Our Story

In 1999, Shu-Hsien Ho answered the call to adventure to assist with the English department at the International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, California. Her ability to speak both French and Mandarin Chinese allowed her to teach English in the two language sections. That experience and her love of writing since childhood created a playful teaching method through Story. When parents began to ask for group workshops, she convinced her husband, Royd Hatta, to co-teach and develop new curriculum. Since then, they have taught many courses to homeschooling groups, in addition to providing one-on-one coaching and hosting free monthly Meetups. 


Shu-Hsien and Royd have developed a philosophy that is both simple and powerful.


They assert that any activity worth exploring requires rapport, respect, fun, and most of all, a sense of curiosity. This learning environment is created through engaging games that establish a safe space for students to write and share their stories, no matter how silly the ideas might be.


Through writing games and short exercises, Royd and Shu-Hsien introduce a variety of storytelling concepts using their own simplified Hero's Journey Story Map, inspired by Joseph Campbell. This is often the first time young writers recognize that all stories have a universal pattern and as such, they see a clear path towards a complete story.


Later, their story skills can be applied to write incredibly effective essays. By drawing readers in with their own unique imagery and specific examples, an essay in the hands of a great storyteller will have a memorable impact on the audience.


Whether stories or essays, we provide a method that encourages depth, organization, and clarity. This method for writing is often shared with college peers by our teen alumni.


If you have any questions about our teaching philosophy or our upcoming classes, feel free contact Writing Coach Royd Hatta at RoydHatta@BeyondTheBoxLearning.com.

Founder • Writing Coach

Royd Hatta


Writing Coach Royd Hatta or "Mr. Royd" hails from Westminster, CA. At the age of eight, Royd's father passed away from a stroke, and that experience, along with a succession of funerals in a span of two years, profoundly piqued his curiosity and questioning of life. One idea seemed to be true: a commitment to even one activity, if contemplated and studied long enough, could establish the answer and a connection to everything. Royd has an interest in the practical application of meditation, and re-thinking what Story can tell us about our lives. In his youth, living near the Southern California beaches, he grew to have a deep connection to the environment and in college helped to organize a campaign to protect a neighborhood organic garden and Tongva/Gabrielino sacred site known as Puvungna. That experience along with his autobiographical performances in Los Angeles established how transformative writing and performing on a theatrical stage could be. For Royd, the act of writing is a place where thoughts about ourselves and the world can be developed, clarified, refined, and employed to make a significant change. 

Shu-Hsien Ho

Founder • Writing Coach

Shu-Hsien Ho


Writing Coach Shu-Hsien Ho is passionate about teaching youth and teens how to organize their thoughts and write with power, clarity, and ease. Since 1996, her students have learned to write essays, research papers, poems, short stories, and even their first novels. After working with Ms. Ho, one teen writer independently published her 400-page fantasy novel. Her students have earned acceptance into top colleges and universities, such as UC San Diego, Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, MIT, NYU, and Brown University. Ms. Ho has a B.A. from Pomona College and an M.A. from Lesley University.  Ms. Ho and Mr. Hatta currently teach small group workshops for homeschooling groups and at the Chinese American International School in San Francisco. They run two thriving writers clubs with over 680 families: Bay Area Young Writers and Bay Area Teen Writers. Since 2011, Ms. Ho and Mr. Hatta have published eight anthologies of their students’ fiction. These books are available on Amazon.com.

Writing Coach Amy Grover

Writer • Writing Coach

Amy Grover


Writing Coach Amy Grover lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon. In her 19 years as a public elementary school teacher in a Japanese immersion program, she developed many strategies for making learning fun for her students. She has been a guest teacher for Bay Area Young Writers and Teen Writers, and currently combines Beyond the Box methods with her own techniques to teach online story workshops. Her workshops incorporate a playful collaborative drawing process which actively engages young imaginations while eliciting colorful details and interesting plot possibilities that make their way into student stories.  She is a graduate of Pomona College, has a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Pacific University, and is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  She is working on several picture book manuscripts.