Summer 2017 Courses


Five Favorite Shakespeare Plays

Tuesdays - 9:45-11:20 am (Pacific Time)

Though students will write short synopses each week, the primary emphasis in this class is upon savoring the excellence of Shakespeare's writing through attentive reading and active discussion.  We will read one play each week and spend the class time remarking on such essentials as plot, characters, themes, writing style, meter, etc.  Our discussions will often center on those insightful lessons about human nature and life in a fallen world that Shakespeare offers his readers through his dramatic writings. 


Introduction to Logic

Wednesdays - 9:45-11:20 am (Pacific Time)

The benefit of the study of logic cannot be exaggerated.  As one grows older, it can feel at times--when one marvels at the glandular focus of much of American popular culture--that the mind is regarded today much like the appendix: as a feature of questionable function and value. When G.K. Chesterton said this: I am incurably convinced that the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid, I think that solid "something" is what we have always called "truth."  The study of logic is essentially an effort at training that truth-sensing tool God gave human beings--the mind--to know what truth tastes like. 


Five Weeks with Plutarch

Mondays - 9:30-11:00 am (Pacific Time)

As the foremost biographer of the great men of Antiquity, Plutarch (46-120 A.D.) wrote his Parallel Lives for the purpose of instruction.  In the process of writing--as it often happens--hecame to delight in the work for his own sake, and, as he says, began using "history as a mirror and endeavoring in a manner to fashion and adorn [his] life in conformity with the virtues therein depicted."  With such an express moral purpose, Plutarch's writings make directly profitable and fascinating reading.  Each student in this class will meet and scrutinize the lives of ten influential Greeks and Romans, including among others: Alexander, Caesar and Cicero.  


Grammar Essentials

Tuesdays - 8:00-9:35 am (Pacific Time)

Being my favorite and most difficult class in college, Grammar, like Wheaties, is the breakfast of champions.  As every mother knows, a good breakfast is an essential prelude to a good day.  Similarly, this brief five-week course promises to be a jentacular launch into the prandial wonders of essay and other writing.  For those students who are ever-living under the dread shadow of the Phantom of Too-Little-Grammar-Knowledge, this class provides every writer with quick doses of the essential vitamins and minerals: Parts of Speech (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.); Sentences and their Elements (phrases, clauses, etc.); and Punctuation (commas, semi-colons, parentheses, etc.). 


Essay-Writing Laboratory

Wednesdays - 8:00-9:30 am (Pacific Time)

The Essay-Writing Laboratory is a brief, five-week, online overview of the art of composing a solid five-paragraph essay. Like eager scientists, we will dissect and then identify the major structural elements in an essay. As we go, we will be reminded of the vital function of a solid paragraph. By the end of the sessions, each student will have composed an essay.

This class serves as a nice introduction to the year-long Writing the Essay course, or as a summary and review of that class. In addition, it should be helpful for those students struggling with the essay-writing process. 


Art and Literature

Mondays - 8:00-9:00 am (Pacific Time)

Often, good literature inspires beautiful art.  Some of the most treasured books for young readers are those that marry a thoughtful story with arresting illustrations.  

This class is designed for younger students, aged six to eleven, as an introduction to five books that are particularly memorable because of the distinctive quality of the art that adorns them.  Each week, our class discussions will center on both story and pictures.  Naturally, each week students get to read the books and create art in imitation of the illustrations.