Writing well is not an innate skill for the majority of us. It is something that needs to be developed over time, through practice, and with the appropriate guidance; it’s not just something that the average person can naturally pick up from reading more.
Earlier in Term 2, Hui Ing approached me to ask if I’d be interested to review a writing course. She is a former Primary School teacher and the founder of Big Ideaz Education.
Big Ideaz Education is a provider of English composition writing courses and creative writing workshops for primary school children in Singapore. There are live weekly writing classes for P3-P6 as well as online courses (P1-6).
For the online courses, the Writing Academy is for P4-6 (PSLE Format compo) and the Junior Writing Academy is for P1-3 (4-Picture Compo).
I chose to review an online course for my boy who is currently in Primary 2. I felt that he would benefit from writing regularly from a young age, so I enrolled him for the Junior Writing Academy.
What to Expect from the Junior Writing Academy
Every month, two video lessons are released and there are assignments to be completed. The videos are not more than 10 minutes long, and are bite-sized and easy to understand, even for the young ones. I sat through a few videos with my boy and I did not interfere during the lessons. He was able to understand the lessons and complete the assignments I printed out from the website.
I would then scan the completed assignments then upload them on the portal. The assignments would be marked by Hui Ing, a former MOE teacher, and returned within about 5 working days with comments for further improvement. If needed, a second draft would be required for submission; otherwise, just go on to the next lesson, if available, for the month.
I like that the lessons are progressive and always build on something that they have just learnt or have learnt earlier in the course. Even if they have forgotten, you can always revisit the videos to revise, as long as you are still enrolled in the course.
Sample of a marked assignment (Draft 1):
I think it’s great that there are only two lessons per month for the Junior Writing Academy. It’s not overwhelming and yet provides the younger ones with the opportunity to have some practice writing each month. To be honest, if there was a lesson per week, we may not be able to cope with it as we are not that disciplined to work on it weekly.
The thing about online courses is that you need to have self-discipline. Sending your child to a brick and mortar enrichment class means you don’t need to print out assignments or send assignments over, and run through the marked assignments. Thus, if you know that you are not very self-disciplined, you might want to opt for the weekly classes conducted. However, currently weekly classes are only for P3-6, in Tampines, so you can consider it if your child is older and if the location is convenient for you.
I’m actually quite glad that I’ve started him early on this online course so that when he goes to P3 next year, he would have a better grasp of how to write better compositions. As he is young and there are no exams for P2, I take this online course as an opportunity to stretch him to develop his writing skills in a stress-free environment. I am also in no rush to improve on any particular component of composition writing at this point as he is still new to it, so I’m not bothered by only being able to access the stipulated two lessons per month. If you have a child in the lower primary, I would recommend this online course for the reasons I have stated earlier.
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary subscription to the Junior Writing Academy. No monetary compensation was provided. Opinions are 100% mine.