The Denim Beret Writing Program began in 2010 when I was forced to resign from my teaching position with a Minnesota homeschool academy due to a head injury. That year I had developed and piloted a two-level writing program for the academy and couldn't face throwing away all of my hard work. At the time I deeply admired several homeschool writing programs, but none offered the attention to composition theory that I felt many students sorely needed. Because of this gap, I designed my own and decided to convert my courses to an online, correspondence-style format once I left the classroom. This meant a great deal of hard work, so I began right away and have been developing the courses ever since. They have been tested many times and are now nearly complete. Once they are finished, I will begin converting them to a home study edition, which I eventually plan to offer in print. On this website a beta-version of the home study edition will be available free of charge. As the courses become available in print, I will gradually phase out the tuition-based, teacher-led edition that I have offered since 2011. Instead, I will offer an optional grading service instead to assist parents who need more support.
The Denim Beret Writing Program teaches general non-fiction writing--both essays and formal papers. It does not teach creative writing, except for the personal narrative essay. I hope to offer a creative writing online class in the future, but it is not in development at this time. (In the meantime, I can mentor or tutor creative writing students.) The Denim Beret Writing Program consists of three levels--beginner (ideally grades 6-8), intermediate (ideally grades 8-9), and advanced (ideally grades 10-11). The core of the program is "the six traits of excellent writing" and a mastery-learning methodology that teaches students to approach writing the way real authors do--as both an art and a craft. At the same time, the program emphasizes the academic needs of students. By the conclusion of the program, students are well-prepared for upper-level high school and college courses.