Teaching British Literature – Help for Your Homeschool (or Group!)

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 - Help for Your Homeschool (or Group!) Syllabus ideas for British Literature in Homeschool Co-op or for individual work. #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolCoOp #HomeschoolBritishLiterature #HomeschoolEnglishCourse #SyllabusForBritishLiterature

Teaching British Literature

Every few years, we have 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 Full-Year Course.

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 (found in the introduction to the study guide) 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. Here is a post with some of the questions we use to start the Literature discussions.

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.

Teaching British Literature
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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: 

  • Animal Farm
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • The Hobbit
  • A Christmas Carol
  • British Poetry Selections
  • Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • The Invisible Man
  • Sense and Sensibility

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. We use 7SistersHomeschool.com's British Literature Full-Year curriculum for no-busywork, user-friendly, real-book literature study guide learning.

In class, we took 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, Right Ho, Jeeves (by P.G. Wodehouse) along with in-class viewings of The Importance of Being Earnest 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:

British Literature

Text: British Literature Full-Year Course. Published by 7SistersHomeschool.com

  • This is a literature course based on books with study guides including:
    • Background information
    • Vocabulary
    • Literary themes
    • Comprehension questions
    • Inferential questions
  • Literature Books Included in 7Sisters British Literature

    • Animal Farm
    • 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

Additional Study Guide: Pilgrim’s Progress Literature Study Guide. Published by 7SistersHomeschool.com.

  • This is a literature study guide for John Bunyan’s classic book with the same teaching topics as above.

Second Additional Study Guide and Movie: The Importance of Being Ernest Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Study Guide. Published by 7SistersHomeschool.com. The movie is the 2002 movie version.

  • This is a cinema studies for literature learning guide with the same teaching topics as above.

Third Additional Study Guide: Right Ho, Jeeves Literature Study Guide. Published by 7SistersHomeschool.com.

The goals of the course:

The goals of the course are to develop:

  • high-school level skills in comprehension and inferential thinking
  • understanding of key literary themes
  • build strong vocabulary skills

Grading scale:

Grading scale will be:

  • A 92-100
  • B 83-91
  • C 74-82
  • Lower than C needs to be repeated

Grades will be based on:

  • grades for literature guides

Due Dates for Key Projects:

(Add dates)

Schedule

Theme: The Hobbit and Pilgrim’s Progress: Imagination and Allegory

  • Week 1: The Hobbit- J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Week 2: The Hobbit- J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Completed Hobbit Study Guide due:
  • Week 3: Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
  • Week 4: Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
  • Week 5: Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
    • Completed Pilgrim’s Progress Study Guide due:

Theme: Poetry and Great Words

  • Week 6: British Poetry
  • Week 7: British Poetry
    • Completed British Poetry Study Guide due:
  • Week 8: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats- T. S. Eliot
  • Completed Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats Study Guide due:

 

Theme: Stories of Manners

  • Week 9: Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
  • Week 10: Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
    • Completed Sense and Sensibility Study Guide due:
  • Week 11: Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde
  • Week 12: Importance of Being Earnest- Oscar Wilde
    • Completed Importance of Being Ernest Study Guide due:
  • Week 13: Right Ho, Jeeves- PG Wodehouse
  • Week 14: Right Ho, Jeeves- PG Wodehouse
    • Completed Right Ho, Jeeves Study Guide due:

 

Theme: You Just Have to Read Christmas Carol at Christmas

  • Weeks 15: Complete over the Holidays:  A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
    • Completed A Christmas Carol Study Guide due:

 

Theme: Utopia vs Dystopia

  • Week 16: Utopia- Thomas Moore
  • Week 17: Utopia- Thomas Moore
    • Completed Utopia Study Guide due:
  • Week 18:  Animal Farm- George Orwell
  • Week 19: Animal Farm- George Orwell
    • Completed Animal Farm Study Guide due:
  • Week 20: A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
  • Week 21: A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
    • Completed A Tale of Two Cities Study Guide due:

 

Theme: Good vs Evil

  • Week 22: Invisible Man- H. G. Wells
  • Week 23: Invisible Man- H. G. Wells
    • Completed Invisible Man Study Guide due:
  • Week 24: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Week 25: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Completed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Study Guide due:

 

Theme: You Must Have Some Fun Shakespeare

  • Week 26: Much Ado about Nothing
  • Week 27: Much Ado about Nothing
  • Week 28: Much Ado about Nothing
  •  No study guide just have fun!

 

Theme: Historic British Translations of the Bible

  • Week 29: Selected readings from historic British translations of the Bible (provided by teacher) You can explore translations starting with this Wikipedia post.
  • Week 30: 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: Teaching High School Literature

 

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Teaching British Literature

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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