Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

The course was rigorous and well-organized. I felt that it really prepared me for the AP exam and future economics coursework. I would highly recommend this course to any student who is interested in learning how the economy works and is willing to put in good effort to master the concepts.

AP English Language

On-Line for the 2017-2018 School Year

Teacher: Melissa Barnes


Tuition: $650 early bird/$675 after July 1

Length of Course: Friday, August 25, 2017 to Friday, May 18, 2018

Breaks: The official course schedule will be in the syllabus provided at the beginning of the year but will include breaks for all major U.S. holidays and Thanksgiving, a Winter Break, and a Spring Break. 

Course Description: According to the College Board, “[t]he AP English Language and Composition course aligns to an introductory college-level rhetoric and writing curriculum, which requires students to develop evidence-based analytic and argumentative essays that proceed through several stages or drafts. Students evaluate, synthesize, and cite research to support their arguments. Throughout the course, students develop a personal style by making appropriate grammatical choices. Additionally, students read and analyze the rhetorical elements and their effects in non-fiction texts, including graphic images as forms of text, from many disciplines and historical periods.”

This college-level course is intended to prepare students to enter the academic conversation as a discerning reader and a skilled writer. While students will be prepared to take the AP Language exam in the spring, the ultimate goal of this course is to develop critical reading skills and proficient writing skills with lifelong value across a variety of disciplines and career fields.

Course Objectives: (from The College Board’s AP English Language and Composition Course Description)

*Analyze and interpret samples of purposeful writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies.

*Analyze images and other multimodal texts for rhetorical features.

*Use effective rhetorical strategies and techniques when composing.

*Write for a variety of purposes.

*Respond to different writing tasks according to their unique rhetorical and composition demands, and translate that rhetorical assessment into a plan for writing.

*Create and sustain original arguments based on information synthesized from readings, research, and/or personal observation and experience.

*Evaluate and incorporate sources into researched arguments.

*Demonstrate understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary sources.

*Gain control over various reading and writing processes, with careful attention to inquiry (research), rhetorical analysis and synthesis of sources, drafting, revising/rereading, editing, and review.

*Converse and write reflectively about personal processes of composition.

*Demonstrate understanding and control of Standard Written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writing.

*Revise a work to make it suitable for a different audience. 

Prerequisites: While there are no official prerequisites for the course, students who enroll should be able to “read and comprehend college-level texts and apply the conventions of Standard Written English in their writing.” This course is not intended for students who need remedial work in reading or writing.

Interactions: This course is asynchronous, which means there is no live class session that students must attend. Work will be assigned daily, and students are expected to meet due dates; however, they will be free to complete their work at any time of day as long as they meet assigned deadlines. Extensions to deadlines will be granted with advance notice or in the case of illness or emergencies. Students will interact with one another and with the instructor in online discussion forums and groups as well as in occasional online book club meetings. Students will receive weekly feedback from the instructor on their work as well as detailed feedback on major assignments. The instructor will provide an individual progress report at the end of each semester.

AP Exam: Students will take parent-proctored practice AP exams in the second semester and are expected to take the AP English Language and Composition exam at their local high school in May.

Workload: Approximately 10-12 hours per week

Technological Requirements: Students will be given access to a password-protected Canvas website where they will access all of their course materials. Each student will need full Internet and printer access as well as Microsoft Word. Students will need to be able to create and view PDF files and may need to utilize Skype or Google Hangouts for book club discussions or group projects. Google Drive may also be utilized throughout the year, so students should have access to a drive.

Instructor Qualifications: I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in English Education. After teaching in a variety of public school settings, I returned to school to pursue an MA in English and Literacy Education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I then continued on to earn an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Curriculum Development, also from U-M. I am a certified teacher in the State of the Virginia with endorsements in 6-12 English, K-12 Reading, K-12 Gifted Education, and ESL. During the past twenty-five years, I have taught in public schools, an alternative high school, homeschool co-ops, and online. I have also edited and occasionally written for the Virginia Home Educator, a publication of the Home Educator’s Association of Virginia (HEAV), for the past ten years. I currently live in Chesapeake, Virginia, with my family. 

Required Course Materials:

Summer Reading: The Elements of Style (Fourth Edition) by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White ISBN-13: 978-0205309023

 AP-level nonfiction book of choice

Whole Class Texts:

“They Say, I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Third High School Edition) by Graff, Birkenstein, and Durst ISBN-13: 978-0393935851

(This text can be purchased directly from the W.W. Norton website.)

50 Essays: A Portable Anthology (Third Edition) by Samuel Cohen ISBN-13: 978-0312609658

On Writing Well by William Zinsser ISBN-13: 978-0060891541

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese ISBN-13: 978-0812988406

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner ISBN-13: 978-0060731335

Tattoos on the Heart: The Powers of Boundless Compassion ISBN-13: 978-1439153154

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicolas Carr ISBN-13: 978-0393339758

AP English Language and Composition Prep Book (suggestions will be made during second semester)

Students will participate in book clubs three times during the year. Each will focus on a specific genre, theme, or topic. Students will choose ONE title from each of the following categories. Parents should evaluate the titles their student selects to ensure they contains no content their family finds objectionable.

Book Club Options:

Memoir:  Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games; A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier; Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother; Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Food:  Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal; Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us; In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto; Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Medical:  Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science


Application: If you wish to enroll in AP Language and Composition for the 2017-2018 school year, please complete the application in the link below and email it to me at


AP Lang 2017 Application


Click here to open or download an application to this class (Microsoft Word document)

Click here to read class reviews from past participants
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