HSLDA Online Academy | English Literature and Composition
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English Literature and Composition

Master Teacher:  Steven Hake, PhD

Steven HakeMaster Teacher

Steven Hake, PhD

PhD, Binghamton University
MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary
BA, Colby College; MA, Yale University

Steven Hake is a professor of literature at Patrick Henry College and chairman of the Department of Classical Liberal Arts. He was the director of Rivendell Study Center in northern Pennsylvania for four years prior to coming to PHC. He was a tent-making missionary to Taiwan for almost 20 years prior to that (1977–1996), teaching English literature in a large Chinese university for most of that time.

Dr. and Mrs. Hake have been married a long time, have nine children, and many grandchildren. They are veteran homeschoolers. Dr. Hake is an avid reader and enjoys learning languages as a hobby. He regularly reads (with widely varying degrees of fluency!) the Bible in ten languages. He is also an enthusiastic backpacker and sailor.

He is praying for a Christian Renaissance, and believes that we need to read the great books in order that we may write them. He is also praying that God will bless Patrick Henry College with a culture of discipleship, disciple making, and outreach to our neighbors locally.

Dr. Hake has worked with HSLDA Online Academy since 2009.

Classroom Teacher:  Emily-Rose Cockerham

Emily-Rose CockerhamMaster Teacher: English 2
Classroom Teacher: AP® English Literature & Composition

Emily-Rose Cockerham

BA, Patrick Henry College

Emily-Rose Cockerham graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2008 with a BA in literature. During her four years of on-campus education she had the privilege of learning from some truly brilliant teachers, including Dr. Steven Hake and Dr. Gene Edward Veith. These teachers gave her the opportunity to learn to write in a number of different venues and styles including analysis, novellas, poetry, and radio drama. During her junior year, she had the opportunity to mentor young high school writers—a vocation she continued until her graduation.

Since graduation, Emily-Rose has continued both to self-educate and to help train high school students in her hometown. She has taught several courses in worldviews in literature, as well as serving as an editor for writings varying from young adult novels to doctoral theses.

As she prepares lessons for her students, Emily-Rose enjoys the chance to grapple with great authors and share her enthusiasm for literature with others. She looks forward to learning something new from her students.

Emily-Rose lives in Columbia, South Carolina, where she is seeking to serve and grow in God as she walks the daily adventure of life in faith.

She has been teaching with the Academy since 2013.

Classroom Teacher:  Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

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).

He has been teaching with the Academy since 2013.

Classroom Teacher:  Rebecca Johnston

Rebecca JohnstonClassroom Teacher

Rebecca Johnston

MS, University of Texas at Tyler
Southern New Hampshire University

Rebecca Johnston was raised in a conservative military family in upstate New York. She graduated high school as a homeschool student before she attended Calvary Chapel Bible College and married the love of her life. Rebecca and her husband served on the mission field in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Puerto Rico before settling back into the continental United States to raise their growing family. Her four children have been homeschooled from the beginning.

As her children began entering high school, Rebecca made the decision to go back to school. She finished her bachelor’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University and immediately went on for her masters of English at the University of Texas at Tyler. Her older two children are now graduated, with one serving in the Marines and the other attending college. Rebecca’s experience as a homeschool parent has given her a passion for teaching homeschool students and an understanding of different learning styles and challenges.

Rebecca’s favorite authors are Shakespeare and Hemingway. She has traveled to England to see Shakespeare’s plays performed in the Globe Theatre as well as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. She has also researched Hemingway in Italy and Slovenia, thanks in part to a fellowship from the Hemingway Society.

Currently Rebecca is teaching at a local community college and homeschooling her remaining children. She is excited to pass on a love of literature to the next generation of homeschoolers.

She 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: 12th grade level.
Early Registration Tuition (ends 3/21): $525 $625 for HSLDA Members/$625 $725 for non-members.  

Description: AP® English Literature and Composition introduces students to the essentials of literary study and good writing. Students read literary classics from several genres and time periods, discuss the ideas they raise, learn to appreciate literary artistry, and hone their writing skills.
Watch a short introduction from Course Developer Dr. Steven Hake.

AP® English Literature and Composition
Live Online Class Session Schedule,
August 27, 2018 - April 29, 2019

Class Section

Weekly Meeting Time


Section 1
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Eastern

Mr. Caleb Nelson 

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

Mrs. Rebecca Johnston

Section 3
Wednesdays, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Eastern

Ms. Emily-Rose Cockerham

ALL Sections Periodic Combined Sessions: TBA
Combined class sessions take place 3-4 times per semester and are recorded for later viewing.
Additional class times may be added to the schedule later in the registration period. If you have questions, please call 540-338-8290 or email academy@hslda.org.

Frequently Asked Questions about
AP® English Literature and Composition

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  • What topics will I learn about in English Literature and Composition?

    English Literature and Composition will introduce students to the basic elements of literary study and good writing. Together we will read representative masterworks from classical times to the present. These works will be vigorously discussed both orally and in writing. In addition, students will write several papers about these works, receiving detailed feedback from each other and from the instructors.

    Christianity is a profoundly literary religion, and some of the greatest literary works of all time are found in the Bible. As such, it works very well to approach both our reading and our writing from a biblical worldview. By analyzing the artistic qualities of great works, we will come to understand and appreciate them more deeply. It is hoped that students will grow as lifelong readers of great literature, and some may even go on to write it.

    Course objectives include:

    • Become familiar with the classical and medieval backgrounds to English literature.
    • Become familiar with the major literary epochs, gaining a deeper understanding of our cultural heritage.
    • Better understand the major types of literature: poetry, drama, and narrative.
    • Learn important literary terms, and be able to analyze the various aspects of literary art or craftsmanship.
    • Learn through practice the fundamentals of classical rhetoric (rich content, logical organization, effective style, specific word choice), thus gaining confidence in writing.

    By the end of the course, outstanding students will be prepared for upper-division college courses in literature including British Literature, American Literature, Literary Theory and Criticism, Poetry, Drama, and the Novel.

  • How much homework is in English Literature and Composition?

    AP® English Literature and Composition is a rigorous, college-level course. We estimate that the course workload will take 10+ hours per week.

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

    • 60–90 minutes of live class instruction
    • ~70 pages of reading
    • 3 posts in literature discussion forum
    • Grammar quiz or AP practice quiz

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

    • Recorded audio lecture to introduce each unit
    • 2 dramatic recitations
    • 3 personal reflection papers
    • 6 literary analysis essays, with peer and teacher feedback
    • Capstone paper
    • 3 timed writings based on AP prompts
    • 4 full-length practice AP exams
    • Cumulative midterm exam & final exam
  • What books will I use in English Literature and Composition?

    The official AP® English Literature and Composition 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 Literature and Composition?

    This is a rigorous, college-level course. To succeed, students should already have strong reading and writing skills. HSLDA Online Academy recommends that students complete at least one high school English course at an advanced or honors level before enrolling. Please visit the College Board page about AP® English Literature and Composition for more information about the material and skills students will study in the course and will need to master for the AP® exam in this subject.

    Still have questions about whether you are ready for an AP® course? Please visit our Academic Readiness page for more information.

  • What if I have a schedule conflict with listed Literature and Composition 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 a Live Online Class Session in Literature and Composition?

    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.

    Please Note: In addition to meeting on a weekly basis with their classroom instructor, students from each class section will attend occasional extra live class sessions. Students will meet with Dr. Hake, the course Master Teacher, for a review session at the end of each course unit.

  • What is the tuition for English Literature and Composition?

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

    HSLDA members save $100 on yearlong AP® courses!