Middle School Tools B

From: $72.00 / month for 8 months

Grades:  7th–8th

Live class: Thursdays 2:00 p.m. EST

Course dates: August 27th–May 3rd

Price: $499 (Does not include text)

Instructor:  Beverly Graybill

Instructor email:


Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Bev Graybill

Course Description:

Middle School Tools B is an English class for 7th and 8th graders (at least 12 years old) who are seeking an online class for the comprehensive study of writing, grammar, literature, and vocabulary.  A live class will take place on Thursdays at 2:00 pm (EST), and further instruction and assignments will be designated through the Canvas website.  An advantage of any outside English class is having someone other than “Mom” to review/grade the student’s compositions.  Class interaction with the other students, including “readers theater,” will also enhance the class.

Course Goals:

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 recitation/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

Instructor’s Qualifications: 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.  Her passion is teaching middle school students that writing, literature, and even grammar can be fun!

Required Texts

Course Materials:

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 7 Fourth Edition

Educators Publishing Service Fourth Edition, 2017      ISBN: 978-08388-7707-4

If parents prefer, 8th graders may purchase and complete 

  • Wordly Wise 3000 Student Book 8 Fourth Edition

Educators Publishing Service Fourth edition, 2017      ISBN: 978-08388-7708-1

Also, students should have access to an age-appropriate dictionary and thesaurus; at the parents’ discretion, they may use online sites such as and

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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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%.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

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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



All classes taught by Bev Graybill