English Foundations 2

From: $72.00 / month for 8 months

Grades:  7th–8th

Live class: Thursdays 6:30 p.m. EST

Course dates: August 26th–May 1st

Price: $499

Instructor:  Beverly Graybill

Instructor email: Mrs.BevGraybill@gmail.com

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Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Bev Graybill

Both English Foundations courses seek to prepare middle school students for high school English by covering writing, grammar, literature, and vocabulary all in one course! English Foundations 2 uses the 8th grade Write Source text as students improve writing descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive essays, as well as a short story and speech. Much feedback is given on essays with further opportunities to revise each. In literature, the elements of literature are studied, including a major creative project. Classics such as the Iliad and Odyssey, Beowulf, and King Arthur are studied, as well as three contemporary novels. The final unit on poetry concludes with a poetry contest. Fun class activities include review games, discussions, and “reader’s theater.”

Students will:

  • Apply the steps of the writing process and effective traits of writing to their own compositions, as well as understanding the purpose and audience of each writing assignment.
  • Write “warm-up” paragraphs to increase confidence in writing.
  • Write multi-paragraph essays covering the four types of writing: descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive using teacher review to improve each composition.
  • Write a “coming-of-age” short story (either autobiographical or imaginative).
  • Prepare and present an informative or persuasive speech.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of English grammar including: punctuation, mechanics, spelling, sentence structure, and parts of speech.
  • Review the basic elements of literature (setting, character, plot, point of view, conflict, and theme), preparing a creative project with definitions and examples for each term.
  • Identify techniques of literature such as irony, symbolism, and figures of speech including allusion, idioms, synecdoche, and understatement.
  • Review different genres of writing and discuss their differences, as well as read short stories and novels in various genres.
  • Improve their reading comprehension through thought-provoking questions and discussion of the novels read together.
  • Be introduced to ancient writings including the Iliad and the Odyssey, Beowulf, and the legend of King Arthur and his knights.
  • Identify the sounds and techniques used in poetry, prepare a poetry presentation, and write several of his/her own poems.
  • Learn new vocabulary words in context in the novels read together.
  • Learn new vocabulary words through the Wordly Wise curriculum.

Course Structure

During the first semester, the course features a 3-week writing cycle, followed by a 3-week literature cycle with one week of overlap. During the second semester, the cycles are extended to 4-weeks for longer assignments with more overlap between writing and literature. Most days include a vocabulary and grammar exercise as well. Once a week, students should find time to work on the Elements of Fiction creative project. All work is posted on Canvas. The “live” class time on Thursday will include a review of the current week’s assignments and instruction on the new assignments for the following week. Students that cannot attend class may watch the recording, which will be posted shortly after class. A detailed list of required work is posted on Canvas according to a suggested schedule, but students may choose to complete the work on different days.

Who should apply?

All 8th graders are invited to join this class. Parents of 7th graders may need to decide if their student is ready for this advanced class, or would be better suited to English Foundations 1.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • headset and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Microsoft Word and Power Point is extremely helpful. If using a different word processing program, the document should be saved or exported as a pdf in order to submit it on Canvas.

Evaluation and Feedback

Grammar and vocabulary exercises are frequently graded automatically by Canvas. Writing and literature assignments receive more feedback and can be accessed easily on Canvas. (I’ll explain how the first week of class.) The first time a student submits an essay, it is graded according to following directions and effort, and much feedback is given. After he or she does further revisions, it is graded according to a rubric with the effective traits of writing.


Once parents register for the course, they will receive a welcome packet from me with additional information about the course, including a syllabus and more detailed list of required books. Parents are free to email me with questions at any time. I do contact parents whenever I have a concern about students not keeping up with the work or frequently submitting late assignments to find out parental expectations.

Required Texts

Course Materials:

Parents must purchase:

  • Write Source Student Edition, 2012, GRADE 8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2012.     ISBN: 978-0547-48504-1 This book also includes grammar exercises; no further grammar workbook is required.
  • Wordly Wise 3000 Student Book 8 Fourth Edition Educators Publishing Service Fourth edition, 2017 ISBN: 978-08388-7708-1  If parents prefer, 7th graders may purchase and complete Wordly Wise 3000 Student Book 7 Fourth Edition Educators Publishing Service Fourth Edition, 2017 ISBN: 978-08388-7707-4
  • Also, students should have access to an age-appropriate dictionary and thesaurus; at the parents’ discretion, they may use online sites such as dictionary.com and thesaurus.com.

Novels: Any version is fine unless otherwise specified (Parents may decide to purchase these or use your local library, if you can keep the book for at least 3-4 weeks and have it at the needed time.)

  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
  • The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum (Aladdin 2004) OR Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff (Laurel Leaf 2005) OR The Trojan War and The Adventures of Ulysses by Bernard Evslin OR The Tale of Troy by Roger Lancelyn Green (Puffin Classics 2012)
  • Beowulf: Dragonslayer by Rosemary Sutcliff (Red Fox Classics 2001 or Heinemann 1961) OR Beowulf: A New Telling by Robert Nye (Laurel Leaf 1968) OR Beowulf: An Updated Verse Translation by Frederick Rebsamen (Harper Perennial Classics 2004)
  • The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle (Be sure it is NOT an abridged or child’s version, but the original, such as Sterling Classics 2005, Barnes & Noble 2011, Dover Classics 1965, or Scribner 1954 Note: If the book is less than 200 pages, it is probably not correct) OR King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green (Puffin Classics 2008) OR The Sword and the Circle by Rosemary Sutcliff (also part of The King Arthur Trilogy)


Poetry and Short Stories: It is not necessary to purchase a particular book for this. All poems and short stories that everyone in the class should read will be posted on Canvas. In addition, students will need to choose a poem to memorize, analyze, and recite; for this, he/she will need to search for poems on-line, purchase a collection of poetry, or make use of library poetry books.


  1. Laura Rose

    English Foundations 2 has been the best language arts course I’ve ever come across. Mrs. Graybill is the kindest, most wonderful teacher. She has designed a phenomenal class covering many language arts subjects in one course throughout the year. We love how organized her class is! My child loves Mrs. Graybill’s incredible live classes, the detailed weekly lessons, her amazing PowerPoints, and all the valuable assignments she teaches, along with the helpful feedback she provides. Canvas is an excellent site and Mrs. Graybill has put together fun, interesting, structured lessons which really challenge students and helps them become confident learners, writers, and communicators. My child has never learned so much in a class before, and we deeply appreciate Mrs. Graybill and all her time and effort she has put into this course.

  2. Jan (verified owner)

    My son takes Middle School Tools B with Mrs. G this year. This English course covers everything a 7th Grade should learn and much more. The online classes are fun, and the atmosphere’s supportive and inspiring. Mrs. G really knows how to draw the best out of her students. Love reading her thoughtful comments and feedbacks every week. She’s an amazing teacher. My son has certainly come a long way since he took his first class.

    Note: The title of this class was changed from Middle School Tools B to English Foundations 2 but the content remains the same.

  3. Black Shire

    This class was really helpful. It has helped me a lot with grammar things and the requiered books were very enjoyable. Mrs. Graybill, as a teacher is very talented. I had quite a bit of trouble with many things, and so I had lots of questions which Mrs. G. answered patiently. This class has helped me to branch out and try different things, and has offered many challenges. Mrs. G. is a very encouraging, helpful, fun, and understanding teacher. I only found one thing that I didn’t like in this class and that was the many grammar questions, and that is because I don’t really like grammar. Over-all I was very honored to get to know Mrs. G. and be a part of her class! I recomend this class to any one who has had grammar problems, writing issues, ect. Thank you Mrs. G. for your teaching!

  4. Susan (verified owner)

    We highly recommend this class and Bev Graybill as a teacher! My youngest daughter has had the wonderful experience of learning from Mrs. Graybill for Middle School Tools A & B. The class is so well organized and planned which has made it so easy for my daughter to “own” this class and all of her lessons, quizzes, assignments, etc. The independence that is has helped foster has been great. Mrs. G is an extremely supportive and encouraging teacher. After homeschooling for over 20 years, I regret not finding out about this class earlier for some of my other daughters. I review other homeschooling families through our umbrella group and am frequently recommending this class to families. I wholeheartedly recommend this class taught by Mrs. G!

  5. Tonja

    Mrs. Graybill has been such an incredible support to myself and daughter through the Middle School English class this year! My daughter absolutely loves the class, and I really appreciate the support that Mrs. G is willing to give! She is passionate, kind, knowledgeable and willing to go above and beyond to help my daughter. She has learned so much in just this one year, we look forward to many more of her classes! I highly recommend her! Thanks Mrs. G!

  6. X.B. Student

    It is really helpful. English is not my first language, but thanks to this class I can speak and write more fluid English.
    Since I was in Puerto Rico when Irma and Maria hit, we moved for this semester to Florida, and I have been able to do better in school.
    It has been an honor to take this course, and I recommend it 100%.

  7. Noemi Bernier-Vera

    when I chose the course I was a little scared, since it was the first time my son was going to take an online course.

    When I wrote directly to Mrs. Graybill’s she was very diligent calling to answer all my questions. When me or my son wrote she responded very quickly.

    From the beginning all the material was well organized, with excellent content and above all relevant for the degree. My son improved his writing, reading, acquired more vocabulary and get more confidence in the language. The dynamics of the online classes with the other students was very interactive and dynamic for them.
    My son always felt challenged and improving during the class.

    At the moment we faced the crisis of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. She always showed empathy and a lot of solidarity to help him in the process we were living in the country.

    I definitely recommend this course or any other that she offers.

  8. Arpan Kumar

    Mrs. Graybill is an amazing teacher. Through quizzes and lessons, she teaches about the rules of grammar and writing. She always takes the time to grade assignments personally and gives comments where necessary. These classes have really improved my writing and especially my grammar skills, and I would highly recommend this class to anyone looking to improve their writing skills.

  9. Shannon Kauffman (verified owner)

    My son has been in Mrs. Graybill’s Middle School Tools B class this year and has grown a lot as a writer and also as a reader. He has always been a strong reader but lacked the deeper level thinking needed in higher level reading. I feel that this class has helped him in this area. This is our first venture into online classes and it has been a wonderful experience. Mrs. Graybill is very knowledgeable and friendly. She grades assignments in a timely manner and thoroughly explains any errors that my son has made to him. She has been very encouraging and supportive of him throughout this year. When he has had questions, she responds quickly to his emails. I have enjoyed the independence my son has shown in completing the daily assignments. I love that she breaks the days down with suggested work so that he can pace himself with the assignments and not become overwhelmed. I look forward to when my daughter will be able to take this class.

  10. Rebecca Klabunde

    Both my daughter and my son have taken courses and we couldn’t speak more highly of their experience! Mrs. Graybill is warm, friendly, and helps all of the students feel at ease. She is both thorough in her explanations and dependable to answer questions in a timely manner. We also appreciated her willingness to work with each and every student, individually, if they struggled with a particular area. Her patience comes across in all that she does and it’s evident that she works hard to make sure that each of her students succeeds! We all think that Mrs. Graybill is AMAZING!

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Instructor Bio

Bev Graybill

Beverly holds a B.S. in Special Education, a M.S. in Elementary Education, and a Reading Certificate from Millersville University.  She has taught in public/private schools for 6 years, has 10 years of experience teaching middle school English at a weekly homeschool co-op in Pennsylvania, and 20 years of experience home schooling her own four children, three of which have graduated.  Her passion is teaching middle school students that writing, literature, and even grammar can be fun!

Middle School Tools: A
Middle School Tools: B
American History Through Literature

Email: Mrs.BevGraybill@gmail.com

All classes taught by Bev Graybill