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Is it necessary to use a "curriculum" for Literature???

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Is it okay to cobble together a Literature program for dd's 12th grade year?


I was thinking of allowing her to choose which books she wants to cover and using the left over units from LLATL or Lightning Lit or some units from Glencoe or Penguin.


It's difficult to use just one source because she has read so many of the books on her own that are in the LLATL and LL guides.


In 2 months she read all the LOTR books and the Harry Potter books (she never read these as a younger student and just got the urge). She loves books.


Is just cobbling together our own thing good enough. We will use one of the short story units from LL and a poetry unit as well to round out things. She wants to read some British Medieval, Early and Late British, and then just some random novels.


What would I call this mixture for her transcript? English IV??? and leave it at that? We will be dealing with the NCAA as well as university.

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I don't know about NCAA rules, but the colleges my daughter applied to didn't seem to care that we did this all the way through high school. She just picked things she wanted to read, wrote a few papers, discussed a lot, and read some analysis on sparknotes.


After she had done this, we realized she could categorize the things she'd read into topics such as detective fiction, nature writing, speculative fiction, drama, ancient literature, british lit, world lit, and American lit, so we called each of these chunks by those names. You could come up with appropriate names based on what gets read. She could do a semester of British lit and then a semester of something else.

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I'm just concerned about "doing enough"...lol.


So many around here list their literature studies for their high schoolers and it seems so DEEP. My dd loves to read and always has opinions on the novels, which she regularly discusses with me or anyone who will listen!


We did a mish-mash last year and it worked great. I guess I'm worried since this is the last year for her before college. I want to make it good!


I think our plan of picking and choosing from the various programs we have sitting around will do nicely to fill in things like literary terms, comprehension and writing assignements. The Glencoe and Penguin guides are really nice, too.


I did ask my older dd21 what she did in ps hs...she didn't really remember...so...there ya' go.

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I find it helpful to go to a place like sparknotes after I've read the book and thought about it on my own. Then I see what I was "supposed" to get out of it. I often disagree, but it's nice to see what others thought.


Is it deep enough? I think you can only go as deep into literature as you're ready for. A high school student is doing well to be able to read and understand a work and have some opinions on it that they can support. If they can write about this in a composition, then they've pretty much fulfilled anything that could be expected out of them. I doubt any college is going to expect more than that.


I found How to Read Literature Like a Professor to be an interesting read on this topic.


My recollection of high school lit was a lot less than you've described, and I was in the honors/AP classes. We read a few things (really, not that many), listened to what the teacher had to say about interpretation, and wrote a few literary analysis papers that mostly parroted what the teacher told us to think. That was about it. I don't remember any discussion of historical context or even much talk of literary terms and devices. I'd guess what you're doing exceeds that.


These days, I hear that lit classes at the local high school also may include having the student write a paper on the history occurring at the time of the novel's writing. They might do one of these "context" papers and then a lit analysis paper, and something else that qualifies as writing but is neither one of these two. And that will be it for the year. I do try to get my kids to write more than that, but I don't stress too much as I can see we're not "behind" what the ps kids are doing.

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I don't know if this will help, but listening to SWB's "What is Literary Analysis?" lecture (download at Peacehill Press) gave me some confidence in what we're doing. Along with the WTM approach, she recommends http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Literary-Terms-Norton-Exercises/dp/0393928373/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246713101&sr=1-1 for high school.


It seems to me sometimes that the hardest aspect of teaching high school is making sure that what I think is best for the dc lines up with what an outside reviewer would think is adequate. As the years go by, it gets easier to just do what I think is best and not worry about it, but that's probably partly because we've never been challenged by anyone. It's also partly because the older graduated dc have survived, and that gives me some confidence.


Best wishes.

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