I believe that every student should study literature as part of a well-rounded solid education. I’ve been looking for years for a curriculum to study literature. Last year as part of the crew, I was exposed to a series called Excellence in Literature written by Janice Campbell. These are published by Everyday Education.
I really liked what I heard about Excellence in Literature and so while at my homeschool convention this past summer, I purchased the British Literature Survey course for my oldest daughter. Imagine how thrilled I was when I saw a vendor interest form asking for my level of interest in book one, Introduction to Literature.
Introduction to Literature is the first level in the Excellence in Literature series. There are four other levels including the Survey of British Literature. (Click on the image to read more about the series as a whole.)
Janice Campbell divides Introduction to Literature into 9 units. Designed to take approximately four weeks each, each unit focuses on one literary work. Except Unit One. Unit One focuses on short stories.
Anatomy of a Unit:
- Focus Text: This section lists the title and author
- Honors Text: A list of one or two additional pieces to read for the Honors Track.
- Unit Focus: explains the objective or purpose of the unit such as “In this unit, you will learn to see elements of continuity in different literary forms.” (Unit 5)
- Something to think about… Ms Campbell will give a related fact or detail usually related to the period of the piece such as “Many novels in the Victorian era dealt with the sad plight of orphans or the horrors of boarding schools and poorhouses.” (Unit 4) and then pose a question for the student to ponder.
- Be sure to notice… Similar to the above section but points out literary features and then poses a question.
- Context Resources: Resources for digging deeper into the time period, genre, author’s life. Includes suggestions for resources for poetry, visual, music and more
- Assignment Schedule: Assignments are listed by Week. Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4. Student must learn to manage their own time and break weekly assignments into daily segments.
Thoughts from BooBooBear (11th Grade): I really like how Ms. Campbell has it laid out. She gives you the framework to create your own schedule. It’s very loose and flexible which gives you the ability to go as fast or as slow as you want. I like how she has all these resources to look a little deeper. I think it was very helpful to use her recommendations of Teaching the Classics and Elegant Essay. Having Teaching the Classics as a background helped me to formulate the questions for my approach papers. I’m looking forward to doing more units in the Excellence in Literature series. I do feel though that she didn’t quite make it clear enough what to do with the honor’s texts.
Thoughts from Turtlegirl (9th grade): I like the papers. They’re fun. They’re fun because there is a set structure. I don’t have to figure out how to write the papers; I just have to figure out what to put in the papers. Some of the short stories they had use were quite interesting. I think my favorite is “A White Heron.”
My Thoughts: I appreciate that this curriculum is written to the student and develops independent learning skills. I also appreciate all the information included such as “How to Read a Book”, “Discerning Worldview through Literary Periods” and the “Frequently Asked Questions”. Both of my girls, as well as myself, appreciated having formats available for reference to helsuch as “Approach Paper Format”, “Literary Summary Format” and “Author Profile Format”. I received the E-book format but I think I would love having both the e-book and the physical book since I have multiple children who will be using this program.
In the course overview section, Ms Campbell writes “If you are not sure of your skills in literary analysis or essay writing, there are two resources I strongly recommend.” She lists Teaching the Classics by Adam Andrews and The Elegant Essay Writing Lessons by Lesha Myers. Based on my experience, I believe that this course would have been too difficult for even my 11th grader if she had not already begun to work through those two programs. Those programs can be done concurrently along side Excellence in Literature.
Excellence in Literature is intended for use by students in grades 8-12. Introduction to Literature is available in both print format ($29) or e-book format ($27). You can click here for ordering information.
Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.