Writing Skills Classes, 2020 – 2021

Penny M. Smelcer, M.A.

1107 Fallen Oak Drive, Apex, NC  27502

(919)362-1658  *  psmelcer@nc.rr.com * psmelcer.wix.com/classes

 

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TUESDAY CLASSES

 

Class # 1: Garage Door Writers’ Club  (Writing Skills for Middle/High School Students)

Suggested Grade Levels:  Rising 7th  –  10th graders, depending on current skills level

Day/Time:  Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. 

Dates:  Fall Semester:  Sept. 1 – Dec. 8 (No classes Oct. 8* and Nov. 26*)

            Spring Semester:  Jan. 5 – Mar. 23 (No class Mar. 2*)    

Maximum Enrollment:  12 students   Minimum Enrollment:  5 students**  

Tuition:  $70/month (Sept. – Mar.) plus $35 non-refundable registration fee

Location:  1107 Fallen Oak Drive, Apex, NC

Primary Text:  WriteShop I ***– Newer editions feature a soft cover and loose-leaf pages that students must place into their own binders.  Older

     editions are packaged in a blue, three-ring binder.  A digital e-book (PDF) may be purchased online, but students will need hard copies of the

     entire text to use in class.  All formats contain basically the same content.  Available at Homeschool Gathering Place in Raleigh or

     www.writeshop.com.

In this class, students will review how to develop strong paragraphs and proceed to writing descriptive, informative, and narrative paragraphs.  Emphasis will be on style, content, organization, clarity, conciseness, and vocabulary.  Students will experience a wide variety of writing activities and will learn stylistic techniques that will help them add variety and interest to their writing.  Students will be taught the fundamental skills of how to refine and edit their own work.  Mechanics (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar) will be taught as needed throughout the course.  A grade will be assigned at the end of the course and can be counted as .50 high school English credit hours.  Reading lists and suggested grammar curriculums will be provided by the instructor to assist homeschooling parents in structuring a complete language arts program for the academic year.

 

Class # 2:  Barefoot Writers’ Club (Grammar & Writing Skills for Upper Elementary Students)

Suggested Grade Levels:  Rising 4th  – rising 6th graders, depending on current skills level.  Students must be independent

                                          readers and should be able to write complete sentences.  Some grammar knowledge and experience

                                          is helpful but not necessary to enroll in this class. 

Day/Time:  Tuesdays, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.

Dates:  Fall Semester:  Sept. 1 – Dec. 8 (No classes Oct. 13* and Nov. 24*)

            Spring Semester:  Jan. 5 – Mar. 23  (No class Mar. 3*

Maximum Enrollment:  9 students   Minimum Enrollment:  5 students**

Tuition:  $65/month (Sept. – Mar.) plus $35 non-refundable registration fee and $15 materials fee

Location:  1107 Fallen Oak Drive, Apex, NC

Text:  Grammar and writing notebook pages plus dividers will be provided by the instructor. (Paid for by materials fee.)               

Many students do not like English composition because they do not understand the structure of the language.  Just like a solid arithmetic foundation prepares children for more advanced mathematics, grammar competency provides students with a foundation of skills from which they can build advanced writing and speaking skills.  Using an engaging program of songs, chants, and games, upper elementary students will review how to classify sentences according to the jobs of the eight parts of speech and then proceed to more advanced grammar.  Students will also practice verb tenses, capitalization, and punctuation.  Additionally, students will learn how to write well-developed and organized expository, informative, and narrative paragraphs.  Students also complete a unit on poetry, which always turns out to be a class (and teacher) favorite.  This class has Form A and Form B curriculums, developed by the instructor, which allow students to take the class two years in a row without repeating the exact same writing assignments.  Students who were enrolled for 2019-20 completed the Form B curriculum.  Students who enroll for 2020-21 will use the Form A curriculum.

WEDNESDAY CLASSES

 

Class # 3:  Introduction to Literary Analysis (HONORS ENGLISH)

Suggested Grade Level:  High School

Day/Time:  Wednesdays, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Dates:  Fall Semester:  Sept. 2  – Dec. 9 (No classes Oct. 14* and  Nov. 25*)

            Spring Semester:  Jan. 6 – Mar. 24 (No class Mar. 3*)

Maximum Enrollment:  12 students   Minimum Enrollment:  5 students**

Tuition:  $70/month (Sept. – Mar.) plus $35 non-refundable registration fee

Location:  1107 Fallen Oak Drive, Apex, NC

Texts: Windows to the World:  An Introduction to Literary Analysis*** by Lesha Myers. (Available from Homeschool Gathering Place in Raleigh,

               www.excellenceinwriting.com, or from other online resources.)

           Animal Farm by George Orwell.  Paperback, library book, or e-reader will suffice for second-semester novel study.          

This class is a student favorite because of its high-interest content.  High school students will learn how to read, infer, analyze, and write about literature.  Course topics include 1)analytical techniques such as annotating and inferring, 2)literary elements such as plot, characters, theme, setting, and point-of-view, 3)literary devices including allusion, parallelism, euphemism, symbolism, anaphora, epistrophe, imagery, and irony, 4) analytical essays, creative writing, and reflective narrative essays.  A grade will be assigned at the end of the course and can be counted as .75 high school credit hours of Honors English.   Reading lists and suggested grammar curriculums will be provided by the instructor to assist homeschooling parents in structuring a complete language arts program for the academic year.

 

Class # 4: Fallen Oak Writers’ Club (Writing Skills for Middle/High School Students)   

Suggested Grade Level / Prerequisites:   Rising 8th – 12th graders.  Ideally, students should have some experience writing paragraphs

                                                                  and short essays. 

                                                                  Completion of WriteShop 1 is helpful but not necessary to enroll in this class. 

Day/Time:  Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.

Dates:  Fall Semester:  Sept. 2 – Dec. 9 (No class Oct. 14* and Nov. 25*)

            Spring Semester:  Jan. 6 – Mar. 24 (No class Mar. 3*)    

Maximum Enrollment:  12 students   Minimum Enrollment:  5 students**

Tuition:  $70/month (Sept. – Mar.) plus $35 non-refundable registration fee

Location:  1107 Fallen Oak Drive, Apex, NC

Primary Text:  WriteShop II*** – Newer editions feature a soft cover and loose-leaf pages that students must place into their own binders.  Older

     editions are packaged in a red, three-ring binder.  A digital e-book (PDF) may be purchased online, but students will need hard copies of the

     entire text to use in class.  All formats contain the same content.  Available at Homeschool Gathering Place in Raleigh or

     www.writeshop.com.

Optional Text for Second Semester:  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Eighth Edition.  Available as a paperback if desired.  Most

     of the information is also available online at MLA’s official website, The MLA Style Center.

Class will begin with review and practice of the skills presented in WriteShop I.  In addition to learning descriptive narration, narrative voice, and point of view, students will learn how to write and edit opinion essays, compare/contrast essays, and essays that describe or define.  Students will also learn how to write a research paper according to MLA (Modern Language Association) format during second semester.  A grade will be assigned at the end of the course and can be counted as .75 high school credit hours of English.  Reading lists and suggested grammar curriculums will be provided by the instructor to assist homeschooling parents in structuring a complete language arts program for the academic year.

THURSDAY CLASSES

Class # 5: Garage Door Writers’ Club  (Writing Skills for Middle/High School Students)

Class description, tuition, location, and text are exactly the same as Class # 1.  Only the day and dates are different.

Day/Time:  Thursdays, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Dates:  Fall Semester:  Sept. 3 – Dec. 10 (No classes Oct. 15* and Nov. 26*)

            Spring Semester:  Jan. 7 – Mar. 25 (No class Mar. 4*)

 

Class # 6: TENTATIVE Overflow Section

In past years, due to a growing waiting list, I have needed to open a second section of either Introduction to Literary Analysis OR the Fallen Oak Writers' Club (WriteShop II).  If this occurs, I will teach whichever one of these classes I may add on the following day, time, and dates.  Students already enrolled will be given a chance to switch to this new section if I decide to offer it.

Day/Time:  Thursdays, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.

Dates:  Fall Semester:  Sept. 3 – Dec. 10 (No class Oct. 15* and Nov. 26*)

            Spring Semester:  Jan. 7 – Mar. 25 (No class Mar. 4*)    

Maximum Enrollment:  12 students   Minimum Enrollment:  5 students**

Tuition:  $70/month (Sept. – Mar.) plus $35 non-refundable registration fee

Location:  1107 Fallen Oak Drive, Apex, NC

*   The following dates are protected holiday or vacation dates;  therefore, they will not be used as inclement-weather or teacher-illness make-up      dates:  October 13, 14, 15;  November 24, 25, 26; March 2, 3, 4.  If it becomes necessary, make-up classes will take place on Mondays       

    and/or Fridays and will be scheduled as closely as possible to the dates that were missed.

**  The instructor reserves the right to cancel any class that does not meet its enrollment minimum.  In this rare event, a family's registration fee 

     will be refunded.

*** WriteShop I, WriteShop II, and Windows to the World: An Introduction to Literary Analysis are faith-based curriculums that espouse a

     Christian worldview.  For more information, refer to "FAQ" near the bottom of the Home page. 

Qualifications:  I have B.S. degrees in education and English from Longwood University and an M.A. from Liberty University.  I received all three degrees with honors.  I have taught in both public and private schools, and I have over 35 years’ experience as a superior-rated teacher.  I am a member of Lambda Iota Tau, a national honorary society for literature, as well as Kappa Delta Pi, a national honorary society for education.  In 2010, I graduated my son, who completed his B.A. degree at NC State, after homeschooling him through middle and high school.   I am also a certified administrator of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, the Stanford Achievement Test, and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. As a proofreader, I have readied numerous creative and technical documents for publication, most notably the dissertation of a Harvard Ph.D. graduate who designed a chip for the PS2.  Currently, I am working on a collection of short stories.  References and sample student work are available upon request.

 

Multiple Child Discount:  You may enroll more than one student from the same family for one, $35, non-refundable registration fee.  However, please remember to fill out a separate registration form for each child you wish to enroll.  Also, families who enroll more than one child in the same school year receive a 10% discount on every child after the first.  Currently, I am unable to offer financial aid in the form of other discounts, scholarships, or bartering.

 

  Please hover over "Classes" at the top of this page,

and the Registration Form will appear as a drop-down choice.

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