For those of you with homeschool high school experience, what have your “English” classes involved and what resources have you used? We have been really focusing on oral and written narrations the last few years and I have definately seen improvement in my soon-to-be-9th grader daughter’s written narrations. BUT… I’m considering (probably should write “slightly stressing”) about where to go from here. I remember my high school english classes consisting mostly of grammar (9th grade) and reading/analyzing literature and writing essays and research papers. The history and english classes were somewhat synchronized by time period.
I’m concerned mostly with two things:
1.)Literature Analysis: I know CM did not recommend tearing literature apart, but that’s what I remember mostly doing in high school- looking at themes, foreshadowing, analogies, ect (I remember reading Herman Melville’s Billy Budd- I was the only one in the class who recognized that Billy Budd was a Christ-like character, or maybe I was the only one brave enough to mention Christ in a public high school- which is funny because I was the shyest, quietest student there). I’ve looked a little bit at some literature courses- Greenleaf Press, Excellence in Literature, Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Any Novel Study Guide- the topics they cover and the essay questions they ask, I feel like I could never come up with on my own. I have Sonya’s Hearing and Reading, Writing and Telling book (which is very helpful) and when I look at some of Charlotte’s narration questions for older students, it seems you would have to know the book/chapters very well in order to come up with such focused questions. I don’t think I’d have time to pre-read every book she’ll be reading through high school and think of “deep” essay questions that cover all those topics found in a literature course. So far, my daughters’ narrations have come from pretty basic narration questions: tell back what you read, using different forms, like journal entries, newspaper articles, interviews, ect; describe this or that;or tell what you know about… I just know my daughter is going to balk at more reading, in addition to the reading from the SCM history modules. I don’t want to load her down under a weight of academic subjects, but I want her to be prepared for college, should she choose to attend.
2. Writing- Should we do a course on writing paragraphs, essays, research papers, etc, Freshman year? We have not in the past been consistent with any other writing program other than written narration. Do we need a course to learn the “5 sentence paragraph” or “5 paragraph essay”?
Also, more advice needed: Grammar. We finished a grammar course “Grammar the Easy Way” (which in my opinion wasn’t that easy ). She has always struggled with parsing and diagraming, but we made it through the course. Is grammar on the SAT’s? Should I have her repeat another grammar course in 9th grade?
Sorry this is so long, but as you can see, I have LOTS of questions! Any advice would be much apprecitated.
I thought I’d bump this up for you in case someone with older children see it over the weekend.
I have a plan that I’ve decided on at this time for my children that will fill in those aread except for analysis. Still figuring that one out. I want to incorporate more of the Bloom’s Taxonomy/Socratic method for analysis, but don’t know yet how it will be accomplished. I think being able to narrate orally and in written form, is a great basis for analyzation.
However, as for writing for the middle years, many here like Jump-In and Meaningful Composition (uses IEA philosophy without the DVD and extra stuff, more simplified and based on character). There are previous posts on these as well; some quite new on JI.
For upper level grammar, Our Mother Tongue is my choice, for economic reasons and for style preference; others prefer Analytical Grammar. If you do a search on both of those, you will find discussions about them previously.
Here’s a review from a blogger I thought was good:http://thecurriculumchoice.com/2010/01/our-mother-tongue/
Here’s an AG review:http://www.grovepublishing.com/grammar-composition/analytical-grammar.htm
I’ve been looking at literature analysis again. I, too, am interested in a some sort of formal analysis teaching without the destruction of the love of lit. So, at this juncture, I am moving towards Teaching the Classics for me to learn so I can lead them in the art of questioning in a way as to draw deeper into a story. It also helps develop the mind, IMO and lends itself to other areas and books they will come across in thier lives. That way, they will have the skills of critically thinking through media and when others are trying to persuade them (or the world, which it is). ALso, TtC isn’t a workbook, but a way of questioning,a technique and mind discipline, I think, that can be used across the board.
I think most of the time, just reading and general discussion will be enough. I think CM’s LA bundle or developing the mind thorugh the disciplines of copywork, dictation, and oral/written narrations, lay a foundation for critical thinking.
I loved Teaching the Classics and my daughters have understood analysis in a very painless way using this method. We do not analyse all the books, but they now know how if they ever have to do it. I recommend it wholeheartedly and agree with what Rachel had to say. Linda
Thank you, Ladies, for your suggestions. I appreciate you taking the time to post. Teaching the Classics sounds good, except that it’s pricey for my budget. Has anyone heard of anything similar for a little less money?
I should also mention a book that I know some have found very helpful. It’s called Writer’s Inc. It may prevent you from having to purchase a “curriculum” if the instructions are clear enough. I believe ‘LInda’ above used it with her high school girls.
So that would save you money on that (and then you could buy TC?)
I’m not sure how it compares to Teaching the Classics, but have you looked at Total Language Plus? My 15yo began using it this year. It includes literary analysis, grammar, writing, etc. You may find it less expensive.
Though I placed this at another post, too, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to do it here, too. It’s a good post about Writer’s Inc.
Thanks for the Writer’s Inc. recommendation, Rachel. I actually have the junior high book Write Source 2000 and have been considering using that as it seems to cover alot. I just found a copy of Writer’s Inc on Amazon Marketplace for less than $4.00!! I think that is the direction I’m going to go in and I may look more closely at Teaching the Classics for literature. Thanks everone for your help.MistyParticipant
Do you think 1 year of Total Lang. Plus would be a good thing to do for just one year?
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