The pressure of the timer! #

Timed writing tasks are coming for your teens as they prepare to tackle written exams for high school and college classes. With the advent of ChatGPT and other online writing "aides," more instructors ask students to do timed writing in person.

While individual exams—anything from AP tests to freshman composition to the history class at your local community college—have unique content and structural demands, our approach to timed tests works for them all!

Why? Because we build on the freewriting skills teens have been cultivating all along to help them

  • access their thoughts effortlessly
  • get writing on the page quickly
  • arrange those thoughts into thoughtful, impactful prose

Prepare your kids.

Don’t send your teens into a timed test situation cold turkey. They need to practice writing under pressure. They should have the chance to tame the timed-writing sweats that plague anyone trapped in a sterile classroom space with a ticking clock and the scritch-scratching of pencils all around them.

The skills your teens learn in this class will translate into the timed writing essay skills they’ll need for tests they take over and over in college. Truly, this is a course no high school student should be without.

Essay Writing 202: Timed Essay, designed for high school students with some essay writing experience, teaches sound approaches to a variety of writing prompts. Students write short essays building on special exercises designed to help them succeed in crafting this type of writing.

This course trains students to analyze complex prompts and literary selections, and then to organize their insights into an articulate format. We’ll look at preparation strategies as well as techniques for writing under the pressure of a timer.

Topics addressed in class #

How do you discover what the essay question is really asking?

How do you segue from one point to the next?

How do you analyze a text critically?

How do you craft a powerful thesis?

What can be done about revising if you have twenty-five minutes?

How do you plan an essay effectively and quickly?

What if my teen has never written an essay?

Start with the Essay Writing 101: Analytic Essay course or with the Help for High School home study course to learn the essay format in a non-timed setting. Aim for multiple essay writing experiences across subjects for practice in the form.

However, if your student is graduating soon, sign up. This class will definitely help with college prep, even if the student has never written an essay before!

Highly Recommended!

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer® classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Brave Writer® online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind.

Class Structure Overview #

  • Class is held in a private discussion board with 20-25 other participants.
  • Class is asynchronous—you log in when it is convenient for you each day of the week at no specific time of day.
  • It is text-based—no video.
  • Student writing assignments are posted in a text box, published to the classroom, and all students are able to read student writing.
  • Class is a writing workshop format, with all coaching feedback available to be read by all families.
  • Class work, student writing, and coaching feedback can be downloaded and saved in a PDF format.

Class Length and Time #

Classes last anywhere from three to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing. Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Private Classroom Space #

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer®. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer® instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Safe Community #

Brave Writer® takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialogue is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer® philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer® values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer® kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!

To explore our Brave Writer® classroom, click here to access a sample class.