Advanced Senior English

Course Overview

books-to-read-before-college.jpgAdvanced Senior English is designed for the college-bound senior who has completed at least one AP English class or a dual-enrolled English class. You are a skillful writer, and you want to hone your edge as you prepare for college. With your high school journey coming to an end, you also want to enjoy the flexibility that homeschooling offers, so this college prep class has been planned with
choice and relevance in mind.

College applications loom large this fall. So you'll begin your year in Advanced Senior English reading about the college admissions process and writing application essays. Chances are good that you'll be applying to several colleges and writing several different essays—very likely a common app essay, school-specific essays, and maybe scholarship essays. In the first six weeks of class, you will peruse sample application essays, discussing their strengths and weaknesses with your classmates. As you dive in and begin planning your own essays, you'll establish checkpoints for brainstorming, drafts, and revisions. You'll address edits and improvements with your instructor, and you'll have the option to ask your classmates for feedback if you choose to.

You and your classmates will then move on, embarking on a variety of reading and writing. Over the course of the year you will read a work from each of these categories/genres--and the choices will be up to you!
  • Non-Fiction:
    • Biography or Memoir
    • Psychological or Sociological Topic
    • Scientific or Historical Topic
    • Current Issue Topic
  • Fiction:
    • American or British Novel
    • World Literature Novel
    • Contemporary Novel (a quality 2014-16 best seller)
  • Fiction or Non-Fiction:
    • Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner or Finalist
You'll be offered a short list of title-suggestions to get you started, but you'll be encouraged to look beyond the lists and consider possibilities that interest you the most. You and your classmates will be reading from the same category at any given time, but the books will vary widely. There will be plenty of opportunity to share, compare, and discuss your reading in online forums. And after you finish each book, you'll write an essay that is connected to it. Eight writing assignments will be planned over the year to help you explore various writing modes and continue fine tuning.

Your Moodle classroom will be home base. You'll get to know your classmates in weekly text discussion forums, as you share highlights about the books you are reading (every few weeks), and address news and issues of your own choosing (weekly). You will subscribe to a major newspaper and to a monthly magazine--both of which are nationally renowned. The class will discuss a wide range of topics from the newspaper and--on a rotating basis--two students will offer up magazine articles for discussion each week. The conversation will be active, but forum expectations will be set at a level that will make participation both manageable and enjoyable.

Advanced Senior English has been designed with you in mind. Join a class of interesting, talented students, and tailor your senior year of English to meet your needs and exceed your expectations!

Course Goals

  • To read engaging, quality fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of genres.
  • To join a community of scholars, discussing topics of interest and importance.
  • To sharpen your writing skillfulness.
  • To write in a variety of modes--both formal and informal--in preparation for college.
  • To plan and write college admissions essays and scholarship essays.
  • To write approximately eight formal essays, including a literary analysis essay, rhetorical analysis essay, modes of criticism essay, argument/persuasive essay, expository essay, research paper (5-10 pp.), and book review
  • To hone formal (essays), informal (discussion forums) and on-the-spot (timed essays) expression, developing and refining your "writer's voice."
  • To correctly and consistently apply formatting conventions such as MLA and APA.
  • To improve on organization and time-management strategies in planning, drafting, and revising your writing.
  • To expand your vocabulary and increase awareness of syntax/mechanics strategies (drawn from class reading)

Student Resources

  •  Fiction and Non-Fiction. A list of possibilities will be offered, but students will be encouraged to investigate and choose books that are of particular interest to them. Print or ebook; purchased/borrowed/library copies are all fine.
    • American or British Novel
    • Biography/Memoir
    • Contemporary Novel (a quality 2014-16 best seller)
    • Issue-Oriented Topic
    • Psychological or Sociological Topic
    • Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner or Finalist (fiction or non-fiction)
    • Scientific or Historical Topic
    • World Literature Novel

Summer Assignment

Over the summer, plan to read a worthy book of your own choosing.  Then write a 2-3 essay (details will be provided) that you will upload the first day of class to share, compare, and discuss during the first week of class.
Online Format

This is an asynchronous course. While there are here are no live or recorded lectures. The class is highly interactive, with students and the teacher utilizing a variety of tools—including weekly discussion forums—for interaction and instruction. Because there is no single time the class "meets" during the week, you have the flexibility to complete the assigned weekly coursework in a manner that fits your busy high school schedule.
  •  Assignments are set up on a Monday-Sunday framework, with due dates typically on Fridays, or Sundays. You will access the website and interact with your classmates in a give-and-take manner according to your own academic and family schedule. While there is no "live" component to the class, interaction is frequent and friendly. Your active participation in discussion forums is a core component of this class.

  •  All Blue Tent classes are hosted on Moodle, a learning management system that is popular among online educators and universities. (A 1-minute video overview: Moodle.) You will complete assignments directly on the password-protected website that your instructor has created just for your class. You will upload your writing assignments as Microsoft Word documents and receive feedback from the instructor in pdf form.

Course Tuition, Size, and Schedule

Advanced Senior English is open to home-schooled college-bound seniors who are 17 years of age or older. Tuition for 2017-2018 is $650, and the class will be capped at 10 students.
  • We will begin on Monday, August 28, 2017 and close out the year on Friday, May 4, 2018. 
  • The website will open one week early and will remain open for two weeks after the close of class for downloading of student records. 
  • There will be a one-week fall break, a short Thanksgiving week, a two-week Christmas break, and a one-week spring break.


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