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Course name
High School Simplified Writing 1: Strong Foundational Writing Skills (HS 9-2) with Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA
Recorded course taught by Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA, Bonnie Donlon, Aubrey Heki, Sharon Hamric-Weis High School 9 Series: Essential & Simplified Writing

Make your writing strong & clear — and master the most critical foundations needed for excellent high school writing, including writing for an audience and purpose, perfecting word choice, strong sentences & paragraphs, linear writing, rhetoric, transitions, and more.

Take the 9-1 course with this course to gain a full semester’s credit for writing.

Instructor Access (optional grading support) is available for Unlimited Access or Single Access
See the sidebar to the left for signup information! Scroll down to read the biography of each instructor.  

How to get the most out of the High School Simplified Writing 1: Strong Foundational Writing Skills (HS 9-2) course:

  • Read the course details below.

  • Prepare a notebook for notetaking and homework. Students -- be sure to take notes during class!

  • Students, begin the course by:

    • LIVE CLASS Students - Coming to the first live Class session on the scheduled date and time.

    • Unlimited Access / Recorded Students - Clicking on the "Recording" and watching Professor Brown’s lecture for Class One.

  • Review any supplemental materials (videos or readings)

  • Complete any Quiz(zes) or homework assignments. The computer will automatically grade the quiz.

    • *Note* If taking the course in Recorded format, the quiz will reset if someone else in the family takes it, so make sure the grade is recorded by a parent.

  • If you need to review, watch the recording and/or go over the PowerPoint again.

  • Repeat until all 8 classes are complete.

  • Once the course is completed to the parent's satisfaction, there is a Certificate of Completion at the end of this page (to be filled in for your records). Homeschool Connections does not provide record-keeping

Special notes: This is the second of a 4-part series. Continue with the HS 9 Series (9-3 and 9-4) for a full year’s credit for writing.

Total Classes: 8


Prerequisite: Required: Registered for Writing Essentials 1: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I (HS 9-1). Because courses in the program are sequential, for your student’s success, it is required that your student take the 9-1 course before enrolling in this course. Students will be held accountable for all of the punctuation and grammar taught in the previous course. If your student is unable to take the previous courses LIVE, then at a minimum, he or she can watch the recordings on Unlimited Access before taking this course. An alternative to the prerequisite: a passing assessment from the Aquinas Writing Advantage Assessment service. Please contact homeschoolconnections@gmail.com for any questions on permissions.

Suggested Grade Level: 9th grade; however, all high school students are welcome.

Suggested Credit: One-half (½) of a semester’s credit for Writing or English.

Combine with High School Writing Essentials 1: Essential Punctuation & Grammar I (HS 9-1) for one (1) full semester’s credit. When combined with the 9-1 course, this course is worth one (1) full semester’s credit for writing.

Instructor: Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA

Email: ebconroy@homeschoolconnections.com

Course Description: In this foundational course, you can gain the skills that make writing strong and clear, lacking nothing—to articulate ideas well in writing for all of high-school-level work. The most important foundations of high school writing are introduced and discussed, and students learn the keys to perfecting strong sentences and paragraphs; learn nine basic forms of rhetoric; focus on linear academic writing for a purpose; practice transitions and connectives, parallelism, paraphrasing, and summary; review punctuation as it influences excellence in writing (comma, semicolon, colon, and dash use); learn how to recognize and correct common grammar struggles; understand the characteristics of an effective introduction, body, and conclusion; learn prewriting, drafting, and editing skills; and practice sculpting a piece of writing with direction, receiving specific feedback from the instructor.

Course Outline

Class 1: Audience, purpose, and word choice

Class 2: Perfecting strong sentence and paragraph construction

Class 3: Nine forms of rhetoric (and what they have to do with great writing)

Class 4: Linear writing for a purpose; more how-to’s for crafting strong sentences and paragraphs

Class 5: How to use transitions, connectives, and parallelism to make writing cohesive

Class 6: Punctuation and excellent writing: the comma, colon, semicolon, and dash; conquering common punctuation struggles

Class 7: Key components of an essay/paper; the introduction, body, conclusion, hook, and thesis; prewriting for success

Class 8: Drafting for success; editing and polishing your writing


Course Materials
REQUIRED BOOK: Get the book Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Success by Erin Brown Conroy (aka Erin M. Brown/EB Conroy). Buy the hard copy of the book here: http://amzn.to/2FMCose
OR buy the Kindle version of the book here (Download the FREE Kindle app to easily read on your computer, tablet, or mobile device): www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00B7AB90W/catholictreas-20

All documents must be submitted in this course (and all of the 9 Series courses) via Microsoft Word OR have the ability to convert a document to a Microsoft Word document (if you do not own Microsoft Word, you can use a system such as Google Docs that converts to Word documents FREE). Again, all documents must be uploaded in a Word document.


Homework: LIVE and Instructor Access students will have weekly writing assignments with grading and direct feedback from the instructor (parents will grade Recorded students’ work). Expect an estimated two (2) to four (4) hours per week for homework outside of class time, depending on the student’s ability; homework includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

©2012-2024 Homeschool Connections and Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA (aka author Erin Brown Conroy/E. B. Conroy). All rights reserved.

This course is designed by Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA.

  • This material is only to be used for its intended purpose by active subscribers of Homeschool Connections. Any other use without explicit permission is in violation of the seventh commandment (yes, the 7th commandment) and in violation of US and International copyright laws.

  • You may print or download to local hard disk extracts for your personal homeschool and non-commercial use only. This is not to be used for homeschool co-ops without express written permission from Homeschool Connections.


FOR TECHNICAL ISSUES, please contact Zoom at US: +1.888.799.9666 ext 2.

Course name
High School Simplified Writing 1: Strong Foundational Writing Skills (HS 9-2) with Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA
Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA, Bonnie Donlon, Aubrey Heki, Sharon Hamric-Weis
Writing ➤ 9 Series: Essential & Simplified Writing
Grade level
High School
Course type
Recorded, free with subscription
Start time
September 1st, 2023 at 12:00 AM ET
Relative due dates
Relative due dates are disabled for this course.

About Erin Brown

Professor Brown has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing/Genre Fiction (terminal degree in writing) from Western Colorado University, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Rehabilitation, and a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in Education from Western Michigan University. Professor Brown was a homeschooling parent for 34 years and homeschooled 10 children. She lives in Michigan and enjoys writing Science Fiction and Fantasy books in coffee shops, speaking online and at conferences, and walking her dogs.

Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA, is the creator and Director of the Aquinas Writing Advantage program. She is the author of nine books (including Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Writing Success) and has been a professional author, editor, and university professor for over 30 years.
Erin designed the online writing program for three universities and taught at Patrick Henry College (writing, research); Cornerstone University (multiple writing courses, interpersonal communication, management and leadership, and critical thinking); and led the General Education Communications curriculum development (writing, communications, critical thinking) for Western Governors University.

Click here for more info about Erin Brown!

Mrs. Bonnie Donlon earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Literature from the University of Virginia. She taught writing at the Charlottesville Writing Center summer camp, then taught multiple subjects at The Covenant School in Charlottesville, Virginia, with Pre-K through 4th-grade students, including reading and writing in the classroom and in the after school programs. Mrs. Donlon also co-taught with her husband for the elementary level religious education program at St. Thomas Aquinas parish. When not teaching and grading student work, Mrs. Donlon enjoys reading, exploring the natural world with her son, and spending time with her extended family, including her sister-in-law, Mrs. Eleanor Nicholson, who is the High School Victorian Literature Instructor for Homeschool Connections.

Click here for more information about Bonnie Donlon!

Aubrey Heki, BA lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and four daughters, ranging from middle school to toddlerhood. She holds a bachelor's degree in Political Theory from Patrick Henry College, a classical liberal arts school in VA. She has eight years of experience as a writing instructor, Assistant Lead Director of an online writing program, freelance editor, and Writing Assessment Coordinator with Homeschool Connections. She has also held a key administrative position in a private school for nearly three years. As the Managing Director of Aquinas Writing Advantage (AWA) for the past two years, she guides the day-to-day operations, supporting both AWA teachers and parents. One of her favorite pastimes is drinking a hot coffee paired with a baked treat while reading. She enjoys relaxing with family and friends, baking sourdough bread, and reading to her children. Click here for more info about Aubrey Heki!

About Sharon Hamric-Weis

During her last year of teaching, Mrs. Hamric-Weis converted to the Catholic Church and was confirmed. Upon her acceptance to the Dickinson School of Law, she and her husband relocated to her home state of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Hamric-Weis practiced law as Assistant Counsel for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and has been published in the Dickinson Journal of International Law, as well as working as a decision writer for the Pennsylvania Board of Workers’ Compensation.

After working in law, Mrs. Hamric-Weis left her employment to raise her children and homeschool for several years before returning to work as a paraprofessional teaching and caring for a student with multiple disabilities.

She is happy to be homeschooling her three children and teaching the advanced writing courses for Homeschool Connections.

Click here to learn more about Sharon Weis!

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