Courses Offered, 2023–2024
Below is the list of courses in order of skill level for the 2023–2024 school year. Note, however, that the texts studied in the high school courses are relatively at the same reading level and have no grade equivalent. In most of the courses, grammar, writing and poetics are integrated in the program; however, in the upper high school grades grammar is taught as a separate subject. Click on the title of the course to access the detailed objectives of the course. For a comprehensive list of courses taught in our program, refer to the complete course list. Except for the Greek classes and Greek and Roman History courses, which are free, all of the classes will be $85 per month.
This class is intended for pupils who are learning to read as well as for those who are currently handicapped by their poor reading, spelling and handwriting. In the course students will learn those "nonacademic" skills necessary for a successful academic career, including carefulness, patience and focus. The textbook and class instruction includes handwriting, spelling and phonics, reading, dictation, poetry memorization and recitation. At the end of the year, diligent students will be able to read fluently and write beautifully in the cursive italic hand. The course is intended for younger students who already know their letters and their sounds, but not necessarily blends, digraphs or diphthongs. You may view the assignment page here.
If there is one general weakness in today’s educational method it is the lack of continuity and drilling in foundational skills. Many students have a good beginning, but it is continual practice that makes perfect. “B is for Bears” is a course intended to drill pupils in those skills learned in “A is for Apple.” The class encourages good handwriting habits and bolsters phonics and reading skills. The course, however, introduces a lot of new material, such as important grammar concepts that will help students in their dictation and writing work. The curriculum also exposes students to a wealth of good history, poetry and literature intended for their level. “B is for Bears” is an excellent course to prepare students for the more rigorous reading and writing assignments. Those students who took “A is for Apple” this past year progress to "B is for Bear," although the course is not a prerequisite. This class is especially recommended for second graders, although older students may benefit from its challenging content. You may view the assignment page here.
This course is especially designed to improve students’ skills in and knowledge about literary works and terms, writing, poetics and grammar. The course includes literature (prose and poetry) and history passages with reading comprehension exercises; writing instruction on specific essay formats with models of imitation; phonics exercises; instruction in poetics, such as scansion, meter, rhyme and stress patterns (with exercises); and grammar and usage instruction with exercises. Those students who took “B is for Bear” this past year progress to "C is for Cottage in the Country," although the course is not a prerequisite. This class is especially recommended for third graders, although older students may benefit from its challenging content. You may view the assignment page here.
This is a foundational literature course that introduces younger students (grades 4 to 7) to a wide variety of classic authors and types of works. The literature has been chosen to improve reading comprehension, increase word knowledge, and allow students to explore the intricacies of man’s moral life and character in a way suitable to their level of understanding. Those students who took “D is for Dandelion” this past year progress to "Vice and Virtue," although the course is not a prerequisite. You may read view the assignment page here.
In this course students study English history in depth and read literature that corresponds to the time period studied. Those students who took the course “Foundations in Literature and History” this past year progress to "English Literature and History," although the course is not a prerequisite. This class is especially recommended for seventh graders, although younger and older students may benefit from its challenging content. You may view the assignment page here.
In this course, students will get an opportunity to see the development of the popular fantasy and science fiction genres, with which our modern culture has a fascination. We will be looking at the works from a literary as well as historical perspective. Those students who took “The Personal Narrative” progress to "Classic Works," although the course is not a prerequisite. This class is especially recommended for eighth graders, although younger and older students may benefit from its challenging content. You may view the assignment page here.
This course will give students a firm background in Greek literary forms, such as the lyric, epic, tragedy and myth, so essential in understanding some of the greatest works in the English language. Keats’ odes, Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, Shakespeare's tragedies, and Thomas Hardy's novels, for instance, all have Greek antecedents. Students will begin with a reading of mythology and Greek literature, such as the myths and Homer's Odyssey and then read English and American works that borrow from the Greeks. They will also examine how Western art, music, and philosophy were shaped by the content and forms of Greek literature. Those students who took “Great Books Seminar” this past year progress to "Greek Influence," although the course is not a prerequisite. The class is open to high school students, grades 10–12. You may access the assignment page here.
In his autobiography, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Winston Churchill mentioned that it was his English teacher that gave him a keen sense of the structure of the English language by making him parse a sentence through diagramming. This course will be taught with the same purpose in mind. Churchill writes: “Mr. Somervell—a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great—was charged with the duty of teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing—namely, to write mere English [as opposed to Latin]. He knew how to do it. He taught it as no one else has ever taught it. Not only did we learn English parsing thoroughly, but we also practiced continually English analysis. Mr. Somervell had a system of his own. He took a fairly long sentence and broke it up into its components by means of black, red, blue, and green inks. Subject, verb, object: relative clauses, conditional clauses, conjunctive and disjunctive clauses! Each had its color and its bracket. It was a kind of drill. We did it almost daily. As I remained in the Third Form three times as long as anyone else, I had three times as much of it. I learned it thoroughly. Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence—which is a noble thing.”
Every year grammar should be taught as part of a late middle school and high school education. In addition to learning the fine points of parsing a sentence (I will assume the role of Mr. Somervell), students will study punctuation and usage and learn to identify and correct usage errors, such as misplaced or squinting modifiers, pronoun reference errors, faulty correlative conjunctions, faulty comparisons, split infinitives, subject-verb agreement problems, incorrect tense forms, subject errors, faulty idioms, mistakes using the subjunctive mood, diction, double negatives, faulty verb, adjective and adverb forms, case, parallel structure, introductory verbal phrases, fragments, run-ons, passive voice sentences, etc. At the end of the year, students will be drilled in finding grammatical and writing errors in preparation for the SAT. Course is offered online on Wednesdays at 3:30.
The grammar course will be taught online on Wednesdays.
Online Greek I
Learning Greek will improve a student’s word knowledge in English, as so many, many English words are derived from Greek, including common words, such as genesis, panther, bible, astronomy, epistle, gymnastics, crisis, and graphic. In the first verse alone of the first epistle of John, verse 1 of chapter 1, there are seven words that are directly related to English. In talking about the flood in his second epistle, Saint Peter uses the Greek κατακλύζω, from which we get the word cataclysm (any great violent destruction). By studying Greek, students will will acquire a higher level vocabulary by encountering words in our reading, such as ἣμερα (hemera), from which we get the word ephemeral, and μίασμα, from which we get the word miasma. Students will begin by learning the Greek alphabet and the sounds of the letters—an education in itself! Students will then progress by acquiring vocabulary and knowledge of Greek grammar that will allow them to translate simple sentences in a matter of weeks. By the end of the course, students should be able to read the first letter of John.
Although students will focus on the language of Ancient Greece, including vocabulary development, translation and grammar, they will learn interesting facts about Ancient Greece along the way, including its history, culture and philosophy. Students do not need to purchase any books. The class is open to all those students 9th–12th grade, preferably those who have had exposure to English grammar. All material will be provided to the student by the teacher. In March, students will take the Level 1 National Greek Exam.
Greek I will be taught on Thursday afternoons. The class is free to students taking a literature course on Friday.
Online Greek III
In addition to regular instructional sessions on etymology in which students study English words derived from Greek, this course will focus on reading excerpted texts from Classical Greek writers, including Aesop, Plato, Xenophon, and others. We will cover all the grammar and vocabulary material for the National Greek exam suggested by the American Classical League. (Click hyperlinks for details.) In March students will take the National Greek Exam, Level III. The class is open to all those students who have already taken Greek II. Students do not need to purchase any books. All material will be provided to the student by the teacher.
Greek III will be taught on Wednesday afternoons. The class is free to students taking a Friday literature course.
The History of the Greeks and Romans for All Ages (Online)
One reason I am zealous for students to study Greek and Roman literature, mythology and history—is that so many of the greatest works of English literature on some level depend on the reader's exposure to the names of, let us say, Cato, Brutus, Aeneas, Pericles, and Leonidas. Although students receive a smattering of Greek and Roman history in almost all of the language arts and English courses taught in our homeschool program, this course will be a systematic and more detailed study of Greek and Roman history. It will answer such questions as: Who built the Parthenon? What was the Peloponnesian War about and who "won" it? Who was Antiochus Epiphanes and where does he appear in the Bible? What are the laws of Solon? Do we have any record of Jesus outside the Bible? Who was Alcibiades and what is the name of his famous teacher? Who was Tarquinius the Proud and in what Shakespearean play is he mentioned? The course is open to grades 6 through 12. Although the textbooks chosen have been written with younger students in mind, the level of detail will keep any high school student challenged, and will introduce important Greek and Roman accounts in a way that is easy to comprehend and remember.
The History of the Greeks and Romans will be taught on Thursdays afternoons. The class is free to students taking a literature course.