[This class contains content that was formerly in Expository Essay: Rhetorical Critique and Analysis]

Your student knows the basics of the five-paragraph essay.

Newsflash: That skill set doesn’t exist in a bubble. Or it shouldn’t.

In college, students will be required to apply those skills to specific assignment parameters, subjects, and texts. They’ll need to write about history, investigate science or respond to current events.

Enter Essay Writing 201: Critical Response Essay.

This class is for students who are ready to build on the Essay Writing 101/102 foundation.

A critical response essay asks the writer to respond to an established piece of writing, image, or position in any medium. Beyond the basics, Essay Writing 201 explores the relationship between thinking, seeing, and writing with complex topics.

Week One: How to be a savvy modern day reader

Week Two: Writing to think critically and discover points of view

Week Three: Essential tools for navigating challenging texts

Week Four: Compose and revise a critical response essay

We help your students hone their ability to

  • read purposefully, identifying main points and arguments

  • decipher images in the news

  • separate how a text is written from what it’s written about

  • make meaningful connections in light of their own personal values

  • write with confidence across subjects

Benefit from the versatility! Once your student has finished this class, you will be able to re-use the course material with new topics at home, like history, civics, or science. Confidence before college!

Who should take this course? #

This course is designed for high school students with essay writing experience.

Students should already be competent writers and have experience with academic formats. The Essay Writing 101: Analytic Essay and Essay Writing 102: Persuasive Essay classes are recommended preparatory courses, though not required.

If your teen has multiple essay writing experiences, knows how to formulate a thesis and offer their own analysis in writing, then you are ready for this course! If you have any questions about your student's eligibility for this class, don't hesitate to contact us with a writing sample and we'll point you in the right direction.

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.