This CollegeBoard approved live online AP English Language and Composition class for homeschool students is one of our most popular and valuable.
Language is one of the most powerful and beautiful tools we have; we use it every day of our lives. This course focuses on helping students analyze complex elements of language, argument, and composition, and how to employ those same valuable elements in their own writing. Our class is designed for the proactive student who possesses a love of reading and composition. It will focus on analysis and argument through extensive website discussion as well as individual essay-writing.
While the primary goal of this course is to prepare your student to successfully take the AP English Language exam, the material is structured to encourage an ongoing love of language, intellectual discovery, and expression. This course is College Board certified which means that my syllabus and curriculum have been rigorously reviewed and certified by the College Board, having completed the full AP Course Audit process.
The rhetorical, argumentative, and interpretive strategies we use in this course can be applied to everyday life and discussion in a myriad of ways – students will learn to consider nonfiction, fiction, media, and even advertisements in a new and dynamic way. Students will also have the opportunity to submit select written projects to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards under my guidance. In addition to scoring well on the AP Exam, over the past 8 years my students have won many Silver Keys and Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
This course is organized by concept, strategy, and theme. Each module requires students to acquire and use rich vocabulary, employ standard English grammar, and to understand the importance of diction and syntax in an author’s style. Therefore, students are expected to develop the following through reading, discussion, and writing assignments:
- A wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately and effectively.
- A variety of sentence lengths and structures.
- Knowledge of the primary rhetorical modes of discourse (expository, descriptive, narrative, and argumentative).
- Logical organization.
- An effective use of rhetoric including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate diction and sentence structure.
For each reading assignment we discuss:
- Theme, thesis, or message
- Tone or attitude
- Classic Aristotelian appeals: Logos, Ethos, Pathos
- Diction and Style
- Use of rhetorical devices, including figurative language, antithesis, parallelism, juxtaposition, any relevant sound devices, and other relevant strategies including symbolism, satire, allegory, structure, etc.
This course seeks to achieve these goals through a study of both nonfiction and fiction:
- We will explore successful diction, syntax, and basic rhetorical devices by studying authors including but not limited to: Mark Twain’s “Reading the Mississippi River” and Henry David Thoreau’s “Why I Went to the Woods”.
- We will analyze successful arguments, evaluate their ability to create real-world, important change, and learn how to build one ourselves by studying nonfiction pieces by Martin Luther King, Jr., Patrick Henry, George Orwell, and others.
- We will explore and respond to the immense power of creative nonfiction, personal memoir, and narrative by discussing Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff” and short fiction by Amy Tan, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, and Harlan Ellison.
- We will examine the subtleties and social importance of irony, satire, and allegory by examining George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Jonathan Swift’s essay “A Modest Proposal.”
- We will discover the value of Aristotelian rhetorical appeals (Logos, Pathos, and Ethos) in classic, modern, and contemporary texts by studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and evaluating examples of visual and multimedia persuasion.
- While we prepare for AP Exam concepts and vocabulary throughout the year, we spend our final 8 weeks completing intensive AP Exam preparation.
Meetings: Live meetings via the Zoom Meeting Center will occur every week on Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST. These meetings will consist of lecture material and interactive discussion time with fellow students and myself. All course meetings are optional and will be recorded for your listening convenience. Approximately 70% of my students attend live meetings; the rest listen to lectures asynchronously to fit their schedule. Students who are unable to attend live lectures may also participate in group discussion on the course website forum. Flexibility is the goal of this course.
Web Forum Discussion: This is an ongoing element of the class; short discussion questions are posted on our website forum and students discuss, with their peers and myself, thoughtful short-form answers to our course readings. This is an excellent preparation for longer writing assignments and represents a more personal/conversational writing aspect. It also represents an important interactive social element as students broaden their understanding through peer discussion.
Connection to AP Exam: Students read excerpts from our reference manual, 5 Steps to a 5 AP English Language (5 Steps to a 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination Series) by Barbara Murphy. I also provide my own in-depth handouts regarding AP Exam Format and each essay section of the exam. Our primary AP Language Prep “Boot Camp” occurs during part of the spring. The analysis, argumentative, and synthesis essays completed in response to course content are modeled to prepare students for those respective categories on the AP Exam. We focus primarily on untimed essays in the fall and timed essay work in the spring semester. The regular quizzes completed in each module are modeled to prepare students for the AP Exam multiple choice section. In addition to regular course curriculum, students complete multiple individual timed essay responses to practice AP prompts from each essay category; a variety of short practice AP quizzes; and a minimum of two full practice exams.
Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. Students may view the detailed syllabus at any point to see what is coming up next. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students and parents. Students will read regular handouts, posts, and activities on the website.
Hours of study each week: 7-10 hours, depending on the week and the amount of bonus material the student chooses to cover. This includes required reading, extra credit, group discussion, short essays and multiple-choice questions.
Weekly assignments may include:
- A weekly 50-minute live meeting.
- Interactive discussion of course texts and concepts in our website forum.
- Handouts and visual aids/presentations.
- Essays and multiple-choice quizzes in preparation for the AP exam in May. These assignments are designed to develop the specific skills your student needs. Written compositions will explore analysis, argumentative, synthesis, and narrative skills.
- Reading assignments ranging from approx. 30-100 pages. These assignments may include major course texts and suggested resources.
- Optional bonus assignments and an in-depth, extra-credit vocabulary prompt of the week.
- Longer writing assignments, including a mandatory midterm argumentative research paper. Longer assignments are typically completed over multiple weeks with detailed teacher feedback and “check-in” points.
Who should enroll?
This course is intended for 10th-12th graders who (in general) have completed at least 1 year of high-school level English. Submitting an application is required.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
All homework will be submitted and critiqued via the website; I provide detailed critiques on all essays and respond to course discussion responses personally. My goal is to provide detailed essay critiques within 1 week of the essay’s due date. Students receive all critiques well before the next writing assignment is due so that they may steadily develop and improve their work with each assignment.
Over the course of this year-long class, students will write in a variety of composition categories (analysis, argumentative, narrative, research, etc.). Every essay assignment will include detailed instructions/prompts page and a brief grading rubric. Rubrics may vary per assignment. Aspects that may be addressed in a writing assignment critique include but are not limited to:
- Structure and Organization.
- Content. This may include the choice of examples/support, the specificity of analysis, the level of general vs. specific detail, and, if relevant, the strength of the argument.
- Diction, Grammar, and Syntax.
An application is required for this course. Once a student has been accepted and is registered, I will contact families within 1-2 business days of registration. I believe very strongly in keeping parents in the loop at all times; I send weekly class update emails to parents as well as students. Parents also have the ability to view their child’s progress via an Observer Canvas account.
Nan Kim-Paik –
Our son took this course last year, and we echo the rave reviews posted here. Mrs. Serbicki is a stellar teacher, and her AP English Language and Composition certainly prepares her students very well for the exam. But as a fellow educator, I also wished to mention how Mrs. Serbicki provided me with a model example for how to teach an online course. She organizes her class so clearly and logically, and it was great for my son to receive a weekly email with the overview of the week ahead. During a particularly difficult year, when we had to deal with serial disruptions as did so many other families, we were thankful for how Mrs. Serbicki provided our son with a sense of continuity through a well-structured and expertly executed course.
Maeve D. –
Hello! I wanted to pop in and say thank you for a wonderful year of AP language. While I have always loved English classes, I was especially interested in your class. I felt prepared and at ease for the AP exam, even under the special circumstances, because of the organization and education that your class provided to me. I cannot wait for next year in AP Literature!
This AP English Language class greatly helped me develop my writing skills. I felt very prepared for the AP Exam at the conclusion of the course. Working with timed essays, difficult exam questions, and exploring new texts and materials were all highlights of the year. The midterm argumentative research assignment was also very interesting. Mrs. Serbicki is an excellent teacher who’s experienced and always available. I would highly recommend this course to any student looking to hone their writing skills and prepare for the AP Exam.
Ilinca D. –
Mrs. Serbicki’s AP English Language my favorite course this year and I have learned so much that I know I will carry with me through high school and beyond! Going into the class, I was doubtful that I would ever be able to write an essay without hours to plan and outline and draft and revise, but heading into the exam I felt as prepared as I possibly could have been thanks to everything Mrs. Serbicki taught us. Although I am still awaiting my scores, I am confident about how I did on the exam and felt extremely well-prepared going into it. Mrs. Serbicki was a kind, encouraging, and experienced teacher who provided thoughtful comments on my essays, was always available to answer questions, and really helped me grow as a writer, providing students with a multitude of tools and knowledge that were invaluable both on the exam and for developing writing, critical thinking, research, analysis, and time management skills. There were also a variety of opportunities for extra credit and additional practice incorporated into our homework. Learning to formulate my thoughts quickly by preparing for the timed essays was something that translated into my other school subjects and into writing speeches and articles, and is something I am truly glad to have learned this year through taking AP English Language and Composition. I highly recommend this course, as I genuinely enjoyed it and believe it truly prepared me to preform well on the exam and write confidently and skillfully going forward!
S. G. (Home Educator) (verified owner) –
Mrs. Serbecki has years of experience teaching AP English Literature, and it shows. She is enthusiastic about teaching, readily available to answer questions and encouraging. Much of the reading material can be accessed online, which helped reduce costs. My homeschool student not only came out prepared for the AP English Language exam, but also has a deeper appreciation for literature.
Philip Huang –
Going into this class last fall, I had reservations about studying for the AP Language exam, as English was not particularly a favorite subject of mine. However, Mrs. Serbicki did an amazing job of providing an extremely manageable course load while giving us opportunities to improve our writing and reading skills. Over the past year, I gained confidence writing narrative, argumentative, and analysis essays with the invaluable practice resources and advice supplied by Mrs. Serbicki. By exam day, I felt prepared and at ease; every facet of the exam was understandable and straightforward. For anyone facing a potentially busy schedule but still seeking a challenge in the English subject, this is the course for you.
Mason Janenda –
I finished the AP exam a week ago, and I felt extremely confident! I think the class is designed incredibly well to help students with the AP exam. We covered a range of literature in the first semester, discussed various literary devices, and analyzed the texts thoroughly. In the second semester, we discussed vocabulary terms, logical fallacies, and techniques for writing AP essays. During the last two months, we started AP prep, taking MCQ sections and FRQ prep. I totally felt prepared for the test thanks to this class!
Connor Young –
I just got back from the AP Exam and feel great about my chances of receiving a five! Mrs. Serbicky is the best, most helpful, and thoughtful English teacher I’ve ever had! She constantly pushed me throughout the year and made sure I was ready for the test. All the while, offering encouragement and support for even the smallest of details. My writing skills exponentially improved throughout the first-semester culminating in a mid-term project that I will proud of for years to come! The second semester provided a way for me to hone the skills I learned in the first-semester into a timed format. While the timed format was difficult for me at first, Mrs. Serbicky made sure to give me the help and support necessary to succeed in this tricky area. I truly can’t thank Mrs. Serbicky enough for all of the help she has given me this last year! If you’re on the fence deciding whether or not you want to go with this “AP” course or a basic high-school English class–worried about the workload or difficulty, I can provide a strong recommendation in favor of this course! The workload, while rigorous, is manageable–especially with Mrs. Serbicky’s help, and the difficulty is quite manageable with a little dedication on the students part. To only give this course 5 Starts is quite an understatement on my part, as I would definitely give it 10, or maybe even 1,000, if possible!
In conclusion, if you take this course, you won’t regret it. But, if you don’t take this course, you’ll regret it forever.
Ginny B.(Mom of former & Future Aim Academy Student) –
Mrs. Serbicki is an awesome teacher. I was concerned about signing my daughter up for an AP class given the stories I had heard about them – the unnecessary overload of busy work typically assigned to students. I wanted rigor but did not want a class to kill the joy of learning my daughter was used to with other online teachers. This was not the case with this course. It had the right amount of course work without sacrificing the rigor AP courses should provide. Additionally, Mrs. Serbicki has a gentle style of teaching – not intimidating – and was perfect for my daughter. She absolutely loved her class and is looking forward to taking the AP Literature course this coming year.
Gorilla Web –
“I think that the course was a good preparation for the exam… The timed essays which we regularly completed were perhaps my favorite part of the class. I think that they prepared me not only for the exam, but also improved my other schoolwork and helped me with the SAT. I have grown to enjoy writing more as a result of taking this course, and I believe that writing comes easier for me now that I have completed it.” – J.B. (student)
Gorilla Web –
“Thank you so much for teaching me AP Language and Composition this year. You have been instrumental in helping me improve as a writer. I am astounded at your patience and willingness to answer questions. Looking back at the beginning of the year, it is clear that you have helped improve my writing. Below is a class recommendation for any future students 🙂
Mrs. Serbicki’s AP English Language and Composition is an excellent course. Mrs. Serbicki clearly and effectively explains all course material while at the same time answering any student questions, thus preparing her students to ace the AP Exam.” (Student, 2014-2015)
Gorilla Web –
“I had so much fun working on this assignment [AP Language Midterm Research Argumentative Paper]. I truly feel like I learned something about this subject.” (Student, 2015-2016)