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#1 Kara in FL

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:50 PM

Looking ahead to start planning for high school - 

We hope to follow the WTM plan for combining History and Literature.  In TWTM (2009), it says to make a realistic assessment of how many books the student will be able to cover, and then choose 8, or 12, or 18.  Of course this will vary depending on the student's reading skills and length/difficulty of the books read.  But how to choose which will make up the book list?  The shortest, so you can read more?  Whatever looks interesting?  A sampling from different time periods?  Without being familiar with many of these books, we are not sure what to use as a deciding factor.

 

Also, anyone who has followed this plan - any thoughts, suggestions, things you wish you'd done differently or that worked well?

 

Thanks for your help!



#2 Lori D.

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:53 AM

Welcome to the board (I see you have a low post count!), and welcome to planning for high school! :)

 

We loosely followed WTM History/Lit in high school. How much material you can read, discuss, analyze and write about will absolutely depend on your student's ability:

- strong/weak/average reader?

- strong/weak/average writer?

- high/low/average student *interest* in history and/or literature? 

- high/low/average student *preference* for some types of literature over others?

 

As far as "how much" -- lots of factors will play into this:

- The reading strength and speed of your student.

- If the work is in a form (like epics -- The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf, or poetic works like The Canterbury Tales), or if it is a work in translation or from a much older (and therefore "alien") culture, it's much slower going in the reading.

- Also, whether or not you read aloud/discuss together for a lot of the works, or if it will all be solo read.

- You'll probably find that your "endurance" builds up and you can do more and think more deeply about harder works in 12th grade than you could in 9th grade.

 

Also realize: it's not a race, and it's not about reading "the most" number of books "to win". lol. It's about engaging in the Great Conversation with The Great Books, and it's something you get to do for the rest of your life, because there's just so much great stuff to read and ponder. :) Which also means, give yourself some slack -- there are no wrong choices here, with so many classics. So if you get to 6 novels a year and really dig deep into them, that's 2 dozen classics you'll have intimate knowledge of by the end of high school! :)

 

How to choose which works:

- Check out past threads to get ideas of what works others did, or what works are listed in high school Literature programs -- if you start seeing a few of the same titles over and over, there's a good bet that's a good one to do in high school, or that it's worth doing because of wide cultural familiarity.

- Check out titles and authors in Invitation to the Classics, and, The Well-Educated Mind (a book on how to read the classics for adults, but great to use with high school students -- and the last chapters list tons of classic authors/works).

- Does your student have some strong interests/preferences currently? Or strong dislikes? Take those into consideration. Our best year of Lit. ever was the year we made our own "Worldviews in Classic Sci-Fi Literature" to go with our 20th Century History year. :)

- Another way to narrow down which authors/works is to go for those most commonly covered in high school, or that are on college-bound reading lists.

- Are there any works YOU especially want to make sure your family covers? Inspiring or meaningful books that you want to share with your student?

- Are there works/authors you'd be fine with just watching a good film version of the work, rather than spending weeks reading it?

 

 

How I went about the process of choosing:

I would research and research -- WTM, booklists, websites, recommendations from threads -- and make my mega-list of 50-60 works that I felt we simply "must" do. Then I would wail and gnash my teeth, because of course it's impossible to accomplish that much in one year.

 

So with great pain and tragedy I would manage to whittle it down to about 20 "absolute MUST read" novels (plus assorted short stories, poets, and plays) -- and then writhe in agony, because that was still too much.

 

I would finally get it down to about 10 novels and novellas, and 2-3 weeks each for short stories and poetry, and I would put a mark next to several of the novels, so that if we were running short on time, I knew which works we would drop in the midst of the year. Realistically if the works were all novels, what with spending 4-6 weeks on short stories and poetry, we could only get through 6 novels. If some of the novels were short novellas, and none of the works were really difficult reads, then we could manage 8 novels/novellas and the weeks spent on short stories and poetry.

 

I also realized that we could do some works -- especially plays, but also some novels -- by watching *good* film versions, so we would at least have familiarity with the major characters and themes. And actually, that can really help with student buy-in -- for example, my boys really enjoyed watching some film versions of Jane Austen novels, whereas reading the works would have cut in to some of the other works we were reading, and they would not have enjoyed reading Austen as much as they did enjoy Dickens, for example.

 

 

Sounds like if you are following TWTM, then you would be doing Ancients for 9th grade? Not that what we did for Ancients may match at all for you, but here's what we did:

- Epic of Gilgamesh -- an abridged prose version

- ancient Greek myths

- The Illiad -- full translation

- The Odyssey -- full translation

- Oedipus the King -- full translation

- Antigone -- full translation

- The Aeneid -- an abridged prose version

- Till We Have Faces (CS Lewis)

 

We went with works that were high on story, and saved more philosophical works (Plato, Aristotle) for later in high school, and also we were new to doing a formal Lit. study, and I wasn't sure how to work in Philosophical works. We used 2 abridged prose versions to speed up a bit. As a totally separate credit, for fun that year, we also did the Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings study, which was nice as a break from so.many.ancients.

 

On their own as part of the History credit, DSs read a few historical fiction along with the History textbook, and additional non-fiction resources.

 

We did not do tons of writing about the Literature, but we did discuss quite a bit. We also incorporated some odd things to add interest -- like, watching the Star Trek Next Generation episode of "Darmok" after reading Gilgamesh. :) (If you're a "Trekkie" you'll know why we did that. ;) )

 

My goal was to expose us to some classic literature, and begin to learn how to analyze, think about, and discuss literature, and make connections between literature and real life, and to think about the big ideas and questions that classic literature raises. I think our slow pace and odd mix of things worked well for us, but you'll want to make your *own* list of goals and decide how to achieve those goals with WTM History and Literature. :)

 

BEST of luck -- and have fun, both planning AND in your high school History and Literature journey! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.


Edited by Lori D., 10 May 2017 - 12:59 AM.

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#3 Kara in FL

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 10:01 AM

Thank you Lori, for your detailed post!  

 

Your suggestions and encouragement are very helpful.  We have the Well Educated Mind, and Invitation to the Classics was ordered yesterday.  It sounds like those, plus TWTM will give us a good starting point.  

 

PS - Gilgamesh is one book that I have some familiarity with, so now I'm going to have to find "Darmok"   :lol:

 

 

 

 


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#4 Lori D.

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:06 PM

Thank you Lori, for your detailed post!  

 

Your suggestions and encouragement are very helpful.  We have the Well Educated Mind, and Invitation to the Classics was ordered yesterday.  It sounds like those, plus TWTM will give us a good starting point.  

 

PS - Gilgamesh is one book that I have some familiarity with, so now I'm going to have to find "Darmok"   :lol:

 

Yea! Glad something was of help. :) One quick addendum -- I was mentioning that we were only managing 6-8 novels -- that did increase a bit the further into high school we went, AND, we were slow -- most everyone else seems to manage more like 8-12 novels. I do see people post lists with 18 works, but my guess is that the student is a strong reader, highly *interested* in classic lit., and only some of the works are analyzed in depth. 

 

Here you go: "Darmok". :)



#5 charlotteb

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:25 PM

We do one per month, so finish 10 per school year.  I just chose the ones that I liked the best and moved through them in chronological order.


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#6 2_girls_mommy

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 09:53 PM

We are way slower around here. So far my dd has completed 3 ancients from the WTM list with detailed work on her own reading over the course of the year.  She did several books of the Bible, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and The Illiad so far. She is working on her paper on the Illiad right now. Next on tap to finish up the year is a Greek Play and lit guide.  We didn't use a guide besides the Well Educated Mind for the rest of the year, but I like to do one MP guide a year to go really deep every once in awhile. 

 

Together aloud we read a novel set in Ancient Egypt, an encyclopedia of ancient Egypt, several books like The Bible Through the Ages (lots of history, but some literature as in comparing Psalms to other ancient cultures' writings from the times, etc.) D'Luaire's Book of Greek Myths, Archimedes and the Door to Science, and lots of others that aren't on the top of my brain right now, right now reading through a Children's Homer  aloud since she didn't get through the Odyssey yet. We started the year by seeing a Shakespeare play which we usually do at the beginning of the year. We reviewed a lot of Roman history and culture before the national latin exams. We spend a lot of time on that each year from lots of sources, so I feel she got a good lot of Romans, even if we didn't get to original works from them.  Since we didn't get to Roman writings this year, I am planning on reading from Plutarch's Lives aloud to start the year. I was hoping to get to maybe some Cicero, but I am not sure if we will or not. Our aloud readings include my 12 yr old, so they enhance the studies and are usually more on her level. But that's ok. I know this was all new to my dd this year. I think we will begin to get more in each year as we go.


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#7 Kara in FL

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 09:43 PM

Thank you all for sharing!  We have a lot to think about.   :huh:



#8 Nicholas_mom

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:41 AM

I went onto the WTM Online school and they have a detail syllabus for the Ancient Literature & History on there.  That is what we are doing this Fall.



#9 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:58 AM

You are getting really good advice, of course! I just wanted to add that I've found being flexible with book lists to be very helpful. Like Lori, I had my big ideas and lists that were too long, and had to winnow them down. I did that mostly based on dd's interests, and have always been responsive to both her desire to read something, and her lack of interest, and I've not insisted that she finish something she isn't engaged with (as long as she picks something else of equivalent challenge level). I also pre-read books and if I have a hard time slogging through it, I tend to take it off the list - I (presumably) have more experience and self-discipline than a 14 year old, so if it's really challenging for me, it may be better left till she is older, because my goal is to foster a love of reading, writing and analysis, not turn it into a chore.

 

I also have found that separating English & History somewhat has been helpful - because if my kid develops an interest in reading a certain author or book, do I really want to put them off because it doesn't fit the historical time period? We were studying Ancient & Medieval History (to about 1600) this year, but dd wanted to read Jane Austen - so we did! And I'm glad of it. I would have hated to lose that energy & motivation that comes from reading what you want, when you want.

 

Another tip: sometimes you can benefit by using shorter works or short stories for intense analysis and writing assignments, and let longer works just be read & discuss.  This can let you get lots of practice with analyzing and writing and keep you from getting that panicked feeling that you aren't doing "enough" if a longer work is taking a long time to get through!

 

And lastly, for older time periods, I've found it really helpful to pair an ancient & modern work.  This has proved to be a great hook into some of the older & less accessible works. Some pairings we've really enjoyed:

 

The book of Job + A Masque of Reason - Robert Frost

The Odyssey + The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

The Canterbury Tales + Sometimes We Tell the Truth - Kim Zarins

Paradise Lost + The Tale of Paradise Lost - Nancy Willard

Macbeth + Something Rotten - Alan Gratz

Hamlet + Something Wicked - Alan Gratz & Saving Hamlet - Molly Booth

Twelfth Night + The Madness of Love - Katharine Davies

The Taming of the Shrew + Vinegar Girl - Anne Tyler

 

 

 


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#10 Harriet Vane

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 10:38 AM

I had a double major in college--English and Rhetoric--and I have taught quite a few literature courses. I also teach writing professionally.

 

Shoot for a good mix of books, stories, poetry, plays, and essays. 

 

For books, a high school student should read 100-125 pages in a week. Most books can be done in three weeks or less. Taking longer than that kills all love of the book. I can count on one hand the times I have taken a particularly long book to four weeks--it's an option to do when necessary, but it should be rare.

 

To choose books, nothing beats reading an excerpt of the text to get a feel for the difficulty level and personality of the book. I get excerpts from Gutenberg and Amazon when I can. Sometimes I head out to the library or browse in a bookstore. Sometimes I cannot get an excerpt anywhere and I just rely on my English major mojo--since you do not feel as confident, feel free to post here to see if others have studied a certain work. You are also welcome to send me a message any time. 

 

Another option is to simply purchase a Norton anthology and make your selections from that. 

 

One random thought--for literature terminology, I adore Norton's Essential Literary Terms. Explanations are thorough and it includes exercises to work through.

 

We tied literature to history and looooooved doing it that way. My dd absolutely loved the way she could understand the context of the literature more clearly, and often the stories we read gave her a more personality-filled view of history. 

 

Here's what we did:

 

Ancients:

 

The Iliad, by Homer (extensive selections)

 The Odyssey, by Homer (extensive selections)

 Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse, tr. David Ferry

 Egyptian poetry (selections from Norton anthology)

Job (Bible)

Oedipus Rex (lecture)

Antigone, by Sophocles

The Birds, by Aristophanes

 Various myth resources

Progressing with Courage (grammar text)

“Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde  (not an ancient work, but we read it that year to segue in with watching the play locally)

 

Medieval:

 

“The Wanderer”—medieval poem

“The Dream of the Rood”

“The Battle of Maldon”

Ecclesiastical History of the English People (extensive selections), by Bede

Beowulf, Seamus Heaney translation

Mabinogion (extensive selections)

Everyman (play)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott (not a medieval work, but included for comparison of historical fiction to the works and life of the time)

Canterbury Tales (extensive selections), by Chaucer

Utopia, by Thomas Moore

Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe

The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (extensive selections)

 

Renaissance:

 

Essential Literary Terms: A Brief Norton Guide with Exercises,by Sharon Hamilton

Jane Eyre, by Emily Bronte

Poetry of John Donne and Lord Byron

“The Rape of the Lock,” by Alexander Pope

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathon Swift

The Misanthrope, by Moliere

Paradise Lost, by John Milton

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Pilgrim’s Progress (selections), by John Bunyon

Poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson

A Vindication of the Rights of Women (selections), By Mary Wollstonecraft

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

 

Modern:

 

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell

Walden, by Henry David Thoreau (selections)

O Pioneers, by Willa Cather

Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque

Short stories by Leo Tolstoy and G.K. Chesterton

Poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

The Stranger, by Albert Camus

The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams

Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton

The Old Man and the Sea, by Earnest Hemingway

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis

"Leaf, by Niggle," by J. R. R. Tolkein

Short stories by Flannery O'Connor

Poetry by Audre Lorde and Robert Frost

 

Shakespeare

(We did this as a special, extra thing--usually 1-2 plays each year, and then we added on a more focused study unit senior year for the poetry, written play analysis, and Bryson book. Most of the plays were simply read, and then we watched a performance, but a few were studied in a more intensive way. My daughter loved literature, so doing this extra was enjoyable. For a student like my son, who does not love literature, I would not force him to do an extra course like this. Rather, he focuses his "electives" on computer and math and science stuff.):

 

Shakespeare: The World as Stage, by Bill Bryson

Romeo and Juliet

Hamlet

Macbeth

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Comedy of Errors

Twelfth Night

As You Like It

Julius Caesar

Much Ado About Nothing

assorted sonnets

 

various articles and resources on autobiography, time period, and culture

 

 

 


Edited by Harriet Vane, 12 May 2017 - 10:40 AM.

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#11 Kara in FL

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 11:05 PM

Thank you Nicholas mom, Chrysalis Academy, and Harriet Vane.  More great thoughts!  I appreciate all that you have shared.   :hurray:


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#12 Jane Elliot

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:27 AM

And lastly, for older time periods, I've found it really helpful to pair an ancient & modern work.  This has proved to be a great hook into some of the older & less accessible works. Some pairings we've really enjoyed:

 

The book of Job + A Masque of Reason - Robert Frost

The Odyssey + The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

The Canterbury Tales + Sometimes We Tell the Truth - Kim Zarins

Paradise Lost + The Tale of Paradise Lost - Nancy Willard

Macbeth + Something Rotten - Alan Gratz

Hamlet + Something Wicked - Alan Gratz & Saving Hamlet - Molly Booth

Twelfth Night + The Madness of Love - Katharine Davies

The Taming of the Shrew + Vinegar Girl - Anne Tyler

 

Brilliant! I love this idea!


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#13 Saddlemomma

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:33 PM

My DD will be starting 9th in the fall.  We plan to do Ancients w/Ancient Literature with one of her electives as Mythology.  She would really like to place more emphasis on Mesopotamian Myths due to its correlation with the Bible. They will be compared & Contrasted with scripture. So, we are incorporating part of her Lit as her Mythology class (if we don't get to it all that's fine, but at least we have it on hand if we do):

 

Short Myths from Mesopotamia (These will not take very long to read as they are contained within a 282-pp. book. Most of them will just be discussed, however, I will be requiring a few compare/contrast essays as writing assignments.)

  • Enuma Elish
  • Eridu Genesis
  • Memphis Creation Story
  • Enki & The Ordering of the World
  • Enki, Ninmakh & The Creation of Humankind
  • Enki & Ninhursag
  • Enki & Inanna & the Me
  • Enmerkar & The Lord of Aratta
  • Epic of Atra-khasis
  • Song of Ullikummi
  • The Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld
  • Nergal & Ereshkigal
  • Adapa
  • Etana
  • Anzu
  • Theogony of Dunnu
  • Erra & Ishum
  • Confusion of Tongues

 

Mesopotamian Epics: (Again, not very long; about 100 pps. total)

  • Autobiography of Sargon
  • The Epic of Creation
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Tale of Sinuhe
  • Tale of Aqhat
  • Legend of King Kirta

Egyptian Myths:  Selections from the book, The Literature of Ancient Egypt

 

For regular Literature: (We will use Wes Callahan's Old Western Culture for the Greeks-Drama & Lyric & Romans-The Epics with the accompanying workbooks for the following--this will make it much easier for me... :hurray: )

  • The Odyssey
  • The Iliad
  • The Aeneid
  • The Agamemnon (Aeschylus)
  • The Libation Bearers (Aeschylus)
  • The Eumenides (Aeschylus)
  • Oedipus the King (Sophocles)
  • Oedipus at Colonus (Sophocles)
  • Antigone (Sophocles)
  • The Trojan Women (Euripides)
  • The Medea (Euripides)
  • The Frogs (Aristophanes)
  • Sappho's Poems
  • Odes of Pindar
  • Idylls of Theocritus
  • Works & Days (Hesiod)
  • The Fall of Troy (Quintus)

It looks like a lot, but several of them are short and this is what DD wants to do.  This is also why, when she approached me about doing a more in-depth Mesopotamian Mythology class, I jumped at the chance so I could split all this material into two separate classes.  This will make it easier to do, however, we may have to cut some in the end.  That's okay though.  I'd rather have too many and have to cut than too few and be scrambling to fill out the classes. 

 

We don't really follow any one method.  We basically do what DD wants within reason and as long as graduation requirements will be met. This way, she is more interested in her classes and more invested in her education.

 

 

 

 



#14 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:58 AM

My DD will be starting 9th in the fall.  We plan to do Ancients w/Ancient Literature with one of her electives as Mythology.  She would really like to place more emphasis on Mesopotamian Myths due to its correlation with the Bible. They will be compared & Contrasted with scripture. So, we are incorporating part of her Lit as her Mythology class (if we don't get to it all that's fine, but at least we have it on hand if we do):

 

 

It looks like a lot, but several of them are short and this is what DD wants to do.  This is also why, when she approached me about doing a more in-depth Mesopotamian Mythology class, I jumped at the chance so I could split all this material into two separate classes.  This will make it easier to do, however, we may have to cut some in the end.  That's okay though.  I'd rather have too many and have to cut than too few and be scrambling to fill out the classes. 

 

We don't really follow any one method.  We basically do what DD wants within reason and as long as graduation requirements will be met. This way, she is more interested in her classes and more invested in her education.

 

This is the approach we took for 9th grade too. My kid is an aspiring writer, an actor, and reads copiously for pleasure, so we wanted to focus on literature, including drama. We ended up doing a history class that covered Ancients through 1600, a partially correlated but partially uncorrelated English Lit class, a Theater & Film class where we incorporated Greek drama & Shakespeare, and a Creative Writing class. By packaging everything up in these different credits, and by going lighter on the non-passion subjects, we were able to cover everything that we really wanted to.  I would agree that these longer lists are feasible if it's the kid's interest driving it: if they are really invested in the list and want to cover this material. I'd go a totally different route if I had a STEM kid or a kid who didn't love to read and write.





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