The Song of the Sirin Reading Club (Summer)

Term: Summer 2020, July 7–July 30 (8 classes)
Target Grade Levels: 9th–12th and Adults
Schedule: 2x / week, 75 min.
Price: $150.00

Course Sections
Section 1:
T/Th 5:00 p.m. ET with Dcn. Nicholas Kotar

Joint Enrollment: This course is offered as a joint-enrollment class between Scholé Academy and St. Raphael School.

The Song of the Sirin by Nicholas Kotar continues the tradition of epic fantasy begun by MacDonald and Tolkien, but from a Russian cultural and Orthodox religious perspective. This course will be a detailed examination of both the book itself as an example of faith-inspired fiction and of the influences that formed the Russia-flavored world of Vasyllia. 

Required Texts*

The Song of the Sirin by Nicholas Kotar

*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.

Deacon Nicholas Kotar comes from a family of Russian immigrants who moved from Russia after the Revolution, and he grew up in what was essentially a Russian ghetto in San Francisco. He spoke Russian before he spoke English. He and his sister were homeschooled until a bright and sunny day when their mom had had enough of cat-herding. So she decided to open a school (thinking it would be less of a hassle?), which she and Nicholas’s dad then administered for the next twenty years of their life (without taking a penny for it). This school, St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy, is a shining light of classical education in the Orthodox Christian community. After graduating from UC Berkeley (yes, he studied Russian Literature, how did you guess?), Deacon Nicholas came back to teach in St. John’s for seven years. Those years were formative for him and for many of the teachers, because of the talent of the faculty. There were poets, philosophers, politicians, and musicians among his colleagues, and their regular tea-fueled conversations by the fireplace had something of the Inklings about them.

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 a much better solution, as such devices 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.

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.

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 zoom.us/download.
  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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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.


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