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Friday, January 10, 2014

Online Writing Courses: Catholic Homeschooling



Homeschool Connections writing program Aquinas Advantage is a great way to give your children the writing skills necessary to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.

While the semester has already begun, there are still a few live, interactive courses opened for registration. Scroll down to see all of the writing courses currently available for the Spring 2014 semester. (Note: We also offer recorded, independent-learning courses through Unlimited Access.)

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

Simplified Writing for Middle School Students; Your All-Encompassing Foundational Middle School Writing Course
Class dates: Mondays, February 17 to April 7, 2014
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Elements of Writing for Middle School Students: Essential Punctuation and Grammar is required (Jan. 2014 or Unlimited Access).
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade
Fee: $190 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Lisa Mladinich
Course description: This course is designed as a first writing course, to introduce students in middle school to the skills and habits that create a strong and clear writing foundation for high school writing from a Christian worldview. Students will learn how to write effective sentences and paragraphs, including the use of topic sentences, linear writing, and transitions; the purposes of writing, including expression, informing, and persuading; the effect of audience on writing; how to sculpt a piece of writing with direction, including the characteristics of an effective introduction, body, and conclusion; and practice writing with specific feedback from the instructor that leads to an increase in skill through rewriting.
Course outline:
Class 1: Writing for a purpose and audience: the “why” of writing
Class 2: Great word choice: how to choose the “right” word
Class 3: Strong sentences: how to write a great sentence
Class 4: Clear paragraphs: what makes a great paragraph/linear writing that makes sense to the reader
Class 5: Writing with direction: great introductions and the hook
Class 6: Writing with direction: great introductions and the thesis
Class 7: Writing with direction: the body (of your paper) and how to make it “shapely”
Class 8: Writing with direction: the conclusion
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. Simplified Writing for Middle School Students by E. B. Conroy ($9.99). This book is not yet available from the publisher. Until that time, the chapters will be made available to students free by the instructor as PDF files.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated three to four hours per week for homework, outside of class time.

Middle School Writing II: Essays and Papers
Note: No more than 12 students accepted.
Class dates: Thursdays, February 20 to April 10, 2014.
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Simplified Writing for Middle School is required (Fall 2013 or Unlimited Access).
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade
Fee: $190 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Lisa Mladinich
Course description: This is a writing course for middle school students who have taken the Simplified Writing for Middle School Students course and want to put the foundational writing skills into critical practice, with specific feedback and coaching regarding how your student's writing can improve. Students will craft an essay and a short paper during the course. Attention will be given to writing with a Christian worldview.
Course outline:
Class 1: Writing structure and skill: practicing the introduction, hook, and thesis
Class 2: Writing structure and skill: practicing outlines and the conclusion/concluding statements
Class 3: Writing an essay: rough drafts
Class 4: Writing a paper: five types of papers & practicing the introduction, hook, and thesis
Class 5: Writing a paper: practicing outlines and concluding statements; revising an essay
Class 6: Writing a paper: rough drafts; editing an essay
Class 7: Revising a paper
Class 8: Editing and formatting final papers
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. eBook: Simplified Writing for Middle School by E. B. Conroy ($9.99). This book is not yet available from the publisher. Until that time, the chapters will be made available to students free by the instructor as PDF files.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated three to four hours per week for homework outside of class time (depending on the student's individual processing, creating, and writing speed).

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

Simplified Writing for High School Students; Your All-Encompassing Foundational High School Writing Course
Class dates: Mondays, February 17 to April 7, 2014
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 2:30 PM Eastern (1:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Elements of Writing for High School Students: Essential Punctuation and Grammar is required (Jan. 2013 or Unlimited Access). 
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Writing.
Fee: $190 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Lisa Mladinich
Course description: This course is designed to give the teen skills that make writing strong and clear, lacking nothing—able to articulate ideas well in writing for all high-school level work. Students will learn how to perfect strong sentences and paragraphs; learn nine basic forms of rhetoric; focus on linear academic writing for a purpose; practice transitions and connectives, parallelism, paraphrasing, and summary; review punctuation as it influences excellence in writing (comma, semicolon, colon, and dash use); recognizing and correcting common grammar struggles; understand the characteristics of an effective introduction, body, and conclusion; learn prewriting, drafting, and editing skills; and practice sculpting a piece of writing with direction that receives specific feedback from the instructor.
Course outline:
Class 1: Audience, purpose, and word choice
Class 2: Perfecting strong sentence and paragraph construction
Class 3: Nine forms of rhetoric (and what they have to do with great writing)
Class 4: Linear writing for a purpose: more strong sentences and paragraphs
Class 5: How to effectively use transitions/connectives and parallelism
Class 6: Punctuation and excellent writing: the comma, colon, semicolon, and dash; conquering common grammar struggles
Class 7: The introduction, body, and conclusion; prewriting for success
Class 8: Drafting for success; editing and polishing your writing
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. Simplified Writing for High School Students by E. B. Conroy. Available from www.amazon.com (download the Kindle app for free to easily read on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, or mobile device).
Homework: Students will have weekly writing assignments and direct feedback from instructor, with an estimated five hours per week for homework (outside of class time) that includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

HS Essential Writing: Vocabulary and Writing, Part One
Class dates: Fridays, January 17 to May 2, 2014. No class Feb. 28 and April 18.
Total classes: 14
Starting time: 10:30 am Eastern Time (9:30 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester writing
Fee: $200 for all 14 classes.
Instructor: Sharon Hamric-Weis, JD
Course description: In this course (the first of two successive courses), your student will learn to use all of the upper-level vocabulary words related to writing that are needed for high school advanced writing, Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition courses, the ACT and SAT, advanced writing courses, and all of college writing—and an introduction of the concepts associated with the terms.. Over 350 words will be learned and practiced this semester. Course work will be simple yet critical for your student’s future success. Because vocabulary is the #1 indicator of success on college entrance testing, if you want your student to not only score well on testing but also be able to be prepared for college writing and vocabulary, this course is for you.
Course outline:
Class 1: Writing for a Purpose and Audience
Class 2: Worldview, Critical Thinking, & Passive/Active Voice
Class 3: Writing Effective Sentences; Diction & Syntax
Class 4: Writing Effective Paragraphs: Structure, Linear Writing, Active writing, Transitions and Connectives
Class 5: Punctuation and its Effect on Writing
Class 6: Grammar, Usage, & Mechanics for Clarity
Class 7: Types of Writing
Class 8: Point of View, Tone, & Voice
Class 9: Style
Class 10: Techniques & Devices of Organization for Coherence
Class 11: More Techniques & Devices of Organization
Class 12: Composing Methods
Class 13: Characteristics of an Effective Argument
Class 14: Research Methods
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. eBook: Simplified Vocabulary Guide by E. B. Conroy ($9.99). This book is not yet available from the publisher. Until it is, the instructor will provide the chapters for free as PDF files.
Homework: Studying for tests on the vocabulary identification and use.

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

HS Essentials: Vocabulary and Writing, Part Two
NOTE: If you did not take Part One first, you can still take Part Two; The two courses can be taken independently and in any order (Part One first, Part Two second OR Part Two first, Part One second)
Class dates: Thursdays, January 16 to May 2, 2014
Total classes: 14
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester Writing
Fee: $230 for all 14 classes.
Instructor: E B Conroy, MA
Course description: In this course (the second of two successive courses), your student will learn to use all of the upper-level vocabulary words related to writing that are needed for high school advanced writing, Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition courses, the ACT and SAT, advanced writing courses, and all of college writing—and an introduction of the concepts associated with the terms. Over 350 words will be learned and practiced this semester. Course work will be simple yet critical for your student’s future success. Because vocabulary is the #1 indicator of success on college entrance testing, if you want your student to not only score well on testing but also be able to be prepared for college writing and vocabulary, this course is for you.
Course outline:
Class 1: Persuasion; Sources, Citations, & Plagiarism
Class 2: Research
Class 3: Critical Reading; Literary Forms & Genres I
Class 4: Literary Forms & Genres II
Class 5: Themes in Writing
Class 6: Rhetoric & Literary Techniques
Class 7: Rhetoric, Figures of Speech, & Devices I
Class 8: Rhetoric, Figures of Speech, & Devices II
Class 9: Narration; Dissecting Passages of Text I
Class 10: Description; Dissecting Passages of Text II
Class 11: Illustration, Exemplification, & Highly Effective Essays
Class 12: Comparison & Contrast in Writing
Class 13: Process Analysis & Context
Class 14: Division & Classification; Writing Cogent, Organized Essays I
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. Book: EB Conroy’s Simplified Vocabulary Guide. Available from www.amazon.com (download the Kindle app for free to easily read on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, or mobile device).
Homework: Studying for tests on the vocabulary identification and use.

Advanced High School Writing; Rhetoric,Figures of Speech, Essays, and Papers
Foundational for All High School Students and Essential for College-Bound Students!
Note: Due to the advanced nature of the feedback, only 16 students are admitted to the course.
Class dates: Mondays, January 13 to March 17, 2014.
Total classes: 10
Starting time: 11:30 pm Eastern (12:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Simplified Writing for High School Students is required (Fall 2013 or Unlimited Access). Exceptions only with written permission from the instructor. Email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com if you need a placement test.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Fee: $230 for all 10 classes.
Instructor: Sharon Hamric-Weis, JD
Course description: This course content is known as a prerequisite for many colleges for college-bound students. Designed to give the teen skills that make writing strong and clear, your student will learn methods of rhetoric and how to use the skills in all of the main conventions of writing used in college—including in-depth use of nine basic forms of rhetoric (rhetorical modes); be able to identify and use major rhetorical strategies and figures of speech; and pre-write, draft, and edit a comparison and contrast paper, including use of the hook, thesis, introduction construction, conclusions, and rewriting with specific, individual feedback from the instructor. Vocabulary related to upper-level writing will be introduced and integrated into the learning. Specific class time will be used to show how to edit and revise upper-level work.
Course outline:
Class 1: The academic paper; advanced academic writing with strong thesis construction, hooks, and introductions
Class 2: Rhetorical Mode 1: Narration; rhetorical strategies and figures of speech (tropes, aposiopesis, apostrophe, chiasmus, epithet)
Class 3: Rhetorical Mode 2: Comparison and Contrast; creating a thesis and hook for your paper
Class 4: Rhetorical Mode 3: Illustration and Exemplification; rhetorical strategies and figures of speech (litotes, zeugma, euphemism, idiom)
Class 5: Rhetorical Mode 4: Description; drafting your paper’s outline
Class 6: Rhetorical Mode 5: Process Analysis; rhetorical strategies and figures of speech (hyperbole, metonymy, metaphor, mixed metaphor, extended metaphor); prewriting for papers
Class 7: Rhetorical Mode 6: Definition; rhetorical strategies and figures of speech (bathos, caricature, deus ex machine, epiphany)
your paper’s rough draft
Class 8: Rhetorical Mode 7: Cause and Effect; advanced methods of draft revision 1
Class 9: Rhetorical Mode 8: Division and Classification; advanced methods of draft revision 2; formatting advanced academic works (brief style guide introduction)
Class 10: Rhetorical mode 9: Argumentation; integrating rhetorical strategies into upper-level writing
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. eBook: Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Success by EB Conroy ($9.99). Available from www.amazon.com (download the Kindle app for free to easily read on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, or mobile device). Also eBook: Simplified Writing 102: EB Conroy's Top 10 Tips for Using the Rhetorical Modes in Academic Writing.This eBook is not yet available from the publisher. Chapters will be provided free from the instructor as PDF files until the book is published.
Homework: Students will have weekly writing assignments and direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated four to five hours per week for homework (outside of class time) that includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

Advanced Research Writing: Preparing for College
Note: Due to the advanced nature of the feedback, only 16 students are admitted to the course.
Class dates: Wednesdays, February 19 to May 7, 2014. No class March 5 and April 16.
Total classes: 10
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Simplified Writing for High School is required (Fall 2013 or Unlimited Access). Exceptions only with written permission from the instructor. Email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com if you need a placement test.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ¾ semester Writing
Fee: $230 for all 10 classes.
Instructor: Sharon Hamric-Weis, JD
Course description: This course will cover advanced research and writing methods for argumentative research writing, how to craft an advanced research paper, and understanding style guides (APA, CMS/Turabian, MLA, AP). A bibliography and research paper will be written during the course.
Course outline:
Class 1: What is research writing? Terms and methods.
Class 2: Advanced research methods: Using libraries and the Internet.
Class 3: Style guides and citations.
Class 4: Creating a bibliography.
Class 5: Creating your outline and thesis: advanced methods.
Class 6: Prewriting: styles and completeness.
Class 7: Outline with rough cut proofs.
Class 8: The rough draft.
Class 9: Revising and editing.
Class 10: Final drafts.
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. eBooks: 1) Simplified Research Writing by EB Conroy; and 2) Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Success by EB Conroy. Available from www.amazon.com (download the Kindle app for free to easily read on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPod, or mobile device).
Homework: Students will have weekly writing assignments and direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated four to five hours per week for homework (outside of class time) that includes researching, reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

Creative Writing: Authoring a Book: How it Works, What it Takes, and How to Succeed (Write Your Own Book; Fiction Writing Series)
Series description: There are a total six parts to the Write Your Own Fiction Book Series. Students can jump into this continuing series at any time. Once you have completed all 6 mini-courses, you can have a completed book!
Class dates: Thursdays, Jan. 16 to Feb. 6, 2014
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 10:30 pm Eastern (9:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/3 semester Creative Writing
Fee: $90 for all 4 classes.
Instructor: E. B. Conroy, MA
Course description: This course teaches what it takes to be an author, from personal practices to the publishing world. The course will also discuss what it’s like to be a Catholic author today.
Course outline:
Class 1: Personal practices of successful writers
Class 2: The manuscript and query
Class 3: The platform, marketing, and the Internet
Class 4: Agents, publishers, and self publishing
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. All materials are provided FREE via the instructor.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with direct feedback from Professor Brown Conroy, with an estimated three to four hours per week for homework outside of class time that includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

Creative Writing: Plot and Structure (Write Your Own Book; Fiction Writing Series)
Series description: There are a total six parts to the Write Your Own Fiction Book Series. Students can jump into this continuing series at any time. Once you have completed all 6 mini-courses, you can have a completed book!
Class dates: Thursdays, Feb. 13 to Mar. 6, 2014
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 10:30 AM Eastern (9:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th
Fee: $90 for all 4 classes.
Suggested credit: 1/3 semester Creative Writing (three courses in the Write Your Fiction Book Series equals one full semester credit)
Instructor: E. B. Conroy
Course description: This course teaches key components of writing a gripping plot for fiction books of any genre. Designed for writing fiction for middle grade, young adult, and adult plots, the course covers great openings (the opening line, hook, drop into action, and inciting incident); development (doors of no return, peaks, and the rising plot line); creating tension and intrigue; and the climax and finish.
Course outline:
Class 1: Great openings—the opening line, hook, drop into action, and inciting incident
Class 2: Developing your plot—doors of no return, peaks, and the rising plot line
Class 3: Creating tension and intrigue—tricks, tips, and “the plant”
Class 4: Great endings—creating a strong climax and finish
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. All materials are provided FREE via the instructor.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with direct feedback from Professor Brown Conroy, with an estimated five hours per week for homework, outside of class time that includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

Creative Writing: Description and Setting (Write Your Own Book; Fiction Writing Series)
Series description: There are a total six parts to the Write Your Own Fiction Book Series. We will continue the series in the fall and into next spring and start all over again. Students can jump into the series at any time. Once you have completed all 6 mini-courses, you can have a completed book!
Class dates: Thursdays, March 13 to Apr. 17, 2014.
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 10:30 AM Eastern (9:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1/3 semester Creative Writing (three courses in the Write Your Fiction Book series equals one semester credit)
Fee:  $90 for all 4 classes.
Instructor: E. B. Conroy, MA
Course description: This course teaches key components of using excellent description and crafting a strong and memorable setting for your fiction book. The course covers when a good writer uses description and setting (timing and amount of use); types of description (sensory, metaphor and simile, figures of speech, and literary techniques); principles and techniques of memorable settings; and how to integrate description and setting into plot, structure, and character development.
Course outline:
Class 1: Description and Setting: Timing and the Basics of their Use
Class 2: Types of Description—The senses, metaphor and simile, figures of speech, and literary techniques
Class 3: Principles and techniques of memorable settings (including examples to learn by)
Class 4: How to integrate description and setting into plot, structure, and character development
Course materials: All materials are provided FREE via the instructor.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with direct feedback from Professor Brown Conroy, with an estimated five hours per week for homework (outside of class time) that includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

Advanced Fiction Writing: The Hero’s Journey and Mythic Structure for Writers, Part Two
Note: Though this is Part Two, students are welcomed to join us midyear as the two courses can be taken in any order.
Class dates: January 16 to March 7, 2014
Total classes: 8
Starting time: Noon Eastern (11:00 AM Central)
Duration: 50 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 6th through 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 2/3 Creative Writing
Fee:  $160 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: E B Conroy, MA
Course description: This is an advanced fiction writing course that delves into the use of archetypes in what is called "the hero's journey," the mythic structure that many claim all stories follow. This course will cover the different kinds of typological actions and plot lines that appear in stories, to apply that knowledge to the crafting of your own fiction book. The course can be taken in conjunction with any of the other fiction writing courses offered with Homeschool Connections. Whether you plan on going into fiction writing (books, screenwriting, poetry) or simply want to expand your ability to write in advanced styles, this course is for you. 
Course outline:
Class 1: Ordinary World
Class 2: The Call to Adventure
Class 3: The Refusal of the Call
Class 4: Meeting with the Mentor
Class 5: Crossing the First Threshold
Class 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies
Class 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave
Class 8: The Ordeal and the Reward
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. Book: The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers, 3rd Edition, by Christopher Vogler and Michele Montez (Nov 1, 2007, $17.99 paperback). NOTE: The same book is used in both of the Advanced Fiction (Parts One and Two) courses.
Homework: Approximately 1 ½ to three hours per week reading and completing coursework.

To register for any Homeschool Connections course, click here: Register Online

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