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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Russian History: Reading List Pre-K to Adult

Between the Sochi Olympics and Professor Carol's upcoming Imperial Russian History course (starts Feb. 10, 2014), there has been an excitement growing around here for all things Russian.

Imperial Russia is a place and time we rarely visit in our history studies. While all one has to do is open their eyes for five minutes to find great living literature on European or American history, it takes a bit of elbow grease to find it for non-Western cultures.

If you're also interested in Russian history, we would like to share the following book list with you. The list is quite extensive -- we encourage you to pick up one or two (or three!) the next time you're at the library.

Consider creating a unit study for the entire family. Children can choose books at their reading level, Mom can share picture books with wee ones, teens can take the online class, Dad can pick out a video to watch with the family (we've included a few movie and music titles at the end of the list below), and so on. This way, everyone is learning history together. It is easier (and more fun!) to learn the same era/culture as a family. It makes for interesting dinner conversation and debates in the car as you drive to and from the homeschool co-op.

Please know that we did not come up with this Russian reading list on our own. Friends, the editors at Love2Learn.net, the moms at The History Place, and Professor Carol herself all shared their favorite books with us so we could create this homeschool tool for you. We hope that you enjoy it and that it will prove beneficial to you and your children. 

Living Literature List: Russian History and Culture
(click on title for review/ordering information at Amazon)

High School to Adult 
Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia by Suzanne Massie -- Land of the Firebird is an utter delight.  It is a sensible but visually attractive, affordable, readable, serious book. Around 1980, Suzanne's Firebird and her then-husband Robert Massie's Peter the Great were number 1 and 2 on the NY Times Best-Seller list. 
Pavlovsk: The Life of A Russian Palace by Suzanne Massie -- A close study of the Russian palace from Catherine the Great (18th Century) to the Revolution.

Biographies by Robert Massie:
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman -- “[A] tale of power, perseverance, and passion ... a great story in the hands of a master storyteller.” ~ WSJ
Peter the Great: His Life and World -- "Massie's Peter the Great is my favorite Russian history title--actually it is one of the best books I have ever read." ~ Draper
Nicholas and Alexandra --Pulitzer Prize winner Massie tells the powerful story of the Romanovs' lives.
The Romanovs: The Final Chapter -- In 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed from a shallow mass grave near Ekaterinburg, Siberia. Where they the Romanovs?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy -- "Don't be scared of the length. I absolutely loved it and blew through it because it was so engrossing." ~ Tony
Peter the Great: the Reformer-Tsar by Douglas Liversidge (out of print)

Novels by Fyodor Dostoevsky:
Crime and Punishment -- "... penetrating novel of an intellectual whose moral compass goes haywire, and the detective who hunts him down for his terrible crime, is a stunning psychological portrait, a thriller and a profound meditation on guilt and retribution." ~ Amazon review
The Brothers Karamazov -- “Heartily recommended to any reader who wishes to come as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as it is possible.” ~ Joseph Frank, Princeton University
The Idiot -- "After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence." ~ Amazon review
Pushkin: Death of a Poet by Walter N. Vickery (out of print)
Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne -- Adventure novel that takes place in 19th Century Russia. Not the sci-fi that we've come to expect from Verne.
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz -- "It's astounding on so many levels. First of all, they walked thousands of miles to get out of Siberia and, finally, to British India, and they weren't exactly in the best of health when they started ... There are such beautiful, Christian themes/examples, while also such cruelty and the desperation which can drive men to behave more like beasts towards one another." ~Maria
My Russian Yesterdays by Catherine De Hueck Doherty -- "No Catholic will want to miss this adventure in true Christian living." ~ Catholic Home Journal
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn -- Novel of political oppression in the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn --  The author's hauntingly portrait of his own  interrogation, imprisonment, and release during Stalin's purges is a hard story to read, but it is a story like none other.
With God in Russia by Walter Ciszek with Daniel Flaherty -- autobiography of an American Jesuit who spent twenty-three years in the Soviet Union, including fifteen in prison as a "spy of the Vatican." Father Ciszek's cause for sainthood is being investigated.

Middle School (or read aloud to grade school children)
Commodore Hornblower by C. S. Forrester -- Part of the Horatio Hornblower series that takes place in Russia.
Catherine the Great (A World Landmark Book, No. 29) by Katherine Scherman -- An in-depth look into Catherine the Great and 18th Century Russia.
Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan -- Prequel to The Impossible Journey. Gives a peek into the Romanov household and the Russian Revolution.
The Impossible Journey by Gloria Whelan -- Whelan's books are enjoyable in print or audio. It is a moving story of two children searching for their parents who were sent to Siberia by Joseph Stalin.
Burying the Sun (St. Petersburg) by Gloria Whelan -- It is 1941 Leningrad and the city is being bombed and blockaded by the Germans. Though they are surrounded by death and destruction, beauty is still found.
The Endless Step: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig -- A family is arrested (1941) and sent to Siberia for being capitalists and "enemies of the state".

Grade School
Favorite Russian Fairytales told by Arthur Ransome -- Inexpensive collections of six classic Russian tales.
Peter Tchaikovsky (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia -- This is a favorite series. While the illustrations are cartoonish, children do find them, and the text, engaging.
Peter the Great by Diane Stanley -- Great illustrations on every page. The scholarship isn't perfect, but then it is a grade school book.

Preschool 
The Magic Gold Fish: A Russian Folktale by Demi -- Based on Pushkin's retelling of this classic tale of virtue rewarded and greediness punished.
Luba and the Wren by Patricia Pollaco -- Like The Magic Gold Fish, this is a version of The Fisherman and His Wife, promoting simplicity while demonstrating the evil of greed.
The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: A Russian Tale told by Arthur Ransome and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz -- "When the Czar proclaims that he will marry his daughter to the man who brings him a flying ship, the Fool of the World sets out to try his luck and meets some unusual companions on the way."
Tales from Atop a Russian Stove by Janet Higonnet-Schnopper (out of print)
Rechenka's Egg by Patrica Polacco -- Old Babushka takes in an injured goose, Rechenka, who shows her that miracles really do happen. Beautiful illustrations of Ukrainian painted eggs throughout.
The Wolfhound by Kristine Franklin and illustrated by Kris Waldherr -- Beautifully illustrated story of a boy and a hound in Tsarist Russia.
The Miracle of St. Nicholas written by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Judith Brown -- Sixty years after the Communists have shut down their church, the towns people witness a Christmas miracle. Make sure to have a box of Kleenex nearby as you read this to your children.

Videos
With God in Russia: The True Story of Father Walter Ciszek -- Based on Father Ciszek's autobiography (listed above). Details his time in the prison camps and how he helped bring about a resurgence of Catholicism in Russia.
Martin the Cobbler -- A heartwarming claymation film for children. Based on Tolstoy's short story Where Love is, God is.  
Michael the Visitor -- Another heartwarming claymation film for children. This one is based on Tolstoy's What Men Live By.
Fiddler on the Roof --  Adaptation of the Broadway musical set in the Ukranian ghetto village of Anatevka in 1905.
Russian, Land of the Tsars -- Documentary from A&E. Warning: Contains adult material so preview first.
Andrei Rubliev (Criterion Collection) -- Andrei Tarkovski's 1966 film about the 15th Century Russian icon painter.

Music
Tchaikovsky Discovers America (Classical Kids Series) -- This series introduces children to the great composers. This is the story of Tchikovsky's 1891 visit to the United States.
Peter and the Wolf --"This piece has always particularly delighted children … and me, too."~ Maria
The Nutcracker -- A classic Russian ballet. See this live if possible. It can usually be found locally around Christmas time.
Night on Bald Mountain by Rimsky-Korsakov -- There's a cartoon segment in Disney's Fantasia movie (1940) put to this music.


If you have a favorite title that we have missed, please let us know about it in the comments.

The small print: If you purchase a book linked to Amazon, we receive a small commission.

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