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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer an online video streaming alternative to DVDs?

Yes! Clear Water Press offers a Cloud video streaming alternative to purchasing DVDs! There are benefits to choosing Cloud streaming. Learn more on our “Cloud Streaming or DVDs?” page.

Is this a one-year program or does it cover all of high school?

Byline covers one school year, and can be used by students in 9th–12th grade. Byline isn’t intended to give students everything they need over all four years. It is not multi-year in design. Our suggestion would be to use the course for one year of English and in successive years, if students want to continue, use it as an elective or focus on areas that were difficult for them. You may also wish to consider our other high school curriculum, The One Year Adventure Novel.

My student is in 9th grade. Which of your courses should my student take?

We really encourage students who are “borderline” between Cover Story (grades 6–9) and Byline (grades 9–12) and The One Year Adventure Novel (grades 9–12) to do Cover Story first. This is especially true for 9th-grade students who are not strong writers. Give them the gift of doing each program when they are ready. Tackling too much too soon does not build a young writer’s confidence, and sometimes they get frustrated and think the problem is with them as a writer rather than the course level.

If you have a 9th-grade writer who is a strong writer, we would suggest going straight for Byline or One Year Adventure Novel.

How do I choose between Byline and The One Year Adventure Novel? Is it better to do one first?

Byline and The One Year Adventure Novel (“OYAN”) are designed for the same grade range (9th – 12th) and are distinct from each other. There is no “right” order in which to take them. They focus on different types of writing—Byline focuses on journalism and essay writing and OYAN focuses on writing novels—but they are both great training for young writers.

Does Byline count for high school credit?

Yes, it is one high school English credit! To be eligible for 1 credit, a course must involve a minimum of 120 hours of instruction and activities. On average, a student using Byline will spend 1.5 to 2 hours on each lesson, including watching the video. There will be times, however, when the student will need more time for a writing assignment. We anticipate this, and we intentionally allow wiggle room in the traditional school year schedule for using an extra day here and there. Accounting for this, every student will meet the 120-hour requirement handily.

Is this program appropriate for students below grade 9?

We do not recommend using Byline for students below grade 9 level. Younger students would probably enjoy watching the video lessons but some of the concepts might be too advanced, and the work load might frustrate them. We recommend looking into Cover Story, our curriculum for grades 6–9.

Can I purchase Byline at a convention or through another distributor?

We are the sole distributor of our curriculum, worldwide. We do attend several home education conferences throughout the year. Locations vary from year to year. View itinerary »

Does this program include literature?

Byline students read historic many pieces of journalism (printed in the Training Manual and the Retro Metro newspaper), but the program does not involve reading any fiction or novel-length books.

I would like to use this program for more than one student. Do I have to buy a set for each student or can I purchase consumables separately?

If you purchase a set of Byline, you can purchase extra student kits ($55) at any time. A student kit contains the two consumable books each student needs: the Training Manual and the Reporter’s Notebook, as well as copies of the printed newspapers. 

If you use Byline under a Group Use license, you can purchase new consumables at any time (same pricing), but after your license expires, you would also pay a license renewal fee. See the licensing information for details.

If I have more than one student using Cloud Access, are they each able to track their progress through the course and complete the quizzes using the streaming platform?

Cloud Access is offered via Thinkific, a streaming platform, and the course is designed to be used by one student. However, your students may choose to either view the video lessons together or each student may keep track of their progress elsewhere if viewing them separately.

We are happy to generate a separate completion certificate per additional student on request.

Since Thinkific only records answers and results for one round through each quiz, we recommend that additional students complete the quizzes directly on our website, where the online quizzes are also available, and each student may take them as many times as needed. Please make sure that your student enters an email address with each quiz so the results will be emailed to you.

You’re welcome to add Cloud Access for each additional student if that would work better for your family. You can use our Cloud Renewal product to add another access. Please make sure to use a unique email address for each Cloud Account.

Will my student’s progress and test results in Cloud reset if they return to any video lesson or quiz?

No, your student’s progress through the lessons and quizzes will not be affected if they revisit videos or quizzes. If you plan to record your student’s quiz results at the end of the semester or school year, you may click on each quiz without resetting the quiz answers and score.

Can I order Byline and Cover Story and/or The One Year Adventure Novel to be shipped together with my Byline order?

Yes, all of our products can be ordered in our ONLINE STORE and can be shipped together!

Should my student have done Cover Story to successfully complete Byline?

Cover Story is not a direct lead-in into Byline (or The One Year Adventure Novel), but we do see it as a good first step for young writers who are not yet ready for the high school courses. In fact, one of the reasons we created Cover Story was in response to the demand from parents, teachers, and students for a program for younger students.

If your student completes Cover Story during middle school, we still recommend that students wait until at least 9th grade to do Byline.

Do you accept purchase orders?

Yes, Clear Water Press accepts purchase orders. Our payment policy is 30 days from the date of invoice. Purchase orders may be made by fax, phone, email, or mail. Email is preferred.

How to place a purchase order »

Is the program suitable for a classroom or co-op?

Yes, we offer a license for co-ops and classes. To use the materials in a group setting, your set must be licensed for a group/co-op/classroom. The video lessons may only be shown in the group sessions (viewing by the teacher for planning purposes is fine); the video discs (or Cloud video password) may not be loaned out to individual families wishing to share the discs (or streaming access). This means that all video viewing by the group must be done as a group—or, alternatively, you can arrange a per-family access fee for Cloud streaming. Please contact us. We would love to help you figure out what would work best for your group.

How can I use this program through a charter school?

If your charter school processes orders for you but does not retain rights to the material, you should license your materials for your household, even though a larger organization is involved. But if your charter school retains the rights to the materials and considers them registered to you for a limited time only, the materials must be registered to the charter school under a Group License.

Read more about charter licenses »

My student is not part of a school, co-op, or charter school, but I plan to use the program for my student as well as one or more students who do not belong to my immediate household. Can I get a household license?

Any situation where students are not of the same household requires a group/co-op/classroom license, no matter how informal or small the gathering of students is. The only exception would be if each student’s family owned their own household license. See the Licensing page for full details. Please contact us if you need more information about how this works.

What are the licensing terms?

Read about licensing terms »

Does this course involve an online forum, as The One Year Adventure Novel does?

No, this program does not include access to an online forum (this is one reason why Byline costs less than The One Year Adventure Novel).

If your student could really benefit from an online, interactive experience, consider doing The One Year Adventure Novel first. Under a Household License, your student can stay involved in the OYAN forum (and the other OYAN support resources) through age 19, so your student could continue to interact with other young writers once he/she moves on to do Byline.

It should be noted that the Student Forum is not a requirement for the One Year Adventure Novel, but a support resource that you may or may not choose to utilize.

Can my student submit their completed portfolio of journalism pieces to you for publication or sharing with other students?

We encourage Byline students to submit individual pieces of their work to newspapers and magazines. There are many print and online magazines that accept submissions from high school students. Some of them are even managed by young writers! You can find these by searching online. We do not run such a publication ourselves, however.

This program also does not involve a forum experience for students to share their work (for more, read question above). We only offer a forum to high school students taking our flagship course, The One Year Adventure Novel.

Will my student actually create a physical newspaper? Is layout software included?

This course is for writing newspaper content—or “copy” as it is called within the industry. Byline does not come with special layout software, in part because our customers vary in the type of technology they have access to. At the end of the course, the student is asked to compile physical copies of their writing projects and present them in a physical format. This can be as simple as a presentation binder. The goal is for the student to be able to share their writing with family and friends.

If your student would like to present their work in a newspaper layout, there are many easy-to-use programs for this out there.

Do the video lessons offer closed captions or subtitles?

Yes, Byline offers closed captions for the Cloud version only

(One Year Adventure Novel  Cloud video lessons also offer closed captions. The Cover Story Cloud and DVD discs offer English subtitles.)

Does my student have to write by hand? Is typing an option?

We actually encourage students to type their writing projects if they would like to, because this makes it easier for them to track their word count. However, we don’t offer digital or online versions of the consumable materials. Students can still type their answers and entries, of course, but they would have to refer to the books themselves for direction.

Can I get digital files of the Training Manual and Reporter’s Notebook so my student can complete the work entirely on the computer?

It is fine for students to type instead of writing by hand, but we do not offer online or digital worksheets for this purpose.

How long is each lesson? What is the schedule for this program?

Each lesson begins with a 15–20-minute video. Students then proceed to work in the Training Manual and Reporter’s Notebook, following the direction provided in the video.

The average student will spend 4.5-5 hours per week on Byline when following the suggested pace of three lessons per week. It’s possible your student will need more than 5 hours if he or she tends toward wordiness or is an avid writer who really enjoys creative projects.

Read more on the How to Use Byline page.

I can’t use this course at the pace you recommend. What should I do?

Byline is a flexible course. You can easily adapt it to your own schedule. The Byline Syllabus and Lesson Table can be helpful for noting natural breaking points in the course—perfect for planning around holidays or other events.

Is this course for students who enjoy writing or is it suitable for reluctant writers?

We created this course to transform essay instruction into a confidence-inspiring adventure—which is to say, Byline was designed with reluctant writers and bored writers in mind. Our goal was to produce a curriculum exciting enough for strong writers who might be fed up with the restrictions of essay writing, but also create a program practical and interesting enough for those reluctant writers out there who want to know why they should care about improving their writing skills.

Byline focuses on breaking down the essay-writing process into manageable steps. Daniel Schwabauer is candid with students about research and writing. He takes them seriously as young reporters, both inspiring them to uncover important stories and conveying to them the challenges. Yet Byline is also full of humor and action. It is not dull. It kindles students’ imaginations in a genre of writing where they don’t expect to enjoy themselves.

Is this program a good fit for students who are not American?

We have many non-American students in our programs, especially Canadians. This course does not set out to teach American history, and does not require knowledge of American history and culture, but it does feature some American history. While Daniel Schwabauer often uses examples from American history, he also uses examples from many other countries. It was also very important to us that the 100+ “Tips” in the Training Manual feature people who are not American.

The spelling and grammar is American, but there is no formal spelling or vocabulary component to the program, so the spelling should not be a problem for you if you use British spelling.

Is this course approved for purchase with government funding?

Byline is published by Clear Water Press. Please contact your educational representative to find out if Clear Water Press is an approved vendor in your area or program. Qualifications for government funding vary. If we have not yet been considered as a potential vendor, your representative will contact us directly.

Does this course contain religious material?

Byline is non-sectarian, and is approved for purchase with public funding. It is a writing program, not religious instruction. However, the instructor himself is a Christian, and everything taught in the course is compatible with a biblical worldview.

Most of the families who use our programs are Christians, but we also have families who are secular or of a different faith.

How would my order ship? Can I pay for a cheaper shipping rate?

We always ship USPS Priority Mail (or First Class Mail for small items) so that we can offer tracking—a non-negotiable for material of value. This usually takes 2 or 3 days within the United States.

We can’t accommodate requests to mail an order by regular mail or media mail.

How fast will I get my order if it is shipping to Canada/an international destination?

Shipments to Canada or other international destinations often have to go through customs. We do not have control over how long the customs clearance process takes, but we mark international shipments as “Educational Material” in the hopes that it will be processed quickly.

The length of time a USPS Priority Mail shipment takes in transit varies by country. Transit for Canadian orders is typically 3 or 4 days besides the customs time.

Do you offer discounts on international orders to compensate for the expensive shipping costs?

NEW: As a courtesy, we now cover $20 USD of the shipping costs on orders of $100 USD or more.* For example, a medium-sized box costs $40.15 USD to Canada or $58.65 to other international destinations, so you would pay $20.15 USD or $38.65 USD respectively. This $20 discount is included in the automated shipping calculations when you place your order.

* Does not apply to discounted or sale purchases.

If you wish to order with another person to save on shipping costs, please email us at

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