs or match the learning styles of my children.  There are dry programs that my kids just do not like.  And there are things that we have to push through to get done.  I think that is true with any homeschooling family.

And then there are the days that are definitely homeschooling successes.  Those are the times we find a curriculum that is simply perfect for our needs and excite a child to learn.  Those are the days that I want to celebrate.  When we find a perfect curriculum or program, I want to make sure that I share it with my friends.  Lucky for me (and you), we have found that celebration-worthy program with Fortuigence in the Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course ($57).  The Personal Statement Writing Course is the first of four units that make up the entire Essay Rock Star Writing Course ($197).  Taken in their entirety, these courses would be the equivalent of one semester of high school credit and could be awarded a 1/2 credit on our high school trancript.  

So how exactly do you know when you have found the right program?  The true success story?  Is it when the 15-year-old doesn't want to turn in just "any old handwriting sample" but instead he wants to work on it and rewrite and rewrite some more?  Ot is it when he sits for an hour to get his pre-assessment done just so that it is perfect?  Yes.  Definitely yes . . . that's when you know that what you're doing is right.

Essay Rock Star Personal Writing Course is perfect for middle and high school students ages 12 - 18. My 15-year-old Eagle Scout has found it to be most helpful as he works to craft his very own personal statement essay.  An online writing course, Essay Rock Star is tailored to the individual student's needs from the very beginning.  Students work at their own pace through five steps of the writing process and complete the course with a "tell us about yourself" essay that will work on college and work applications alike.  While my son is learning to share about himself, he is also learning to write with focus as he is instructed on thesis statements and descriptive details that turn boring fact recitation into interesting essays.
Fortuigence Review

Developed by veteran educator Lily Iatridis, Fortuigence offers stellar instruction based on skills mastery.  I knew that we could use all of the writing help we could get at Long Leaf Academy.  I have found my only son to be a much more reluctant writer than any of my daughters.  (I'm not saying he is a lazy writer, just admitting that he lacks motivation when it comes to the written word.) Although he was not thrilled to begin a writing course, he found the online components intriguing and was willing to comply with my request that he do so.

Students begin the Personal Statement Writing Course with an introduction, explanation of grading rubrics, and a pre-assessment of writing.  From the very beginning, the Eagle Scout was hooked. After watching the short video and printing all of the rubrics, he spent quite a long time choosing which writing sample he wanted to submit for pre-assessment and even took time to rewrite it before turning it in.  Within 24 hours, Mrs. Iatridis had read his writing sample and emailed him back to let him know how excited she was to work with him.  He received such encouragement to share his story that he eagerly began the next lesson.

There are seven lessons in the Personal Statement Writing Course and each one includes a short video, examples, and an assignment to submit for grading.  Students begin by brainstorming and follow up with freewriting, revising, editing, and finalizing.  At the completion of each lesson, students submit their assignment online and await a response.  They are not allowed to move on to the next lesson until they have successfully completed the previous one.

Part of why this works so well for us is that it is truly a self-paced program.  There is no pressure to "hurry up and finish" (thank goodness, because the Eagle Scout takes FOREVER in the editing stage) and my boy can spend time impressing his teacher (something he NEVER tries to do for me).  He looks forward to her feedback emails on each lesson and works to improve before submitting his next lesson.  I thought I would share a snippet from one email so that you can see just how encouraging it is:

Hi Eagle Scout,
I’m sorry it’s taken me a bit longer to send you feedback than usual! I had a very hectic day yesterday, and I didn’t have any quiet time to sit down and think through your essay. You’ve got a lot of strong content. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your thesis statement is, “Boy Scouts has given me so many opportunities such as travel and adventure.” As I read through your essay, I looked for that recurring theme, or proof in support of that thesis, in every paragraph.   . . .
If any of this is at all confusing, don’t hesitate to email me! Again, you’ve got a lot of strong content to your essay. It just needs a bit of tweaking and a conclusion. When you’re done making these adjustments to your draft, send your draft to me in a reply to this email, and we’ll wrap up our work on this assignment.
Ms. I :)

Isn't that the greatest?  With a teacher like this, who wouldn't want to do their very best?  My Eagle Scout shared that it is very cool how Mrs. Iatridis responds so quickly and gives me great imput on how to improve what I'm writing.  Especially since I'm her Star Student.  {Obviously this boy does NOT have a self-esteem issue.  He is quite the comedian.} He truly has enjoyed all of the assignments and especially likes that he can work on them at his own pace.  I like that he is getting constructive criticism from someone other than me and that Lily reinforces what I've been teaching.

And just a quick note on Customer Service:  when this tired momma brain totally flaked out, Lily was quick to help me figure out my account issue with grace and delight.  She personally responded promptly to my emailed questions and helped me figure out what I had missed.  She has been a delight to work with and has been such an encourager to my son.  I enjoy having her on my team.

You can find out how to have her on your team and learn more about Fortuigence on the following Social Media platforms:

Lily Iatridis on Google+  

Fortuigence on Google+

Make sure to visit and check out all that is offered in this gem of writing course.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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