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NEW! High School: Jane Austen

Tutor: Brandi McKenzie

We will read the 6 complete novels with supplemental readings from Austen biographies, The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, and other critical commentary.  We will look at the novels in the context of the end of the 18th century in England and in terms of current culture. The novels are available in a kindle version for free in The Complete Works of Jane Austen in One Volume. We will participate in weekly discussions with some written responses. We will read approximately a novel every four to five weeks, with a take home test for each novel and possibly other projects or essays.

·         1811 – Sense and Sensibility.

·         1813 – Pride and Prejudice.

·         1814 – Mansfield Park.

·         1815 – Emma.

·         1818 – Northanger Abbey (posthumous)

·         1818 – Persuasion (posthumous)


NEW! Little House on the Prairie

Tutor: Debbie Christensen

Travel back in time to the wind-swept prairies of the Great Plains and the fascinating life of Laura Ingalls Wilder! The books of the Little House series will serve as the foundation for a year-long unit study of geography, literature, history, and science/nature combined with plenty of hands-on activities and crafts to bring Laura’s world to life. As we read and discuss the books, you will have a chance to do some journaling and creative writing of your own. We’ll follow the Ingalls family from Wisconsin to Dakota Territory, and find out more about life in the 1800s—from one-room schoolhouses to the hardships of pioneer life—and much more.

This class is intended to be educational but a lot of fun! Five of Laura’s books were set in South Dakota; this will be taught from the perspective of a South Dakota native whose own family homesteaded in the state in 1885.

Suggested grades: 4-6


IEW Medieval History-Based Writing (Level B) 

Instructor: Michelle Midboe

This class is a middle grade homework course (6th-8th grade). 

We will utilize the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) technique of teaching writing using their Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons (Level B). Knights, Vikings, kings, and famous men of the Middle Ages come to life as students learn to write with IEW’s Structure and Style. 

The weekly writing and grammar lesson will be introduced in class, and then students will complete the rest of the assignment at home. Both student notebooks clearly lay out 4 days of homework. We will incorporate games to spice up the optional vocabulary study and to reinforce writing concepts. Students will turn in completed assignments (with incentives provided!) to promote accountability. We will also include a gentle introduction into public speaking and provide opportunities to practice speaking from their key word outlines.

Required Class Material: 

Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons Student Book (IEW.com/MHW-S $29)

  • Please purchase the latest 5th edition.
  • An accompanying Student Resource Packet is an important component of the class. It is included with the student book purchase as an ebook to download and print, or you may purchase it printed with a binder. (IEW.com/SRP)  

Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts Teacher’s Manual Book 3 (IEW.com/FIX-3-T) $19

  • Please purchase the latest 3rd edition.
  • The Teacher Manual includes the link to download the student pages. Instructions for downloading are at the front of the TM.
  • Optional: You may purchase a printed copy of the student book as a convenience if you do not wish to print the book yourself. (IEW.com/FIX-3-S) $15


Analytical Grammar 

Mrs. Oksana Swafford

This course will cover parts of speech, parts of the sentence, phrases and clauses, classic sentence diagraming, rules of punctuation and capitalization, and common usage errors.

See a sample exercise HERE. For more information about this course, see the website at http://www.analyticalgrammar.com/analytical-products/analytical-grammar-book.html and/or contact tutor Oksana Swafford.


Introduction to Effective Writing

Mr. John Jenkins 

Prepare your students for the rigors of high school writing. This class incorporates academic and professional techniques that develop a student’s critical thinking, organizing skills, and effective communication through essays, including writing short or long answers for literature.

Students will learn how to 1) take notes, 2) conduct research on the internet, 3) organize information, 4) document sources including footnoting, 5) write effective sentences and paragraphs using basic grammar, spelling, capitalization rules, plus formatting skills such as double-spacing, indents and setting margins. Using these basic skills, the students will then learn how write effective essays.

PREREQUISITES. Appropriate reading speed and comprehension skills for age level. Basic computer skills with MS Word or equivalent.

See more HERE


Effective Writing 9-12 with SAT Essay Prep, Honors Optional

Mr. John Jenkins 

Effective Writing is an honors-optional class teaches college and professional writing techniques that develop a student’s critical thinking, research and organizing skills, natural writing voice, and effective communication through essays. Class includes SAT timed essay preparation and practice.

Students will learn how to: 1) research and select effective essay/paper topics, 2) organize, plan, and structure a paper, 3) understand and avoid plagiarism through documenting sources with footnotes, 4) write and rewrite a paper using accepted college formats, and 5) use techniques for developing original thinking so that every paper is written with purpose. This class can be taken as an Honor’s class with additional reading, research and writing required.

PREREQUISITES. Introduction to Effective Writing or ability to write complete sentences and paragraphs, basic grammar, spelling, capitalization, double-spacing, indents and formatting rules, including footnotes.

See more HERE


Joy of Literature

Mr. John Jenkins 

Students will learn 1) the historical and literary contexts from antiquity to the 20th century, 2) the author’s worldviews, and 3) the fundamentals of figurative language. Students will apply their knowledge through class discussions and presentations, and by writing scenes and vignettes suggested by the short stories’ novels’ plots, characters, and themes. Students will learn the basics of effective dialog, writing descriptively, and plot development.

PREREQUISITES. Appropriate reading speed and comprehension skills for age level, can use Microsoft Word or equivalent, and conduct computer research and typing.

See more HERE.


British Literature

Mr. John Jenkins 

See class description HERE.



Other classes we have offered…

Institute for Excellence in Writing, Level B, Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons (class is structured approximately for grades 4-7)

Discover the wonders of the ancient world while learning to write with structure and style!

This new edition of Ancient History-Based Writing Lessonsoffers writing topics that explore the civilizations of Sumer, Egypt, Israel, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, and Asia—the people’s ideas, traditions, systems of government, feats, and wonderful skills. IEW’s structural units 1–9 are taught in order; elements of style are introduced gradually. A set of creatively illustrated vocabulary cards is included. The words, chosen to work easily in the writing assignments, expand students’ vocabularies and add sophistication to their compositions. Acquiring facts about the ancient world while learning to write well has never been so enjoyable!

Alternating between inventive writing and factual writing, students will learn how to structure their writing and add style. Among the concepts taught are: key word outlines, writing from notes, writing from multiple sources, writing from pictures, story-sequence, formal critiques, and more.

Students will need a copy of the Student Book for Ancient History Based Writing Lessons which can be found here:


Please note, this curriculum has been recently revised and is not compatible with previous editions.  Please make sure your student has a copy of the Fifth Edition with the picture of a pyramid on the front.  In addition, your student will need a copy of the Student Resource Packet which is available as a free download, which you will need to print after you have purchased your Student Book.  Or, you can order a copy of the student resource packet here: https://iew.com/shop/products/student-resource-packet.



Mr. John Jenkins 

Journalism provides essential writing and thinking skills for high school, college and beyond by developing a student’s natural voice while deepening their practical use of effective writing principles through time- tested professional writing techniques in the writing of news and feature stories for both current and historical time periods.

Journalism will enable your student to brilliantly stand out against a bland background of typically mundane high school and college student writers. Students will learn: 1) notetaking and organizing skills, 2) listening and research skills, 3) effective writing skills, 4) natural voice, and most importantly, 5) effective communication skills.

PREREQUISITES. Ability to write complete sentences and paragraphs using basic grammar, spelling, capitalization rules, and formatting rules.

See more HERE.


World Literature

Mr. John Jenkins  

Reading and understanding World Literature is essential to being prepared for the AP Literature exam and in obtaining a critical understanding of the role of classic literature in our culture. Key student text: Stobaugh’s World Literature. Key student websites: classics.mit.edu.com, Norton World Lit Online, and earlychristianwritings.com. Students will explore a broad range of literary genres and themes through systematic forays into poetry, narrative, plays, and novels, including works such as Gilgamesh, the Odyssey, Meditations, the Divine Comedy, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch.

Students will learn 1) the historical context of World Literature from antiquity to the 20th century, 2) the thematic/worldviews focus of the authors, and 3) the fundamentals of literary analysis (including literary devices) and apply their knowledge through class discussions/presentations, basic and advanced essay writing, and literary vignettes/poems. This class can be taken as an honor’s class, with additional reading, research and writing required.

See more HERE.


Lost Tools of Writing, Level 1 (Class structure is targeted for grades 6-8)

The Lost Tools of Writing is an ideal composition curriculum for students in seventh through twelfth grade who already have a relatively solid understanding of grammar and sentence structure and who have at least a rudimentary amount of writing experience – and, most importantly, who are ready to think for themselves. 

Every writer – no matter how old or experienced or published – has to come up with good ideas, organize those ideas clearly, and express them effectively. The first three canons of classical rhetoric Invention, Arrangement, Elocution– do this. Once the aspiring writer grasps how to employ these tools effectively the stresses and confusions that accompany writing begin to fade, and with it the fear that often comes with writing assignments.

The Lost Tools of Writing, Level One covers primarily the persuasive essay. Featuring eight essays and a review lesson, LTW I teaches more than a dozen schemes and tropes as well as numerous skills and techniques for coming up with ideas. By the time your students finish the level 1 program they will be able to write a well-organized and thorough persuasive essay and will demonstrate a competency in writing that will enable them to move forward with confidence.

The class will read and discuss great literature and write their essays using the characters and their choices from these books as their topics.  If the student has already read these books, even better.  They have not explored these books in this way before. The literature selections are targeted for 6-8 grade readers.

Literature selections students will read and write from for this class are:

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Lewis), The Hobbit (Tolkein), Moccasin Trail (McGraw), The Bronze Bow (Speare), Number the Stars (Lowry) and, possibly, Treasure Island (Stevenson).  No abridged versions, please.

Please make sure each student has a copy of each of these books that they may write in and/or highlight. Students will also need a copy of the Student Book for Lost Tools of Writing, which can be found here: https://www.circeinstitute.org/store/book/level-1-4th-ed-students-workbook



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