Reading and Writing but not 'Rithmatic
Topic: Homeschool Product Review
You all know that we are big readers around our house. We read all of the time, and we read almost anything. Thankfully, because of the curriculum we use, John Allen reads a lot of living books. Living books are the books that are usually rich in morals and rich in history. Unfortunately we have not delved into many classics. Last year I had to review a book that suggested a lot of children's classics to read, and that helped a lot. I even began to read some of the great authors myself. Still, with all that we have to do with our regular studies, it's been hard to find time to read some of the classical literature that we should be reading.
Until, this year when we were chosen to review Janice Campbell's Excellence in Literature English One: Introduction to Literature. Excellence in Literature is a fantastic program where you not only read the classics, but you learn HOW to read the classics. You also learn a better understanding of the classics by writing approach papers, literature summaries, author summaries, and other essays.
We received Excellence in Literature (EIL), English 1: Introduction to Literature and I have many likes and some dislikes regarding EIL. Let me take them one by one beginning with the likes:
I really like how this course is laid out. It is very easy to follow. Really, it's made for a student to do on his own. I haven't been brave enough to do this with John Allen yet, but soon I'll let him loose and just check up on his work as he completes assignments.
Each unit takes about a month (four weeks) do complete. What needs to be accomplished is laid out week by week, but it doesn't say what is to be done each day. This makes the student learn time management. He knows what must be accomplished during that week, so he must divide it into reasonable amounts to do each day. Of course, this is meant to be a high school course. If you chose to do this with an advanced middle school student, he may need some help with managing his time.
I really like the literature that John Allen is going to read this year. Unit One is all short stories including:
"A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett
“The Diamond Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant
“The Ransom of Red Chief” by O’Henry
“The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allen Poe
“A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber
The student is also required to read a short online biography of Sarah Orne Jewett. John Allen's favorites were "The White Heron" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". Such good literature!
For each unit there is also an honors option. For unit one the honors student was required to read short online biographies of each author as well as a second short story, of the student's choice, from each writer.
After unit one, things really get hopping! The students are then required to read good classical novels from great authors. Here's John Allen's list for English One:Introduction to Literature.
Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
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
Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
I read Jane Eyre a few years ago and, of course, I read Animal Farm. I just got done reading Treasure Island and I'm now reading Around the World in Eighty Days. I can't wait to discuss them with John Allen!
I really like the writing element that this course has. It's only going to make John Allen a better writer. He's already a good writer. More than once I've scolded him because I thought he had copied book reviews from the back of books, only to find out later that he had, indeed, written them himself.
The first approach paper that he wrote for Excellence in Literature English One: Introduction to Literature was no different. I thought he had copied it from someplace. I really need to learn! Of course he hadn't. In EIL the approach papers, summaries, comparisons, etc. will only make him even better. The author makes it so easy with plenty of examples in the back of the book, and recommendations on where a student can find even more help.
I'm not sure that he is looking forward to it, but I'm looking forward to what he is going to produce. He is already working on another writing course, and these compliment each other! It's going to be a lot of fun.
There are several things that I didn't like about this course. For instance...no, that was that math program last year...Oh! I know...no, that was that history book that I didn't like...Hmmm...I got it!...I knew there was somthing...I didn't like that...no, that was that bologna sandwich that gave me heartburn last night!
You know what? I can't think of anything! There is nothing I can find that I disliked. Nothing! Excellence in Literature English 1 is really an excellent course.
If you think that your student is more advanced then there are four other courses that you can choose from. Here's a complete list of all of the levels complete with links to the Excellence in Literature page for each.
English I: Introduction to Literature English II: Literature and Composition English III: American Literature English IV: British Literature English V: World Literature
Not only is it an excellent course, but it sells for an excellent price. Each level is only $29 + $4.95 shipping for the physical book, or $27 for the downloadable ebook that you can print out and put in a three ring binder. OR...you can purchase the entire five volume curriculum for $139 + shipping for a bound copy or $135 for the ebook version. For more information on Excellence in Literature just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Other TOS Homeschool Crew members tried other levels and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here.
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free downloadable ebook version of Excellence in Literature's English One: Introduction to Literature to try out and give my honest review on this blog.
Subscribe to Families Again