Are you ready for fun and adventure from the land of the English? Welcome to British Literature, a one credit high school English elective that you can use at home, with a book club, or in a homeschool co-op.
Textbook author Meredith Curtis says that students who take this course “will have a blast reading, writing, and discussing the greatest literature ever written besides the Bible. Starting with Beowulf and Canterbury Tales, we will time travel through British history by reading well-loved classics like Milton, Chesterton, Dickens, Chaucer, Austen, Sayers, and Doyle.”
This one credit English class for high school students (or advanced middle school students) emphasizes reading for enjoyment. There is a lot of reading to do, but no “twaddle” and no “busy work.” Each assignment has an educational purpose. Writing assignments are based on the reading material and include Flight to Israel Tales, Epic Poem, Victorian Poem, Sonnet, Allegory, and Essays. A brief overview of British history and literature is included.
The author provides instructions on how to use this curriculum (it’s very simple!), along with a checksheet for keeping track of class hours. In addition to the assigned reading, there are several book lists included for further reading. The course is set up for the student to read independently and have 1-2 hours of class time each week with mom or another teacher.
Instead of book reports, the books are discussed in a “book club” setting. Ideally, a parent, friend, or sibling(s) will be reading the same book so they can discuss it together. Questions are provided as a springboard for lively conversations about these amazing books. If you’re an avid book lover, you’ve probably already read some of them!
You will need to purchase, borrow from the library, or download from the internet, the following books:
- Beowulf, by Anonymous
- Piers Plowman, by William Langland
- Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
- Paradise Lost, by John Milton
- Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
- Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen
- Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens (or A Christmas Carol)
- Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis (or The Screwtape Letters)
- The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells
- Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie
The following writings are included in the textbook:
- Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 1
- “The Second Nun’s Tale” from Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
- British Nursery Rhymes
- “A Bachelor’s Complaint about the Behavior of Married People,” by Charles Lamb
- “The Old Manse and Meeting House, Stambourne,” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
- “Lost Tools of Learning,” by Dorothy Sayers
About the Author
Meredith Curtis, a pastor’s wife and homeschool mom, designed this high school curriculum for her own children, and has used it in homeschool co-op. It’s part of her “Homeschooling to the Glory of God” series.
Please note that the above product was NOT provided for free or at a discount in exchange for a review. This item was purchased by a homeschooling family at their own expense.
What types of activities and courses have you used as electives? Leave a comment and we may include yours in a future column!