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The Ember Falls by S.D. Smith

“Growing up is terribly wonderful. But often it’s also wonderfully terrible.”
S.D. Smith, The Green Ember

The Ember Falls book club offers a fun setting where students can enjoy the love of reading together — with the help of the second book in the Green Ember series! This eries, written by beloved author S.D. Smith, is a favorite of homeschooling Christian families given its exploration of virtues in the exciting exploits of its two main characters: the endearing rabbit siblings Heather and Picket. The second book continues where the first ends — with rabbit siblings Heather and Picket on a daring adventure to save their family and friends. As they continue to find their way together in unfamiliar territory, they must remain faithful and trust their instincts while searching for the truth, and navigating the good and evil that surround them.

Students will read this novel over the course of five weeks, discussing the book in a restful and interactive setting. Several fun activities will help students connect with each other and the story. Attention will be devoted to topics that interest students the most!


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Club Books:

Ember Falls: The Green Ember Book II, S.D. Smith



Alison Grace Johansen is teaching the fall course Introduction to the Art of Poetry, the spring course Formal History of Poetry, and the yearlong class Well-Ordered Language Level 1. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., where she was comments editor, and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Richmond in Virginia. She worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years before pursuing writing and editing in all forms of media: legal and academic publishers, startups and larger companies, magazines, newsletters, websites, books, and social media platforms.

Mrs. Johansen has always loved the written word and the sounds words make, which are the music of poetry. She has been writing poems, stories and songs for as long as she can remember! She also plays several instruments, enjoys singing, and loves using poems and songs as fun memorization tools. After all, poems — in their sound, rhyme, rhythm, tone and movement — are much like songs, which are a key part of the Well-Ordered Language Level 1 curriculum. She believes these forms of expression are beautiful ways students can learn about and praise God’s world. She hopes to inspire her students to discover the many ways they can use their own words to express themselves with truth, goodness and beauty.

She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and their two children. Her dedication to her faith and children influences every part of her life, from teaching Sunday school and writing a children’s picture book, to exploring the beauty of God’s world with her family. If they aren’t bird-watching while enjoying a walk outside, you might find them reading aloud together or playing their favorite instruments: the piano, flute, guitar, ukulele, and drums! Her love for both writing and music is one of the many reasons she is excited to share these courses – along with their poems and songs! – with her students.



Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.



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