Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

Viewing the world through the comparative framework is something that has already brought me great benefit just in reading news articles and keeping up with current events. Mrs. Reed was an excellent teacher. She was very helpful and engaged in the class, and she is also very passionate about what she is teaching.  

Exploring Idea Generation and Visual Literacy through Sketchbooks

On-Line for Summer 2021

Teacher: Amber Kane


Exploring Idea Generation and Visual Literacy through sketchbooks

This course is for any high school student that wishes to get a better understanding of how to develop ideas and how to communicate them visually. This course is designed to work for a range of levels. You can take this course as more of an intro to art and stick to working to getting a basic understanding of how the elements and principles of art are used to communicate and explore some new ways to develop ideas in your sketchbook. OR, you can choose to take what you already know about creating images, and push it even further. It’s also a great course for students that love art, and want to further develop their skills and ability to communicate. 

Think of art as a new language to learn and explore. Colors, shapes, and lines, all carry meaning.

The basic definition of visual literacy is the ability to read, write and create visual images. Visual literacy is about language, communication, and interaction. Visual media is a linguistic tool with which we communicate, exchange ideas, and navigate our complex world.

This course is for six weeks. Each week students will learn a new concept or practice and explore/apply it in their sketchbook. Course content will be delivered via pre-recorded videos that students can access at any time and written content. 

Each week there will be an intro video lesson ( around 30 mins)

A sketchbook warm-up lesson ( 10 mins)

An activity to explore in your sketchbook ( anywhere from 2-3 hours) There is a big range here as so much depends on the student's style, how much time they want to push and explore, and the pace that they work at. 

Live call, also recorded ( 30 mins)

Some weeks will also include optional bonus material for students to explore if they want to learn more, as well as a support for students who feel like they need a bit more instruction to fully understand what they're working on. 

Materials: Sketchbooks can be digital, paper, or a combination depending on the student's choice of materials as well as access. Students can make their sketchbook as simple, ie, scrap paper and scrap cardboard and a pencil, or as complex, using many different types of paper and mediums (paint, watercolor, marker, pen, collage, mixed media), as they wish. 

Start Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2020

End Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2020

Course Outcomes



There will be a live session each week on Tuesday, at 5 pm EST. These sessions will also be recorded and shared so that you will still have access to the content if you can’t attend live. Students can also submit questions beforehand, and images of sketchbook pages that they want feedback on during the call, even if they can’t attend live. 

Cost of Course: $75 if you select to take the course for no grade, $150 if you select to take the course for a grade. If you take the course for no grade, you will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. If you take the course for a grade you will receive a transcript with your grade at the end of the course. This course is worth ½ credit. 

Instructor Qualifications: Amber Kane has a strong love for both art and teaching, and is always excited to share her love of these subjects with students. For as long as she can remember she wanted to be a teacher and spent most of my free time creating. Amber Kane has been teaching high school art for 13 years, 6 years teaching AP courses online. 

Kane has a B.S. in Art Education from Messiah College and Masters in Creativity Studies from Union Institute and University. Kane is always reading and creating, eager to learn more and share her knowledge with others.  Amber has also held a variety of roles working in higher education such as, running a continuing education department, teaching graduate courses, helping to create graduate-level course content, and is currently a compliance officer for an online university. 

There is no application required for this course, you just need to register and pay tuition. You’ll receive an email from me, Amber Kane, a week before the course starts providing you with additional information about how to access course content. 

Tech Needs: Internet access, computer, ability to photograph and upload your work





Do I have to live in Pennsylvania to take your courses? No, even though I teach through PA homeschoolers, it doesn’t matter where you live. As long as you have access to the internet.

If I live outside of the USA can I still take the course? You bet, while there is a live call each week, all course content is delivered via video and written instruction, that you can access at any time. All live class calls are recorded and shared for you to listen to when it fits your schedule.

Do I have to be homeschooled in order to take a class with you? No, you don’t. Many students are choosing to take online courses over the summer because their plans were canceled due to COVID-19. This is a great way to learn, stay in engaged, connect with others, and have fun over the summer.

Does it really work to take art classes online? Yes, it does. I’ve taught art both in-person and online, and while there are pros and cons to both, in the age of video, taking art courses online is a wonderful opportunity. I’m able to show you everything that I could if you were sitting in a classroom in front of me.

Is the content different if I take the class for a grade? The content stays the same. If you take the class for a grade, you’ll receive more feedback on your work plus a grade. If you take the course for enrichment, you can still ask questions and ask for feedback during class calls, but you won’t receive a grade, or feedback outside of the class calls. 

Will you help with writing recommendation letters? I’m more than willing to write recommendation letters. I do ask that you give me at least 3 weeks advanced notice to complete the letter.

What supplies are required? This course is designed to work with what you have, and what you like. I use the term sketchbook loosely. You might use a traditional sketchbook or make your own. You might simply use a piece of paper, or even the backs of junk mail. You can also do your work digitally if that is your preferred style.

How much time do I need to spend each week? Some of it depends on how much time you choose to spend. Overall, you can expect approx a 30 min lesson, 10-minute sketchbook warm-up activity, and then one sketchbook exercise that should take 2-3 depending on your style and how much time you choose to spend. The weekly live calls will be 30-40 mins.  The course is designed to be flexible so you can spend a lot of time one or two days a week, or a little bit of time every day.

Are there due dates? If you are taking the course for a grade there will be weekly due dates. If you are taking the course for enrichment, you don’t need to turn anything in. You may choose to share your work in the class community space if you want others to see it.

Do I have to be good at drawing to succeed in this class? No. In fact, you don’t have to draw at all in this class, unless you choose to. You collage, explore paper cutting, trace, sew, and so many other things.

Click on images below to read class showcase entries about this class.

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Susan Richman, PA Homeschoolers AP Online Coordinator
105 Richman LN
Kittanning PA 16201-5737
(Click here to read a statistical report about the success of these classes on AP exams)

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