Monday, November 18, 2013

Price Change for Essay Grading Service


As of January 1, 2014, the prices for grading essays will go up to $10.00 per double-spaced 12-point font page or partial page. Lately, I've been spending up to four hours to earn $10-15, and it just isn't worth my time and experience to invest so much yet make less than minimum wage. I want to continue this service for the families who have found my grading and commentary helpful for their students. But in order to do so, I need to raise my prices. 

I'm happy to grade essays and love helping homeschooling families with this essay grading service, but considering that I often spend an hour (or more!) grading each page, I need to make spending the time and effort away from my family worthwhile. 

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. 

Thanks for understanding! 

Writing with you,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013-2014 Homeschooling Plans

For the first time in ten years, I only have two students at home this year for school. Jonathan is starting his junior year of high school while Benjamin is beginning eighth grade. And here are our courses and text materials for this year:

Jonathan, Grade 11:

Bible: Morning Prayer and daily Old Testament and New Testament readings from the Book of Common Prayer 2011. Theology: One Hundred Most Important Events in Christian History; God Hides in Plain Sight by Dean Nelson.

American Literature: ABeka American Literature text; English from the Roots Up, Volumes I & II (Greek and Latin root words); various Brave Writer courses

US History: ABeka United States History text

Algebra II: Saxon Algebra II (with tutoring by Johanna Vignol)

Chemistry: Apologia Chemistry, Second Edition; Lab Classes at Heritage Christian School (East County II Class Day)

Driver’s Education at Heritage Christian School (Lake Jennings Class Day)

Guitar III: Worship Guitar class at ECII Class Day and weekly lessons with Father Keith Acker of Alpine’s Free Teen Guitar Class; Weekly worship team practice with Pine Valley Community Church

Benjamin, Grade 8:

Bible: Morning Prayer and daily Old Testament and New Testament readings from the Book of Common Prayer 2011. Theology: One Hundred Most Important Events in Christian History, God Hides in Plain Sight by Dean Nelson.

Language Arts: Spelling Power; Daily Grams Grade Eight; English from the Roots Up, Volumes I & II (Greek and Latin root words); 20 minutes Bible reading; 20 minutes Harry Potter books; Brave Writer’s Partnership Writing program, Daily Copywork; American Literature Read-Alouds

Pre-Algebra: Saxon Algebra ½ (second half) with Johanna Vignol

US History: The Story of US (second half starting with the Civil War in Volume 6 of 10 vols)

Science: Apologia General Science ; Lab Classes at ECII Class Day

PE: Volleyball and Basketball at Heritage Christian School (ECII Class Day)

Typing: Writing Skills: Keyboarding Skills

Elective: Boys Adventure Class II (ECII Class Day)

And I will be teaching a combined 3rd period course of Expository Essay I and II to high school juniors and seniors at Heritage Christian School's ECII Class Day, in addition to my three fall online courses in Literary Analysis: American PoetryThe MLA Research Essay, and Literary Analysis: The Great Gatsby at Brave Writer, plus new students are joining longtime students for my Online Essay Grading Service.

So we are hoping for an educational, enjoyable, productive school year ahead for us!!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer and Fall Brave Writer Classes

As I finish up the final week of my last spring class and enter my thirteenth year of teaching at Brave Writer, I take a moment from commenting upon prolific Much Ado About Nothing discussions from my annual Shakespeare Literary Analysis course for high schoolers to jot down my upcoming Brave Writer teaching schedule for this summer and fall.

This summer I will be again teaching a class on writing Fan Fiction stories. Beginning on July 8 and lasting for four weeks, this course will take students ages 12 and up through the analysis of what makes a successful fan fiction story, composing a flash fan fiction story/chapter, then writing at least two more fan fiction stories/chapters of increasing length. Last years' students wrote stories for various fandoms including The Avengers, The Hunger Games, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, several anime stories, and Twilight. I come to teaching fan fiction with nearly 3 million reads/hits on my two completed Twilight fan fiction novels and one novel in progress, plus three shorter stories. We have lots of fun in the class, and it's the perfect course for summertime, especially for reluctant writers who need a place to begin writing. Because fan fiction utilizes established characters, it's much easier for students to write stories about characters they already know, understand, and love.

American Poets--portraits by Jay Smith

In the fall, I'll be starting out with a new Brave Writer course: Literary Analysis: American Poetry Studies. This course, designed for high school students (and advanced 8th graders) will explore the poems and poets of the United States, beginning with colonial poet Anne Bradstreet and concluding with former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins whom I met at the 2013 Writer's Symposium by the Sea in February. We'll learn how to formally analyze poems, explore how the poets' lives influence their work, and then dive into a series of ten poets/poetry movements, finishing the class with a formal Poetry Explication Essay in which students will trace the structure, artistry, and meaning of a poem from the first line to the last. This four-week course begins on September 3, 2013, and Brave Writer High School Transcript forms will be e-mailed with final course grades along with the return of the students' graded Poetry Explications Essays.

Just a few weeks later, I'll start teaching the six-week MLA Research Essay course on September 16. During this course, students will learn how to select an appropriate topic, how to properly format source materials, how to take careful notes from sources, how to organize their gathered information, then work on how to write an MLA outline, compose a first draft of their research essay using parenthetical citations, and format a Works Cited (bibliography). Once I and other students in the class offer feedback on the first drafts, students will revise their essay and submit a final draft.  Final course grades will be included on Brave Writer High School Transcript forms which will be e-mailed with the return of the students' graded MLA Research Essay.

Later in the fall, I'll be tackling another literature class, this time Literary Analysis: The Great Gatsby. This four-week class beginning on November 4 will explore the background, artistry, meaning, and themes of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous novel. Students will explore Fitzgerald's background as well as the society of the "Roaring Twenties," analyze the various characters in the novel, focusing especially on  Nick Carraway, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, and, of course, Jay Gatsby himself. We'll also discuss the various symbols and themes in the novel. My hope is that the new film version of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire will be available on DVD for us to watch and analyze as well. In addition, students will compose a Final Writing Project from four choices, including a movie review and some open and closed essay forms. This class will finish on December 4, adding three days to "make up" for the previous week's Thanksgiving Break.

So these classes are the ones I"ll be teaching this summer and fall at Brave Writer. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or e-mail Julie, the owner of Brave Writer.

Happy Writing, everyone!!