How do I know if Expository Writing is the right level for my child?

This depends on what you feel your child needs to work on in his or her writing. This course places a lot of emphasis on developing a thesis statement and tying everything in the essay back to that thesis. We also work a lot on overall organization and organization within paragraphs. This is not primarily a grammar course, but we do study sentence structure intensively at the beginning, and the tutor addresses grammatical issues as they arise throughout the course. We pay particular attention to eliminating comma splices and converting passive verbs to active ones.

Students choose their own essay topics, and topics greatly influence the “level” of writing. When students choose topics that challenge them intellectually, the class will not be too easy for them. In addition, students revise their papers based on detailed feedback from the tutor, which means that a large component of the course is automatically tailored to the student’s individual needs. If a student is proficient at developing a thesis and writing a well-organized essay, however, he or she is probably better off practicing and honing his or her skills in a literature course.

I am happy to discuss the course and your needs with you to help you decide if the class is the right fit for your child.

What background and preparation do students need in order to take a high school literature course?

The literature courses are geared toward students who are able to read about 100-200 pages per week and who have a foundation in essay writing. Because of this, students are encouraged to take Expository Writing or a similar course before enrolling in a literature class. While Expository Writing leads students step-by-step through the process of writing and revising, literature courses expect students to plan, draft, and revise much more on their own. This is not to say that writing help and instruction are not built into the literature courses. Paper assignments offer guidance in the writing process; students may turn in a rough draft of each paper early for extra feedback; and the tutor is always happy to discuss papers at any stage. We devote class time entirely to the discussion of literature, however, not to grammar or the writing process.

How much time does a class require each week?

This varies a lot from student to student (and sometimes from week to week), but in general you should plan to spend at least five to seven hours per week on homework. See the individual course information for more detail on what weekly assignments entail.

What kind of feedback do students receive on papers?

Each time students turn in a rough draft or revision, they will receive comments from me in the form of (1) detailed line edits, (2) suggestions and explanations in the margins, (3) a final summary of  instructions for revision, and (4) a grade for the assignment, broken down into points for different aspects of the paper.

How much parental help or involvement is expected/allowed?

Parents are responsible for making sure that their children work hard and turn in assignments on time in order to get as much as possible out of the course. While students vary in their ability to work independently, the class functions best when parents read assignment instructions, encourage their child to distribute work throughout the week, read my comments on homework, and know the grades their child receives.

Some parents wonder if they are helping their child too much with homework. A good guideline for this is that all parental assistance should help the student learn to find errors and problems independently, rather than simply make the work easier.

Are your classes taught from a Christian perspective?

I am a Christian, so everything I do is influenced by my Christian worldview. I do not, however, assume any particular religious beliefs on the part of my students, so students from any background should feel comfortable in my classes.

Do you record your classes?

No. If a student has to miss a class, he or she should contact me ahead of time to find out what they will miss. I am happy to meet with the student privately to discuss the material if necessary.

How much high school credit should a class represent on a homeschooler’s transcript?

Each course is considered one full English credit. American Literature, Nineteenth-Century British Literature, and Greek and Roman Literature can all be listed as “honors” classes. None of these is geared specifically toward an AP exam, however.