Hello there! We are Andrew and Jennifer Yoder, from Elida, Ohio. We are a husband and wife team who would have never guessed we would be launching a website in 2020. But then, nobody could have guessed what we would be facing during the spring of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic gave us extra time at home to design a new flyer and launch a brand-new website. We are excited to be here.
I (Jennifer) lived in Wisconsin until I was fourteen years old. I remember a teacher, Janice (Weaver) Gingerich, who fueled my desire to write. She gave great feedback to my compositions that I wrote as school assignments. She told me that someday she hoped to see a book published that was written by me. She gifted an editing book to me. “Miss Weaver” was very instrumental in pushing me down the written path. My family moved to northern Missouri when I was fourteen. I graduated from high school and got my GED. I taught school in Cuba, Missouri when I was twenty.
Andrew grew up in the heart of Amish country. He had a smattering of interests, including raising animals, excavating, remodeling, and drawing blueprints. (Do you get it yet? Andrew has a brain for detail and creativity! A great combination for writing.) One of his first jobs was hauling livestock for his dad. By the time he was twenty-one he started working for Hoovers Truck and Equipment, building glider kits, and working on Peterbilts and Kenworths. Andrew was never going to be a schoolteacher!
Andrew and I married October 13, 2012 and moved to his home community. I started aiding at our church school three months after we were married. I noticed students disliked composition class. I loved writing and wanted to give the students a good experience while writing. So, I picked up teaching creative writing class using tips and tricks I learned at school meetings. The following summer Andrew was asked to teach school. Against his childhood ideas, he became a teacher. We taught together that following school term. I continued to teach creative writing and watched how students became successful at composition. My passion for creating a good writing experience for students continued to develop. Andrew discovered that English, the subject he despised the most, became one of his favorites to teach. The mechanics and structure of the English language began to interest him. The idea that you can emphasize a word simply by where you place it in the sentence intrigued him. His spelling is slowly improving, I think. 😊 Deciding that the field of education was where he wanted to be, Andrew decided to get some extra schooling. We attended Faith Builders Summer Term in 2014.
Our first son was born in February of 2015. I became a stay-at-home mom, occasionally going in to teach creative writing for Andrew. We knew that I could not be at school very much, but Andrew wanted to have the creative writing class continue. We decided to go ahead and put my lessons into a workbook so each student could have one. It snowballed from there. Since we had gone to the bother of putting together a workbook, we decided to display it at a teacher’s event to see if there was any interest in a book like this. We immediately had several people interested. This fueled our dream. We gave free books to interested schools to field test our product, with the agreement that they would give feedback.
Discovering that we made a good team, we began revising the workbook. I wrote lesson plans and Andrew edited my work. The original, 120-lesson workbook was divided into two different levels. We separated the lessons according to difficulty and age level. We added a few more lessons to make two workbooks with only 75 lessons each. We organized lesson styles and added artwork. Once again, we sent it out for field testing and used it in our own school.
Publishing became a bigger project and investment then we had expected. Since school curriculum publishers already have too many irons in the fire, they could not take on our small enterprise. We finally decided that we had to self-publish our materials. We received different professional opinions on layout, design, lesson quality, etc. We added more artwork. We got permissions for different poems, book excerpts, and student examples. The revisions continued. We took one step at a time and finally were able to print a large number of books. We thank Holmes Printing Solutions for doing such a fabulous job! We had several editors go over our work and help us make great changes. I want to mention Danelle Yoder and Miriam Hostetler for their valuable editing feedback.
For two years now we have been selling our books from home and at a few teacher’s events. We are happy to now have Christian Light and Christian Learning Resource as retailers. Andrew wanted a simpler way for people to place orders and a way to encourage more emphasis on writing, art, and music in our schools. We felt led to get a website up and running. So here we are. Creative Word Studio. We are excited to serve you in this way.
Besides writing regular emails to family and friends, and lots of snail mail letters, I have written for several publications. My work has been featured in Christian Light, Daughters of Promise, and church publications. I wrote two “family books”. Meaning they are unpublished but circulate in family groups. One was “God Sees and God Cares”, a look into my paternal grandparents’ life. The second was a children’s book called, “When Great Grandma was Strong”.
We both will be writing blog posts. We edit each other’s work, but I am sure you will be able to depict the separate voices. We hope to post blogs explaining in depth the different lesson styles, how to help the difficult learner excel in writing, how to inspire yourself, and fun class introductions. We hope to feature some interviews with writers that we know. Pass the word around. Tell your friends about this website. We continue to desire feedback on our books. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
We have had a lot of people request a teacher’s guide to come alongside the workbook. We also have a lot of requests for lower grade materials. So, what is the most important to work on? Let us know what you think! Your feedback is important to us.