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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet Kevin O'Brien: Catholic Online Classes

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and subject, then click on Search.)

Years ago, a dear friend introduced me to Stanford Nutting videos on YouTube. I don't think we ever laughed so hard. I never thought the day would come when I would announce to the world that Kevin O'Brien, creative genius behind Stanford, is Homeschool Connections' newest teacher.

I'm very excited about Mr. O'Brien's upcoming courses. First, he'll be teaching Speech and Communications for High School. This semester-long course will be offered twice -- once in Fall 2015 and again in Spring 2016. Second, Mr. O'Brien will be teaching a year-long middle school literature course: Drama and the Human Spirit for 2015/2016.

Maureen Wittmann

Please meet your distinguished instructor:


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Now for the course details:
Fall 2015
Drama and the Human Spirit for Middle School, Part One
This is a 2-part course. Students are expected to register for Part Two in the spring.
Class dates: Wednesdays, September 16 to December 9, 2015. No class Wed. Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving Break.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 Central; 9:00 Mountain; 8:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 8th grade.
Fee: $170 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Kevin O'Brien
Course description: From its beginning in ancient Greece and from its inception in England in the context of the liturgy, drama has always been about man's relation to God (or "the gods"). This survey course will examine some of the great works of drama and comedy, focusing on how dramatic art grapples with the question of the meaning of life and the revelation of God in the human heart.
Course outline: 
Class 1: Introduction and Overview
Class 2: Ancient Greece I - selections from Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
Class 3: Ancient Rome - selections from Plautus & Terence and the Story of St. Genesius, Patron of Actors
Class 4: Medieval Drama - Mystery and Miracle Plays (various short examples will be read and discussed)
Class 5: Medieval Drama II - Pageant Plays and selections from Everyman
Class 6: Renaissance Drama - selections from Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Class 7: Renaissance Drama - Macbeth by William Shakespeare - I
Class 8: Renaissance Drama - Macbeth by William Shakespeare - II
Class 9: Renaissance Drama - selections from Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare
Class 10: Restoration and Continental Theater - The Forced Marriage by Moliere
Class 11: Restoration and Continental Theater - Commedia del Arte and other forms
Class 12: Conclusion and Review
Course materials: Will be provided free by the instructor in the form of PDF's and eBooks; scenes from filmed versions of the plays will be shown during class time.

Homework: Each play should be read before that week's discussion of it. Frequent short quizzes, consisting of multiple choice and essay questions Expect no more than 3 to 4 hours homework per week.

Speech and Communications
Due to the popularity of this course, it will be repeated again in the spring semester. If it fills, register for the spring.
Class dates: Wednesdays, September 9 to December 9, 2015. No class Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving break.
Total classes: 13
Starting time: Noon Eastern (11:00 Central; 10:00 Mountain; 9:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full credit Speech / Communications
Fee: $190 for all 13 classes.
Instructor: Kevin O'Brien
Course description: Effective communications and good public speaking begins with an understanding of rhetoric - how a good argument is developed, how a good speech is structured, and how spoken communication differs from written communication. In this course, we will examine the greatest speeches of the greatest orators in history, analyzing what they wrote and (when audio or video of their speeches exist) their style of delivery. And while Speech and Communications is essential to success in the business world, it is also essential for understanding and presenting arguments in support of the Catholic Faith, or even for persuading others of anything that's important to you. The goal of this course, then, is twofold - to learn to appreciate and analyze good verbal rhetoric, and to apply what we've learned to come up with our own short speeches that are engaging, entertaining and effective.
Course outline: 
1. Introduction and Overview
2. The Great Orators of Greece and Rome
3. Public Speeches as Recounted in Scripture - The Prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New Testament
4. The Rhetorical Structure and Dramatic Effect of Speeches in Shakespeare (selections from Julius Caesar, Henry V, and Macbeth)
5. Religious Persuasion through the Ages - The Sermon on the Mount, Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans, Bishop Fulton Sheen
6. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
7. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
8. Great Political Speeches of the 18th and 19th Centuries - Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Wilbeforce, Lincoln
9. Great Political Speeches of the 20th Century Part I - Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Churchill, Eisenhower
10. Great Political Speeches of the 20th Century Part II - JFK, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan
11. The Use of Humor and Oratory for American Pop Culture - Mark Twain, Will Rogers, etc.
12. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
13. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
Course materials: Will be provided by the instructor in the form of PDF’s and eBooks; videos and audio recordings of speeches will be reviewed during class time.

Homework: Weekly reading. Each student will be required to write two short speeches (no longer than five minutes each), with outlines to be approved by the instructor at least two weeks before the speech is to be presented.

Spring 2016
Drama and the Human Spirit for Middle School, Part Two
This is Part Two of a 2-part course. However, students are welcomed to join us midyear.
Class dates: Wednesdays, January 13 to April 13, 2016. No class February 10 midterm break or March 23 for Easter Break.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 Central; 9:00 Mountain; 8:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 8th grade.
Fee: $150 if you register on or before November 15, 2015. $170 after Nov. 15 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Kevin O'Brien
Course description: From its beginning in ancient Greece and from its inception in England in the context of the liturgy, drama has always been about man's relation to God (or "the gods"). This survey course will examine some of the great works of drama and comedy, focusing on how dramatic art grapples with the question of the meaning of life and the revelation of God in the human heart.
Course outline: 
1. An Overview of Theater from Ancient to Modern Times
2. Elements of the Modern Theater - selections from various playwrights
3. Light Opera - HMS Pinafore and the works of Gilbert & Sullivan
4. Theater in America - Vaudeville & Melodramas (various short examples will be read and discussed)
5. Theater in America - Tent Shows & Broadway
6. Modern Continental Theater - A Doll's House by Henrik Ibesen
7. Modern English Theater - Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
8. American Musical Theater - My Fair Lady by Lerner & Lowe
9. Modern Catholic Drama - The Surprise by G. K. Chesterton
10. Theater of the Absurd and Experimental Theater - Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco
11. Stage vs. Film - How TV and Cinema have changed the dramatic arts
12. Conclusion and Review
Course materials: Will be provided free by the instructor in the form of PDF's and eBooks; scenes from filmed versions of the plays will be shown during class time.
Homework: Each play should be read before that week's discussion of it. Frequent short quizzes, consisting of multiple choice and essay questions. This should take no more than 3 to 4 hours per week.



Speech and Communications
Note: This is a repeat of the fall course. It is not a “Part Two”.
Class dates: Wednesdays, January 6 to April 13, 2016. No class February 10 for midterm break or March 23 for Easter break.
Total classes: 13
Starting time: Noon Eastern (11:00 Central; 10:00 Mountain; 9:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full credit Speech / Communications
Fee: $170 if you register on or before November 15, 2015. $190 after Nov. 15 for all 13 classes.
Instructor: Kevin O'Brien
Course description: Effective communications and good public speaking begins with an understanding of rhetoric - how a good argument is developed, how a good speech is structured, and how spoken communication differs from written communication. In this course, we will examine the greatest speeches of the greatest orators in history, analyzing what they wrote and (when audio or video of their speeches exist) their style of delivery. And while Speech and Communications is essential to success in the business world, it is also essential for understanding and presenting arguments in support of the Catholic Faith, or even for persuading others of anything that's important to you. The goal of this course, then, is twofold - to learn to appreciate and analyze good verbal rhetoric, and to apply what we've learned to come up with our own short speeches that are engaging, entertaining and effective.
Course outline: 
1. Introduction and Overview
2. The Great Orators of Greece and Rome
3. Public Speeches as Recounted in Scripture - The Prophets of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New Testament
4. The Rhetorical Structure and Dramatic Effect of Speeches in Shakespeare (selections from Julius Caesar, Henry V, and Macbeth)
5. Religious Persuasion through the Ages - The Sermon on the Mount, Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans, Bishop Fulton Sheen
6. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
7. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
8. Great Political Speeches of the 18th and 19th Centuries - Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Wilbeforce, Lincoln
9. Great Political Speeches of the 20th Century Part I - Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Churchill, Eisenhower
10. Great Political Speeches of the 20th Century Part II - JFK, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan
11. The Use of Humor and Oratory for American Pop Culture - Mark Twain, Will Rogers, etc.
12. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
13. Speeches by Students - Delivered and Critiqued during Class
Course materials: Will be provided by the instructor in the form of pdf's and ebooks; videos and audio recordings of speeches will be reviewed during class time.
Homework: Weekly reading. Each student will be required to write two short speeches (no longer than five minutes each), with outlines to be approved by the instructor at least two weeks before the speech is to be presented. 

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Science, then click on Search.)

Instructor Biography:
Although an atheist at an early age, Kevin’s experiences with the dramatic arts began a conversion process, that, with the help of the writings of G. K. Chesterton, eventually brought him into the Catholic Church.  

Kevin hosts the television series The Theater of the Word on EWTN and can also be seen on episodes of EWTN’s The Apostle of Common SenseThe Quest for Shakespeare, and The Journey Home.  He also portrays J. R. R. Tolkien on several Tolkien specials hosted by Joseph Pearce.

Most recently Kevin has appeared in two movies, Manalive, based on the novel by G. K. Chesterton, and To Follow the Light: the Conversion of John Henry Newman

In addition, Kevin has performed and produced 35 audio books, and is the only person in history to play every part in a Shakespeare play (twice!), which he did for his audio readings of The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth for Ignatius Press.  Also, Kevin and author Joseph Pearce are the co-founders of the website The Christian Shakespeare, which publishes essays demonstrating the Catholic worldview of the world's greatest dramatist ( www.christianshakespeare.com).

Kevin is also a writer and regular contributor to The St. Austin Review and Gilbert Magazine.  ACS Press will be publishing his autobiography in 2016.  

For more information, visit www.thewordinc.org 

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