From Parents:

(6-14-13)

I’ve been peeking at the conversation between you and Kim (and reading her story), and I just want to say God bless you! I’m glad I went this route (your workshop) because it’s torturous for me to try to tiptoe around offering constructive criticism but being supportive at the same time. I can’t imagine doing it for a dozen kids! Of course, that’s probably why you’re doing this – you’re good at it!

Thanks. :)
***

(6-7-13)

Ellen,

Can I just tell you how much John is loving his writer’s workshop?  My husband and I can’t get over how much time he is spending (willingly) on his writing…I haven’t had to tell him one time to get to work!  He also has been more willing to read so far this summer!

Thanks so much!

***

Hi Ellen,

I just want to let you know that I have been reading the emails between you and B., and I couldn’t be happier.  Your suggestions, guidance, and tone are perfect for B.  She writes independently and, only occasionally, asks me to look at her work.  Her writing seems to have improved already!   I am going to sign her up for the rest of the school year.

E.

* * *

Dear Ellen,

I will definitely renew this course. You have been a great help to Hope–your work with her has actually been amazing!

I just read her memoir. Wow. You have helped Hope and our entire family have a permanent and uplifting reminder of this difficult time in her life.

Thank you for all your loving work with my daughter.

Sincerely,

R.

* * *

Dear Ellen,

It’s been another wonderful semester with you. With your help the boys have accomplished my primary goal, which was to have them be more comfortable with the process of writing. You and your encouragement and praise were the perfect ingredient needed to help motivate them to keep trying.

A few of my observations:

B.’s struggle with mental organization is hardly evident anymore. In fact he is now showing flashes of genius (mother’s license here). His growing confidence is a pleasure to see. He is a very introspective emotional boy which you have managed to transpose towards helping him produce some elegant word choice combinations. Your steadfast determination to have him dig deeper and figure things out really paid off. Thank You!

Q.’s need for speed (he can type the ABC’s in around 1.5 seconds) continue to contribute to his writing challenges, particularly with grammar and spelling, but he no longer asks me why he has to write. He really did curl up to me and asked, “Mom, what do I need this for? When am I going to use writing?” After l stopped laughing, I told him I’ve heard children say these things about algebra but never about writing. My answer was to get into college. Thank goodness he has big goals. That worked but not nearly as effectively as your patient personal and insightful instructions. He now looks forward to you and your e-mails, and to writing in general. Thank You!

We view your daily presence in our lives to be a true gift.

A.

***

Dear Ellen,

S. just found out the other night that next week will be her last week working with you. She was not happy… In fact she even cried.

Our schedule is very busy with school, homework, swimming and piano.

Again I want to thank you for helping M. and S. to become better writers, thinkers and researchers. They really liked the way you challenged them and push them to become better.

My experience was a very stress free one since you were meeting my expectations on every project they worked on.

We are going to miss you,

A.

* * *

Hello Ellen,

Well … one month has almost passed since E. began working with you again.  So far, she is LOVING it!  She says you are her favorite teacher! :)  I also wanted to let you know that I would like to sign her up for another course, so she can continue throughout the summer. I COULDN’T do with her what you’ve been doing.  I love that you’ve been pushing her … and I want that to continue.  Since she is writing because she wants to and plans to become a famous and rich author (smile), I will let her continue directing the course. :)  (she will probably do it! … she is MOTIVATED!)

Sincerely,

C.

* * *

…About writing – you are doing wonderful job to help kids learn how to wright. I would never teach them to wright in English with my ESL. In Russian – yes, I can teach them, in English, no way…

Thank you very much for your help,

E.

* * *

Dear Ellen,

Thanks so much for your patient efforts with the girls during these past few months.  We’re very pleased with their progress to date and, for the most part, with their responses to your very clear and appropriate direction.  We particularly appreciated the intuitive way you seemed to strike just the right balance between challenging and encouraging them at the level at which they were individually working.  We can’t thank you enough.

I think through this experience they’ve gained insight into how much their skills can improve when practiced on a regular basis.  While they fell short of our expectation that they try to correspond daily with you, they’ve accepted the challenge to try to do better next time around, and we’re confident that, with a little help managing their time commitments, they can be successful.

Though we realize they won’t be able complete their projects under the current course, we plan to encourage them to finish these on their own with help, as needed, from us.  We’ll look forward to connecting with you again in August, if you’re agreeable and available, provided we can work it in around caring for a new puppy LOL…

Wishing you a wonderful summer.  Please accept our heartfelt thanks again.

S.

***

Dear Ellen,

L. is really enjoying writing the story. It is nice to see her excited about writing. I’m looking forward to see her final draft. I’m glad she is doing better than in her other project. Thank you again for your patience with her. A. is very excited about her business letter too.

Both of the girls look forward to getting your e-mail every day. I’ll re-enroll shortly.

C. 

***

Dear Ellen,

Thank you for the help you have been giving F.! This is the first time in four years (since we started homeschooling) that I have left her entirely on her own to organize her time and complete her work for an academic subject. I think she has really enjoyed not having me hovering over her shoulder. I agreed not to read the emails the two of you have been exchanging (she will show me the story when she is finished), so I hope that she is making adequate progress.

I wanted to let you know that we have had a change of plans for the coming academic year. We were planning to continue with home instruction, but due to unforeseen circumstances we have put F. back into public school. What I would like to do is take a break from her short story and let her take some time off from writing while she adjusts to the new situation. It has been a little overwhelming for her, but exciting too. I am waiting to hear what writing assignments her Language Arts teacher will be expecting. As soon as we get some guidance from her, I will be in touch and we can make plans about how we will proceed.

Again, thank you very much for your help, and please let me know if you have any concerns.

A.

***

Hello Ellen,

I’ve been very happy with J.’s work ethic and her interest in writing a story. I thank you for all the feedback you’ve given and the encouragement to keep writing. My hope is that practice will help her improve and your comments and encouragement keep her excited about it. Several times J. has insisted that I read what you have written to her. She is simply glowing after hearing from you.

If you are interested in more involvement from me let me know. Otherwise I cannot think of anything else to add. This course has given J. the confidence and encouragement to write. I am very grateful for your support.

Sincerely,

C.

***

Dear Ellen,

Thank you for your email and your help to S. He learned some valuable tools from your ‘walking’ him through the process of writing from the ground up. He said he plans to use these tools in his next paper. Further, he sounds like he means it. That was satisfying to hear. It did not have to be coaxed out of him. (Thank you, Lord, for helping him in his need and sending us a helper. In Jesus’ name. Amen!)

I firmly believe God is not abstract, indifferent, or even dead as some unbelieving souls might claim. I believe He’s real and personal (As He told Moses, He is the great I AM). I believe he hears the prayers of His children and answers. Isn’t it wonderful to know He loves us?

Hope your weekend was great!

Sincerely,

P.

***

Dear Ellen,

Thank you for your encouraging response to T.’s first paragraph. I haven’t seen her this excited about writing since her early elementary years. Also, by observing her reactions to your positive feedback, I realized that I’ve been making a grave mistake when correcting her work. I tend to point out every error and strongly suggest–sometimes actually type in–stylistic changes. I often wondered why T. seemed to suddenly freeze on me during our writing sessions. I think now I have a hint as to why. I’m so grateful to have found you. T. already shows a difference in her attitude toward writing after only your first feedback e-mail.

Please stay aware that I’m very open to your suggestions in formulating the process by which T. can reach the goals I mentioned in my first e-mail to you. Thank you once again.

Sincerely,

R.

***

Dear Ellen

Thank you for your help with the Civil War paper. It was much improved in the end, and R. saw that it wasn’t as much work as she thought it would be. She learned some valuable outlining skills and was truly proud of the finished piece!

***

Thank you for taking J. on again. He did very well on his tests. He scored a 34 on his ACT with an eight on his writing portion, and on the SAT he scored a 2350 with an eight on the writing portion. So we are quite happy with his results and so are his college choices. Therefore he will be done with college test taking , and he is very happy about that! Thank you again for all your guidance. I believe he went into these tests with renewed confidence after working so hard with you.

***

Ellen~

Just an FYI…I am encouraged the last few days.  It feels like O. is on a roll and I have found myself really excited about her overall resolve re: writing.  Like, she has seemingly ‘lightened up’ and doesn’t seem so burdened down.  I’ve been cheering her on and I can tell you are as well.  Just wanted you to know and, by the way we are signing on for another month…yay!

Thanks again for your presence in our life.  I know that may seem a bit much, but I truly am so pleased with where this is taking her/us!

Bless You~

C.

***

Greetings Ellen, I just read your response to [my daughter] A.’s submission. If I could hug you I would. THANK YOU! We are definitely on the same page. Feels great to have it coming from somewhere else. I also like how you are nice but you are not speaking down to her. In the writing classes she has taken the instructors seem afraid to speak straight words. I thank you.

With that said, I am already trying to work another session in the budget. I am enjoying this and I hope you are too.

Sincerely,

E.

***

I was referred to you by a friend who is very happy with your service.  I am looking to sign my daughter up right away and hoping that you are available to tutor her. I have now heard from two homeschool families how wonderful you are to work with!  Please contact me ASAP to start the program.

***

Dear Ellen,

I just read A.’s essay for the first time and am thrilled!  What pleases me even more is to see his enthusiasm for writing.  I have to tell you how happy and proud A. was when he received one of your responses in which you complimented him on his writing.  He came to me with a big smile, proudly asking me to read your email.  He seems so enthused about his writing now.  Thank you for your great work!

S. is very excited about her essay on music.  I have not read S.’s yet as I am trying to let them have some independence from “teacher mom”.

I wanted to tell you to go ahead with whatever you feel the next project should be.  I’m assuming the critical essay on a medieval work of literature should wait until we choose a book and they read it.

Thank you for your great work with the kids!

Sincerely,

M.

****

J. is becoming more and more comfortable sending her work to you.  The way you correct her work does not make her feel bad about herself or intimidated. This is a good thing. Please let me know if there is anything else I need to be doing to help her. Thank you for sharing your gift! She has learned about writing essays in her curriculum but I have been the judge of her writing and I know that I am not a good judge. I think she will feel much more confident having gone through this program. Sincerely, T.

****

From Students:

Sunday, July 28, 2013.

Ms. Scribbles,

I hope your summer is going well!  I just wanted to thank you for all your help with my essays, especially the SAT practice essays.  I have taken 2 practice SAT test this summer through a tutoring program and the first time (early June), I received a 530 on the writing portion.  The next test (a few weeks ago-after the workshop) I received a 690.  What a drastic improvement in scores!  Thank you for your assistance; I had no idea how to write a good SAT essay until your help this summer.  Thank you so much!

God bless,
Nicole

* * *

“Thank you for responding to my email. I want to thank you for your assistance in writing my essays for college applications. As a result, I have been awarded a full scholarship to ________. Thank you very much for your help. Here is the next paragraph of my research paper.”

* * *

“I cannot believe that today is the last day! You have helped me become a greater writer and I want to thank you for that. I have really enjoyed working with you. It has been a great experience in my life. Thank you for listening to my words and helping me make them even better.

Attached is a draft of my essay. Thank you for helping me with it. I have highlighted the parts I have changed in the beginning and added everything else! Could you please give me some advice for the last time? Even if it is anything in general. I really enjoy your advice and put it in my writing.

It has been an amazing and a very positive experience to work with you. I have enjoyed it and I hope that someday we may be able to communicate once again! Thank you for all of your help!”

* * *

“I really learned a lot from your teaching. I learned about intros and conclusions. Also you gave me a lot of great tips about writing fluently and using good words. Thank you so so much!”

* * *

“Thanks for your comments. Your feedback is helping me to improve my writing. I never paid much attention about those aspects before. Now whenever I read an article, I am looking out for the way it is presented and structured. Your feedback is perfect. Usually I have a hard time understanding what people ask like in questions but you make it all very clear, especially with the fonts and the colors.”

* * *

“I got into Sarah Lawrence! Thank you for your help with my application essay!”

* * *

“Thanks for your help with the medical school essays! I learned a few weeks ago that I made it to Semifinalist, and I’m being flown out to Baylor University for an interview in front of a board of physicians this Friday. Gulp.”

***

“Thank you for your help on my first speech!  Everyone loved it and my professor gave me a 95!  :)”

* * *

“Thank you for teaching me how to write well! I have learned a lot! It has certainly made me a better writer. I used to not like writing essays, but now I find it easier, and much less painful than it used to be. At the beginning of the year, my mom was horrified to find how we (as in me and my sister) wrote our essays. They didn’t use good vocabulary, and they weren’t organized very well! You have helped me greatly. Thanks! Have a great summer!”

* * *

“I just want to thank you sooooo much for being my writing teacher this year. You have really helped me a lot! And I know I’m ready for college this fall! (=”

* * *

“I like this program for various reasons. First, because I am actually writing. In other programs half of the work was dissecting sentences, and telling what was the subject, predicate, adjective, and direct object of a sentence. On the other hand in this program I am actually learning the mechanics of sentences, and paragraphs. Not only am I learning how to tell if a sentence is written correctly, but also how to write my own ideas and thoughts in a way that sounds good and clear. The second reason is that this program opened a window that I never knew was there. I must say I am much more fonder of writing than I was before. I have discovered a new form of art, the beauty of the written word, and appreciation for good writing. The last reason is because I have a good teacher. I have never had a teacher before. Everything I have learned I have learned on my own to a certain extent. When you are trying to learn there is nothing better in the world than a good teacher that encourages and inspires you.”

 * * *