Honors English 1


Course Overview

book-tree.jpgHonors English 1 is designed for advanced students in 9th
grade (14+) and above seeking an introductory high school English class that will acquaint you with the arts of examining and writing about literature analytically, writing soundly and creatively, reading introspectively, and hammering down grammar and punctuation skills. Through analytical reading and discussion of novels, short stories, and poems, along with targeted essay writing, you will begin to develop the literary language necessary for higher-level courses. Starting with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and ending with a piece of equally imaginative literature written during your lifetime, you'll learn to discuss reading and writing in terms both figurative and literal.

This class will be highly interactive. Students can expect to participate in ongoing literature discussion forums, read and comment on each others' writing projects, and debate with one another in our optional, biweekly chats.* You will work independently on your grammar with daily exercises in a grammar workbook. Frequent quizzes on grammar should be expected. Your vocabulary work will consist of words taken directly from your reading, and you will have a chance to add words to that list through the annotation process. Your literary analysis exercises will include independent reading and collaborative assignments, where you will be uploading your work to forums for feedback from the instructor and your classmates. Writing will start with the basics and move towards being able to confidently compose an analytical essay as well as a research paper. Shorter writing assignments will give you practice in constructing a sound thesis as well as strong topic sentences, while learning the indents, headings, and citation style of MLA will equip you with the tools you’ll need to write any type of essay. From the most obvious allusion to difficult-to-discern irony, literary devices like these will become your tools as you annotate and excavate your way to becoming a more discerning reader and writer.

Honors English 1 is designed for students who feel the need for more practice with composing and editing paragraphs that utilize sound grammar and punctuation, a variety of sentence structures and word choices, topic sentences and closing sentences, and integrated support quotes and commentary. But you will also be stretched beyond these aspects with feedback to help develop your style as a writer, both analytically and creatively. 

By the end of this adventurous course, the Honors English 1 student will be as equipped as Sir Gawain by the end of his adventure to rise to the challenge of future English endeavors.

Course Goals

  • To read works from a variety of genres, including novels, short stories, autobiographies, dramas, and poetry.
  • To read and discuss literature written primarily between the sixteenth and twenty-first centuries by authors of all nationalities.
  • To be introduced to the art of poetry, with an emphasis on figurative language, meter and rhyme, sound devices, and a few forms.
  • To learn how to annotate works of all lengths and be able to identify allusions, plot, suspense, conflict, theme, setting, imagery, point of view, tone, irony, symbolism, elements of characterization, and figurative language.
  • To write in a variety of essay modesincluding a research paperand through this practice, to develop an individual writer's voice.
  • To learn how to write both a literary analysis essay and a research paper.
  • To increase your vocabulary through the literature you read.
  • To increase your grammatical skills through daily practice.

Student Resources

Grammar and Composition II,* A Beka Book5th edition
Prose & Poetry, Walch Toolbook Series,
Helen Ruth Bass and Diane Morrill

The Synonym Finder, Rodale
Windows to the World: An Introduction to Literary Analysis,Student Book, Lesha Myers 

* Honors English 1 is a secular class that uses these particular resources from a Christian publisher.

Novels, short stories, poetry, and dramas (any unabridged edition, except Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Our Town)

    •    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  Robert Louis Stevenson
    •    Our Town, Thornton Wilder
    •    Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving
    •    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Marie Boroff translation
    •    The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
    •    The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
    •    The Ransom of Red Chief, O. Henry
    •    Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
    •    Class choice

  The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster (summer assignment)

 *Please note that there may be minor modifications to the fiction reading list.

Homeschoolers are readers! Students who have read one or more of these selections may opt to re-read or substitute worthy alternatives in the same genre.

Course Activities

  • Reading novels, an autobiography, a play, short stories, one alliterative poem, and many other poems.
  • Learning how to annotate and discuss the assigned reading—you will need a separate notebook for your annotations or your own copies of the literature if you prefer writing among the text.
  • Vocabulary assignments using word lists generated collaboratively by teacher and students from the books we read.
  • Weekly assignments in literature analysis.
  • Quizzes and tests on the assigned literature work.
  • Writing instruction with detailed, individual feedback.
  • Daily grammar exercises and bi-weekly quizzes.
  • Online discussion forums on each piece of literature, as well as feedback forums on every essay and our literary analysis work.
  • Biweekly, optional chat sessions where we can write to each other and get immediate feedback as we discuss literature, play review games, and prepare for upcoming tests.

  Summer Assignment

The Phantom Tollbooth. You might have read this book when you were in elementary school and may not understand why it would be on a high school reading list!  It introduces, in a playful, non-threatening way, many of the literary terms we will be examining this year.  What you do after you read the book, in the form of a creative summer project, will be more in line with your aptitude as an honors English student!  Details about the assignment will be emailed to enrolled students over the summer.

Online Format

This is an asynchronous course. There are no live or recorded lectures. The class is highly interactive, with students and the teacher utilizing a variety of tools—including discussion forums—for interaction and instruction. Because there is no single time the class "meets" during the week, you have the flexibility to complete your Honors English 1 coursework around your own busy high school schedule.  Assignments are set up on a Monday-Sunday framework, with due dates typically on Fridays and Sundays. You will access the website regularly (most students check in daily), and interact with your classmates in a give-and-take manner, according to your own school/family schedule. While there is no "live" component, interaction is frequent and friendly. Discussion forums are a core component to this class. Peer-to-peer dialogue and debate are what make the class engaging and enjoyable! 

moodle-ladders.jpgAll Blue Tent classes are hosted on Moodle, a learning management system that is popular among online educators and universities. You will complete assignments directly on the password-protected website that your instructor has created just for your class. You will upload your writing assignments as Microsoft Word documents and receive feedback from the instructor in pdf form. Some of your handwritten assignments will be scanned or photographed—cellphone photos work just fine!—
and uploaded.

You don't need to be a techie to take this online class.  All you need is a computer with an up-to-date browser and any version of Microsoft Word. All compositions will be uploaded as Word documents. Whether you have taken an online class before or not, you'll expand your cyber skills—and your instructor will help you every step of the way.   The class website will open a week early.  There will be a short, easy practice assignment designed to help you and your classmates test drive different parts of the classroom. You can complete this before class begins or in the first week of class. 
Course Tuition, Size, and Schedule

Honors English 1 is open to home-schooled students who are in the 9th grade or above, and who are at least 14 years of age. Tuition for 2017-2018 is $695 for the year, payable to Blue Tent Online at registration. The class size will be targeted at approximately 25 students.
  • Writing SamplePrior to accepting students into Honors English 1, the instructor would like to see a 3-paragraph writing sample from a prompt that will be provided at registration.
  • Age and Grade GuidelinesHonors English 1 is for advanced high school students who are in the 9th grade or above (age 14+).
  In the 2017-2018 school year, Honors English 1 will begin on Monday, August 21, 2017 and conclude the week of May 14, 2018. There will be a one-week fall break, a shortened Thanksgiving week, a two-week Christmas break, and a one-week spring break.


Robust reading and writing in Honors English classes are designed to challenge and prepare high school students for AP-level or dual-enrolled English coursework in high school. If you have questions about whether this class is a good fit for your student or if you would like additional information about this course, please contact the instructor. 

Want to learn more about the instructor, Christine Proctor? Scroll down on these pages to read about Christine and to see feedback from students and parents.