Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Great question! The short answer is, “It’s expensive because it’s not cheap, and it’s not as expensive as you think.”
 
As veteran homeschooling moms watching every penny of one-income budgets, we’ve bought our share of cheap curriculum. But that’s the problem. You get a low-quality product. Or, you get consumable curriculum that ends up costing you more in the long run because you have to buy it every year for each student. Write by Number is non-consumable and designed for all grade levels, so we knew we had to create books that would last.
So what goes into making a book that’s durable, functional, and beautiful?
 
We had our books printed in the USA by a small, local business devoted to quality (and run by a homeschool dad). Most books are printed in China because it’s cheaper. Meanwhile, domestic print-on-demand companies often struggle to produce consistently good colored text.
 
We use color ink and thick, coated paper. The colors used in the curriculum are essential, so printing in black and
white on plain paper was not an option. The paper had to be of the highest quality for vibrancy, and the heaviest weight for durability.
 
The binding is something special. Our books combine a lay-flat O-ring binding with a protective hardcover shell. This gives you the best of both worlds: the books stay open without force, and they sit properly on a shelf with legible spines. They hold up better than plain spiral-bound books when they are thrown in drawers and piled on desks.
 
Now let’s consider actual costs of use. If you have one student who takes ten years to get through the whole program, you’ll have spent about $28 a year, and your student will have a handy reference manual for years to come. If you have two kids who share one student book for only five years, you’ll still have spent $28 a year per student. If you use two student books over five years, you’ll have spent about $5 a month per student for a nine-month school year. We think that’s a very good value.
 
We know Write by Number is an up-front investment, which is why we make that investment worth your while. We offer a 14-day free digital trial so you can be confident that you’re making the right choice for the long haul. We also offer monthly and yearly digital subscriptions so you can use Write by Number as long as you want before (or without) investing in the print edition. When you’re ready to buy the print books, PayPal’s “Pay Later” option lets you spread out the cost into four installments over six weeks.

The typical setup is one book per student. Our basic set includes one Teacher Book and one Student Book.

“Money’s tight. Can my kids share the Student Book?”

It depends on your circumstances.

The books are non-consumable. If your kids share well and keep track of their belongings, you can order one Student Book for the early Stages. However, as students progress into the upper Stages of the program, they will be referring to explanations, assignments, and reference lists on a regular basis.

So, if your students are in early elementary school, you might start out with one Student Book and then later buy additional copies. If your students are in late elementary school or older, we recommend purchasing one book for each student.

The premise of Write By Number is that students must learn to write in a logical order, combining physical readiness with intellectual development.

First, they must be able to physically read (not just decode) and write. Then, as they begin reading and are exposed for the first time to written language, they can begin creating the most basic structure of writing–a sentence–which is taught in Stage 1.

This is a mastery-based program. Students cannot go to the next stage until they have mastered the first. This is an absolute necessity.

I know it to be necessary because the students I’ve worked with who have not had the time to really master each Stage don’t do well in the long run. Just like we would never expect a child to be able to dribble a basketball down the court without first teaching him to hold the ball and dribble the ball, we can’t expect a student to write a paragraph before he can write a sentence. If the sentence is flawed, the paragraph is flawed.

Unfortunately, in a fear-based dash to meet legislated state standards, most writing curriculum throws common sense to the wind and pushes students onward before they are actually ready.

So, be committed to mastery. This process works. You’ll have to trust me on this because you won’t see the results right away; the results take time.

Writing and grading writing can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of education. This program removes this frustration, which means that this curriculum will actually GET DONE.

You can even make your life easier and combine subjects! If your students are practicing their handwriting and need to write sentences, have them write the sentences for WBN in their handwriting curriculum book/pages. If your students have learned two things in history, encourage them to write things like, “I learned two things in history today,” or “I ran two laps during P.E.” These summary paragraphs can be submitted for grading in both subjects, cutting your grading time in half and their writing time in half.

When you do this, students will also be learning that proper writing skills are necessary in all subjects. One doesn’t just throw writing rules out the window when one switches to a different subject! However, if your students find it frustrating to be limited to writing about school subjects, and prefer to write about their personal interests, allow it. One of the goals of teaching writing with Write by Number is to remove the frustration usually associated with writing.

This writing program can be used:

  • with any language arts curriculum
  • as a supplement when tutoring
  • as one component in a self-constructed language arts curriculum
  • in place of your language-arts curriculum’s writing component

If the school requires completion of certain writing assignments, you can alter the assignments to standards that fit where the student is in the WBN curriculum. For example, if a second grade assignment reads, “Write a descriptive essay of the main character in the story,” and your student is in Stage 5, you could change the assignment to, “Write a 12323 paragraph describing the main character in the story, using no to be linking verbs.”

One of the advantages of WBN is that because it is modular, it is not tied to a school year. You can do whatever else you want in the language arts curriculum and just carry on with WBN from year to year until the student reaches Stage 12.

If you are in a brick-and-mortar classroom, you may have only one year with your students. Can you use this program? Absolutely.

Start at the beginning and get as far as you can with each student. You might only get your students to the point of writing five-sentence paragraphs. That’s something! Do you know how many adults can’t write a good, five-sentence paragraph?

Giving your students just the framework of thinking of concepts in terms of “powers” will shape their thinking, speaking, and writing, and might very well carry over beyond your classroom.

Absolutely! WBN teaches a student to write in a way that will earn competent to exemplary scores on any essay portion of a standardized test. If a student has also mastered the creative art of writing, has a large vocabulary, and has the gift of clear communication, he or she will score off the charts. In addition, students who complete WBN will have learned correct grammar and usage rules while learning to write, and therefore will be able to do well on the usage testing portion of the standardized exams.

The goal of Write by Number is not necessarily to meet state standards, but it does in many ways! For teachers who need to document which Common Core Standards are met for each lesson, the Teacher Book provides a list of which standards, for every grade level, are met in each Stage. The overview page at the start of each Stage also lists common lesson plan goals and objectives, so no matter what the schooling situation, teachers and parents are equipped to document learning.

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