HSLDA Online Academy | English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing

English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing

Master Teacher:  Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson, High School Classroom Teacher for English

Master Teacher: English 1
Classroom Teacher: AP® English Literature & Composition

Caleb Nelson


MDiv, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
MA, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
BA, Patrick Henry College

Caleb, the eldest of eleven children, was brought up by hand on a sheep ranch in Northern Colorado. By age six he was devouring Reader’s Digest and Smithsonian each month and was already manifesting an active dislike for any book which sported the hateful word “abridged” on its cover. His mother knew literature would feature prominently in his future when, at age twelve, he read and then reread The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

During a rigorous three-and-one-half years at Patrick Henry College, Caleb’s literary horizons expanded by leaps and bounds, particularly when he snagged a book-reviewing job at WORLD magazine. He studied the greatest literature ever penned, God's word, at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in South Carolina.

Caleb currently pastors Harvest Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Gillette, Wyoming, where he and his wife Alexa live with their three children. His prayer is that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in his students and congregants, and they in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:12).

Caleb has been teaching with the Academy since 2013.

Classroom Teacher:  Katie Segesdy

Katie Segesdy

Classroom Teacher

Katie Segesdy

BS, Patrick Henry College

Katie Segesdy is a recent graduate of Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Literature and a minor in Pedagogy. From a young age, she was passionate about teaching, a passion confirmed through her teaching experiences. She particularly enjoys seeking God’s truth in great works of literature and making connections with her faith in each story she reads.

Katie has taught high school literature and grammar studies at a classical Christian co-op and assisted in teaching middle school history at a private Christian school. Her favorite part of teaching is watching her students light up when they make a connection between what they are reading and something they have learned in a different class, at church, or in their daily lives. Her desire is that her students would walk away from her classes with a deeper appreciation of the beauty, truth, and goodness of God that He has imbued His creation with and how literature is a door to understanding His character.

Katie has been teaching with the Academy since 2018.

Classroom Teacher:  Sara McGahey

Sara Battle McGahey, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Sara McGahey

BS, The Georgia Institute of Technology

Sara, an avid reader and learner, began pursuing her intense study of the English language fifteen years ago as a homeschooling mother.  Since starting this endeavor, Sara has taught English to homeschool and private school students using a variety of curricula including two years teaching online. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her love of literature, writing, and English grammar and come alongside parents as they lay a foundation of biblical truth in the lives of their children

Serving as both the director of a local co-op and a support manager for other directors, she delighted in training, counseling, and exhorting others in the homeschool community both one-on-one and through speaking engagements.

Sara earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology.  She worked in the semiconductor industry as a designer before she turned her attention toward raising her family and homeschooling her five children, ranging from college to kindergarten. Mrs. McGahey now resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with her husband Jon and their five children.  She enjoys family activities, coffee, dark chocolate, and reading.

Sara has been teaching for the Academy since 2017.


Classroom Teacher:  Andrea Hardy

Andrea Hardy, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Andrea Hardy

BA, Providence College

Andrea Hardy earned her bachelor's degree in English literature and secondary education from Providence College. Following graduation, she pursued her passion for education and began teaching high school English in the Massachusetts public schools.

During her teaching career she has taught courses from 8th grade through 12th grade in a variety of subjects, from British literature to American studies. She designed and taught a new course in literacy to help students with their reading comprehension and firmly believes that reading helps students on the road to becoming great writers. She enjoys assisting students with the writing process and helped to start her school’s first writing center. Additionally, Andrea values civic participation among students and has overseen several service learning projects in her time as a classroom teacher.

In the last couple of years, Andrea has stepped away from teaching to start a family, but she continues to tutor part-time. She enjoys being home with her husband and two beautiful boys and spending her days playing at the park and at the library. Andrea loves reading both contemporary and classic literature. Some of her favorite books include Tess of D’urbervilles, Hamlet, and Gone with the Wind. She looks forward to discussing great literature and helping students to improve their writing this year.

Andrea has been teaching with the Academy since 2016.

Classroom Teacher:  Brittellen Luciano

Brittellen Luciano, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Brittellen Luciano

MA, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
BA, University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Brittellen Luciano earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts. While working at her graduate internship, she began teaching youth within the Department of Juvenile Justice and fell in love with teaching. Soon after, she began teaching high school English in Massachusetts before she and her husband felt called to move to Pensacola, Florida.

Brittellen continued her teaching career in Florida, working with at-risk youth and in ESE and regular education classrooms. She believes that all students have a voice and the ability to be great readers and writers. She sets high expectations for her students and enjoys guiding them in the process of meeting and exceeding both their course goals and their own personal goals. She loves being able to read and teach both the classics and the modern literature that she loved as a student.

Throughout her life, Brittellen has always had a love of reading. As a child, she could always be found with her nose in a book or writing her own stories. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching her kids play sports, curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee, baking, and going to the beach. She and her husband have four children, and she feels blessed to be able to stay home to raise and teach them while tutoring students and providing English classes and workshops for the homeschool community.

Brittellen has been teaching with the Academy since 2017.

Classroom Teacher:  Linda Davidson

Linda Davidson, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Linda Davidson

MA, Lancaster University (UK)
BA, San Francisco State University

Linda Davidson has been a teacher for the past seventeen years. She has taught in both brick-and-mortar public schools and online. Her passion is to teach the love of great literature to her students and to help them develop into strong writers. Linda hopes to one day read classic novels that were written by her favorite authors—her students. In the meantime, she has a particular fondness for British literature, including the marvelously moody Jane Eyre and the eerie Wuthering Heights. Linda’s favorite book of all time is the Bible, for its precepts and encouragement, as well as for its literary merit.

Linda loves to write for all purposes. She has written a full-length novel, several songs, and many short stories. She currently writes history and science pieces for educational websites. She is proud to homeschool her two children and enjoys watching them learn every day. In her very limited free time, Linda enjoys reading, watching movies from the 1930s and 1940s, listening to worship music, and playing the piano.

Linda has been teaching with the Academy since 2017.

Classroom Teacher:  Annika McKinney

Annika McKinney, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Annika McKinney

BA, University of Northern Colorado

Annika McKinney grew up on a farm in Northern Colorado. At an early age, she developed a love for books, music, and the land, and all of these impacted her view of the world. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in music and a minor in literature. Her studies convinced her that learning was her passion, and since then she’s taken that passion to new places.

In 2014, Annika married her husband Jared and spent a year in the wilds of Washington, D.C., teaching violin lessons to around 30 students. This teaching solidified what she learned at university and helped her become more empathetic with the needs of students and their parents. It was a great year, so after completing a teaching certification from Cambridge University, she decided to go even further afield and spend 2014-2015 in Beijing, China, teaching English to Chinese university students. Since then she's been to England and Singapore, and is happy to be back home in Colorado this year!

Annika also enjoys helping Americans learn to love great books and writing through HSLDA Online Academy.

Annika has been teaching with the Academy since 2015.

Classroom Teacher:  Allison Scheidegger

Allison Scheidegger, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Allison Scheidegger

BA, Patrick Henry College

Allison Scheidegger earned a literature major with a classics minor from Patrick Henry College. She has always loved taking things apart to find out how they work, and then putting them back together to be used anew. Language is the most exciting example of such functional beauty, so it makes sense that two of her favorite pastimes are learning languages and studying literature.

Allison has taught Latin in a co-op classroom setting and tutored it at the high school level. Of all her experiences tutoring and teaching, Allison’s favorite part has been showing students the wonders of language. Whether through the concise beauty of an ablative absolute in Latin or the fun of reading Dickens, she hopes to infect her students with awe at God’s amazing gift of language. She wants to give students the tools to understand and to creatively employ language.

Allison has been teaching with the Academy since 2017.

Duration: Yearlong course offered in fall/spring (32 weeks).
Suggested High School Credit Value: 1 credit.
Suggested Grade Level: 9th grade level and up.
Early Registration Tuition (ends 6/12): $475 $525 for HSLDA Members/$525 $575 for non-members. 

Description: In English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing, students learn to analyze literature, develop skills in writing essays, gain mastery over the basics of English grammar, and expand their vocabulary knowledge and usage. 

Watch a short introduction from Master Teacher Caleb Nelson.
Watch a sample clip of an Academy live class session.

English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing 
Live Online Class Session Schedule, August 27, 2018 
 April 26, 2019

Class Section

Weekly Meeting Time


Section 1
Closed–Section is Full
Mondays, 10:00–11:30 a.m. Eastern

Mrs. Sara McGahey

Section 2
Closed–Section is Full
Mondays, 12:30–1:30 p.m. Eastern

Mr. Caleb Nelson

Section 3 Mondays, 4:00–5:30 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Annika McKinney

Section 4 Tuesdays, 2:00–3:30 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Andrea Hardy

Section 5 Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Brittellen Luciano

Section 6 Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. –12:30 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Linda Davidson

Section 7 Tuesdays, 12:00–1:30 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Annika McKinney

Section 8 Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Ms. Allison Scheidegger

Section 9 TBA


Additional class times will be added as they become available for registration. If you have questions, please call 540-338-8290 or email academy@hslda.org.

Frequently Asked Questions about English 1

Open All | Close All

  • What topics will I learn about in English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing?

    English 1 is a two-semester Language Arts course covering literature, composition, grammar, and vocabulary. The goal of this course is to provide a solid foundation in Language Arts so that students can build on it in future studies.

    Students read seven major works of literature throughout the year, along with various shorter works. Discussions and writing assignments will help students examine literature from a biblical worldview, discover an author’s techniques and styles, and gain practice in analytical thinking and writing. The course also covers other types of writing, such as descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive. Activities such as peer group editing, collaborative learning groups, and recitations are built into the curriculum as well. The study of grammar includes parts of speech, sentence types, sentence diagramming, common writing errors, and punctuation. Finally, students will have a hearty dose of vocabulary study each week.

    Students who successfully complete this course will:

    • Become familiar with basic literary elements and terms,
    • Develop skills in analyzing literature by examining literary elements and techniques,
    • Develop skills in writing strong paragraphs with organization and purpose,
    • Develop skills in writing cohesive and coherent essays that answer the writing prompt,
    • Gain a basic understanding of the standard conventions of written English,
    • Expand their vocabulary knowledge and usage.

    This course is meant to help students improve their reading and writing skills, thus inspiring a greater appreciation of literature and composition in general.

  • How much homework is in English 1?

    We estimate that the course workload will take 5–10 hours per week.

    During a typical week in this course, students will complete the following coursework:

    • 60–90 minutes of live class instruction
    • ~20–30 pages of reading, guided by reading questions
    • ~5–10 pages grammar exercises
    • 5 pages of vocabulary exercises (every other week)
    • Discussion post and response
    • Various homework assignments or activities (vocabulary, writing, recitation, or grammar)

    Throughout the year, students will also complete the following tasks:

    • 7 literary works, including novels, plays, and poems
    • 7 literature tests
    • Quiz every few weeks
    • 2–3 short writing projects per semester
    • (This course does not include a research paper.)
  • What books will I use in English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing?

    The English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing booklist is now available. In the offical booklist, you will find information about the editions, book descriptions, and the reasons why HSLDA Online Academy selected these books.

    Starting June 2018, you can order your books for the 2018–19 academic year through HSLDA Online Academy’s bookstore.

    By purchasing your textbooks through the Academy’s bookstore, you may be eligible for Guaranteed Book Buyback. Please view the eligibility requirements to learn more about Guaranteed Book Buyback.

  • Am I ready to take English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing?

    Students need to be able to read and comprehend at a high school level. Please check the reading list to see the works we will be covering in English 1 to determine your student’s readiness. A student’s understanding of the reading material will become evident in his or her writing.

    We will be doing a fair amount of writing, but we will start from the beginning in terms of how to approach, prepare, and produce a final product. Although we will begin our study of writing with basic sentences and paragraphs, and then build into essays, students should already have had some practice in basic essay writing prior to taking this course.

    Still have questions if you are ready for a standard high school class? Please visit our Academic Readiness page for more information.

  • What is a Live Online Class Session in English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing?

    In every HSLDA Academy course, students meet weekly with their instructor and classmates in an online classroom for additional teaching, discussion, Q&A, or group activities. The class sessions are interactive and are conducted using a web meeting software with video, audio, chat, and application sharing capabilities.

    Scheduled, real-time sessions in the online classroom are not the only form of instruction available in a HSLDA Online Academy course, but are offered in addition to lectures or other instructional materials that students are able to access online at their convenience.

    When they register, students will need to select a particular class section and live class meeting time. Additional class sections may be added to the schedule at a later point in the course registration period. Registered students will be notified of any changes to the live session schedule.

  • What if I have a schedule conflict with listed English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing class times?

    All live class sessions are recorded for later viewing. While it is recommended that students attend each live class session, students can make arrangements with their instructors to watch the recordings and receive full participation credit.

    Students should contact their instructor at the start of their course to inform the instructor of any foreseen schedule conflicts.

  • What is the tuition for English 1: Exploring Literature & Writing?

    Please visit our tuition and discounts page for a full summary about course costs.

    HSLDA members save $50 on yearlong high school courses!