Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

I honestly loved interviewing my grandparents for the November History Interview assignment. They were both so excited to tell me about their childhoods during the Great Depression and WWII, and I literally would have never known so many things about their lives.

AP Calculus AB

On-Line for the 2020-2021 School Year

Teacher: Susan Gilleran


Texts Required:

  1. Enhanced WebAssign with Calculus for AP® 1st Edition by Ron Larson and Paul Battaglia (2017) (not available until mid-August when class is created) (Homework $21.50 or Homework and eBook rental $35.00).

           Calculus for AP®, 1st edition Printed Version by Ron Larson and Paul Battaglia, (2017) ISBN-13: 9781305674912.
           (available at
           (Printed version is required if eBook rental option is not selected)
           (It should be noted both eBook and printed versions are highly recommended in conjunction with each other
             because they each offer different advantages to the  learning process.)

      2. AP Exam Prep Textbook:

          There are three versions, two of them are acceptable, pick one of the acceptable versions:

            1. Apple Books available through iOS app for iPad, iPhone (interactive) (recommended)
            2. Kindle available through (not interactive)
            3. Print copies (unacceptable unless only used to write on)

           Title: AP Calculus Interactive Lectures Vol. 1 2019-2020 AP Calculus AB PowerPoint Lectures
                   by Rita Korsunsky

       3. Excellent (optional) additional AP Exam Prep Book
           Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam
Third Edition by Mark Howell and Martha Montgomery
           Copyright © May, 2016 by Skylight Publishing ISBN 978-0-9972528-5-9.
           (ebook (excellent choice) available through RedShelf at:
           (print copy available new or used through or new at:

First Day of Class: Monday August 31, 2020 
Last Day of Class:
Day of AP Exam – Tuesday May 4, 2021

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:    $860      after June 30, 2020:      $870

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/parametric functions, consequently there is a substantial amount of information to assimilate in a short period of time. As a result, the BC students need to be totally focused to keep up with the faster pace.

The advantage of taking BC is the opportunity to learn more calculus and if you excel, to the point of scoring a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Exam, many universities allow you to bypass two semesters, or the equivalent of Calculus I and 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 approximately 35-40% more material than the AB course. It is a considerable 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. Keep in mind, 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’ve 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 thirteen years:




5's & 4's

Avg Score


Mrs. G










Mrs. G









A student’s success in this class is directly proportional to both 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.

Course Delivery is through 3 Web Sites:

What is the Key to Success in this Course? Each assignment will build on previous assignments, so success will depend on a 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 fifteenth 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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