Etymology: The Language of Harry Potter

Etymology: The Language of Harry Potter


About this course

Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for students ages 9-17. Class is offered in two levels. Younger academically gifted students will be accepted, but must have excellent reading, comprehension, and listening skills.

Start Date: January 5. Class runs for 10 weeks. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $180

Space Available: 

This 10-week course will help students unlock the mysteries of the English language using examples found in the Harry Potter series! This course focuses heavily on reading and writing, so be prepared to cover the first three novels in the series and complete short writing assignments along the way.

How did J.K Rowling come up with the names for all her characters? How can the root-words in each spell or potion reveal a little about what it might do? What actual stories and events from world history and mythology helped to inspire Harry’s wizarding world? We will investigate all these questions and find out more about the secrets behind the novels, all while studying elements of plot and storytelling to make language and literature come alive!

Although this is mainly an English/Language Arts course, we will also look into other background information on the Harry Potter series, including everything from History and Popular Culture to Ancient Legends and Mythology.

Tentative Schedule:

Week 1: The Sorcerer’s Stone: Introduction & Characters
Week 2: The Sorcerer’s Stone: Spells & Potions
Week 3: The Sorcerer’s Stone: History & Mythology
Week 4: The Chamber of Secrets: Characters & Settings
Week 5: The Chamber of Secrets: Spells & Potions
Week 6: The Chamber of Secrets: History & Mythology
Week 7: The Prisoner of Azkaban: Characters & Settings
Week 8: The Prisoner of Azkaban: Spells & Potions
Week 9: The Prisoner of Azkaban: History & Mythology
Week 10: Harry Potter Series: Plot & Symbolism

This class is not recommended for most children under 9 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!). Younger students 9-12 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students age 13 and up, or younger students who are academically gifted, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more rigorous homework.

LESSON PLANS: This is a 10 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION: There are weekly discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All quizzes, labs, and online assessments automatically receive a grade in the system. You have the option of having your student’s individual projects graded or not (all assignments receive instructor feedback). Report cards are issued at the end of the course- one for ungraded students and one for graded students. These mean nothing other than for your own records or reporting purposes. We do not maintain copies.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

The required textbooks for this course are J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Library & used copies encouraged).


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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