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Homeschool English Classes 2020
Thursdays at the North Shore YMCA,
Akoranga Drive Northcote


For Visual Arts classes please go here:

To register for English & Literature classes please complete the registration form at the bottom of the page and add your email below...
Email address *
The following classes are on offer in 2020...
Intermediate Writing Skills (ages 10 - 13 ) 10:00 - 10:45am
(NEW in 2020)

A writing class for students aged approximately 10 - 13 years, focusing on developing student writing confidence and competence.

Students will learn about language features and how they are used in writing as well as learning about writing style and structure. They will then apply their learning of these things to writing tasks designed to appeal to a broad range of interests. This will include learning to write effective sentences and paragraphs, building up longer compositions such as beginner level essays of 3 - 5 paragraphs.

The goal is for students to gain the skills, techniques and understanding needed to become confident and competent writers.

This will involve one 45-minute class each week with a small amount of homework as a follow-up to each class.

Parents are welcome to sit in and support their child as needed.

The content is aimed at students who would typically be in years 7 - 8 if in school, and working at levels 3 - 4 of the NZ curriculum for writing.

See examples here:

Level 3:

Level 4:

However, there are a few prerequisites for joining this class...

They should be able to sit still and listen in a class of 10 - 15 students.
They should be able to follow basic written or verbal instructions.
They should be able to answer some basic reading comprehension questions about a short passage of writing. (EG: What words did the author use to describe the clown?)
They should be able to focus on completing in-class activities without disrupting others in the class.
They should be able to work cooperatively with other students to complete group or pairs activities.
They should be able to produce a piece of writing such as the one on the link below.
They should have a basic understanding of what nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are and how to use them in a sentence.
They should know how to punctuate different types of sentences.

If you would like your child to have a go at this class and they are aged 10 - 13 and the above requirements apply to them, please register by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
Foundation English Skills Yrs 9 - 11 (Ages 13+) 10:45 - 11:45
NEW in 2020

This class is for students aged 13+ who would like to broaden their writing experience and gain confidence in the study of literature and communicating ideas in writing.

Students will be introduced to different styles of essay writing and will study a selection of highly regarded literature suited to ages 12 - 16 and approved as level 1 texts. The texts studied all look at divisive issues in society experienced by the innocent young protagonists with settings from the late 1800's through to Post War 20th Century and even include a futuristic dystopian setting. All the texts to be studied have proved popular with this age group many times over and have sufficient depth to be highly educational too.

Through the study of these texts students will learn to formulate opinions and express their understanding of the ideas expressed in the text in a formal writing context.

The writing skills that students will develop include:

Language features
Sentence structure
Paragraph Writing
Essay writing, style and structure
Literary Analysis Writing
Personal response Writing
Research report writing
Creative Writing

The texts to be studied in 2020 include:

1) Stones for my Father:
Set in the late 1800's, this novel give us a glimpse into the Boer Wars of South Africa and the issues that surrounded them through the eyes of a 13 year old protagonist.

2) Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry:
A Newberry Award winning novel by Mildred D. Taylor set in the Southern states of America during the Great Depression and Jim Crow era of the 1930's. This novel explores life in southern Mississippi and the prejudice and racism experienced by the African American people living there at that time, narrated by 10 year old protagonist Cassie Logan.

3) A Night Divided:
Written by bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen, This novel is set in East Germany during the early 1960's and looks at life behind the Berlin Wall through the eyes of 12 year old Gerta. With the secret construction of the Berlin Wall overnight, Gerta and her family are suddenly divided with her father and brother on one side of the wall, while she, her mother and older brother are stuck behind the wall in East Berlin contemplating whether or not escape is a worthwhile risk.

4) Animal Farm:
First published in 1945, this allegorical novel by George Orwell tells the story of a group of animals who work to overthrow their human lead (the farmer). The intention of the animals is to create a society where they can be equal, free, and happy. However, the outcome of their rebellion ends up being vastly different than they intended. The storyline of this book deliberately reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union a period of Russian history that author George Orwell was highly critical of.

5) The Giver
Another Newberry awarding winning novel and a favourite of many, this dystopian novel looks at the "what if's" of a futuristic society and what happens when the government removes all the differences that they feel divide people and thus negatively impact on the harmony and order of society to create their own utopia. Through the eyes of the 12 year old protagonist the reader begins to imagine for themselves "What if this really happened?" while coming to value the differences that make each of us unique.

In addition to these novel studies and the related writing tasks to be covered in terms 1 - 3, in term 4 we will also explore the use of visual/verbal and oral communication to convey ideas and viewpoints to an intended audience.
Senior English, Literature and Composition (Ages 15+) 12:45pm - 1:45pm
An English, Literature and Composition class aligned with NCEA Levels 1 and 2 English. This class is best suited to those who have some basic essay writing experience and would like to tackle slightly more challenging texts approved at level 1 and 2. This course is best undertaken across a full year as each term deliberately builds on the skills, concepts and understanding addressed in the previous terms to make up a full year of English, Literature and Composition studies.

Although a stand alone course suited to all students, the content has been aligned with a selection of NCEA level 1 and 2 achievement standards to support those working towards NCEA. However, it is also approved for credits towards the CENZ Certificate through Home-Schooling NZ. Past students have achieved very well in both these pathways with most NCEA students earning Merits and Excellences for their work.

Term 1:
1) Text Study 1: Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands
2) Personal response Writing – own text choices.

Term 2:
1) Poetry Studies: Maya Angelou
2) Text Study 2: Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Term 3:
1) The Comparative Essay – Looking at thematic connections between studied and self-chosen texts.
2) Information Literacy skills: Researching and writing a research report

Term 4:
The Power of Persuasion: Visual/Verbal Presentations - Looking at different forms of visual texts and how they can be used to persuasively communicate an idea using visual and verbal language.

This class was very popular in 2019 with many students indicating they will be returning in 2020, spaces are therefore limited. Please register your interest sooner, rather than later.

Parent & Student Feedback:
"Nina's flexible and encouraging approach gave [our daughter] the courage to take the leap into NCEA Level 3 English. Her prompt responses and feedback and generous gift of time dedicated to [our daughter's] learning was second-to-none and has meant she has achieved to a high level" Suzanne (Parent)

“I loved being part of Nina's (Senior L1 - 2) English class this year. She helped me a lot, and the classes were easy to understand and very helpful. Being part of her class has definitely helped improve my writing skills, and inspired me to write well.” (Abby L1)

"Nina has been such an incredible help to me this year and has made understanding NCEA level 3 English so much easier. She has put in so much extra time and her feedback is always super prompt, detailed, clear and helpful. I couldn't have done it without her!" (Olivia L3)
Visual Arts Classes Here:
For Visual Arts classes please go here:
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