Zoinks! #

What makes anyone qualified to comment on the works of Plato, or Abraham Lincoln? The Dead Sea Scrolls or a scientific journal?

College humanities classes use original sources (primary sources) by great thinkers and researchers to teach their content. Professors expect students to interact with those texts meaningfully and skillfully.

Students are required to:

  • understand the authorial intent
  • situate the original text in its historical, social location
  • consider the rhetorical structure and aim of the text
  • offer a thoughtful, plausible interpretation

Essay Writing 301: Advanced Composition focuses on preparation for academic writing at the college level.

Recommended for high school juniors and seniors who know how to write expository essays.

This class teaches students to adopt the tools of textual criticism in the essay format.

This course explores:

  • close readings
  • insight generation
  • textual analysis
  • generating tentative, plausible conclusions

These skills are especially valuable to students whose degree programs will be within the College of Letters and Science, and majors in the humanities. Even more, these skills enable students to be disciplined thinkers as they encounter texts every day in their lives (whether online news articles, their spiritual reading, scripts they use when they act, non-fiction autobiographical narratives, blogs, and more).

Students will come to appreciate the importance of understanding context; social location; definition; literary devices in the category of argument; the tools of logos, pathos, and ethos in writing; and the student’s relationship to the text (what the student brings to his or her close reading of the original text). These are powerful tools for your older teens to explore in a low stress, guided environment.

We’ll tackle two types of essays:

  • The Definition Essay
  • The Textual Analysis Essay

These essays will be about 3-4 typed double-spaced pages in length; the pace of the class will be swift (an essay will be completed in two weeks from start to finish). Students should be able writers, highly motivated, and willing to devote several hours per week to their writing and research.

  1. The first essay will analyze the famous article from Ms. Magazine (1971):
    “I Want a Wife” by Judy Brady.
  2. The second essay will provide a close reading of:
    The Gettysburg Address.


This class includes a multi-page, robust textual analysis tool designed specifically for use in college, that helps students to examine primary source material using close-reading strategies.

Essays will conform to MLA essay formatting standards.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer® classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Brave Writer® online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind.

Class Structure Overview #

  • Class is held in a private discussion board with 20-25 other participants.
  • Class is asynchronous—you log in when it is convenient for you each day of the week at no specific time of day.
  • It is text-based—no video.
  • Student writing assignments are posted in a text box, published to the classroom, and all students are able to read student writing.
  • Class is a writing workshop format, with all coaching feedback available to be read by all families.
  • Class work, student writing, and coaching feedback can be downloaded and saved in a PDF format.

Class Length and Time #

Classes last anywhere from three to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing. Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Private Classroom Space #

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer®. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer® instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Safe Community #

Brave Writer® takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialogue is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer® philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer® values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer® kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!

To explore our Brave Writer® classroom, click here to access a sample class.