Most colleges/universities require 4 credits (years) in English with a heavy emphasis on reading and writing.
I offer a variety of course options in several areas of English to meet your child's needs and interests.
Unless otherwise indicated, all courses are open to students grades 7-12. If in doubt, please ask Dr. Byers.
Writing and Composition
- Introduction to Writing (2 semesters, 1 credit): This course is for students who will benefit from gentle guidance and interesting writing assignments in order to build their writing skills and confidence for high school and beyond. Open to grades 7-12 based on the students skills and needs. Dr. Byers is happy to informally assess a sample of your child's writing in order to help determine which writing course will be best for your child.
- Writing Composition 1 and 2 (2 semesters, 1 credit) includes writing a variety of essay types and writing a 7-10-page research paper (Research Paper #1). This course is recommended for Grades 9-12 for students who have a grasp of writing, but who want or need to further polish their skills.
- Advanced Writing: Moving Past Your Opinion: Research Paper # 2 (2 semesters, 1 credit) includes writing two, 20-page research papers with citations/references, one in APA formatting and one in MLA formatting to prepare the student for college! This course is for students in Grades 11 and 12 only or students in other grades with advanced writing skills, parents' request, and Dr. Byers' permission.
- ACT and/or SAT Essay Writing (1 semester, 1/2 credit): Prepare for the writing portion of these key exams that are often part of the entrance requirements to colleges and universities. Recommended for students in Grades 11 and 12 only.
- What Do You Want to Write About? (1 semester, 1/2 credit or 2 semesters, 1 credit) This is a custom-made writing course in which your child can determine the topics about which to write. In the course, the student completes a variety of written assignments, which challenges and develops the student's writing skills. For example, some students like to study the history of warfare, which they can do by choosing any war/battle events they like that they identify ahead of time. Some students like to write about interesting people or places or specific subjects; some like to mix it up and create an eclectic subject list about which to write. This course is for students of any grade who have strong writing skills.
Great Books & Literature
- Great Books Fiction (1 semester, 1/2 credit): In this course, parents and the student choose 5 books from the provided reading list of classic and conventional fictional novels for the student to read during the semester. Or, parents/students can select 1-5 of their own books and then determine with Dr. Byers if those books will work for the course. The student may take any number of Great Books courses, which will be numbered differently for transcripts.
- American Literature and/or British Literature: Sometimes parents/students want or need the literature courses to specifically indicate American Literature and/or English/British Literature on the student's transcript. Dr. Byers offers these courses. American Literature is 2 semesters long for 1 credit, as is British Literature. Students read 5 books per semester as with the Great Books courses. Parents/students can choose the appropriate novels written by American or British authors, as applicable. Parents provide the books for their child for the Great Books & Literature courses.
- Literature in the Movies (2 semesters, 1 credit): In this unique, fun, and challenging writing course, students read novels that have also been developed into a film, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, which gives students the opportunity to see the people, places, and plots they pictured as they read the book come to life in the movie so they can compare and contrast the two. Similarly, the student gets to study how closely the film followed the book (or not) and can compare the two to see which is better--the book or the movie! In addition, students will watch movies that may or may not have been written as a book first, but the movie is so well done (writing, acting, directing) to be a work of literature and thus worthy of viewing. Parents and students can select some books and movies while Dr. Byers selects the others. In some cases, parents/students can mix and match books/movies from the same genre or even the same series of books/movies, if desired. Dr. Byers has final approval of all choices to ensure the quality of the course. Parents provide the books and films for their child unless Dr. Byers can find them available online for free.
- Introduction to Poetry--FREE TUITION (1 semester, 1/2 credit): Utilizing a variety of well-known and other high-quality poems, students learn how to read and understand poetry. Students also learn about different types of poetry, how each is constructed, and the applicable terminology. Students get an opportunity to write each type of poem. Students receive gentle and helpful feedback and guidance from the instructor on everything from the students' interpretation of the poems studied to the students attempts at writing various types of poems. The course is appropriate for both boys and girls in grades 7-12.
- Advanced Poetry: Taking Reading and Writing Poetry to the Next Level (1 semester, 1/2 credit): This course picks up where the introductory course left off leading students to opportunities to read, enjoy, and analyze a variety of well-known and not-so-well-known poems. Students have the opportunities to write more poems of their own in a variety of types and styles. Students receive gentle and helpful feedback and guidance from the instructor on everything from the students' interpretation of the poems studied to the students attempts at writing various types of poems. PREREQUISITE: Introduction to Poetry
- Biblical Poetry: Analyzing Poetry in the Bible and Writing Poetry Inspired by the Bible (1 semester, 1/2 credit): The Bible is filled with poetry and poetic prose, which students learn to locate and analyze for understanding. Students have the opportunity to write their own Christian-based poetry. PREREQUISITE: Introduction to Poetry
- Introduction to Creative Writing 1: Short Stories (Each 1 semester, 1/2 credit): In this course, students read short stories written by professional authors and then learn how to write their own short stories utilizing instructor-led prompts and the student's own plot and character ideas. Students learn the terminology for various elements of writing and creative writing specifically. Students learn to accept and put to work the instructor's feedback and guidance, as applicable. PREREQUISITE: Introduction to Poetry is highly recommended, but not required as long as students have strong writing skills and at least a desire to be creative via writing.
- Introduction to Creative Writing 2: Longer Short Stories (Each 1 semester, 1/2 credit): In this course, students read longer, short stories written by professional authors and then learn how to write their own short stories with longer lengths than in the previous course. Student utilize instructor-led prompts and the student's own plot and character ideas. Students learn the terminology for various elements of writing and creative writing specifically. Students learn to accept and put to work the instructor's feedback and guidance, as applicable. PREREQUISITE: Create Writing 1: Short Stories is required.
- Photo Writing: Advanced Creative Writing (Poetry, Short Stories, Longer Short Stories) (2 semesters, 1 credit): The focus of this course is on writing and utilizing the student's own photos that complement their written work as they complete a variety of creative writing projects. Student will receive applicable feedback and guidance about their photos, but the purpose of the course is not to teach the student photography and thus the student's photos are not graded. Students need a basic digital 35 mm camera. No Photoshop is used, but students may want/need a basic photo editing tool on their computer. PREREQUISITES: Introduction to Poetry and Introduction to Creative Writing 1.
(These courses are recommended for Grades 9-12 only.)
Critical thinking skills are in high-demand in colleges, universities, the work world, and the rest of one's life; therefore, critical thinking is considered to be vital for students to learn and practice regularly. In these courses, students learn what critical thinking is and how to apply it to reading and writing about a subject.
In the advanced courses, students also learn how to conduct research using critical thinking skills. Students also learn to think and write objectively despite their personal thoughts and opinions about the subject(s). In each course, including the advanced courses, the instructor never imposes his beliefs or opinions on the student, but students often find it challenging to objectively examine a subject in great depth and breadth, over a longer period of time than normally, and to support their conjectures objectively using multiple, authoritative sources rather than following the opinions of family, friends, and the all-too-trusted Internet!
- Introduction to Critical Thinking: Spotting the Fallacies that Surround You
- Critical Thinking 1: Understanding Famous Speeches & Writing of the Founding Fathers
- Advanced Critical Thinking 1: Ethics, Laws, Morals: Are There Any Absolutes or Only Shades of Grey?
- Advanced Critical Thinking: Analyzing for Truth and Validity (2 Semesters, 1 credit)
**First Semester: The Conspiracy Theories about the 9/11 Attacks
**Second Semester: The Conspiracy Theories about the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
- Fictional Movie Analysis (Each 1 semester, 1/2 credit each) Students watch 5 movies per semester and analyze them similarly as in the literature courses, but also with some unique twists applicable to analyzing literary elements in movies, as well as aspects specific to film. The student may take any number of Movie Analysis courses, which will be numbered differently for transcripts. Dr. Byers provides a list of suggested films to choose from or parents/student can provide their own as long as they meet the requirements of Dr. Byers. Movies can be mixed and matched or all be from the same genre or even the same series of movies, if desired. Parents provide the movies for their child.
- The History of Movies 1 & 2 (2 semesters, 1 credit) In this course, students acquire in-depth knowledge of the film industry from its history, to terminology, to all the jobs people do that go into making movies. Students will watch a variety of movies throughout the course to help examine key parts of the film industry history, as well as to see how movies are put together. Some movies will be available online for free, but parents provide other movies for the student.