Marie Rackham in her hat, greeting you for the Basic Cozy Essay Course

Hosted by

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

Marie's Most Surprising Course

No one fails if they have the tools.

In the Basic Cozy Essay Course, Marie reveals that she failed second year university English three times. That's right, three times!

But the fourth time, she had a teacher who gave her what has become her teaching mantra: "No one fails if they have the tools."

This teacher taught her what her other teachers had not: a clear essay format with which to formulate her ideas. With this format she went on to get an A and to major in English.

Now, from her beachside garden, she shares this same format with you, along with the help of her Cozy Language Consultant Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, who takes us on a trip to London to do so!

This course is suitable for ages 9 and up, and is particularly useful to students who are in or preparing to go to college.

The Heart of the Course


In the following video, an excerpt from the course introduction, Marie shares the heart of what the Basic Cozy Essay Course covers.

An Essay is Like a Journey—to London!


A special feature of the second edition of the Basic Cozy Essay Course is that Marie's Cozy Language Consultant, Thomas, takes us to London in a series of additional new videos.

And why London? Here's an answer from Thomas himself, which will serve as the basis of one of the additional styles of essays he teaches:

Thomas also walks students through a personal narrative essay about how J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has inspired many other kinds of creativity.

You won't want to miss it!

Features of the Basic Cozy Essay Course

  • A video introduction and 5 extended comprehensive video lessons from Marie, optimized for viewing on every kind of device, from desktop and laptop computers to the latest tablets and smartphones.
  • A video introduction and 5 additional extended video lessons from Thomas, who takes us to London to explore essay writing further and to write two supplementary essays.
  • Detailed study notes with printable sample essays for all of the kinds of essays that Marie and Thomas discuss.
  • Printable PDF study notes.
  • A classical music soundtrack designed to enhance learning, performed by Marie Rackham herself.
  • The ability to track progress and begin exactly where a student has left off.
  • An official course completion certificate at the end of the course.
  • Up to 4 additional family sub-accounts, each with their own course tracking and personalized certificate.

Scroll Through Testimonials for All of Marie's Courses:


Popular and clear

I showed the course to students at the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade levels. I thought that the grade 9 students might object to the learning style, but when I told them that I was going to use a different program, they didn’t want me to change. The students commented that she (Marie) speaks clearly and that they could understand what was being taught.

I plan to use both the grammar and punctuation courses at the grade 6 level in this coming year.

Cindy W.
Charter School Teacher, Florida, USA

We feel like a very dear and enjoyable friend is in our living room teaching

At the beginning of this year, I stumbled onto a very unique English curriculum – the Basic Cozy Grammar and Basic Cozy Punctuation courses, an award-winning series of relaxed English grammar and punctuation tutorials prepared as living textbooks. After a little research (do a Google for either course and you’ll find a number of excellent reviews) I decided to order it and give it a try.  I have been using the Basic Cozy Grammar and Basic Cozy Punctuation with my son this past semester, and I highly recommend these courses.  I have noticed a marked improvement in his understanding of grammar and punctuation and a dramatic increase in his interest in learning these subjects.

Marie Rackham is a delightful and effective teacher who has won several awards for her innovative teaching methods.  Her lighthearted teaching style captures the student’s attention immediately. Her lessons are not only educational, they are also entertaining, so my son is always eager to watch the next lesson. Now when my son and I watch the lessons together, we feel like a very dear and enjoyable friend is in our living room teaching both of us grammar.

I was so impressed with this curriculum that I began recommending it to all my homeschooling friends. I was amazed to learn that none of the seasoned homeschooling families in my area had even heard of Cozy Grammar.  So, I have decided to make it my mission to spread the word about these wonderfully effective courses to other homeschooling families.

Clarice Marchman-Jones, Homeschooling Mom,
Founder, Garnet Moon Academy

Most Unique Language Arts Curriculum

Curriculum: Cozy Grammar/Punctuation Courses
Grade level: All

We love the Basic Cozy Grammar/Punctuation series by Marie Rackham! If you love the Charlotte Mason method of teaching, this series is for you! The series (grammar, punctuation, essay, spelling and intermediate grammar) is based for ages 10 to adult and is a wonderful review for those of us who have ‘forgotten’ along the way. Marie is very adept at teaching in a way that the information is very memorable. After you watch the short (3-5 minute) clip, you can do the exercises provided. We usually do this on Monday, then throughout the week, I give assignments that go along with it (ie. if we are studying verbs, I will ask them to write 5 sentences and underline the verbs or write a short story and use as many verbs as they can, etc.) just to keep them focused. It is the most unique language arts curriculum I have used and the ONLY one that my kids beg to use!That in itself is the highest recommendation I could ever have!It is pricey, but well worth it!

Reviewed by Tammy, Homeschooling Mom
Home School Reviews

A very gentle way to learn punctuation

I homeschool my son and we have completed The Basic Cozy Punctuation CourseThis is a great course and we really enjoyed it. It is a very gentle way to learn punctuation.  Marie uses road signs as visuals to help learn the punctuation marks and my son said that he would never forget them. This course is very easy to use for student and teacher. After the student watches the lesson, he does the exercises from the online companion workbook to reinforce the concept. The lessons are short and to-the-point, one concept at a time. Marie is very clear and she is always actively doing something while teaching to help the concept stick. The lessons are entertaining with beautiful scenery and relaxing classical music. I highly recommend this course for learning basic punctuation.

Gina Roberts, Homeschool Mom

Fun with grammar and punctuation

This is a fun way to learn English grammar and punctuation!  I love Marie.  I love the scenery, especially when Marie saw the Orca whales, and when she caught a salmon.  I love the mountains and the river and the trees and the beach.

Haya Nakazaki, Age 9
ESL Student, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

A very useful addition to any homeschool

Looking for an alternative or supplement to language arts workbooks that will entertain and educate your children? Well, my children and I have thoroughly enjoyed using The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course this past school year. It includes 15 lessons in which course author and retired teacher, Marie Rackham, instructs about the finer points of punctuation. This excellent program includes beautiful photography, online exercises, and engages multiple learning styles, and would be a very useful addition to any homeschool, public library, or home learning resource center.

One feature that makes this program irresistible is the scenery. The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course is filmed around the Campbell River, British Columbia, area and Mrs. Rackham uses a different locale each lesson to illustrate the concepts being taught.  The program is sort of a cross between a travel show and an English lesson. The photography and editing are very professional and pleasing to the senses. This innovative technique is far superior to watching an instructor lecture in front of a black board.

Learners with different learning styles will find The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course useful, as the program has been designed to utilize all the learning styles. When Mrs. Rackham instructs or illustrates an example, the viewer not only hears her say it, but the words are also put up on the screen over the picture and they are often in different colors to highlight the concept being taught. Mrs. Rackham is also an accomplished musician and each episode highlights a different piece of classical music in the background which adds to the overall atmosphere of the program. Then at the end of each lesson Mrs. Rackham reminds the student to do the exercises in the workbook which requires the learner to actively practice the concepts taught.

The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course should be in every public library and home learning resource center, but the cost may be prohibitive to many individual home learners. I think the price is comparable to many of the major publisher’s English programs. Many families may be concerned about the lack of consistent review but I use my children’s writing and dictation for reviewing and reinforcing the concepts taught in the program. If there is a concept that my child seems to be struggling with, we simply replay that episode.

In our five years of homeschooling, The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course is very high on our list of favorite curriculum resources. I learned along with my children (do you know what an interrobang is?) and it was fun, educational, and effective. We look forward to using it for many years to come, and we also look forward to using all the other programs in this series. So, if you are looking for a program to breathe some life into your language arts curriculum, check out The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course.

Sarah Sullivan, Homeschooling Mom, Courtenay, BC, Canada

How we use parts of speech in everyday life

It is cool because the teacher is on your screen. If you don’t understand something or hear her, you can stop and rewind. The video lessons show how we use parts of speech like adverbs and adjectives in everyday life.

Meghan Ford, Age 13
Middle School Student, Alberta, Canada

A teacher full of dramatic enthusiasm

A report to the District Superintendent of Schools about Marie Rackham as a classroom English teacher:

Marie Rackham’s teaching style might be best characterized by the phrase “dramatic.” She throws her total personality into instruction and as a consequence, receives the enthusiastic input of all of her students. As a result of this infectious enthusiasm, Mrs. Rackham undoubtedly draws many students who might otherwise be “turned off” in more traditional teaching formats. She doesn’t hesitate to take on students who do not fit the expectations of other teachers and has often been very successful in turning these students around. The standard of work submitted by her senior class is high and the expectations she sets are equally challenging. Her modified English class is marked by output not previously accomplished by these students. The informal framework of Mrs. Rackham’s lessons does not detract from the quality of the input nor the standard of the output; in fact the opposite can be said: the achievement is enhanced.

Don Muir, Secondary School Principal
Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada

A daunting subject comes alive

Thank you so very much for the beauty, warmth and great information you share in your Cozy Grammar/Punctuation courses. Another homeschooling mother and I trade expertise and she shared your courses with me. You truly make a rather daunting subject come alive for children as well as for their mothers!

Homeschooling Mom

Master teacher

Mrs. Rackham has exhibited the qualities and abilities associated with the master teacher.

Warren Harle, Secondary School Principal
School District #72, Campbell River, BC, Canada

All Star Review

All-Star ReviewsReview: The Basic Cozy Essay Course

Reviewed October 2003

SynopsisThe Basic Cozy Essay Course features a series of five easy-to-follow filmed essay tutorials  and an online 177 page companion notebook. A retired schoolteacher, Marie, walks you through the mechanics of essay writing, including a basic formula for writing an essay. She presents a step-by-step tutorial on writing a research essay and an expository essay, complete with footnotes and bibliography. The companion notebook goes into more detail on these and other types of essays including: Expository, Argumentative, Informal, Review, Literary, Character Analysis, Cause & Effect, Comparison/Contrast, Definition, Personal Narrative, and Admissions Essays. Sample essays are also included.

Age-Appropriateness: The simplified method taught can be applied to different subjects and grade levels.

Educational Value: Essay writing is a necessary part of a student’s life and this program provides a valuable resource for the many assignments students will face from the elementary level to the college level. The examples are helpful, and the simple formula makes the whole process less intimidating.

Graphics/Sound: English courses can be dry or dull but that is not the case with this program. The location shots of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the gentle, soothing classical music helps hold the attention of most age groups. Also, the course uses colorful graphics to clarify examples.

Pros: The Basic Cozy Essay Course uses a winning formula for teaching the basics of essay writing. The comfortable manner of presentation is easy to understand, thorough, and entertaining.

Cons: Some might consider the program slow and repetitive, though repetition does reinforce learning and you come away from the lessons familiar with the concepts taught.

Conclusion: The Basic Cozy Essay Course takes the mechanics of grammar and punctuation taught in previous programs (The Basic Cozy Grammar Course and The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course) and applies them to the practical challenge of writing an essay. After watching the DVD, my college-age son revised an argumentative essay which he had written the day before, and the subsequent results were more professional and polished. Another child (my 14 year old daughter) commented that the formula taught would also be useful in preparing speeches and talks. Overall, this is a most useful program.

Ages: Recommended for ages 12 to adult

Rating (out of 5): All-Star Reviews 4.5 Stars

Reviewed by Laura Bahrt
All Star Reviews

Educational Media Reviews

Educational Media Reviews Online MastheadReview: The Basic Cozy Essay Course

Rating: Recommended
Audience Level: Jr. High – Adult
Subject(s): Language, English
Date Reviewed: 2/11/2004

The Basic Cozy Essay Course DVD set and workbook is a presentation of the mechanics of how to write an essay, and where to place certain elements within the text of a written essay, and the various types of essays, and their functions and differences. The DVD comes with a guidebook with examples of essay styles, for what purpose they would be used, and layout. The lessons are taught by retired English teacher Marie Rackham who is noted for her award-winning English grammar and punctuation courses.

Those who are familiar with Rackham’s work appreciate that they will be treated to a stunning teaching environment, set in and around some of the most captivating views in British Columbia. Background classical music by composers Bach, Strauss, and others add to a serene atmosphere conducive to writing. The real life examples used in her teachings make the transfer and application of the information straightforward and easily applied to the construction of producing an essay. Her lessons flow effortlessly, and the length of each is kept short enough to hold the viewer’s attention.

Recommended for purchase by public, academic, and school media centers. The information found on this DVD would be very useful for the independent learner, college student, or as a tutorial to supplement and reinforce classroom instruction.

Educational Media Reviews Online Icon

Reviewed by Hope Marie Cook

Education Clearinghouse

Education Clearinghouse Reviews

Review: The Basic Cozy Essay Course

Thesis. Composition. Theme. Essay. These are the words that strike fear into the hearts of high schoolers of every generation. “I hate writing!” and “I don’t know what to write!” are as commonly heard by parents of teens as “Mom, where are my socks?” and “Dad, can I borrow the car?” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could simplify the whole writing process, making it clear exactly what ideas are required and in what order to present them?

A delightful, soft-spoken, retired English teacher, Marie Rackham, has done precisely this with her Basic Cozy Essay Course. Consisting of a 177-page online notebook and 50 minutes of on-camera instruction, this self-teaching course introduces the student to the standard formula for constructing more than a dozen different styles of essays, including research, character analysis, and admissions essays.

The notebook includes detailed explanations of what an essay is, how to outline and prepare information for your essay, how to include footnotes and a bibliography, how to format and present an essay, and samples of each kind of essay discussed. (Most of the samples revolve around the subject of tigers, making this course an interesting tiger unit study, as well!) Each style has its own introductory page where the style is defined and example notes given, a properly-formatted sample essay, and a summary page.

The heart of this program is the beautifully produced instructional video. From her impeccably landscaped front yard to the nearby shore, Mrs. Rackham discusses the proper format for all essays. She begins by giving a brief history of her own experiences learning to write, and reminds us that, “No one fails if they have the tools.” She then goes on to give her students the tools necessary to complete the task, pointing to superimposed text on the screen to demonstrate her examples. The serene beauty of the landscape and Mrs. Rackham’s deliberate presentation are accompanied by beautiful selections of classical music. The video lecture is a joy to watch, and can be repeated and referred to as often as necessary for each student to fully comprehend the lessons.

This course is intended for grades 7 and above, but the video is so well done it can easily be used with younger children. While the examples given in the notebook are far more extensive and detailed, the video’s research essay on Life Cycle of Plants is a simple, five-paragraph essay that is easy to follow, even for third and fourth graders. These younger students would only need to substitute their own facts when writing their research paper, while learning and practicing the basic formula for all future writing assignments.

A student should watch the video first, then review the course information in the notebook as he follows the steps in organizing his own facts and ideas into a coherent, well-written paper. Together, the video presentation and the reproducible notebook provide a simple, yet thorough, course in constructing essays, themes, and compositions. As this is a non-consumable resource that a homeschooling family can use with all children, it is an excellent investment as well as a truly enjoyable experience.

Education Clearinghouse Essay Review

Reviewed by Ruth Pell
Education Clearinghouse

Eclectic Homeschool Review

Eclectic Homeschool Online Banner

Review: The Cozy Essay Course

Retired Canadian school teacher Marie Rackham does it again with her fun, UNintimidating way of teaching necessary English basics. The Basic Cozy Essay Course is a five-lesson, easy-to-follow course with separate tutorials ranging from four to 17 minutes in length. Considering these lengths, it’s easy to imagine how The Basic Cozy Essay Course will fit into your Language Arts teaching time, and mesh well with an overall curriculum.

The course is aimed at your students in 6th grade and up; even adults will benefit from Rackham’s fun teaching style. Her 30-day, money-back guarantee further reinforces her assurances that this style works and works well in teaching your 12-year-olds-and-up how to write essays. It’s not as daunting or traumatic as you may recall from you own school days! Really! Remember Rackham’s favorite teaching slogan, learned from a college professor and earned from her personal failures and triumphs: “No one fails if they have the tools.” With The Basic Cozy Essay Course, you’ll have those tools.

Rackham walks you through her garden, tidal pools, and the beach as she talks you through her well-tested, step-by-step method. Her warmth comes across the screen and her tone of voice is light and encouraging, nearly sing-song at points. She is quite articulate, and, though the format is not closed captioned, there are extensive on-screen graphics that, word by word, change colors to iterate her points throughout the presentation. This format tempts audio, visual, and tactile learners out of the natural shudderings that go with an essay assignment, and onto writing essays, even those with footnotes and bibliography. Your students may say, as my own daughter did, “This isn’t so hard after all!”

All of Rackham’s courses are well laid out and well packaged. Other titles include The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course, and The Basic Cozy Spelling Course.

Ecletic Homeschool Online Pencils

Reviewed by Deborah Deggs Cariker

Award of Excellence

Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence


Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence




Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence


THE BASIC COZY PUNCTUATION COURSE should be in every home, every school and, in addition to being sold online, should be made available to the public through television infomercials! It’s one of the best educational products FILM ADVISORY BOARD has evaluated in its twenty-eight year history!”

Film Advisory Board, Hollywood, CA

Questar Award


Questar Awards


2001 Questar Award Finalist
Educational For Home Video


The Questar Awards Festival of Excellence in Video productions was founded by The International Academy of Communications Arts & Sciences with the principal purpose of advancing the arts and sciences of communications in an international arena, striving to establish and promote high standards of individual and collective achievement by way of recognizing the multi-disciplines involved in professional communications productions. Our Mission is to honor the individuals whose work has made an outstanding contribution.

Communicator Awards

Communicator Awards Logo

2001 Award of Distinction Winner

Instructional Videos

Communicator Awards Silver Trophy



The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in communications.

Cindy Award

Cindy Awards Logo

Spring 2001 Gold Cindy Award

Arts and Humanities

Cindy Awards Trophy


CINDY, an acronym for “Cinema in Industry,” began in 1959 as an industrial film competition. Today the twice-a-year CINDY Awards are proudly presented by the International Association of Audio Visual Communicators (IAAVC), a non-profit group representing theatrical, broadcast, non-broadcast, and interactive media professionals throughout the world.


Axiem Awards Logo

2001 Copper Award First Place Winner


Axiem Awards Trophy



Educational Video for Home Market


The AXIEM AWARDS is a national awards program created to honor those who produce the very best in all forms of electronic media.

Videographer Awards


Videographer Awards Logo

Videographer Awards Distinction

2001 Award of Distinction


For Sale / Instructional


The Videographer Awards are designed to give winners the recognition that the work they are producing is outstanding and highly regarded by their peers. The works are judged solely on their own quality, creativity and resourcefulness.

WorldFest Houston Remi Award

Remi Award Laurel


Remi Award Bronze2001 Bronze Remi Award

Worldfest Houston



WORLDFEST, the premiere Indie film/video festival in North America, has discovered some of the top directors and filmmakers in the world today.

Aegis Award

Aegis Awards Logo

Excellence in Educational Media



Aegis Award of Excellence 2001


“Your work on The Basic Cozy Grammar Course has been recognized by your peers as being among the very best in all of North America. As an Aegis winner, you have joined the elite ranks of the most creative video production professionals in the industry.”

The Aegis Awards Panel of Judges

Canada Post Literacy Award

Canada Post Logo


Canada Post Literacy Award


2001 Canada Post Literacy Finalist
Outstanding Literacy Educator






“To liberate slow learners from feelings of inadequacy, Marie developed an easily understood grammar course during her 34 year teaching career. That course has become a video/workbook production called The Basic Cozy Grammar Course, which stars Marie, leading a series of 27 lessons for ages 9 to adult.”

Media Agency Communications Award


Ametc 2001 Logo


2001 First Place Winner


Panisonic Award


The Association for Media and Technology in Education (AMTEC) presents a national showcase for educational media.

Award of Excellence

Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence


Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence




Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence


“One of the best educational products FILM ADVISORY BOARD has evaluated in its twenty-eight year history! It is well-deserving of our AWARD OF EXCELLENCE.”

Film Advisory Board, Hollywood, CA

Panasonic Video Communications Award


Ametc 2001 Logo


2001 First Place Winner
Best Overall Videotape Production



Panisonic Best Videotape Production


Awarded by Panasonic to the educational video production judged to have accomplished the highest overall level of quality standards.


Amtec Banner


2001 Award of Excellence



Amtec Award of Excellence


AMTEC is committed to evaluating educational technologies which reflect sound pedagogical theory, which are accessible to all learners and teachers, which promote innovation in learning and teaching, and which celebrate best teaching/learning practices in all educational environments. One Award of Excellence is granted in each category.

Telly Award


2001 Telly Award Winner



Telly Award Trophy

Resource Links Best of 2004

ResourceLinks Logo


ResourceLinks Best of 2004

Audio/Visual Product




“This is a lovely recording of piano arrangements which serves as an excellent introduction for young people to classical music and hopefully enhances their learning as they listen and enjoy!”

Ann Ketcheson

The Dove Foundation

Dove Foundation Logo

Dove Family Approved Seal

Family Approved




“. . . Marie Rackham provides excellent explanations and examples, and the lessons are very suitable for all ages . . .”

Carol Verbrugge

The Dove Foundation

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Old Schoohouse Magazine Logo

Honorable Mention 2001

Excellence In Education Award

Old Schoolhouse Magazine Excellence in Education Award


“The Old Schoolhouse gives Cozy Grammar the “Best all-time Grammar Award” in our book . . . Highly recommended by The Old Schoolhouse — 20 stars on a scale of five!”

Gena Suarez, Publisher

The Basic Cozy Essay Course (1 Year): $19.95 USD

One year of access for an individual or a family.

The Basic Cozy Essay Course (Lifetime): $39.95 USD

Unlimited access for an individual or a family.