Semester Report: English

English has taught me a lot in the first semester. It has assigned many great books, thought me about grammar standards, research papers, book reviews, MLA, and APA. English has been very important, and sometimes it even has been fun.

Structure of Daily Lesson

The Video
The video is the main bulk of each lesson. It is where it teaches me the new subject, as well as gives my reading and writing assignments. It also gives some pointers, and things to remember. The videos are nice and short, though many times I wish it gave a little more information on the subject. My teacher is Bradley Fish, and he explains things well, but not always in the depth that I would like. Often it is only a three to four-minute video, on some topics that I would like to know a bit more about. On the other hand, he doesn’t waste time talking about things that don’t matter and does not give too many examples, when it is a simple concept.

The Assignments

For my assignments, I usually start with the reading. I sometimes have an article to read, as well as the main book that it gives me every week or two. It usually is four to five chapters, which can be a lot depending on the book. I have finished all of the books for the year, so I can now focus on the writing.
The writing is an essay on a topic that my teacher picks. Sometimes it is a timed essay, or a review of one of the books I read, or a research paper. This week I have to write this semester’s report.

The Books I Have Read

There have been nine books in total. All boardering around from historical fiction. They are all decently long, which I enjoy, and are all classical literature.

  1. 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas –Jules Verne
  2.  A Tale of Two Cities —————Charles Dickens
  3.  Out on the Pampas —————G. A. Henty
  4.  The Scarlet Pimpernel ————Baroness Orczy
  5.  With Clive in India —————-G. A. Henty 
  6. Uncle Tom’s Cabin —————-Harriet Beecher Stowe
  7. Pride and Prejudice —————Jane Austen
  8.  Tale of the Western Plains ——–G. A. Henty
  9.  The War of the Worlds ————H. G. Wells

I have enjoyed almost all of them except for one. A Tale of Two Cities. I don’t know if I was just not paying attention to the book, but I just couldn’t understand it. I have read other of Charles Dickens’s books, and I have usually come to the same conclusion.

Five Favourite Books

The Scarlet Pimpernel Is my absolute favourite out of this list. It was quite complicated at first, and I didn’t understand everything that was going on, but once I got into the rhythm of the book, it completely captivated me. It was nice to see the other side of the french revolution, after reading books like Les Misérables which shows it from the side of the republic and shows them as heroes, which they were. After the revolution, where they started beheading all of the aristocrats this book showed their bad side, where they became as bad as the government they overthrew.

20,000 Leagues Under The Seas Is my second favourite book from this list. Jules Verne has an amazing imagination and describes things like electricity and underwater life before anyone could imagine it. I loved the book because of its beautiful descriptions, and all of the amazing things I learned.

Tale of the Western Plains. This book was amazing. It started in a mining camp out in the west, but soon took a completely different turn as the supposed main character was murdered, and the perspective changed to his nephew. It gave a very interesting view of the life in the wild west, from what it was like to be a cowboy, to a common worker at a lumber yard. I very much enjoyed Tale of the Western Plains.

Out on the Pampas Is also a book that has some beautiful descriptions. It is very similar to 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas in the aspect that it taught me a lot about the environment that it was set in. Out on the Pampas’ case, it is the Argentinian Pampas.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This is my fifth favourite book out of this list. It provides a very interesting look at the life of black slaves. It shows the kind, beautiful, Christ-centred heart. It goes through two different perspectives or two different journeys of two slaves the people around them.

Similaritys of My Favourite Books

You might have noticed This the books that I love all follow a few key points.

  • They teach me something new
  • They have very good descriptions so I can picture it in my head
  • They have a quick paced story line to keep me interested

With 20,000 leagues it taught me many Latin names of different plants and animals. That goes the same with Out on the Pampas. With Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Tale of the Western Plains, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, showed me an aspect of historical life that I have not seen in that depth.

Here are the links to the book reviews I have of a few of them.

Some of the other books that did not get on my top five also had a few reasons that I separate from the others.

  • They did not keep me captivated
  • They had poor endings in my opinion
  • They were not the type of book that I am interested in

In With Clive in India and A Tale of Two Cities, I found them very slow-paced. They had their fast-paced moments, especially in With Clive in India it started well, and I thought it would continue like that, but it soon get into descriptions of different battles. One after the other it would describe battles, and then it would go to the perspective of the main character. It would give descriptions of battles in real-time from the view of the main character. But with A Tale of Two Citys, I found it very slow. There were moments that I became invested and the plot became clear, but then it would go back.

The War of the Worlds would be on my list except that it didn’t go on. I love the story. It has action, description, and a great idea of what life would be like I Martians invaded earth. But only a few chapters after a man explains what life will be like with these creatures taking over the world, and how they would have to live in secret, hiding all of their life just to preserve the race of man. Only a few chapters later all of the Martians suddenly. There was no redemption story. There was such a great opportunity for an amazing arch, but the Martians just die. No explanation. They even state in the book that they did not find any known bacterial infection. Though at the beginning of the book it did state that it would be unlikely that aliens would be able to live on a planet like earth. I would have liked it more if they were killed by some miracle accomplishment of a human. It did have one redeeming quality of the ending which was that the man was reunited with his wife who he thought was dead, and she thought he was dead.

Main Subjects I Learned

Preparation of Essays

My English lessons are not entirely about reading, though that is what I most enjoy. It also teaches a lot about writing. The main focus for this year however has been on proper preparation and execution of essays, and writing reports. For the first few weeks, it taught me about how to use mind maps, and how to write a proper outline. I had to use both of those in the preparation of writing this semester’s report. The lessons on outlines have been especially helpful.

When making a mind map I put all my main points out in boxes across the paper. Then put all the sub-points connected to those boxes. I will then add and add until I have reached the level of detail that I desire. I then add those points to the description, to give me less work later.

This was the rough outline for this report


Structure of daily lessons

-The video
-The Main Topic
-Extra notes
-The assignment
-The Reading

The Books I Have Read

-list of all

-list of 5 favourites

-list of similarities between favourites

-list of differences between favourites and non-favourites

What I Have Learned About

-mind maps
-how to write an essay


Grammar and Essay Standards

It taught about propper grammar standards. What words to refrain from using, what not to start a sentence with, how to end a sentence. It told me how I should actually write the essays, it said that I should follow the outline and just fill in all of the important facts and details. It taught me to write fast and efficiently by writing timed essays. When writing long essays I always have trouble finding enough info. Though I have been able to combat this by going into greater detail on the information, that is readily available. When writing short essays, I have trouble with it being too long, and have to simplify things.


This entire semester has been very helpful, and informative. Yes, it has been very hard sometimes, but as long as I get over my laziness, I can always finish the assignments in good time. I will be starting a book for my next assignment, and I will be writing about the Califonian Gold Rush.

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