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Is this enough or too much for 9th Grade American Lit/Comp?


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My son is waitlisted for the WTMA American Lit course so I'm trying to put together a Plan B that is tailored more towards my son's needs/strengths/weaknesses.  He does not love to read or write so I'm trying to design a homegrown course that he won't totally balk at and that does not analyze each work to the point of tears. I'd love input on whether this is too much or too little.  I've been trying to glean from other threads to narrow down the list of works to read and here is where I've landed using the rule of thumb of one book per month:

  • ·         Selected Poems by Anne Bradstreet
  • ·         The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • ·         Witch of Blackbird Pond  by Elizabeth George Speare
  • ·         Poetry & Short Stories: American Literature by Memoria Press
  • ·         Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
  • ·         Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • ·         The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • ·         To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • ·         The Old Man and the Sea by Herman Melville
  • ·         Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • ·         A Raisin in the Sun play (watch) by Lorraine Hansberry

 

I will mostly be using Glencoe's Study Guides for vocabulary  and comprehension question and will require 4 longer essays (2-4 pages, 1 each quarter) that compare/contrast themes and elements across multiple works instead of requiring an essay for each.  For instance, Essay 1 will be about religion in early New England drawing in examples from Anne Bradstreet's poems, The Scarlet Letter, and Witch of Blackbird Pond, etc.  He will be doing Homeschool Connections  course study on The Scarlet Letter as well.  If we have time at the end of the school year, we will spend it analyzing some songs that he likes such as "Shiloh" by Darryl Worley, "The River" by Garth Brooks, etc.

For grammar and more writing, he will be taking courses from Homeschool Connections as well as doing some grammar from various resources we already own such as Easy Grammar.  I plan for him to do Lit/Comp 4x a week and Grammar 1x (the day that he stays home and I take the others to CC). 

Thoughts, changes, etc.? Thanks!

 

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The list you have looks fine (some of them are a bit on the young side. Witch at Blackbird Pond is a book my kids read in 5th grade. For high school I would probably use a Miller's Crucible.)

However, he does not have to do American lit unless that is the lit course you want him to take.  Since you say you want to engage him, you could create a booklist of books around a genre that he likes. For example, you could do science fiction and fantasy and have him read books like Fahrenheit 451 or Martian Chronicles, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.

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Your list looks very good. I would consider eliminating The Witch of Blackbird Pond because it is more of a middle school level text and it covers the same Puritan culture as The Scarlet Letter. I would replace it with My Antonia (which also has a Glencoe study guide) and adds more about western expansion. The Old Man and the Sea is by Hemingway. If you do want to do some Melville, I'd recommend Billy Budd which is about the same length.

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I also would eliminate The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  I would make sure that he reads the short stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving.  I would add The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, possibly also listening to audio if reading the dialect is frustrating for him.  You listed The Old Man and the Sea as being by Melville, but it's by Hemingway.  Billy Budd might be a good Melville option, if you prefer that, or he could read the short story "Bartleby the Scrivener."  

ETA:  I just noticed you have a whole book of poems by Bradstreet.  I'd just pick a few and spend a lot more time on short stories and poetry by other authors.  Also, I wasn't suggesting you NOT do The Old Man and the Sea; I just wasn't sure if you specifically wanted that book or something by Melville.  

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I like your list except I agree about The Witch of Blackbird Pond and adding in the Washington Irving stories.

I know you said he is reluctant, but I think I would still add to the list. A few of those books are closer to novellas than novels and don’t take more than a few hours to read. If you don’t want to add any more longer works, adding a few short stories (O’Connor, Welty, O. Henry, etc.) and some poems (Frost, Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow), particularly the more iconic ones. Even if they are just read and discussed orally rather than using guides. 

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10 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

The list you have looks fine (some of them are a bit on the young side. Witch at Blackbird Pond is a book my kids read in 5th grade. For high school I would probably use a Miller's Crucible.)

However, he does not have to do American lit unless that is the lit course you want him to take.  Since you say you want to engage him, you could create a booklist of books around a genre that he likes. For example, you could do science fiction and fantasy and have him read books like Fahrenheit 451 or Martian Chronicles, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.

 

Good to know about Witch at Blackbird Pond! CC Challenge 1 had it as part of their reading list so I assumed it was a late middle/early high read.  I may add it to the list for my DD's (rising 5th graders).   He is doing American History this year so I thought American Lit would be a good fit with that.

10 hours ago, chiguirre said:

Your list looks very good. I would consider eliminating The Witch of Blackbird Pond because it is more of a middle school level text and it covers the same Puritan culture as The Scarlet Letter. I would replace it with My Antonia (which also has a Glencoe study guide) and adds more about western expansion. The Old Man and the Sea is by Hemingway. If you do want to do some Melville, I'd recommend Billy Budd which is about the same length.

 

Billy Budd was/is a strong contender for the list.  I'll add it back on there ?

8 hours ago, klmama said:

I also would eliminate The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  I would make sure that he reads the short stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving.  I would add The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, possibly also listening to audio if reading the dialect is frustrating for him.  You listed The Old Man and the Sea as being by Melville, but it's by Hemingway.  Billy Budd might be a good Melville option, if you prefer that, or he could read the short story "Bartleby the Scrivener."  

ETA:  I just noticed you have a whole book of poems by Bradstreet.  I'd just pick a few and spend a lot more time on short stories and poetry by other authors.  Also, I wasn't suggesting you NOT do The Old Man and the Sea; I just wasn't sure if you specifically wanted that book or something by Melville.  

 

7 hours ago, Penelope said:

I like your list except I agree about The Witch of Blackbird Pond and adding in the Washington Irving stories.

I know you said he is reluctant, but I think I would still add to the list. A few of those books are closer to novellas than novels and don’t take more than a few hours to read. If you don’t want to add any more longer works, adding a few short stories (O’Connor, Welty, O. Henry, etc.) and some poems (Frost, Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow), particularly the more iconic ones. Even if they are just read and discussed orally rather than using guides. 

 

"Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" are both in the Memoria Press Poetry and Short Story book that he will cover ? And sorry for the typo between Melville and Hemingway.  I hadn't finished my first cup of coffee this morning before posting ? 

As for Anne Bradstreet, it'll only be two of her works, "To My Dear and Loving Husband" and "In Reference to Her Children."  The Memoria Press book has a pretty large selection of poetry as well from Frost, Poe, Longfellow, Dickinson, etc. 

EDITED TO ADD:  I chose to leave off Huckleberry Finn because DS has read the book twice already and has listened to the Audible version....he begged, "Mom, please not Huck Finn aggggggaaaaaiinnnn!!!" ?

 

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