[Former name of this class was Expository Essay: Rhetorical Critique and Analysis]

Are you ready for a truly juicy writing experience that will rocket your ability to handle nuanced and sophisticated writing skills?

The Essay Writing 201: Critical Response Essay course adds new layers to our other essay offerings, Essay Writing 101 and Essay Writing 102. This class relies on the foundation of the original essay form (the five-paragraph expository essay) to launch students in new, expanded directions for essay writing.

Consider the Essay Writing 101 and 102 classes as the "learning to ride the bike with training wheels" courses, while this writing course is an opportunity to gain your balance on this new bike!

Students will be challenged:

  • to tackle complex topics
  • to explore the relationships between thinking, seeing, and writing
  • to develop disciplined rhetorical habits
  • to understand how images communicate stories
  • to evaluate both written and visual texts
  • to respond to texts both objectively and personally

Two types of essays will be produced during this class:

  • A summary/strong response essay
  • An image analysis essay

Summary/Strong Response Essay

The summary/strong response essay will help students hone their ability to read purposefully, separate how a text is written from what it’s written about, and make meaningful connections. Students will build on their abilities to identify main points and arguments, and they’ll respond to the text with nuanced thinking about the author’s rhetorical choices, the ideas communicated, and their own personal values. The end result will be a multi-part essay, an extension of the Week 4 collage writing project used in the Essay Prep: Dynamic Thinking class.

Image Analysis Essay

The image analysis essay will exercise a student's visual literacy. Thinking rhetorically about images is an invaluable skill in our picture-rich world of advertisements, memes, and social media. Besides helping young adults navigate the complex world of media and thinking critically about how images seek to influence them, visual competencies are commonly demanded in college courses. Students will evaluate images in settings such as social activism, social media, and global current events.

Who should take this course? #

This course is designed for high school students between 10th–12th grade.

Students should already be competent writers and have experience with academic formats. The Essay Writing 101 and Essay Writing 102 classes are recommended preparatory courses, though not required. Once having taken those classes, the inexperienced writer should have continued essay writing practice at home before enrolling in this course.

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.

Class Structure Description #

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four 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.

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. 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.

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.

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 dialog 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.