Wednesday, June 20, 2012

English Literature

English literature is not my thing.  To be honest I didn't do much English in high school.  I never learned to write properly or trust my written word.  I didn't know what a Newbery Medal was until my kids started school.  I have always preferred to read non-fiction and then usually only in my areas of interest (education and metaphysics). Very occasionally I read fiction novels, but not the classics.

It is not that I don't want to be well read.  When I get the Great Courses catalog I drool over the lecture series that discusses the 50 most influential books on American culture or some such series that would propel me into the realm of the intellectual elite.  I think I would even enjoy the reading.  It is just that these kinds of projects are waiting until my charges are out of the house.

With this background it would be no surprise to anyone that I feel a little anxious about making sure my daughter is prepared for an AP course in English Literature in a few years.  She is a visual learner, loves language and is good at it.  She reads with vigor and delight, even the classics.

I thought maybe I should get a Great Course series for her and we could read the books together and discuss them. That idea has been lurking around my head for a while now.

On Saturday however while I was at the conference I listened to a talk by Janice Campbell, homeschooling mother of four boys and an eclectic homeschooler, like myself.  She believes in teaching the classics and having a curriculum based around living books.  She recommended the Great Courses and has also written an English Literature curriculum for 8th-12th graders based around the classics and preparing students to write for college.  It couldn't have been put in my lap at a better time.

The curriculum is perfect for Claire.

The Introduction to Literature course starts with short stories.  In the next month, she has to read six short stories.  She will learn to write an approach paper and a compare and contract essay.  She will use MLA (Modern Language Association) format.

It is all quite exciting.

We read the first short story today: A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett.  It was a gripping, touching story about a nine year old girl who found herself in a dilemma.  I narrated a very condensed version of the story to Tristan over dinner.   He was riveted.

So far my girl is excited about reading and analyzing literature.  The first classic is Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. But of course, we have to wait a month to start that one!

1 comment:

  1. I just gave Grace and Claire the MLA formatting two weeks ago! How serendipitous! We discussed the rules and when they would be called upon to use the format.

    I would love to look at this book. Lilah and I love literature. Grace....not so much! Claire is such an inspiration to her, perhaps if they were reading the same book, Grace would be inspired.