Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

The best experiences I had in this class with regards to interaction with other students were the Dinner which students assume the characters of major historical figures and discuss and debate the issues of the day.

English Language Arts

On-Line for the 2018-2019 School Year

Teacher: Jody Best


NOTE: This is not an AP Class. It is designed as a lead-up to AP classes and will be designated as an honors class. 

Tuition:      $625 before July 1; $650 beginning July 1

 To apply:       Please complete the application below.

                     Please feel free to email me your questions at any time.

 Suggested Grade Levels: 

This course is open to 8th, 9th and 10th -grade students.  Some 11th-grade students may also find this class to be a good fit.  

Length of course: 

This course begins Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 and extends through May 10, 2019.

There is a half-week break at Thanksgiving, a two-week break in December, an Easter break, and a one-week spring break.   


Course Description:  

Hang on. It’s going to be an adventure. We’ll explore all the big, fat rules and all the delicate and demanding nuances that encompass the enchanted land of language arts.

 It’s gonna be fun. (“Outside of a book, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” –Groucho Marx)

 It’s gonna be challenging. (“We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by manipulation of facts, by exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.” –Arne Tiselius )

 It’s gonna be good. (“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” –Adrienne Rich. )

English Language Arts/Honors is a rigorous and engaging class that is designed to encourage creative and critical reading, writing and thinking. The class will prepare students for success in future AP classes as well as provide strategies and practice that are useful for college classes or tests such as the PSAT and SAT.  In addition to reading and writing assignments, students will be encouraged to develop skills such as time management, organization, note-taking, and legible handwriting. These basic proficiencies are crucial for AP and academic success. 

A small class size ensures that students stay engaged and receive meaningful feedback.  This class will require that students be receptive to respectful critique which will be offered in a positive way that reinforces the value of persistence and hard work.  I think one of the most important aspects of language is recognizing its do good or otherwise.  I will emphasize to students that their writing reflects on them. I will teach students to begin to recognize how language can be used, abused, manipulated...with results that can be funny, poignant, disturbing.  There will be much to discuss!   

Our study of language arts will encompass novels, plays, non-fiction texts, and poetry. Vocabulary and grammar will be integrated into the curriculum in order to develop the strong foundation needed to become a confident writer. Students will learn how to develop a thesis and support an argument with textual evidence. Lessons will incorporate real-world applications, and students may participate in contests such as the Scholastic Writing Awards.  I will provide opportunities for students to develop and submit work for publication or recognition--excellent for resumes and for personal satisfaction. 

Required Texts:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Othello by William Shakespeare

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Inferno by Dante Alighieri

MLA Handbook 8th Edition

 I will provide a selection of short stories, poems, and essays. These will include works by Margarita Engle, William Faulkner, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Sylvia Plath, Bob Dylan, Lewis Carroll, Billy Collins and others.



Students should be prepared to spend a minimum of an hour each day on reading and writing assignments. Assignments will include the following:



-independent book projects (one required each quarter)

-group work

-reading journals



-films (in conjunction with reading assignments)

-research project or paper

-tests and quizzes


Tech needs:

Students must have full web and printer access and must be able to view and create PDF files. The class is hosted on a password-protected site designed by Pa Homeschoolers. 

 Class Structure:

There is no specific day or time requirement to be on-site. The class is structured but flexible. With this flexibility comes a responsibility to complete all assignments and meet all deadlines. Every Sunday, students will receive an overview of concepts, assignments, and deadlines. Assignments will usually be due on Wednesdays or Fridays. Daily interaction is expected with me and with classmates on the class discussion board.  Parents also receive the weekly updates.  I am readily available to parents and students via telephone, email, or skype.  

 About the Instructor:

I am delighted to be joining the roster of PA Homeschooler teachers this year. I love teaching, and I am committed to challenging my students and caring for them as individuals. I know the importance of establishing standards and maintaining a sense of humor. I taught high school English in a rural public school prior to a 14-year homeschooling journey with my two daughters—both recent high school graduates who took many PA Homeschooler AP classes. A long time ago, I attended Penn State University, Florida Atlantic University, and Saint Vincent’s College. Now, I am the director of a non-profit community arts organization, an avid reader and writer, and an advocate and teacher of arts and literacy.

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