Looking for some homeschool help about teaching British Literature? For years in our homeschool group classes, we’ve been teaching British Literature as a part of a 4-ish year rotation: British Literature, Great Christian Writers (or other special-interest-focused literature course), American Literature, and World Literature. (Sometimes we throw in a year of C.S. Lewis Studies, too.)
Teaching British Literature
This year we tackled British Literature at a College Prep Level with our high schoolers. (Click here for a grid that shows how our homeschool umbrella school breaks down requirements for each high school year and level.)
The text we always use is 7 Sisters’ British Literature.
We want our homeschoolers to read great books. We want them to think great thoughts. But since most of our homeschool high schoolers have had little experience with Brit Lit, we want to expose them to great things in a fun, introductory format.
British Literature – A Full Year High School Course helps them do just that. It is a mixture of heavy books and light-hearted, old books and new-ish, challenging books and fun.
The 7 Sisters Literature Study Guide doesn’t insult our homeschool high schoolers with lots of busy-work, “What happened then?” questions.
Using the guides, in class, after giving some background on the book, the author and the time period, we take an idea, a literary device, or an amazing and unusual quality about the book. We use group discussion and small group-activities to explore those topics.
We use the questions and activities in the guides as homework to hone critical thinking skills. Homeschool high schoolers who use our guides read beyond simple comprehension for inference, for interpretation, and for evaluation.
The text comes complete with study guides for nine books, including a “how-to” section, vocabulary, supplemental ideas, and answer keys for each guide. Books covered by these study guides:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
A Christmas Carol
British Poetry Selections
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
A Tale of Two Cities
The Invisible Man
Sense and Sensibility
In class, we will take approximately 2 weeks to cover each book. Because the class is 30 weeks long, we will add Pilgrim’s Progress (click here for the study guide), Utopia (study guide to be released this year), Right Ho, Jeeves (by P.G. Wodehouse) along with in-class viewings of The Importance of Being Earnest (here’s a link to a version available to watch for free on YouTube) and Much Ado about Nothing (our favorite version is the Kenneth Branagh we linked. You have to pay a small fee to watch….and you may prefer to fast forward through a strange 60 seconds of footage under the opening credits where everyone runs to the bathing houses to get cleaned up for the celebration and there are bare bottoms on screen momentarily) and some readings of older Bible translations.
Here is our syllabus:
Theme: Imagination and Allegory
Week 1 August 28 The Hobbit- J. R. R. Tolkien
Week 2 September 4 The Hobbit- J. R. R. Tolkien
Study Guide due Sept 11
Week 3 September 11 Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
Week 4 September 18 Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
Week 5 September 25 Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
Study Guide due Oct 2
Theme: Poetry and Great Words
Week 6 October 2 British Poetry
Week 7 October 9 British Poetry
Study Guide due Oct 16
Week 8 October 16 Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats- T. S. Elliot
Study Guide due Oct 23
Theme: Stories of Manners
Week 9 October 23 Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
Week 10 October 30 Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
Study Guide due Nov 6
Week 11 November 6 Importance of Being Ernest- Oscar Wilde
Week 12 November 13 Importance of Being Ernest- Oscar Wilde
Study Guide due Nov 20
Week 13 November 20 Right Ho, Jeeves- PG Wodehouse
Week 14 December 4 Right Ho, Jeeves- PG Wodehouse
Study Guide due Dec 11
Theme: You Just Have to Read Christmas Carol at Christmas
Weeks 15 December 11 and Holidays A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
Study Guide due Jan 15
Theme: Utopia vs Dystopia
Week 16 January 15 Utopia- Thomas Moore
Week 17 January 22 Utopia- Thomas Moore
Study Guide due Jan 29
Week 18 January 29 Animal Farm- George Orwell
Week 19 February 5 Animal Farm- George Orwell
Study Guide due Feb 12
Week 20 February 12 A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
Week 21 February 26 A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
Study Guide due Mar 5
Theme: Good vs Evil
Week 22 March 5 Invisible Man- H. G. Wells
Week 23 March 12 Invisible Man- H. G. Wells
Study Guide due Mar 19
Week 24 March 19 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
Week 25 March 26 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
Study Guide due Apr 2
Theme: You Must Have Some Fun Shakespeare
Week 26 April 2 Much Ado about Nothing
Week 27 April 16 Much Ado about Nothing
Week 28 April 23 Much Ado about Nothing
Study Guide due April 30
Theme: Historic British Translations of the Bible
Week 29 April 30 Selected readings from historic British translations of the Bible (provided by teacher)
Week 30 May 7 Selected readings from historic British translations of the Bible (provided by teacher)
Hope this has been some good homeschool help as you prepare for your homeschool high school British Literature!
Here are some thoughts on helping your students WANT to discuss the books they’re reading….