Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

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AP Class Reviews

AP English Language taught by Melissa Dean

by Students and Parents

AP English Language and Composition posted by Vivian Sandifer on May 20 2019 at 12:56:39

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

I did feel that the course prepared me for the AP exam. Ms. Dean had us write essays nearly every week in preparation for the AP exam, and this practice helped me feel extremely comfortable when I got to the essay portion of the exam. I knew exactly how to approach the questions. The MC choice practice in class was also extremely effective. On the day of the exam, I felt prepared and comfortable, and I didn't struggle with any of the questions or essays. 

How many hours of work per week did you generally put into the course?

I generally put in between 5-8 hours. On lighter weeks, 5 hours was plenty of time, but there were some weeks, such as those in which major essays were assignmed, that required more time. 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

My favorite assignments from this year were the class books and the AFSA essay contest. Reading a book as an entire class and then having the opportunity to discuss the book in class was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed learning what other students thought of the book as well as being able to share my own interpretation. Though I was apprehensive about it at first, the AFSA essay also turned into one of my favorite assignments. Writing my AFSA essay was a challenging experience, but I felt very accomplished once I completed it. The essay taught me how to manage my time as well as how to research and write a major essay. 

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

AP Lang did enhance my interest in writing. I enjoyed writing before taking AP Lang, but I didn't care to write much besides fiction. AP Lang has deepened my interesting in academic writing tremendously. I'm planning on taking AP Literature next school year, and I am also planning to pursue at least a minor in English/Creative Writing in college. I had never planned on majoring or minoring in English, but after my wonderful experience in AP Lang, I feel I would really enjoy exploring English more. 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

The communication with other students was one of my favorite parts about AP Lang. I interacted with my classmates on a daily basis, and hearing their perspectives really helped broaden my own understanding of certain subjects. The book clubs in class also provided meaningful interactions with my classmates. For one of the book clubs I participated in, my group Skyped once per week. This interaction was fascinating, and it helped me better understand both the book itself and how different people interepret events differently. 

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to others?

A student who is interested in bettering her writing abilities, enjoys reading, and is willing to work hard would do well in AP Lang. This class contains a lot of reading and writing assignments, and one must be willing to put in the work. That being said, AP Lang is tremendously rewarding if one is willing to work hard. Ms. Dean is a phenomenal teacher, and I have bettered myself so much under her guidance. I have deeply enjoyed my experience in AP Lang, and I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to put in the work. 


Great Class, Helped Me To Become A Better Writer, Felt Completely Prepared For The Exam posted by Ben C. on May 16 2019 at 14:47:59

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

This course prepared me well for the exam. I just had the exam yesterday and it went smoothly. I haven't gotten the score back yet but I think it was comfortably in the 5 range.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I spent around 10 to 12 hours per week on this class. The busiest weeks were during the American Foreign Service Association essay project. During those weeks I probably put in around 15-20 hours. This amount of time wasn't necessary but I really wanted to do well on the essay.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

My favorite assignments were the great books we read during the year. My favorite book of the year was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The assigned books helped to broaden my worldview and teach me effective writing styles for non-fiction.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

This course greatly increased my interest in writing. I had viewed myself as a science and math person before this course. After the course I have a much greater interest  and appreciation for writing. Even though I plan on majoring in computer science in college, this class has convinced me to take some extra writing classes. For those of you reading this who are like me, great communication skills will separate you from your peers who are only talented in math and science.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

The communication between students was important for the course. I was always learning from my peers because the class this year had some extremely strong writers. Through looking at their work and getting feedback from my peers, my writing has drastically improved. This class was conducted on Canvas, which is a great platform for communication. It makes it super easy to have conversations. Additionally, I got together with other classmates earlier in the year to have a book discussion over skype. This was super valuable because the conversation was so much more fluid. If you take this class, I would definitely suggest trying to setup a skype group for book discussions.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students?

A diligent and hardworking student will do well in this course. There are daily assignments and some week long assingments, so you have to keep on top of those by staying organized. The class, however, provides a great amount of flexibility.

I would recommend this course to students who are up for a challenge and want to improve their writing. This course is perfect for people who are interested in STEM subjects because it teaches you how to make a persuasive argument and communicate well. These skills are extremely important in STEM subjects.

 


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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