Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seeking Excellence in Literature

You know how it is when something comes along and you can FEEL the excitement as your students begin working on it?  You know when you can see the wheels turning and the smiles of recognition creeping in as they REALLY GET IT for maybe the very first time?  THAT is exactly what has been going on at my house as my girls have been working through Everyday Education's  Excellence in Literature English I:  Introduction to Literature.


Written by Janice Campbell, Excellence in Literature is a college preparatory Language Arts class perfect for 8th - 12th graders. Both my Sophomore and Senior have been studying through the self-directed lesson plans -- at their own pace -- and I like what I am seeing.  I especially like knowing that Janice Campbell is a homeschooling mom who has successfully graduated her children.  She is like ME!  She understands how important my job is to see that my children get a quality education and she knows what students need to learn.  She has taken great care to pick literary works that are reflective of good writing -- but that also are in line with the values I have set for my family.

I downloaded our copy of the e-book and my husband printed out a hard copy for each of our high schoolers.  They 3-hole-punched their individual copies and set up their notebooks so that they could begin studying.  We owned many of the required reading books, were able to download others and the e-book has links to the readings as well (although my Senior daughter really likes the idea of actively reading a hard copy with pen in hand to mark up and make notes as she reads).  Then the girls were ready to begin.

My Sophomore had an accident in dance class and has spent some time recovering from a broken foot.  Between doctor's appointments and forced rest and elevation, she is taking a bit longer to complete her work than is my Senior . . . and that's okay with me. What I like most is hearing her giggle and laugh out loud as she reads classic stories.  She's enjoying what she reads and that is good for the soul.

My Senior had completed both British Literature and American Literature before this school year,  but during our planning and goal-setting prior to actually jumping in a starting school she asked me to help her find a way to focus on writing. "You know, Mom, papers and things I'll be doing in college."

How perfect for her to begin "reading and writing through the classics" with Excellence in Literature English I:  Introduction to Literature.  She has thoroughly enjoyed the literary selections for each unit and has simply fallen in love with the required writings.  She gets it!  She really, really gets it! AND I have seen her confidence grow by leaps and bounds from the very first approach paper.  She has enjoyed the writing and feels like she is pretty good at it!  Because she is older {and perhaps a little wiser}, I assigned her the Honors Option.  It requires more reading of the student and a 6-page research paper -- exactly what she needs and exactly what she requested from me at the beginning of the year.

Here's what my girls are reading this year in Introduction to Literature:

Unit 1: Short Stories by-
• Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
• Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter
• Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace {Major laughter with this one!}
• O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
• Eudora Welty: A Worn Path {a Mississippi author!  LOVE!}
• James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne {An adventure of Great Proportions!}
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain {One of my personal favorites}
Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Honors: 1984 by George Orwell  {I used to think this was scary stuff -- way back in my day!}

Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift {a family favorite}
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan  {a must-read for ALL ages}

I asked the girls to share briefly how they feel about the work they've been doing in  Excellence in Literature English I:  Introduction to Literature and here is what they said:

My Sopomore says "Excellence in Literature is an insightful writing course with heartfelt stories and humorous endings. It has been a different writing experience for me -- such an interesting way to look at something maybe like a wild bird or a selfish housewife.  I am enjoying learning from this course."

My Senior says "EIL is an 'excellent' course.  :)  It has been easy to understand and is well-written and well-explained. This has been a fun review to do.  I thoroughly enjoy writing and EIL has provided me with an excellent outlet.  It breaks down a near-perfect study system and asks you to push yourself beyond your simple expectations.  I love it!"

Excellence in Literature has a comprehensive 5-year plan that will see your students from 8th through 12th grades -- beginning with Introduction to Literature all the way through World Literature. It offers a wonderful selection of literature to enrich your family's life.  You can purchase Excellence in Literature English I:  Introduction to Literature in either a print book ($29 plus $4.95 priority shipping) or the e-book format ($27) available for instant download.  You can purchase the entire 5-year curriculum in a printed binder ($139 + shipping) or as an e-book ($135).



~~I was given the opportunity to use and review Excellence in Literature English I:  Introduction to Literature by Everyday Education as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I encourage you to check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew thought of  Excellence in Literature by Everyday Education HERE.~~ Pin It Now!

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