Jump to content

Menu

Am I messing up? - Literature content


Recommended Posts

We aren't following a very traditional literature cycle. Freshman year the boys did LOTR, and dd did a made up year of "girlie" lit (Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, Girl of Limberlost and some more modern ones..) Sophomore we did half a year of Shakespeare, and then mini units of a bunch of different things, Sci Fi, Detectives, a few modern things, plays, short stories, poetry...

 

This year I was putting together a 20th century world lit class, and next year I was thinking of a 20th century American lit class, maybe by genres.

 

They have read lots of classics as well - I read tons to them when they were younger. When I look at programs out there, they've probably read several of the selections on every list.

 

Am I setting them up for failure by not having a year of British literature, or.. I don't know what? Are colleges going to care that we haven't followed some traditional order? I remember having half a year of Utopian literature in high school, not something I'd want to impose on my kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We aren't following a very traditional literature cycle. Freshman year the boys did LOTR, and dd did a made up year of "girlie" lit (Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, Girl of Limberlost and some more modern ones..) Sophomore we did half a year of Shakespeare, and then mini units of a bunch of different things, Sci Fi, Detectives, a few modern things, plays, short stories, poetry...

 

This year I was putting together a 20th century world lit class, and next year I was thinking of a 20th century American lit class, maybe by genres.

 

They have read lots of classics as well - I read tons to them when they were younger. When I look at programs out there, they've probably read several of the selections on every list.

 

Am I setting them up for failure by not having a year of British literature, or.. I don't know what? Are colleges going to care that we haven't followed some traditional order? I remember having half a year of Utopian literature in high school, not something I'd want to impose on my kids.

 

I just labeled our classes English 9, 10, 11, and 12. (Our English class included literature reading, discussion, writing, grammar review, vocabulary as needed, etc.). Neither of the colleges my son applied to questioned this.

 

We aren't interested in Ivy League type schools, though, so that might make a difference.

 

However, our local public schools label their classes the same way. While typically 11th grade does focus on American lit and 12th grade focuses on British lit, the local transcripts just say English 11 and English 12.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think colleges mostly just count up how many credits of English there are. Even public schools have a pretty wide variety of titles on their English courses. And the books covered can be almost anything.

 

In high school we were required to have 9th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade composition, and a semester of American Lit. As 12th grade comp was only a semester, this added up to only 3 years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what you're done is great -- the only thing I would add is to note that when I taught literature classes at the University of California, even very bright, generally well-read kids had a lot of trouble with pre-Victorian texts: the language, the genres that were not fictional prose, the different conventions. You might want to sneak in a few works from before 1800, whether poetry or prose or very early fiction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would bet that no two schools in the country cover precisely the same reading lists each year, and in the same ways. Since there is no such homogeneity in lit study, I don't think it's going to make any difference whatsoever which selections you choose to cover. The important thing is that you teach them to analyze literary works. Then they can do that with any book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My daughter was accepted by eight colleges of varying selectivity. Her English courses were not at all traditional.

 

9th grade: World Literature (0.50 credits), Fantasy Literature (0.25 credits), and Greek Plays (0.25 credits)

 

10th grade: Essay Writing (0.50 credits), Middle English Literature (0.25 credits)

 

11th grade: three community college courses ~ two composition plus Survey of World Literature. A total of 1.5 credits.

 

12th grade: three community college courses ~ one composition plus Latino/a Literature and Folklore & Mythology. A total of 1.5 credits.

 

Regards,

Kareni

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The part I neglected to say is that we did so many classics up through 8th grade (them reading and read alouds) that I realized we had practically done nothing modern at all. I'm not worried about them not being able to deal with earlier writings, they all loved the Lightning Lit Shakespeare class last year, they've read a lot of Dickens, dd reads Austen for fun, 1 ds is reading Tom Jones now because we heard that that was where Harry Potter came from...

 

I think we almost followed WTM too closely up through 8th grade, there was very little modern anything, and I don't want them off to college w/o knowing modern lit and references, they will need to communitcate w/ their peers.

 

I'm very excited about our modern world lit class coming up, I think it will really challenge the way they think seeing how different it is elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could you share your list for 20th Century World Lit? I'm compiling ideas for my ds and like the idea of not being constrained by any particular list, rather using a model list as a framework. How much input do your dc have when designing the course? Right now my ds 13 is fine with whatever Mom decides, but I'd really like him to have a big part in deciding what we read. I guess he just doesn't have any strong opinions one way or another right now :001_huh:.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We aren't following a very traditional literature cycle. Freshman year the boys did LOTR, and dd did a made up year of "girlie" lit (Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, Girl of Limberlost and some more modern ones..) Sophomore we did half a year of Shakespeare, and then mini units of a bunch of different things, Sci Fi, Detectives, a few modern things, plays, short stories, poetry...

 

This year I was putting together a 20th century world lit class, and next year I was thinking of a 20th century American lit class, maybe by genres.

 

They have read lots of classics as well - I read tons to them when they were younger. When I look at programs out there, they've probably read several of the selections on every list.

 

Am I setting them up for failure by not having a year of British literature, or.. I don't know what? Are colleges going to care that we haven't followed some traditional order? I remember having half a year of Utopian literature in high school, not something I'd want to impose on my kids.

 

 

I strongly believe that doing modern literature without a solid understanding of the literature from which the moderns deviated and emerged is equivalent to studying chapter 45 of a novel without reading chapters 1-44. Can you do it? Sure. Free country. Be my guest. However, it's infinitely more work and much more trouble.

 

Here's an example. Let's take one of the crucial poems of the modern era, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Well, right away, we notice that the poem is not in English, but Italian: "S'io credesse che mi riposta fosse..." and that the epigraph is from Dante's Inferno.

 

If you haven't read Dante's Inferno, the major significance of that moment is lost and a really important moment in the poem has passed you by.

 

Let's take another example: e.e. cummings' "anyone lived in a pretty how town." Without a solid understanding of meter, poetic structure generally, the "play" with language, the striving toward pushing language to the borders of (and beyond) its ability to act as a signifier, it's hard to appreciate this poem -- and to appreciate the tight, solid structure it actually *does* possess...but which is not obvious on a first reading.

 

Can you read it? Sure. It'll probably sound like nonsense, though, and the likely reaction is probably something like, "Well, this is stupid."

 

Just my thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...