What's the best way to know if a class is right for my child?
Please observe a class before the middle of May! You and any visitor can quietly drop into one of Margaret's classes at any time, without previous permission. You can find the current schedule and location of classes at 2012-13 CLASSES more
What's the best way to know if a class is right for my child?
Please observe a class before the middle of May! You and any visitor can quietly drop into one of Margaret's classes at any time, without previous permission. You can find the current schedule and location of classes at 2012-13 CLASSES. You are also invited to meet Margaret personally through a panel discussion, open house, or personal appointment at a library or over coffee. Visit the CONNECT page.
Can a parent add work in to make one of Margaret's classes an ''Honors Class''?
Certainly. There are many options, such as classes from online or college lecture series, additional grammar and writing exercises, additional outside reading, and attendance at pertinent events in town. There is no standard for what an honors designation should represent, so a parent can either take Margaret's grade reports and course descriptions and augment them with an addendum, or can work with Margaret to put a course description together that meets the approval of both the parent/teacher and Margaret. Since Margaret focuses more on Advanced Placement to upgrade classes, a change to an honors designation should be initiated by the parent, who can suit her student's needs the best.
What is the difference between AP English Literature and Composition and AP English Language and Composition?
AP Literature employs a traditional approach to fiction, using literary analysis tools to determine theme and style of poetry, short stories, novels and so forth. This is how most of us as adults were taught to study our literature in school. AP Language takes a rhetorical approach to discovering how nonfiction is persuasive—not just what is being proposed or inferred, but how it is indeed acting on us. It's a fascinating study, and students are using this approach daily in real life, whether confronted with advertising, religious messages, movies, debates, or podcasts, to name a few examples. Margaret has found homeschool students very good at rhetorical discernment, given a focused environment to practice their analysis skills. AP Lang can make our students better writers, thinkers, and speakers, and subjects such as debate, mock trial, and Model UN can make students excellent AP Lang students. Having tutored a GSU student for two years, Margaret sees that the AP Lang approach is useful in not only college English but most of the subjects covered in core classes. If students do well on the AP exam, even in the 10th grade, they can exempt out of a core college English class. In any case, they get valuable tools for assessing how they are being persuaded by their worlds.
What is Margaret's theory of teaching writing and grammar?
Following the lead of Mina Shaughnessy and others in the writing theory wave Margaret encountered in grad school, she has adopted the theory that every student has a self-created, logical approach to writing rules and style; however, individual logic does not always line up with Standard American English. At the high school level, it is then helpful to determine how students “don’t line up” with what is acceptable writing. Rather than having students do exercises in workbooks and learn patterns of paragraph and essay structure that may not be natural to individual students, an instructor is charged with studying actual student work, rather like a doctor looks at symptoms of illness. Then the teacher formulates activities and materials designed to bring a student or student group in line with the standard expected. Students learn, with some measure of intellectual dignity, how to adapt their own writing styles to the standard.
What are Margaret’s qualifications to teach language arts?
Though Margaret started at Berry College with the intention of becoming a pharmacist in grad school, she ended with a secondary English education major and renewable, 7-12 GA teaching certificate. She went on to get a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, OH, in speech and theatre, taking also graduate level courses in literature and theories of teaching writing. Since graduation, she has taught in two public schools, two private schools, and in the home education world. The College Board has officially approved Margaret to teach both AP Literature and Language, and has hired her to score SAT essays. She has also led seminars in drama, AP English, speech, and writing at professional development conferences.
How does Margaret accommodate special needs students?
She loves to work with families. Parents often know best how their students react to a learning environment, so a meeting time between teacher and parent can form a partnership that will benefit both parties, especially the student. The adults can agree on the level of involvement of the parent in coursework, and set healthy goals for the student. Students in Margaret's classes have been previously diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, vision impairment, audio processing issues, cerebral palsy, heart ailments, depression, disabling allergies, and other situations. Homeschooling partnerships between parents and teacher can create good environments to grow up students—adults can gather information and decide whether a class is a good plan for a student and fellow class members.
What does she offer gifted students?
All of Margaret’s classes can challenge students in some way. There are seniors in Speech/Comp each year, some of which have already had an AP course, for example. They study the same skills as freshman, but can work to a higher level if warranted. There is always interesting work that can be done, if a student is not feeling challenged. Summer reading provides a good opportunity for some students to add to curriculum, and AP courses are designed to challenge all.
How much homework is given? How many hours per week does it take?
AP students have the most homework, needing to work independently about 4-5 hours a week outside of class. British Lit and Speech/Comp students may spend 2-3 hours outside, with Contemp Lit requiring at least an extra hour per week (for 1.5 credits per year).
Does Margaret give discounts on class fees?
What are the benefits of Advanced Placement classes?
Students often get 5-10 pts added to their GPA course value for an AP class. (To have “AP” on one’s transcript, your instructor must be approved by the College Board.) Students also have the opportunity to sit for AP exams given only in May. Though the test is not required for one to receive class credit, and one does not need to take an AP class to take an AP exam, an exam with a good score can reward students course credit in college. A talk with college representatives or a look at a college website can determine how valuable AP classes and tests may be for a student.
Where do we get textbooks?
Margaret has selected quality, used textbooks that can be found on the Internet for purchase at a good price. You will find ISBN numbers in course descriptions.
What are DOE course numbers?
The GA Department of Education assigns course numbers to public school classes. Many accredited homeschool programs also use these numbers. You can find a complete list online.
Can I rename a class?
Yes—that is your right as the lead teacher in your child’s education, if the course information suits another name better. Margaret can adjust the name of a class on her grade reports for your student.
Does Margaret grade papers and give tests?
Yes. As a college prep class suitable for a transcript, a course usually needs grades assigned at some point. Margaret’s academic work was in traditional schooling, and she has continued the pattern of giving semester and yearly averages, based on plenty of assignments graded and returned weekly. As for tests, literature classes provide the student experience in taking tests as a group, often writing out answers for practice of college-style evaluations.
Is there a dress and behavior code?
Each location/program has its own expectations.
What do you think of joint- and dual-enrollment?
Some parents like to move their students into the college environment earlier than their peers. Margaret questions whether this is always good. Given the quality of instructors in many teaching groups such as LAC, one would be hard-pressed to find better teachers in freshman college classes, or better peer students to study alongside. It’s always best to visit classes before one enrolls in them, and not presume that college is best, especially when one can test out of college classes and still receive credit.
Margaret homeschooled her own son, K-12. Would she do that again? How is he doing in college?
Yes, she has loved the experience, perhaps learning more than her son! Perry Shuman, now in the College of Computing at GA Tech, is doing well academically and socially. He welcomes visitors if anyone would like to sit in on classes or spend the night in the dorm. He is an RA on a freshman honors male hall.
Margaret's classes meet in churches, and I hear she is a Christian. How does that play out in the classroom?
Margaret and her fellow teachers are Christians, though they come from different Christian churches. Many of her students are Christians, belonging to over 50 different churches at last count, but some of her students and families are not Christian and come from either a different faith group or are not sure about the actual existence of faith and God. Margaret does not have a "Christian format" for her classes, as in starting the class with verbal prayer or writing Scripture on the board. Coming from a variety of secular teaching environments and her own mostly public/secular education, Margaret values the ability to share her beliefs on many issues with honesty and conviction derived from her relationship with Jesus Christ. She wants all of her students to be comfortable in knowing each can share his views on paper and verbally in class without being judged, and also be on a walk toward finding truth but not "there yet." She believes that God is powerful to reach into a person's life at any moment if he or she is asking questions, whether acting religiously or not. Margaret's goal is to create an environment that is respectful of where each student is in regard to relationship with Christ.