Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

My favorite assignment in AP Psychology would definitely be the research project. We had to design our own scientific study to investigate some aspect of psychology and create, carry out, gather data, and write a scientific report about it.

AP Class Reviews

AP English Language taught by Melissa Barnes

by Students and Parents

Rigorous Course - Highly Recommend! posted by Juliana Castillo on May 25 2018 at 18:33:07

Mrs. Barnes' AP Lang class made me confident in my writing, analytical, and persuasive skills when I walked into the AP exam - more importantly, it greatly improved my writing, a skill I can now apply to all other future classes and pursuits. This class was very rigorous, with daily assignments five days a week and sometimes one over the weekend. I don't remember exactly how many hours I spent per week, but I wrote at least 1-2 single-spaced pages every day, and sometimes up to 7 pages if we had a longer assignment. We also read and annotated eight books over the course of the year, most of which we had to annotate and complete within 2 or 3 weeks. I found the short-range (mostly every day, sometimes weekly) deadlines stimulated me to keep on track and work consistently every day; the intensity and bite-sized organization helped me manage my workload and thrive in the course. Discussion between students was at the heart of this course - nearly all of our daily assignments involved posting in whole-class or group forums. This provided nearly daily opportunities for discussion (even though the courseload was too heavy for me to take advantage of all of these) – book club discussions and discussion questions were incorporated into the assignments to facilitate interchange of ideas. There was no live communication in the course itself – however, students organize their own book clubs on selected books twice over the course of the year, and groups can opt for text chats or audio/video calls for their meetings to discuss the chosen book. The course reading is excellent – Mrs. Barnes selects well-crafted, thought-provoking reads and organizes discussions around them. One of these books (Henry Kissinger’s World Order) actually stimulated my interest in the balance of power and its influence in politics, helping me in AP Euro and influencing my decision to take AP Gov.

 

I took this course as a freshman and was able to complete the course with an A/A+ (97.5%) grade. I would not set a specific age recommendation – rather, incoming students should have a strong knowledge and command of English. If you are a fluent writer, have excellent command of grammar and mechanics, and – most importantly – are willing to work hard to become a better thinker and communicator, this class will push you to expand your skills and knowledge. If you complete all assignments with good effort, you will be prepared to do your best on the AP exam in May. Ideally, you should also be an avid reader, as the class reads eight non-fiction and fiction books and multiple essays/shorter works.

 

About halfway through the year, Mrs. Barnes had our class write essays for the American Foreign Service Association National High School Essay Contest – I found this experience encapsulated my experience in the course. The essay topic was international relations (specifically peacebuilding), an area in which I have barely any experience. However, with the motivational structure provided by Mrs. Barnes’ “Daily Messages”, I was able to research conflicts in Iraq and Bosnia, write a 7,000-word draft, and refine this draft into a clear, compelling 1,250-word essay. AP Lang 2017-18 did the same thing to my work this year: it stretched my abilities with meaningful assignments that never felt like busywork and left me a far better writer, thinker, and person. 


AP LANG posted by Morgan Drake on May 17 2018 at 15:48:42

I put 5-6 hours of work into this class per week, and I feel it paid off on the AP exam (although I haven’t gotten my scores yet, so it’s too early to tell!) Although this was not included in the exam, I would have appreciated if we had practiced compare-and-contrast synthesis and rhetorical analysis essays, as I came into the exam unsure of what I would do if that was one of the prompts. Otherwise, I felt very prepared. 

The class was composed of amazing people: I especially enjoyed the group assignments and discussion questions that allowed me to interact with the other students. I feel these were the most valuable, as it heightened not only my knowledge of history, rhetoric, etc., but of interrelating with other people who were working on the same thing, and “hearing” the different views they took on the same matter.

The students that would do well in this class are the ones who already enjoy English and have a basic knowledge of its working components. Diligence goes without saying. As a sophomore who went through it, I would only recommend this class to seniors and juniors, because of the workload. 

This class gave me an assortment of analytical and writing skills that I predict will come in handy, but I do not intend to pursue this subject in college, although I do mean to keep the skills I have gained, by doing analytical reading, sketching SOAPSTone and identifying rhetorical devices in both pleasure and assigned readings.

And in the end, whatever my score, I appreciated this class, and everything it taught me. 

 


AP LANG posted by Morgan Drake on May 17 2018 at 15:45:24

I put 5-6 hours of work into this class per week, and I feel it paid off on the AP exam (although I haven’t gotten my scores yet, so it’s too early to tell!) Although this was not included in the exam, I would have appreciated if we had practiced compare-and-contrast synthesis and rhetorical analysis essays, as I came into the exam unsure of what I would do if that was one of the prompts.

The class was composed of amazing people: I especially enjoyed the group assignments and discussion questions that allowed me to interact with the other students. I feel these were the most valuable, as it heightened not only my knowledge of history, rhetoric, etc., but of interrelating with other people who were working on the same thing, and “hearing” the different views they took on the same matter.

The students that would do well in this class are the ones who already enjoy English and have a basic knowledge of its working components. Diligence goes without saying.

This class gave me an assortment of analytical and writing skills that I predict will come in handy, but I do not intend to pursue this subject in college, although I do mean to keep the skills I have gained, by doing analytical reading, sketching SOAPSTone and identifying rhetorical devices in both pleasure and assigned readings.


posted by Morgan Drake-AP Lang Student on May 17 2018 at 15:34:29


AP Language and Composition class review - Evan Wright posted by Evan Wright on May 04 2018 at 14:20:02

The AP Language and Composition class offered by AP Homeschoolers will certainly prepare any student to get a 4 or a 5 on their AP test. However, this course is not for the lighthearted - you must be willing to put in the time required to succeed.

I felt incredibly prepared for the AP exam taking this course. In the first semester, we spent the majority of our time memorizing vocabulary and learning to write synthesis, argumentative, and rhetorical analysis essays. Second semester mostly reviews important concepts and refines your weakest skills. By the time second semester comes to a close, you will have written more than half a dozen of each of the major essay types found in the AP test and your confidence will have increased greatly.

Yet, this intellectual growth does not come without cost. I personally spent an average of 3 hours per day working on my assignments during the first semester - not including the time I spent on week-long assignments during the weekends. Second semester was somewhat better, as I was able to get my workload down to about 1.5-2 hours per day. Because you are writing every day, you will find yourself becoming a more efficient writer the longer you are in the course; so the amount of time I spent each day on my assignments decreased due to my efficiency and not due to a reduction in the quantity of work. But this course isn't necessarily a "grind". 

Whenever you have the opportunity to work on an assignment you like, the time will fly. My favorite assignment by far was the American Foreign Service Association essay contest that we participated in second semester. I had actually planned to participate in the contest outside of this AP class, but the guidance I had through my AP Lang teacher during the researching and writing process was incredibly valuable. In the end, I was able to write an essay that I was incredibly proud of. 

My family is full of writers, editors, and reports, so I have always had an interest in writing. I wouldn't necessarily say that my interest in writing has increased, but it certainly hasn't decreased - which I am sure would have happened if I had taken an English class of lower quality. Instead, this course expanded my interest in certain types of literature. For example, through this course, I found a surprisingly strong interest in feminist literature - particularly from the 18th century. 

Communication with other students through Canvas felt less than ideal. If I had a genuine interest in discussing a book or an assignment with classmates, it was almost always more convenient to meet via Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Google Chat. However, most assignments that required class discussion took place exclusively in the form of discussion board posts via Canvas. Conversations felt somewhat stilted as a result, because there was no immediacy to the conversation. I think communication could have been improved by the use of a weekly or bi-weekly class meeting through a platform like Zoom. But when I had the opportunity to discuss a book with my classmates via video chat, the discussions were very enjoyable.

Any student wanting to take this course should be prepared to handle the intense workload. For reference, last year, I took an intensive class from Stanford University and was able to maintain an "A" in the class. I had more difficulty maintaining an "A" for this AP course than I did with the Stanford course. This wasn't because of the difficulty of the assignments, but the quantity. Students taking this course should be prepared for the deluge of assignments and be good at managing deadlines.

Currently, I believe this course is open to high school students of any age. But only juniors and seniors should sign up for this course due to its difficulty and workload. I would certainly recommend this class to other students, but only if they were a junior or senior. It would be nearly impossible for a freshman or sophomore to not be overwhelmed by the quantity of work in this class.


Good Class posted by Peter Yim on May 02 2018 at 22:04:53

The purpose of AP English Language and Composition is to prepare students for the AP exam, and to help with their English Language skills. This class did all of those things very well. I have been given all the tools to succeed on the AP exam, and I have worked on my writing and reading skills. I really enjoyed the books we read this year and the deep ideas we discussed. This was an enjoyable class, and I will miss it!


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