HSLDA Online Academy | Foundations in Writing
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Foundations in Writing

Master Teacher:  Melissa Barnes

Melissa BarnesMaster Teacher

Melissa Barnes

EdS, University of Michigan
MA, University of Michigan
BA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Melissa Barnes earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in English education, literacy education, and curriculum development. These culminated from a lifelong love of reading, writing, and teaching that began on the first day of first grade when she came home and announced that she wanted to be a teacher.

Melissa has taught both high school and middle school students and is currently a homeschool mom. In addition to teaching, Melissa enjoys serving as a freelance writer and editor for the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) and has written for local newspapers in years past.

Melissa and her husband reside in Chesapeake, Virginia. They have eight children. In her occasional spare time, you can find Melissa reading books, playing games or watching movies with her family, or enjoying coffee with a friend.

This is her second year teaching for the Academy.

Classroom Teacher:  Clark Wickman

Classroom Teacher

Clark Wickman

BS, College of William and Mary

Clark Wickman earned his bachelor of science from William and Mary and enjoys a balance of art and science in his life.

He was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and homeschooled by his mother. It was then that he developed his love of fantastical stories, when his mother read books like C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia at bedtime.

In addition to teaching English online, Clark has worked as a summer camp counselor, a touring musician, and a coffee shop barista. He currently lives in Williamsburg, VA. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking, music, and board games.

This is his second year teaching with the Academy.

Classroom Teacher:  Charmayne Rush

Charmayne RushClassroom Teacher

Charmayne Rush

MEd, Liberty University
BA, Old Dominion University

Charmayne Rush earned her BA in English education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. A firm believer that the skills learned in ninth grade English are essential to later success, Charmayne was blessed to teach ninth grade English for a local Virginia public school. During her time as a classroom teacher, Charmayne found great joy in guiding young writers to discover that they are gifted with unique voices and perspectives to share with the world. In addition to teaching, Charmayne co-founded a school mentoring program, enlisting the support of her church family and local business owners to share practical skills and inspiration with students in preparation for life after high school.

After she and her husband welcomed their first child, Charmayne decided to stay at home while completing her MEd in teaching and learning (English Cognate) through Liberty University’s online program. Charmayne’s coursework with Liberty taught her to revisit and expand her approach to academic writing and literary analysis through the lens of a Christian worldview. Her time as an online student also opened her eyes to the particular challenges and rewards of virtual learning, and she is excited to use her experience to create a rich and fulfilling virtual educational environment for her Academy students.

Classroom Teacher:  Elizabeth Russell

Elizabeth RussellClassroom Teacher

Elizabeth Russell

BA, Northeast Catholic College

Elizabeth Russell earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Philosophy from Northeast Catholic College in New Hampshire.

Elizabeth’s passion for writing began at age 9 (as soon as she could start telling stories) and has only grown over the years. When she started a school magazine in college, she realized how much she enjoyed helping others perfect their work and make it ready for publication. Her love for editing and grammar pleasantly surprised her, and she found how wonderful it can be to help others understand something well enough to love it. To her, this is the most rewarding thing about teaching.

Elizabeth lives in Illinois, where she loves spending time with her parents and eight younger siblings (all homeschooled until college). She enjoys writing fiction, talking with friends, watching movies, and making all sorts of artwork.

This is her second year teaching for the Academy.

Classroom Teacher:  Julia Rich

Julia RichClassroom Teacher

Julia Rich

MEd, University of Vermont
BA, Quinnipiac University

Julia Rich graduated with a BA in English from Quinnipiac University. With a passion for reading and writing, she soon began her path to teaching by receiving her master’s in education from the University of Vermont.

Julia has taught various English classes for students in grades 8–11, including American Studies, which she co-taught with a history teacher. She really enjoys working with students on their comprehension and writing skills through different types of literature, leading discussions that help students make connections to themselves and the world around them. She believes that reading creates great writers and enjoys helping her students find their confidence and voice through various authors and themes.

Julia took some time away from teaching to start a family. She can often be found cooking, going to the beach, or taking hikes with her husband and three children. She enjoys reading short stories by Ernest Hemingway.

Classroom Teacher:  Monica Bowman

Monica BowmanClassroom Teacher

Monica Bowman

BS, University of Minnesota

Monica Bowman earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She completed a significant portion of her coursework at the Christian-Albrecht University in Germany as a Rotary Scholar. Reading, discussing, and analyzing Jane Eyre in German is an experience she has never forgotten.

Monica worked in communications and marketing, both for smaller agribusinesses and for enormous multinational corporations, and she discovered that being able to write clearly and effectively is a skill with value far beyond the classroom. Whatever students pursue after high school or college, Monica believes that the hard work they put into becoming excellent communicators during their school years will produce fruit throughout their lives.

While homeschooling her three children and teaching other homeschooled students in a virtual co-op, Monica delights in helping them process everything they learn through a biblical worldview. She considers the ability to discern scriptural truth from the cacophony of worldliness to be a prime goal of a Christian education.

In her free time, Monica enjoys hiking and camping with her family, leading inductive Bible studies, visiting art museums, and cultivating her latest self-taught hobby, painting with acrylics.

Classroom Teacher:  Linda Davidson

Linda DavidsonClassroom 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.

Duration: Yearlong course offered in fall/spring (32 weeks).
Suggested High School Credit Value: 1 credit.
Suggested Grade Level: 8th grade level and up.
Tuition: $495 for HSLDA Members/$545 for non-HSLDA Members. 

Description: In Foundations in Writing, students learn the basics of English grammar and composition, while learning how to analyze short literary works. This course is designed for students in 8th or 9th grade and prepares students for English 1.
Watch a short introduction from Course Developer Melissa Barnes.

Foundations in Writing — Live Online Class Session Schedule, 2017–18

Class Section

Weekly Meeting Time


Section 1
Closed – Section is Full
Mondays, 1:30–3:00 p.m. Eastern Mrs. Melissa Barnes
Section 2
Closed – Section is Full
Tuesdays, 10:00–11:30 a.m. Eastern Mr. Clark Wickman 
Section 3
Closed – Section is Full
Mondays, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Eastern Mrs. Charmayne Rush 
Section 4
Closed – Section is Full
Tuesdays, 3:00–4:30 p.m. Eastern Ms. Elizabeth Russell 
Section 5
Closed – Section is Full
Wednesdays, 12:00–1:30 p.m. Eastern Mrs. Julia Rich
Section 6
Closed – Section is Full
Mondays, 12:00–1:30 p.m.
Mrs. Monica Bowman
Section 7
Closed – Section is Full
Tuesdays, 11:00–12:30 p.m.
Mrs. Linda Davidson
Students will be allowed to change class sections free of charge until the start date of the course, as class size permits.  If you have questions, please call 540-338-8290.

Frequently Asked Questions
about Foundations in Writing


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  • What topics will I learn about in Foundations in Writing?

    Students in this course will learn to write for a variety of purposes: to reflect, inform, explain, evaluate, judge, inquire, analyze, interpret, and take a stand. Students will improve the mechanics in their writing through a formal study of English grammar.  

    Students will approach the literature they read from a biblical worldview that focuses both on analyzing the author’s techniques and styles as well as responding to and applying the themes of the literature to their own life experiences.  Students in this course will engage in reading, planning, composing, revising, and editing.  They will work independently as well as collaboratively.  They will experience a variety of instructional methods including lectures with visual components, discussion forums, peer response groups, quizzes, and process writing.  

    Students who successfully complete this course will:


    • Write effectively for a variety of purposes.
    • Understand English grammar and mechanics.
    • Edit their own and others’ writing.
    • Read and respond to literature from a Biblical worldview.
    • Recognize and analyze basic literary elements.
    • Expand their vocabulary through studying words in context of their reading.


    This course is meant to provide students with a solid foundation in writing, grammar, and literature study upon which they can build in subsequent high school English courses.

  • Am I ready to take Foundations in Writing?

    Students are expected to be able to read at least at an 8th grade level and recognize basic parts of speech.  While there is a fair amount of writing, students will start from the beginning in terms of how to approach, prepare, and produce a final product. This course is meant to provide students with a solid foundation in writing, grammar, and literature upon which they can build in subsequent high school English courses at HSLDA Online Academy.

    Please visit our Academic Readiness page for more information.

  • What books will I use in Foundations in Writing?

    The official booklist for Foundations in Writing for the 2017–18 academic year 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 1, you can order your books for the 2017–18 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.

  • What if I have a schedule conflict with the listed Foundations in Writing class time?

    All live class sessions are recorded for later viewing. While it is recommended that students attend each live class session, students can make arrangements 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 Foundations in 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 is the tuition for Foundations in Writing?

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

    HSLDA members save $50 on yearlong high school courses!