English Course Offerings

Literary Genres with Honors Option -- Tutor: Katrina Ryder M&W–9th-12th grade. $600  Our text is IEW Windows to the World  by Lesha Meyers.  This high school level survey course covers a broad scope of American, British, and world literature, including poetry, novels, short stories, and plays in relatively equal portions.  This year our long works have included To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, Cry the Beloved Country, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Honors students also read Just Mercy, Lord of the Flies, and Of Mice and Men. We have covered many short stories and poems from around the world. The course does involve writing literary analysis essays, but its primary emphasis is reading comprehension and discussion. Students must utilize the Google Classroom platform and Google apps for online submission and discussion.


Essay Writing & Grammar --Tutor: Katrina Ryder M & W-- 7th-9th. $600  These paired classed are designed to be taken concurrently; however, Mrs. Ryder may approve exemptions for those interested in enrolling only ONCE per week as described below. All students must utilize the Google Classroom platform and Google apps for this class. There IS a required placement pretest to ensure students have proficiency with 4th-6th grade grammar. 


  • Essay Writing 7th-9th grade. We will begin with paragraph writing and move toward writing a series of 5 different 5 paragraph essays. Some of our essays will be paired with various readings and novels.  Designed to be paired with the Grammar class, Essay Writing is held at the same time on the opposite day.  With that said, students who pass a 7th-8th grade Grammar proficiency post-test may take Essay Writing ONLY for $495. Text TBD.


  • Grammar. 7th-9th grade. We will focus on learning how to use phrases and clauses in various sentence combining strategies. Our curriculum will include the Get Smart Grammar program from Grammar Revolution.com and methodology from The Writing Revolution. There IS a required placement pretest to ensure students have proficiency with 4th-6th grade grammar. This class is designed to be paired with the Essay Writing class; however, with approval from Mrs. Ryder, it MAY be taken alone for $495.

Writing for Muggles -- Tutor: Katrina Ryder ONCE per week. $495 7th-9th grade. Our text is Grammar for Middle School by Killgallon, and our major writing assignments will be creatively derived from reading the entire Harry Potter series.  We will write letters from Hogwarts, Daily Prophet articles, fan fiction creating a sibling for Harry, and other pieces designed to energize writing from those who love the Harry Potter series. Students need to have already read or be concurrently reading ALL 7 books in the series. There IS a required placement pretest to ensure students have proficiency with 4th-6th grade grammar. Students must utilize the Google Classroom platform and Google apps for online submission and discussion.


Honors Grammar and Composition – Tutor: Mr. Jack Gale 

Grammar and Composition is a two-semester course that begins with a review of traditional grammar, including parts of speech, noun usage, and basic sentence patterns, and moves on to verb conjugations, phrases, and clauses before the year ends. The grammar portion of the class emphasizes usage problems, such as major grammatical errors, common usage problems like agreement, punctuation, and sentence construction. Concurrent with the grammar portion of the class is a course in writing. The first semester focuses on various types of paragraphs (argumentation, persuasion, comparison, analysis, etc.) of a formal, three-part nature since this type of writing is the emphasis of most standardized tests, the SAT, and colleges. During the second semester students move on to full-length essays and conclude the year with a research paper on a general topic. Students are encouraged to use outside sources during the entire year and must practice the correct use of notes and bibliography. While this is not a reading class, per se, students will read a number of short literary works and one or two short novels to provide material for literary analysis.  This course prepares students for college composition. 

Text: will be provided

Course Credit: 1 credit of English

Available: All grades but recommended before college writing

Annual Tuition: $600/ 80 contact hours

Science Fiction Literature – Mr. Jack Gale, Tutor

As a literary genre, Science Fiction, or SciFi, has enjoyed something of a checkered history.  In earlier times, followers, who called themselves “fans” (of course II was one of them!), were viewed rather skeptically.  People who did not read SciFi saw fans as rather strange, different, offbeat, even perhaps a bit “cultish.”  My own father once told me that I was “living in a dreamworld.”  I vehemently disagreed.


Ironically enough, current society has come full about and embraced SciFi.  The genre is now mainstream.  A substantial portion of the television programming, movies, video games, and popular fiction currently produced for both young people and adults can only be described as SciFi, at least in part, with a full measure of science-fantasy, or full-blown fantasy, thrown in.  So perhaps my dad was at least partly right in his assessment.  When I was seventeen, I knew that one day I would be a SciFi writer.  Needless to say, I could not have drifted much further from this ambition!


Science Fiction has perhaps a longer lineage than most folks might be aware of.  If we can group SciFi together with “speculative fiction,” as many readers, writers, and critics have done, we can trace the genre all the way back to ancient Greece and such works as Lucian of Samosata’s A True History (200CE).  Closer to us but still distant are such tales as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), often considered the first real work of Science Fiction; Ambrose Bierce’s “Moxon’s Master” (1893); or the play by Czech writer Carel Capek, “R.U.R.” (1920), which introduced the word “robot” into our vocabulary.  Science Fiction really began to blossom in the 1920s and has grown in popularity ever since.


For a class in Science Fiction, I would like to take a brief look at some of those earlier works of speculative fiction and move quickly up to the present time.  Much has changed in the genre.  Most early SciFi appeared in the pulp magazines of the 1920s, so called because of the low quality printing standards and equally poor quality paper under which they were published.  Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, If, and the later and more polished Analog continued regular publication into the 60s and 70s and beyond, graduating eventually into thousands of paperbacks and even more respectable hardbacks.  Writing improved and many of the writers who began with the pulps and paperbacks became the Grand Masters of SciFi; Isaac Asimov, Frederick Pohl, and Robert Anson Heinlein are examples.  Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey remains a classic to this day; his short story inspired the film of the same name, a film that changed SciFi television programming and film forever, forcing them to be far more “real” and believable.


So, this Science Fiction class will be something of an experiment.  SciFi now permeates virtually all aspects of our lives–film, fiction, art, even music!  During this year I would like students to read as much as time permits, of course–mostly novels and short stories–but I would also like to look at some of the other media as well, film, television, you name it.  I admit to being steeped in the SciFi written prior to 2000; to me, much of the current SciFi seems somewhat negative, dystopian, especially in teen-focused material.  (Where is the open and bracing optimism of the various Star Trek series?)  Sometimes it seems that science has caught up with or even surpassed science fiction.  It will be good to take a another look.


So, I guess our Science Fiction class will be a refresher course for the teacher and an adventure for the students.  Welcome aboard!...Jack Gale


Course Credit: 1 credit of English

Annual Tuition: $495/ 40 Contact hours 


American Literature with Honors Option – Mr. Jack Gale, Tutor 

Prerequisite:  Grammar and Composition through Shanan OR if the student has had a thorough writing course previously with approval by the tutor.

Available:  Juniors and Seniors

This class is a two-semester survey of American literature, mostly excerpts and shorter selections, from the beginnings of our country to the present. Since history usually provides a context for the literature, students also have an opportunity to review the history of our nation and the most significant literary periods. Though the emphasis is on shorter works in order to get as broad an overview as possible, students will also read all or many of the following standard works: The Scarlet Letter, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Walden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a twentieth-century selection, such as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby. Selections will vary by class or interest. American Literature also provides students with an opportunity to hone their writing skills through a wide range of writing assignments in which they may argue an issue of interest, discuss a matter of concern, or analyze material they have read. As time and the interests/needs of students permit, they will have opportunities to write a number of timed, in-class practice essays of the type and format suggested by the SAT. The second semester will conclude with a formal research paper.

Text: will be provided

Course Credit: 1 credit of English

Available:  Juniors and Seniors

Annual Tuition: $600/ 80 Contact hours