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Typically, a high school English credit is about half Literature, half Composition (writing instruction/writing assignments), with a bit of Vocabulary, and maybe some Grammar review if needed.  If you want to "DIY", comparing course contents from several textbook programs, online courses, and syllabi from public/private high schools (just do a quick google search) will give you an idea of:


- what type of material and concepts to cover

- how much material is typical to cover in a year

- and what type and amount of assignments are typical in a year


Here are some ideas of what many homeschoolers use in high school to cover English, or just the Literature if they separate the Lit. & Writing parts. Some have grading rubrics; most do not. Online classes usually do the grading and feedback on writing, and have class or instructor discussion on the literature.


English programs (Literature and Writing)

- K12

- Bob Jones (Lit. purchased separately: Fundamentals of Lit, Essentials of Lit, American, British)

- Seton home study (English 9, English 10, English 11 (American Lit), English 12)

- Oak Meadow (Intro, Lit & Comp, American, British, World, AP


Programs that entwine Literature and History

- Veritas Omnibus (6-year chronological study)

- Tapestry of Grace (4-year chronological study)

- Biblioplan (4-year chronological study)

- My Father's World (Ancients; World; US)

- SMARR (Ancients, American, British)

- Sonlight (20th Century; British Lit)


English Lit with writing assignments (minimal to no writing instruction)

- Excellence in Literature (1-year programs; Intro, Composition, American, British, World)

- Lightning Literature (1-semester programs; Medieval, American, British, Shakespeare, World

- EMC Publishing: Mirrors & Windows series  (gr. 9, gr. 10, gr. 11 (American), gr. 12 (British)

- Alpha-Omega Life Pacs

Learning Language Arts Through Literature: Gold (British, American, World)


Special Lit programs:

- Windows to the World (1 semester, 6 short stories; learn annotation, literary analysis essay, literary elements)

- Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings (1 year focus on the Lord of the Rings trilogy)

- Where the Brook and the River Meet (1 year Anne of Green Gables unit study)


Online Lit courses

- Brave Writer (Shakespeare, Literary Analysis, Discussion Club)

- Captive Thought Tutorials (Intro to Lit, Amer. Lit, British Lit, Jane Austen, CS Lewis)

- Center for Lit (lWorld; British; American; Custom Lit)

- more: Potter's School; Scholars Online; Veritas Scholars; Landry Academy; etc.



Individual Book Study Guides/Resources


Free guides (novels)

Glencoe Literature Library (secular; middle/high school)

Penguin Publisher guides (secular; high school)

Sparknotes (secular; high school/college)

Cliffs Notes (secular; high school/college)

Schmoop (secular; middle school section; high school/college)

Pink Monkey (secular; middle/high school)

Bibliomania (secular; high school/college)

Teacher Vision (secular; middle school/high school)


Free resources for poetry/short stories

Schmoop (secular; poetry; high school/college)
Sparknotes (secular; poetry; high school/college)
Bibliomania (secular; plays, poetry, short stories; high school/college)


NOT Free guides

Novel Unit

L-I-T guides

Discovering Literature series (secular; challenger level = gr. 9-12)

Portals to Literature (secular; middle/high school)

Progeny Press (Christian; gr. 1-12)
Memoria Press (Christian; gr. 1-8)


Online, NOT free
Book Rags (secular; high school/college)
eNotes: novelspoetryshort stories (secular; high school/college)


Miscellaneous guides
Total Language Plus (gr. 1-12; Christian; complete language arts)

The Great Books (gr. 9-12; Christian; worldview discussion, rather than Lit.-based discussion)

Parallel Text Shakespeake materials (secular; gr. 6-12)

Brightest Heaven of Invention: Christian Guide to 6 Shakespeare Plays (Leithart)


Literary Analysis resources

Figuratively Speaking

Walch Toolbox: Prose and Poetry

Teaching the Classics

Reading Strands

Reader's Odyssey (gr. 7-12) = teaches you and the student how to read literature for yourselves and make your own assignments; then follows with a list of classic literature to choose from


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My 9th grader started off high school having a pretty strong grasp of grammar (from Analytical Grammar) and how to write an essay (from Wordsmith Craftsman).  We moved on to Windows to the World, which specifically teaches annotation and literary analysis.  Now he's doing Excellence in Literature units to correspond with whatever time period we're at in history.  These units include both reading classical literature and writing about it.  The program does include some guidelines on how to evaluate the students' writing.  Once a week he does either some Vocabulary from Classical Roots or Analytical Grammar reinforcement exercises.

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  • 2 months later...

We use Lightning Literature - we did American Lit, British and Medieval Lit, World Lit, and Shakespeare.  My kids liked the curriculum and the book choices (for the most part).  It was the best option that I had found - not too intensive, but still meaty.  


Can you tell me what Lightning Lit Shakespeare is like?  Thanks.

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