This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others. 

Live MS
Simplified Writing for Middle School 1: Foundations of Composition I (MS 7/8-1)

Help your middle school student gain writing confidence and become a skilled writer with an introduction to informative, expressive, and persuasive writing, including choosing strong and clear words, crafting strong sentences and paragraphs, and understanding how to write the parts of an essay with personal help and feedback on your work. Take the 7/8-2 course with this course to gain a full semester’s credit for writing.

Total classes: 8

Prerequisite: The MS 6-7 series of courses are required. An alternative to the prerequisite: a passing assessment from the Aquinas Writing Advantage Assessment service. Please contact [email protected] for any questions on permissions.

Suggested grade level: 8th or accelerated 7th grade

Suggested credit: One-half (½) of a semester’s credit for Writing or English. Follow with MS 7/8-2 for one (1) full semester’s credit for writing.

Special Notes: This course starts the week before Labor Day. Due to the popularity of this course, it is scheduled during several different time slots. This course, the first in a series of four (4) courses in the Simplified Writing series for 7/8 students, has a smaller class size to ensure excellent feedback on your student’s work. Continue with the MS 7/8 Series for a full year’s credit for writing.

The writing courses build upon one another, and 7/8 students are responsible for previously-learned content in the 6/7-series of courses. Therefore, 6/7-1, 6/7-2, 6/7-3, and 6/7-4 are required. 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 [email protected] for any questions on permissions.


In this course, your student will learn the skills and habits of strong and clear writing — and gain the critical foundations of essay writing needed for excellent high school writing. Learn the purposes of writing (expressing, informing, and persuading); the effect of your audience on your writing (key considerations for different audiences); and how to sculpt a piece of writing with direction (the characteristics of an effective introduction, body, and conclusion). You’ll learn how to strengthen your linear writing, add transitions for excellent paragraph writing, and get specific writing feedback from the instructor, to make your writing stronger.


Class 1: Writing for a purpose and audience: the “why” of writing
Class 2: Great word choice: how to choose the “right” word
Class 3: Strong sentences: how to write a great sentence
Class 4: Clear paragraphs: what makes a great paragraph/linear writing that makes sense to the reader
Class 5: Writing with direction: great introductions and the hook
Class 6: Writing with direction: great introductions and the thesis
Class 7: Writing with direction: the body (of your paper) and how to make it “shapely”
Class 8: Writing with direction: the conclusion

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: Course materials are included free. Microsoft Word or the ability to convert a document to a Word-compatible document is required, as all assignments are submitted in Word. If you do not own Microsoft Word, you can use a system such as Google Docs that converts to Word documents FREE.

Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with grading and direct feedback from the instructor. Estimated three (3) to four (4) hours per week for homework outside of class time, depending on the student’s ability.

Important Dates

Class Dates and Starting Times:

Mondays, August 26 to Oct. 21, 2024. No class Sept. 2 (Labor Day)
4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central; 2:00 Mountain; 1:00 Pacific)

Duration per class: 55 minutes

Choose from courses in all subject areas for your upper grade school, middle school, and high school student—taught by worldwide experts in Catholic education.
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