Winter 2022 Classes

The following online classes are currently available for enrollment. 

Please note that we also teach small private classes that are not listed here.

If the offerings below do not fit your schedule, feel free to email us, and perhaps we can find a class for your young writer. 

To register, please send an email to [email protected].

Please provide:

  • The title of the course.
  • Your child's name.
  • Your child's age as of January 7th.
  • A daytime phone number for us to reach you. 

Either Writing Coach Shu-Hsien Ho or Royd Hatta will respond as soon as possible. 

TED Talks: The Power of Ideas and the Spoken Word

Ages 9-11 / Grades 4-5-6
Taught by Writing Coach Shu-Hsien Ho
Beyond the Box Learning


January 13 - March 17, 2022
(No session on 2/24)

9 Zoom sessions
60 minutes each

Minimum 5 students, 
Maximum 8 students

Tuition: $297 per student 
Includes detailed feedback for story drafts
and 1-on-1 coaching.

Imagine having the power to attract large crowds and world leaders,
and capture their complete attention with an important message. 

What if a person could inspire millions to take actionable steps toward reducing global warming, making our world better for all? 

In each of these cases, it was a child or teen who persuaded spell-bound audiences to listen to their spoken words.

This workshop invites students to learn the tools and techniques of TED Talk speakers and write their own powerful speeches. We'll brainstorm ideas and stories that students see as important and worth sharing.

As always, our workshops will walk through every step of the writing process:

  • Understanding the structure and the power of a compelling story
  • Generating and organizing ideas 
  • Writing with momentum 
  • Revising for clarity and logic 
  • Editing towards a final draft 
Each student will be invited to present a reading on the last day of class.

To register, please contact: 

Photo by Wan San Yip on Unsplash 

Journalism 101:
Digging for the Facts 
 News & Issues-Oriented Article Writing

For 7th - 10th Graders
Taught by Writing Coaches 
Shu-Hsien Ho & Royd Hatta

TUESDAYS 9:45am-11am PST

January 11 - March 15, 2022
(No session 2/22)

9 Zoom lessons
75 minutes each

Minimum 5 students
Maximum 8 students.

Tuition: $351 per student

(Includes detailed feedback on written assignments & 1:1 coaching.)

As a beginning Media Studies class, we will analyze and write current event articles focused on issues about the environment, culture, and community. Students will learn to adopt the objectivity of journalistic writing as well as discuss the potential challenges we face as readers and writers when it comes to balanced reporting.

With a foundation in Story, students will be able to tell the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of a piece, and build towards news reporting of their own through local interviews, research, personal experiences, and community connections. 

If possible, we may interview some local journalists to provide insight into the current world of journalism and news writing. 

For those students who have just taken the Teen Entrepreneurship Workshop, this is an opportunity to talk to neighbors and local businesses to build networking opportunities while learning about the community’s needs, goals, and aspirations.

To register, please contact:

[email protected]

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Becoming Story Detectives: 

Introduction to Literary Analysis & Essay Writing

For ages 10-12  

Taught by Coaches Shu-Hsien Ho & Royd Hatta


Tuesdays, 1:30-2:45pm PST

January 11 - March 15, 2022
(No session 2/22)

9 sessions

Minimum 7 students
Maximum 10 students

Tuition: $372 per student

(Includes detailed feedback on written assignments & 1:1 coaching.)


  • “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes (short story set during the Harlem Renaissance period)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (futuristic novel)

Writing assignments will include:

  • Short journal entries
  • Response-to-literature paragraphs
  • First draft essays & revisions

This course will show students the inner workings of a story through the eyes of a reader-detective. At the same time, we will gradually move towards a more academic writing style.  

We will enter a “deep dive” process to digest, question, and understand the layers of meaning in the stories. What is the author’s main message? How did he or she intentionally plant clues or symbols to foreshadow upcoming plot twists? How does the author surprise us? We will also discuss the core elements of Story: character development, plot/conflict, resolution, setting, themes, and key literary devices. 

Students will develop their critical thinking skills while learning concrete tools for writing persuasive essays in general, and literary analysis essays in particular. 

As always, we'll provide a structure and break down the thinking and writing into small steps.

To register, please contact:

[email protected]

Becoming Story Detectives: Part II

Introduction to Literary Analysis & Essay Writing

For ages 12-13 (7th & 8th Graders)

Taught by Coaches Shu-Hsien Ho & Royd Hatta


Wednesdays, 1pm-2pm PST

January 19 - March 23, 2022
(No session 2/23)

9 sessions (via Zoom) 

Minimum 7 students
Maximum 10 students

Tuition: $297 per student

(Includes detailed feedback on written assignments & 1:1 coaching.)


  • "The Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan (short story)
  • The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (novel)

This course will dive into the cultural issues behind place and identity. We will explore how people navigate family obligations and the challenges that their community imposes upon them. We’ll further discuss the concept of the middle ground or “third space” where one can find their own place, and ultimately take ownership of their lives. 

“The Rules of the Game,” the inspiration for a main character in Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, is a masterful short story about a young chess prodigy who hopes to escape the watchful eye of her doting mother. 

Deborah Ellis’s The Breadwinner is one of the first novels for young teens about life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

To register, please contact:

[email protected]

Mirrors of Humanity I, II, & III
A Three Course Series (FALL, WINTER, SPRING)

See the course descriptions that follow below.

2021-22 High School Literature Analysis
Open to Homeschooling Teens Ages 13-17

Taught by Writing Coach Royd Hatta

Hybrid: In-person & Online 2021-22 

In-person: Palo Alto Library - Mitchell Park
Streamed Online via Zoom
Note: For September, we will primarily be on Zoom
until the Palo Alto Library extends their hours as planned. 

Wednesdays, 10:00-11:15am PST 

Ten (10) lessons for each course.
75 minutes each

Minimum 2 students,
Maximum 8 students
Tuition includes detailed feedback on essays & private 1:1 coaching. 

We’re offering a Special Rate based on the number of students:
  • 2-3 students: $575 per student per course
  • 4-8 students: $475 per student per course

Each course in Fall 2021, Winter 2021-22, and Spring 2021 is paid separately.

Please see the course descriptions below.

Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash 

Winter 2021-2022:  
Mirrors of Humanity II:
Short & Powerful

WED 10 AM - 11:15 AM PST
Dec 1-15, 2021; 
Jan 5 - Feb 16, 2022 
10 lessons

No Sessions: 
  • Nov. 24, Thanksgiving; 
  • Dec. 16 - Jan. 4, Holiday Break;
  • Feb. 23, February Break
For our Winter 2021-22 course, we will explore the art of the short story. These landmark works will reflect the themes of individualism, identity, rebellion, personal vs. social power, and responsibility to each other and ourselves.

This course will also practice the Short Story Lit Analysis section from the AP English exam. 

Winter 2021 Short Story Readings:  
  • James Hurst: “The Scarlet Ibis” 
  • Ted Chiang: "Tower of Babel" from Stories of Your Life
  • Helena Maria Viramontes: Under the Feet of Jesus (excerpt)
  • Flannery O'Connor: "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
  • Shirley Jackson: “The Lottery”
  • Rutger Bregner: Humankind: A Hopeful History (excerpt)

To register, please contact:

[email protected]

Spring 2021 – Mirrors of Humanity III

Politics and Technology

WED 10 AM-11:15 AM PST
March 2  – May 11, 2021 
10 lessons

No Session Apr. 13, Spring Break

For Spring 2022, we will cover Orwell’s classic 1984, a personal favorite, paired with Astra Taylor’s The People’s Platform, a meditation on the power of the internet and the data-driven methods that increasingly fosters a narrowing world view.

Spring 2021 Readings:

  • 1984 by George Orwell - A Dystopian Classic
  • The People’s Platform by Astra Taylor - Excerpt. An examination of the power of our hyper-connectivity and our relationship with the major internet platforms of the world. 

To register, please contact:

[email protected]

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