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Lang Arts / English

For complete COURSE DESCRIPTIONS, click on Course Title below in chart and/or go to Class Registration

For complete TEXTBOOKS/SUPPLIES, click on Course on Class Registration 

For TUTOR BIOGRAPHIES, click on Tutor Name in below chart and/or go to Class Registration

For assistance in choosing the correct class, please see WEST's Class Track Guidelines

Tuition Payments are broken up with two payments for semester classes and four payments for annual classes


Writing Fundamentals 1/2 (IEW)
see below for FAQs
5-7   Monseth   Full Year    $405
Writing Fundamentals 1 (IEW)
see below for FAQs
7-9   Djerf   Full Year    $405
Writing Fundamentals 2 (IEW)
see below for FAQs
8-10   Djerf   Full Year    $405
Journalism 7-12   Chernyavsky   Full Year    $370
Great Books - NEW Full Year 8-12   Carlson   Full Year    $370
Essay Writing 8-12   R. Fraser   Full Year    $385
Introduction to Communication/Speech 8-12   R. Fraser   Full Year    $385
Analyzing & Interpreting Literature 9-12   Holt   Full Year    $385




Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature encourages students to “unlock” the mysteries within literature by teaching analytical techniques, literary elements, and literary devices. Students will learn how to read, infer, analyze, and write about literature, going beyond memorization of the elements of literature to applying them and even appreciating them.  As not all readings come from a Christian worldview, author worldview will be discussed, as well as the power of literature to influence. Short stories and poetry will be the focus, utilizing discussion and small group activities in class, as well as reading, writing, and projects at home. Students will end the course well-prepared for upper level literature classes with practical experience in literary analysis and interpretation.

Essay Writing
Every day, the ability to communicate through the written word is vital. In this year- long class, students will be engaging with and developing different genres of essays in order to become stronger communicators through writing. This course will encounter writing styles such as cause & effect, personal, persuasive, research, descriptive as well as poetry and other creative works (and more, if time allows). Learning how to create a strong thesis statement and grammar reviews will also be taught in this course.

Students will focus on excellence, creative expression, and collaboration in practicing the elements of writing from a variety of perspectives as listed above.

As students compose these essays, they will have the opportunity to critique one another’s works in small groups as well as receive feedback from the tutor.

This course is a fabulous follow-up to Writing Fundamentals. Students need to practice their foundational writing skills as they prepare for high school, college work, career and life in general. This course is it!

Introduction to Communication/Speech
In numerous studies of CEO’s and employers, the ability to communicate is cited as the number one job skill. In this year-long Introduction to Communication and Speech, students will develop this critical skill by learning to organize their thoughts in prepared presentations, by using effective delivery techniques (eye contact, body language, vocal variety) and by practicing interpersonal communication skills. Every student will speak almost every class session–some giving prepared speeches, some giving impromptu speeches and some evaluating speeches. Every student also will have the opportunity to give a personal testimony of faith.

Skills: Effective listening, critical thinking, organization of ideas, controlling nervousness, techniques of persuasion and influence, conflict resolution, impromptu speaking, storytelling, using logic and emotion to engage and persuade, time management, delivery techniques, providing helpful feedback to others.

Great Books
Great books and literature are great for a reason: they can change the life of those who read them. In this class, students will read, enjoy, and delve into novels, short stories, and writings that span a variety of authors, genres, and eras. Through spirited discussion, meaningful activities, short writing exercises, and brief history overviews for context, students will develop an appreciation and understanding of the importance and application of the themes and ideas presented within each piece. The primary goal is for each student to walk away having been truly affected by these works of literature. Some of the great literature we will be reading are: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and Night by Elie Wiesel.

This class is an excellent precursor or follow up to Analyzing & Interpreting Lit as the tone is set at any time to engage with solid literature in a variety of ways.

Journalists make great storytellers. Many influential fiction writers had journalism backgrounds: John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Mitchell. Journalism skills can help any writing student produce leaner stories with greater impact.

But how does one balance the art of the story with pursuit of the truth? As they develop the eyes and ears of an objective journalist, students in this course will hone and strengthen their writing skills while learning how to unearth compelling, yet accurate, narratives.

Students will pursue this mission in various ways, including by writing, editing and designing a popular monthly newsletter for WEST. Throughout the year, each student will be required to contribute to each section, gaining experience in various genres. Students will also practice meeting deadlines and editing through weekly writing assignments. During the spring semester, students will also have an opportunity to discover page layout using InDesign, the industry standard in publishing software.

During this course, students will gain exposure to fundamentals such as:

  • The “Five W’s” of journalism
  • Pitching a story and answering the question, “why should I care?”
  • Cutting out “fatty” writing
  • Writing compelling headlines, captions and callouts
  • The art of the interview and eliciting great quotes
  • How and where to find effective information
  • Journalism ethics and objectivity
  • Media genres (newspapers, magazines, newsletters and online sources)
  • Grammar, proofing and copy editing rules
  • Page layout

The course includes a fun field trip (date TBD), in which students will go on a fact-finding mission to unearth a story!

Writing Fundamentals Levels: 1/2, 1, and 2 - FAQs
*All writing classes are full year courses. A tuition payment will also be required for the second semester of this class.

Class Description: Writing Fundamentals 1/2, Writing Fundamentals 1, and Writing Fundamentals 2 will be using the Institute for Excellence in Writing method to teach students strong foundational writing. From note taking, structural and stylistic techniques, creative writing, and report writing to more advanced skills such as timed essays and critiques, students will learn skills that will prepare them for high school, PSEO, and college-level writing assignments.

THREE LEVELS of Writing Classes: Starting at the elementary level, students need as many years of writing practice as possible before proceeding to high school and PSEO courses where quality writing skills are an expected medium for learning. It takes time and repeated practice to digest effective writing skills, and students must start with small bites and gradually work to greater challenges. Thus, these writing classes offer three levels: Writing Fundamentals 1/2 for grades *5-7, Writing Fundamentals 1 for grades 7-9, and Writing Fundamentals 2 for grades 8-10. Based on a principle of mastery, these courses provide time and space for meaningful practice, growing competence, and significant refinement of individual style.

Parental Involvement: Parents must proofread all assignments. To better nurture, reinforce and benefit from these skills, parents of younger students are enthusiastically encouraged to attend classes with their students. Assignment and checklists must be downloaded. Grades will be posted on iGradePlus.com. This will be able to be accessed by the parent and the student.

*NOTE: Regardless of past writing experience, ALL NEW STUDENTS MUST START AT Writing Fundamentals 1/2 or Writing Fundamentals 1

Level 1/2 is not required, but it is highly recommended before Writing Fundamentals 1. Students should repeat Writing 1/2 and/or Writing Fundamentals 1 until they are ready to move on. Level 1 is recommended to be taken for two years so the student is solidly prepared for Level 2. Each year the same units are taught with all new assignments. It is best to take the Writing classes consecutively until the student has successfully mastered all Writing Fundamentals levels. Level 2 has a prerequisite – a student must have completed two years of Level 1 or have teacher approval to register.

Regardless of past writing experience, no mid-year entry is allowed. Students must take Fall and Spring semesters of each level within the same school year to complete that level.