I am starting to do some research and preparation for next school year. Excellence in Literature is definitely high on my list for a literature program for next year. My son loves IEW for writing, and I was planning to do the IEW Advanced US History book for his writing, but it seems that Excellence in Literature has so much writing included that I probably wouldnâ€™t need to do both. I like how Excellence in Literature provides an optional honors track, making it quite easy to satisfy the honors requirement on my part, but it seems that for the student it requires double the work, almost. In my curriculum counseling meeting with our state homeschool association, I was told that a college prep course would teach 6-8 novels a year, whereas an honors course would teach 8-10. However, the Excellence in Literature courses cover 9 works/modules per year without the honors track. With the honors track, that number is doubled, as it requires the honors student to read an additional work for each of the 9 modules. Thatâ€™s 18 books in one school year, and honestly, that seems excessive. How can you successfully cover that many works per year and really delve into them literarily? Thus, I am still reticent to go with Excellence in Literature.
However, I am also scared to create my own curricula, picking and choosing from literature guides, as I have been doing for the past 5 years. For elementary and middle school, it has been easy since the number of texts required per year is less. This year, I made the conscious decision to push my 8th grade son and see how he did with an increased number of texts. He has read the following and completed literature guides for all of them: The Hunger Games (Progeny Press Guide), Tom Sawyer (Memoria Press), Treasure Island (Memoria Press), Wind in the Willows (Memoria Press), As You Like It (Memoria Press), and I Am Malala (literature study published by The University of Wisconsin for a university-wide read). He has time for one more book, which I am trying to decide upon. He was going to do a study of short stories and poetry that is published by Memoria, but I fear we have run out of time to complete the whole study guide. And therein lies the problem with trying to fit in 8-10 books a year on my own for honors using lit guides. The Memoria and Progeny Press guides are all really in-depth, long studies, analyzing each and every chapter of a book. We flew through them as quickly as we possibly could and averaged 25 days per book, but he had to do a lot of work each day in order to get the guides done in that amount of time. Perhaps the Excellence in Literature program doesnâ€™t analyze each chapter so much, but is looking more at the overarching themes of the novel and that is how they finish each novel in 20 days instead? But even then, how do you finish double that number of books in the same amount of time? What have other parents done when it comes to the honors track? Do more choose to go through a tried and true program like Excellence in Literature? Or do many create an honors path on their own?