Tutoring/Teaching FAQ

August 2014: I’m full for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 for one-on-one students. I am, however, currently accepting students for project-based coaching.

What age students of students do you teach? Students do best when they are able to type fluently and can work independently towards multiple goals in a week. Generally, I teach students age twelve and up.

Do you follow a set curriculum? No. Every student learns differently, and every student has different goals. I will likely recommend a text or two for us to use, but we’ll skip what isn’t needed, take our time where you need more work, and adjust assignments (often abandoning the text) as needed.  See the Resources pages for some of the books I’ve used with young students.

Can you tutor a student by working with him or her on writing assignments given by a parent or outside class? Absolutely. I’ve often worked assignments from others into our time together or even making that outside work the bulk of our work together. From planning to completion, I’ll guide your student to a stronger final product, teaching organization; argumentation; sentence, paragraph, and essay structure; and revision techniques.

Do you teach grammar? Not exactly. I expect young writers to come to me with previous grammar instruction, but I’ll assign work in areas where they struggle. I’ll also advise on using an additional grammar program if I see a need.

Do you teach groups? No. All my writing instruction is one-on-one.

Do you give grades? No. Grade-giving requires a single benchmark, and each young writer is starting at a unique point and growing at his or her own rate. That makes grading a task that seems more like guessing than accurate assessment. I’ll leave notes in the margin and comments within the paper, and we’ll often work until an assignment is done as well as a particular student can do it, but I won’t give a grade. I will make recommendations for readiness for college coursework and give you specific feedback about your strengths and challenges.

You’re not a teacher. Why should a young person write with you? I’m not a teacher, but I am a writer with an undergraduate degree in English and a focus on writing nonfiction. I’m passionate about writing, specifically nonfiction writing,  and I’m dedicated to assisting young writers. As a homeschooling mom, I know how hard it is to teach your own how to write. Writing is emotionally laden work, and instructing one’s own child in writing can strain an otherwise fine working and parenting relationship. When your child writes with me, I work to establish an encouraging and safe place to write and to make mistakes. When that occurs, writing progress soon follows.

How do I know if this would be helpful for my child? First, contact me via the contact form at the right or by email (contact@writewithsarah.com). I’ll email you promptly in return, answering any questions you have and addressing my availability.  If I have openings for the current or following semester, we schedule a time for a phone consult where we can discuss your goals, the student’s needs, and any other information you feel I need to know.

May I see what your students have written? Yes! Most of my students (ages 10 – 15) are proud to share their work with the world, and several have contributed the results of their writing assignments to a blog, The Write Spot.

Do you work with gifted and twice-exceptional students? Absolutely.  Many of my students are highly to profoundly gifted children in their middle school and high school years. Many are reluctant writers, sensitive to critique, perfectionistic, or just resistant to committing words to print. They often have ideas that fly at them faster than  they can write or type, and they are often discouraged to see how little of what is in their brilliant minds appears on paper when they write. Some of my students are twice-exceptional, meaning they have learning disabilities (dysgraphia, dyslexia, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, and ADHD are all diagnoses students of mine have had) and are gifted. My children, now teens, are both twice-exceptional, and while I’ve not figured it all out, raising them has helped me better understand the highly and profoundly gifted with and without disabilities.


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