English Course for Teens


Semester course in literature and writing


We’re thrilled to be offering an a-g approved semester-length, college-prep course for teens! Foundations (13+) will meet ALL language arts standards, including essay writing. For Fall of 2020, at least, it will be offered only online.

(There’s an add-on option for after-class tutoring in academic writing.  We also offer writing tutoring to ANY teen — not just course enrollees — from 12-1pm on either Thursdays or Fridays.)

This course will teach essential lessons through in-depth studies of literature, supplemented by music, film and art. This rich, comprehensive English course will broaden your student’s horizons and prepare them for college—and life! At the end of the semester, you’ll get a list of the standards met.

Our former Master Classes have been absorbed into this course, allowing the time and regularity to:

  • study significant narratives and poetry in depth
  • analyze different expressions of similar ideas, e.g. through music, film, and art
  • engage with important ideas to understand the impact of American history
  • gain essential composition skills every week
  • write at least one full-length essay every semester

See the reading list for Foundations below.

Hours: 9am – 11am  (The after-class tutoring option is from 11am-noon)

Fall Dates:

Coming soon!

Spring Dates:

Coming soon!

See the course schedule for last year’s Foundations course, below.

LIsa Craddock LitWits instructor English courses and writing camps

Instructor:  We couldn’t ask for a more qualified, enthusiastic, teen-savvy teacher for these two important courses than our wonderful Mrs. C.! Lisa Craddock holds BAs in Literature and Theatre, and a Master of Humanities in Film Studies with a concentration in Rhetoric (the art of speaking and writing effectively).  She has taught classes in literature, composition, and film for the University of Colorado, and her scholarship, essays, poetry, and plays have appeared in a variety of literary and academic venues.

Lisa considers it a privilege to homeschool her own four children, avid fans of LitWits since its beginning.  She’s led many educational events for the homeschool community, helping young readers understand themselves and the world through “living books.”  We’re so proud to have her on our team! We know she’ll help your teens grasp great big ideas and gain skills they’ll never forget.

Cost:  Each semester-length course is $395. The tutoring options are $490 for the semester.  Single tutoring sessions are available by arrangement for $45/hour.

LitWits is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove Charter School.

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel at least 30 days before the first day of class, we’ll be happy to issue a full refund. Within 30 days we’ll refund 50%, as we’ve incurred per-child costs by then. Unfortunately, we can no longer offer makeups.





The course plan will be finalized at the beginning of the semester, but the schedule below reflects the quality and significance of the titles and ideas we will work with this semester.

Fall 2019: The Origins of Narrative

UNIT ONE: Rooted in Conflict

Week One: 8/29          Myths and Sacred Stories: Multi-cultural narratives of Creation, Fall, and Redemption, and The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

Week Two: 9/5            Fables and Fairy Tales: Aesop’s fables, trickster tales (Native American, African American, Eastern European), the Grimm brothers, Animal Farm

Week Three: 9/12        The Quest: The Odyssey, Star Wars (1977)

(No Class 9/19)

Week Four: 9/26         Overcoming the Monster: The Greek myth of Perseus, The War of the Worlds

UNIT TWO: Knowing, Understanding, Being & Becoming

Week Five: 10/3          Voyage and Return: The Greek myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, The Neverending Story (1984)

Week Six: 10/10          Rags to Riches: Cinderella around the world

Week Seven: 10/17     Rags to Riches Pt.2: The Cinderella project

Week Eight: 10/24      Comedy: Much Ado About Nothing

Week Nine: 10/31       Comedy Pt. 2: Emma

Week Ten: 11/7           Tragedy: Romeo & Juliet

Week Eleven: 11/14    Tragedy Pt. 2: The Greek myth of Icarus, The Snow Goose, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

UNIT THREE: The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Week Twelve: 11/21   Rebirth: A Christmas Carol

Week Thirteen: 12/5

Week Fourteen: 12/12

Spring 2020: Uniquely American Narratives

UNIT ONE: Difference and Destiny–America’s Origin Stories

Week One: 1/30          Great American Myths: The Musical 1776, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (excerpts), George Washington

Week Two: 2/6            Slave Narratives: The Uncle Remus Tales, Mules & Men (excerpts), spirituals

Week Three: 2/13        Slave Narratives Pt. 2: 12 Years a Slave (excerpts), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (excerpts)

Week Four: 2/20         The Abolitionist Narrative: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Week Five: 2/27          American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale: Pocahontas, Annie Oakley, The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)

UNIT TWO: The American Imagination—Journey of Transformation

Week Six: 3/5              Overcoming the Monster: Moby Dick (graphic novel—teacher will provide)

Week Seven: 3/12       Rags to Riches: The Gold Rush (1925), Rocky (1976), The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), The Blind Side (2009)

(No Class 3/19)

Week Eight: 3/26        The Quest: Roughing It (excerpts), Travels with Charley (excerpts), Into the Wild (excerpt)

Week Nine: 4/2           Voyage and Return: The Old Man and the SeaApollo 13 (1995)

(No Class 4/9)

Week Ten: 4/16           Tragedy & Comedy: West Side Story (1961), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966)

UNIT THREE: How We Envision Our Own Stories

Week Eleven: 4/23      Rebirth: Dandelion Wine

Week Twelve: 4/30     How Will America’s Story End?: Fahrenheit 451

Week Thirteen: 5/7      The Great American Hero

Week Fourteen: 5/14   Writing Our Own Story: The Outsiders