Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

One of the best things about this class was Mrs. Gonzalez’s timely feedback. She always graded assignments quickly, and had great comments. I definitely felt prepared for the AP exam, particularly because of the couple weeks of solid review beforehand.

AP Calculus AB

On-Line for the 2019-2020 School Year

Teacher: Susan Gilleran


Texts Required:

          (Also available but not necessary)
          Calculus for AP®, 1st edition Printed Version by Ron Larson and Paul Battaglia, (2017) ISBN-13: 9781305674912.
          (available at

First Day of Class: Monday August 26, 2019 
Last Day of Class:
Day of AP Exam – Tuesday May 5, 2020

Technical Requirements:

Who Should Apply: All students should have completed the equivalent of four years of high-school level mathematics designed for college-bound students. These would typically be referred to as Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus covering advanced topics in algebra, trigonometry, analytic geometry and elementary functions including linear, polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, logarithmic, inverse trigonometric and piecewise-defined. In particular, students must be familiar with the properties, the algebra, and the graphs of functions. Students must also understand the language of functions (domain and range, odd and even, periodic, symmetry, zeroes, intercepts, and so on). Prospective students should be ready to commit 11-12 hours per week to this class.

Course Fee: EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:    $844      after June 30, 2019:      $855

Should I take AP Calculus AB or BC? How do I decide?

BC covers all the AB material from August through December and then additional topics from January through March, including additional integration techniques, infinite series, and polar and parametric functions, so there is a lot of information to assimilate in a short amount of time. Consequently, the BC students need to be quite focused to keep up with the faster pace.

The advantage of taking BC is the opportunity to learn more calculus and if you excel at it to the point of being able to score a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Exam many universities will allow you to bypass two semesters, or the equivalent of Calculus I and Calculus II, the first two courses in college calculus, while they only allow an AB student with an AP Exam score of 3, 4 or 5 to bypass one semester of college calculus.

That's in most schools. It's possible the school you are going to has a different policy. They may not give two semesters of credit for BC or in some cases they may not give any credit at all for AB or BC. It's best to check with the university ahead of time.

The price you pay is a much faster paced course which covers about 35-40% more material than the AB course. It's quite a challenge. Whether your daughter or son should take the BC class, as opposed to the AB class, is a matter of stamina, ability, and interest in putting forth the extra effort necessary to step up to the challenge. Since BC goes at a faster pace and covers more material it means more work and the BC material in the second semester is more difficult than the first semester.

It boils down to whether that extra semester of advanced placement in college calculus is worth it, keeping in mind that some colleges don't give the extra semester of credit for BC and most ivy league schools don't give any advanced placement.

If students start in the BC class, they can switch from BC to AB at any time during the year if they find the pace or the material is too much to handle. Or I have had students switch from AB to BC because the pace is too slow, but this needs to occur very early in the year.

How have student’s performed on past AP Exams?

The following table includes data from the past twelve years:  




5's & 4's

Avg Score


Mrs. G










Mrs. G









A student’s success in this class is directly proportional to the completion rate of the daily assignments on the day they are assigned, and the quality of the time spent on those assignments. By quality I mean being “present in mind” and willing to work at the process of learning which involves effort to pursue knowledge not just to absorb it.

Course Description: This course prepares students for the AP Calculus AB Exam. There are two AP Calculus Exams given each year – Calculus AB and Calculus BC. There are two courses designed to prepare for the exams, each to be taught over a full high school academic year. The Calculus BC course includes all the material included in the Calculus AB course plus additional topics.

Most colleges and universities offer a sequence of courses in calculus. Because of this, it depends on the policies of the institution and the results of your AP Exam as to where you are placed in their sequence of courses. The content of Calculus BC is designed to qualify the student for placement and credit in a course that is one course beyond that given for Calculus AB. Typically, Calculus AB is the first semester of college calculus and BC is the first and second semester.

As a student in this class, you will be accessing a classroom website daily, at any time during the day most convenient for you, where you will find a posting of one chapter of assignments with a new lecture posted every day, Monday through Friday, discussing such things as that day’s topic, or a problem from yesterday’s or today’s assignment, or a recent test. There will often be instructional videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, MIT, educational institutions, links to interesting sites, animated graphics or helpful documents to download. There will be no live sessions.

You will be interacting with your classmates, teaching assistants and me through a lively online Discussion Board provided through Google Groups. You will post any questions you have about the reading material or the homework assignments, answer other students’ questions, as well as post solutions to problems. Questions can always be sent directly to me at any time.

Your textbook will be the most current edition of a world class college text tailored specifically for the new AP Calculus curriculum launched in 2016, available in both printed and electronic formats – the 1st edition of Calculus for AP by Larson/Battaglia. It will offer you a wealth of resources to enhance your learning experience. The eBook and companion website with CalcChat (step-by-step solutions to exercises) and CalcView (video tutorials of how to solve textbook exercises) will serve as one of your “virtual tutors” for the entire year, complementing my daily lectures which will serve as your official tutor.

We will be using an enhanced version of the eBook version offered through WebAssign which will provide your homework assignments. WebAssign is a web-based interactive homework assignment and test program used by over 250 universities, colleges and academies -- including California-Berkeley, Chapel Hill, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Rutgers, Texas A&M, the United States Air Force and the United States Military and Naval Academies. 

Two weeks of assignments are posted at a time – the current and following week, so you can work ahead of schedule if you want. Your assignments will consist of exercises from the online ebook that have been especially coded by the publisher for WebAssign. There are over 5,000 problems available to me to select from to create your assignments. You will have immediate feedback on whether your homework answers are correct, multiple tries at solving a problem, assistance in solving the problem in the form of Watch It Videos, Master It Tutorials, and Read It Text passages. It will actually go to the location in the text that addresses the problem you are working on for you to read again! In addition to all this homework assistance WebAssign will provide you with a self-prepared Personal Study Plan you can follow as we progress through the textbook with practice tests at the end of each section to ensure you have mastered the material. In general – WebAssign and your eBook help to put boredom out of business.

Each assignment will build on previous assignments, so success will depend on your daily response to the challenge. I want to stress the importance and significance of that statement. You will have homework every day that will take from one and a half to two and a half hours to complete, depending on how well you understand the material. So, if you skip a day, just one day, you will have three to five hours of work to do on the second day. If you skip three days, you will have four and a half to seven and a half hours of work to do on the third day. In other words, you cannot miss a day without the work becoming exponentially more difficult to accomplish. That requires a serious commitment on your part before you step up to the plate and say, “Let’s play ball, Mrs. Gilleran!” I want you to be sure you are ready to make that commitment before completing the application.

While this course is not for the faint-hearted, I’ll promise you it will be one of the most challenging opportunities of your life as a student. And one of the most significant lessons you’ll learn is, along with the greatest challenges, come the greatest rewards. You are going to love calculus! It is a monumental testament to the wonders of the world of mathematics.

Instructor Qualifications: I earned a BS and secondary teaching certificate in Mathematics from Wayne State University and an MBA from Lawrence Technological University. I taught high school mathematics before moving to the business world for the balance of my career, at Ford Motor Company, where I was continuously amazed by the evolution of the computer as an Information Technology Manager.

This will be my fourteenth year teaching the AP Calculus courses for PA Homeschoolers. I have also completed four five-day College Board summer institutes - one dedicated to teaching AP Calculus AB and the other three addressed AP Calculus BC and three one-day workshops for AP Calculus BC teachers. I’m looking forward to an exciting year that’s sure to be an adventure for everyone involved.

Application: Anyone interested in joining Mrs. Gilleran's Adventures in Math should fill out this Application for AP Calculus AB:

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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