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I've been thinking about our long-term plans. I'm not sure I want to focus on "great books" for history/lit. in the rhetoric level. Omnibus looks great, but I'm not sure I want to spend all of that time on those books? I would prefer to read many "good books" for that age range, with just of few "great books" each year of the chronological cycle.

 

So, if I didn't use Omnibus in 7-12 grades, I would use something like Hewitt Lightning Lit and Hewitt Honors History Syllabus (scheduling Streams of Civilization) with Truthquest guides. I like the idea of reading books rather than anthologies or lit. textbooks.

 

My (grammar stage) kids are bent towards math and sciences. I love the idea of moving towards the great books in the rhetoric stage, but part of me thinks it seems elitist. Just to say we did it. I've been listening to the Veritas teaching mp3's and I'm getting that elitist feeling from them more and more.

 

I would love for my children to be accepted to our highly ranked state university. What would they make out of a "great books" focus? Can you share some of your more traditional history/lit. choices for high school? Can you share your decision process to lead you to or not to focus on "great books" in high school?

Edited by LNC
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I wouldn't beat yourself up for not wanting to do the Great Books, and I would especially not do anything you feel is elitist. It sounds like you want an efficient way to cover history and literature so your kiddos can concentrate on math and science. Nothing wrong with that. Although we are reading mostly Great Books, we are reading some "good books" as well, along with Abeka 10th grade World literature to get in some poetry and short stories. Our literature guide is Stoubaugh's Literary Analysis course, although I'm sure Lightning Lit is good as well. I am winging my way through Streams of Civilization 2 with my 10th grade dd and it is going well. I'm not sure how colleges view a Great Books education vs. a more traditional path. I hope someone chimes in on this!

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I've been thinking about our long-term plans. I'm not sure I want to focus on "great books" for history/lit. in the rhetoric level... I would prefer to read many "good books" for that age range, with just of few "great books" each year of the chronological cycle...

 

 

I see those lists of The Great Books as just that -- lists from which to choose, selecting the ones which fit in with our family's educational choices and which will help prepare our children for their specific future fields.

 

 

...I love the idea of moving towards the great books in the rhetoric stage, but part of me thinks it seems elitist. Just to say we did it. I've been listening to the Veritas teaching mp3's and I'm getting that elitist feeling from them more and more.

 

 

I completely agree with you -- ANY program, curriculum, or book that is done "just to say we did it" is of no real worth as far as promoting real learning, which is the focus of our homeschooling. If a book on a Great Books list seems to us that it's either an "expected book just to check it off an elite list", or only because "it's hard", it's not going to end up in our schooling. :001_smile:

 

 

 

Can you share some of your more traditional history/lit. choices for high school? ... Can you share your decision process to lead you to or not to focus on "great books" in high school?

 

 

I am probably misunderstanding your statement here, but I believe that The Great Books *are* the traditional literature books -- The Great Books tend to be the works which have stood the test of time, and are the works that have traditionally been a part of secondary education over the decades and the centuries.

 

As to why did we choose to do some of the great Great Books:

 

1. The Great Books are GOOD books

Many of the Great Books *are* good books, with great stories, memorable characters, wonderful dialog, and just plan fun to read! Others are so profound that it's an awesome experience to experience it with your family.

 

2. Shared Experience/Background

Because many of those Great Books are the standards in a majority of US high schools, our students will have a "shared experience or background" with other high schoolers.

 

3. Worldview

Most importantly, we place great importance on understanding Worldview -- the concept that what we believe greatly influences the choices we make. We see literature (and film) as extremely helpful paths in becoming aware of and understanding worldviews -- the beliefs of characters, their choices, and the consequences of their choices.

 

4. Conversation Sparkers

The Great Books have such depth of theme, cover such a range of worldviews, and teach us through the examples of the characters and their choices. The Great Books (and films and some TV shows) have been a tremendous "springboard" into opening up personal and relevant issue conversations. We've had incredible discussions about real life ethics, personal choices, how to apply principles learned -- things like how to respond to a bully, what does forgiveness really look like, how to withstand peer pressure, what is that TV or print ad (or politician) *really* "selling", how to show compassion to someone who is suffering, etc. etc. -- that have all been sparked by reading and discussing a Great Book or film.

 

 

 

My (grammar stage) kids are bent towards math and sciences...I would love for my children to be accepted to our highly ranked state university. What would they make out of a "great books" focus?

 

 

I guess I would direct you to my 4 reasons above as answers to this question, too. What math/science oriented students would make out of the great books? I believe they would gain skills in reasoning, ways of thinking about the "big picture", examples to consider and discuss, etc.

 

Important note: if your students are math/science oriented, then you would best serve their future needs by NOT having "great books" as their *focus* -- but rather a math/science focus, with a "side helping" of the Great Books to expand/enhance their studies.

 

I highly recommend looking for posts on the high school board by Nan in Mass on their Great Books studies -- what it looks like, why it's important etc. -- as her entire family is engineering/math/science oriented. Yet her posts on their joint literature studies make it very clear that The Great Books have contributed greatly to their students education, even though it was not the primary focus.

 

 

 

Can you share some of your more traditional history/lit. choices for high school?

 

 

Well, we start by considering works in the history period we're covering, but never limit ourselves to just that. From there, we use some of the following as the criteria we use to select which Great Books to do:

 

- works which personally interest one or more of us

- works which are most accessible to what thinking level are our students at

- works which best exemplify worldviews we're trying to understand

- works which are more widely covered by other students (so our students will be able to continue discussing the works with others)

- works which are most commonly referenced in literature and film, so we'll understand the allusions/themes and can gain more richness and new thoughts about both the newer work and the older work alluded to

 

 

Ultimately, we do what I think of as a modified Great Books study; a high school year here includes a range of works: Great Books, good books, standard high school fare books, fun books. And a range of ways of using the books: solo or aloud together; just for fun or for discussing / analyzing / writing about; etc. More specifically, it tends to look like this:

 

1. We "go deep" reading aloud/discussing together about 6 Great Books -- even abridged versions, if that's what works best.

2. Boys solo read 6-8 historical fiction books.

3. Boys each have a lit. pro gram that is done as a combo of solo and together time; and is also a mix of Great Books, good books, fun books, books typically read in that grade of high school, etc.

 

Below, I have listed specific titles of works we've used. I hope something here is of help! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

9th and 8th grade sons last year:

 

Great Books (ancients)

I picked the most accessible works from ideas from TWTM, Ambleside Online, Sonlight, etc.:

1. Gilgamesh (abridged version by Jennifer Westwood); SMARR lit. guide

2. Iliad (Fagles translation); Novel Unit lit. guide

3. Odyssey (Fagles translation); Garlic Press lit. guide

4. Oedipus the King (Fitzgerald translation); Sparknotes lit. guide

5. Antigone (Fitzgerald translation); Sparknotes lit. guide

6. Aeneid (abridged version by Alfred Church); Sparknotes lit. guide

7. Till We Have Faces (CS Lewis); no guide

 

 

9th grade son Literature

Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings

1. Fellowship of the Ring

2. The Two Towers

3. Return of the King

 

 

9th grade son Solo Reading (note: most are 6th grade reading level)

1. The Golden Goblet -- or -- Shadow Hawk

2. God King -- or -- Hittite Warrior

3. Archimedes and the Door to Science

4. Ides of April

5. The Bronze Bow -- or -- Eagle of the Ninth

6. various Greek myths

 

 

9th grade son's Own Personal Free Time Reading Choices

1. books from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series

2. Eragon and Eldest

3. minute mystery collections

4. Deadliest Monster

5. Rethinking Worldview

6. books from the Percy Jackson Olympians series

 

 

 

9th and 10 grade sons this year:

 

Great Books (history = 20th century)

1. Beowulf (The Great Books lit. guide by Jeff Baldwin)

2. Macbeth (Parallel Text Shakespeare guide/workbook)

3. "The Deadliest Game" (short story; 1st unit in IEW's Windows on the World program)

4. All Quiet on the Western Front (Sparknotes lit. guide)

5. Diary of Anne Frank (Portals to Literature lit. guide)

6. To Kill a Mockingbird (Garlic Press lit. guide)

(if we have time at end of year: Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing)

 

 

9th grade son Literature (Lightning Literature 8)

- 3 short stories

- 3 poetry units

- Treasure Island

- A Day of Pleasure

- A Christmas Carol

- The Hobbit

- My Family and Other Animals

(To Kill a Mockingbird -- which will be done under Great Books together)

 

 

10th grade son Literature (made our own lit. program of Worldviews in Sci-Fi & Gothic)

- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Christian); Progeny Press lit. guide

- Frankenstein; (romanticism; gothic); Progeny Press lit. guide

- The Time Machine (socialism; evolution); lit. guide found online

- Animal Farm (communism); Sparknotes lit. guide

- The Giver (utopia/distopia); Garlic Press lit. guide

- Brave New World (utopia/distopia); Progeny Press lit. guide

- Farenheit 451 (utopia/distopia; apocolyptic); Progeny PRess lit. guide

- A Canticle for Leibowitz (apocalyptic; self destructive cycle of state; role of the church); no guide

- short stories from CosmiComics (evolution; humanism; existentialism); no guide

- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (evolution; absurdism); no guide

- A Day of Pleasure

 

 

9th/10th grade Solo Reading (note: most are 5th-8th grade reading level)

1. The Great Brain -- or -- Little Britches

2. Albert Einstein -- or -- The Endurance

3. The Road From Home

4. Cheaper By the Dozen

5. Winged Watchmen -- or -- Escape From Warsaw -- or -- Hiroshima

6. short antecdotes from True Adventure Collection -- or -- Great Escapes of WW2

7. Tramp for the Lord -- or -- God's Smuggler -- or -- I Am David

8. The Cay -- or -- The View From Saturday -- or -- The Pushcart War

 

 

Plus their own choices for free time reading...

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My (grammar stage) kids are bent towards math and sciences. I love the idea of moving towards the great books in the rhetoric stage, but part of me thinks it seems elitist. Just to say we did it. I've been listening to the Veritas teaching mp3's and I'm getting that elitist feeling from them more and more.

 

I would love for my children to be accepted to our highly ranked state university. What would they make out of a "great books" focus? Can you share some of your more traditional history/lit. choices for high school? Can you share your decision process to lead you to or not to focus on "great books" in high school?

 

didn't do nearly as much of Omnibus I as we should have, Omnibus II was an overall success which I wouldn't trade for anything. I've only briefly perused Hewitt's Lightning Lit. on the internet, so I can't comment knowledgeably about it in comparison with Omnibus. I do heartily agree with everything LoriD said, though. I would not skip the Great Books.

 

For one thing, if you do Omnibus, you do not have to do everything in Omnibus. We didn't. The first year didn't work out extremely well due to our involvement with a rather large homeschooling project. Nevertheless, we read The Aeneid, The Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Code of Hammurabi and Moses, Till We Have Faces, and a few others. The second year we did almost all of Omnibus II, with a few substitutions.

 

There are other routes to tackling the Great Books, which have been discussed in other threads, such as the WTM/WEM route, TOG, etc. Nevertheless, I think they should not be missed!

 

I think the Great Books are especially beneficial if you start with the ancients and work your way through history. You'll find how Dante builds upon Virgil, and how T.S. Eliot adored Dante, so you'll be part of that "great conversation" that SWB refers to in TWTM.

 

You will find your children especially well-prepared for college. Not all of the high schools are covering the Great Books in as much depth or nearly as many of the Great Books as you can cover in homeschooling. We've found that out with traditional school. Although they're enrolled in a good school, nevertheless they read far more here at home than what they've done at school.

 

Tackling the Great Books stretches the mind in ways that some other books just can't match. I have found my oldest well-prepared for college-entrance exams. The difficult, close reading that was required, the discussions, the parsing of words/phrases/paragraphs/lines of verse, etc., was truly more helpful to her performing well on the PSAT and ACT than a test prep. book, which can help a student mostly insofar as methodology in test-taking skills. But, a test prep. book can only go so far, and can't help with the lifetime of reading that is necessary in order to ingest vocabulary and excellent writing. The Great Books are great because they earned that designation over time.

 

I understand your feelings about the "elitism" of Veritas Press. I love the Omnibus books, but I understand what you are sensing. However, you can choose how you craft the program (or, another program, if you so desire). You don't have to be elitist, but don't avoid the Great Books because of those feelings. Your children won't be elitist at all; in fact, if properly tackled, reading the Great Books should be a rather humbling experience. In fact, if I may share an anecdote here---in the fall, some of us were reading The Federalist Papers, and I gave up around #20 of the approximately 85 papers which were published in the 1700's by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay. They were dense, dense reading. Now, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I did graduate from college and did well. Nevertheless, reading those was a real challenge; I had to re-read passages several times in order to understand what exactly these men were trying to communicate. Please don't quote my facts here, because I got these second-hand from my father, but he told me at Christmas that he read The Federalist Papers and that Hamilton, Madison, and Jay wrote them to be published in the local papers of the time, which were read by very "average" people like farmers, tavern owners, craftsmen, etc., and were intended for lively discussion in order to get the citizens and states to accept the Constitution. So---I found that very humbling indeed!

 

So---I would recommend that you tackle what you are able to tackle, as much as you can, and don't avoid them because of attitudes which you may perceive from others. And, don't avoid them even if your children are geared towards math or science. They will still tackle difficult reading in math and science both, and the same skills they use in reading the Great Books will translate to further depth and understanding in both the maths and sciences. I believe you'll reap many benefits if you make them part of your homeschooling experience.

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I want to encourage you to remember that your great may be someone else's good and vice versa. As well, a list is just that: A list from which to pick and choose what suits your needs and preferences. Omnibus looks to be a wonderful resource, but there are some selections in there that I would never have a student read at the age they recommend. (For that matter, I wouldn't force them on an adult.;)) Best of luck in your pursuits!

Edited by Colleen
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Somewhere in floating around in TWTM high school board is a post I wrote about how we do great books using TWEM. I tried to explain what we do for each book (or might do - I decide on the spot which things to do). It is a pretty simple routine for each book and I don't worry too much over whether we are doing the best job we could with each book. I am not trying to do a perfect, elitest job of classical education. Rather the opposite - I find that classical education a la TWTM is very good for banging the basics into my rather non-academic-minded boys. It teaches academic skills instead of just assuming my children will sort of pick them up in the process of dealing with lots of content (probably not the content I would choose). I know what you mean about the elitest slant. I haven't found other forms of "classical" helpful. They make it sound hard and like it would unsuit my children to live in my whimsical, simpleminded world. I found TWEM to be different, though. It didn't rub me the wrong way. And it isn't the same sort of good but dry-as-dust classical education that my mother had.

 

The great books are nice because even if you do nothing at all but read them carefully (as people did for generations before Cliffnotes and study guides showed up), you will learn from them. They have been considered great because they speak well for themselves. I didn't set out to do a classical education, or to do great books. I'm doing classical (sort of) because TWTM makes sense to me and works for my children. I began doing great books because TWTM said to and because it seemed simple, not easy, but simple, much simpler and more flexible than a literature curriculum, and I need simple and flexible. Great books a la TWTM is nice because you can pick the books yourself, as you go along, and pick only as many as you want. You aren't spending massive amounts of time (which you will need for science and math) struggling through a literature course designed for someone else's children's reading speed. You can do as little or as much as you want for each book, abandon ones that aren't working, do drawing projects instead of writing projects, or whatever you like. I pick the books I think we would like best (mostly the ones that are stories) and the ones I think we have the best chance of understanding. They don't even have to be great books. TWEM questions work for any type of book. Another nice thing about great books is that it avoids lots of the good modern literature, which is often depressing. Ancients and medievals are more fun and appeal more to my boys. And my children do better with Beowulf than with Steinbeck, with MacBeth than with The Great Gatsby. Being science and math oriented, they don't have much patience with modern novels. They want a rip-roaring plot. The story in Beowulf moves at a much better pace for them. They appreciate beautiful language, but would rather not have to appreciate a whole novel of it. Things like The Republic and The Iliad are about the struggles of being grown up and resisting temptation and dealing with anger, all the sorts of things they are dealing with as they grow up. They find it comforting to know people through the ages have also struggled with these things. And I find it comforting to have help explaining them and comforting to have these struggles presented to my boys as unavoidable things that you have to figure out or bad things will happen to you. Great books present life lessons in very accessable ways, like stories or dialogues, ones that reach my children. At least the ones we've chosen have. They have been very useful as far as giving my children enough sense of perspective to withstand politics and advertising and other people who try to persuade them to do or believe something. As Lori said, they are great conversation starters. I can't believe some of the things we've discussed. I see my children applying TWEM to everything they watch or read. They describe the new James Bond they watched in scouts to me in WEM terms LOL, actually thinking about how the plot worked and how the movie was put together. Again, as Lori said, this is appropriate scientific thinking. I am so glad I followed TWTM's directions and dutifully embarked on this way of doing literature, especially given the college education my children are likely to get. My older one wants to be a ship's captain. There is precious little room in his college courses for liberal arts. And the youngest will probably be an engineer, with even less room. It is a good thing I didn't decide to wait and assume someone else would get them started on great books in college.

 

You might want to reconsider whether great books is really what you are picturing?

 

-Nan

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Wow thanks! I'll print these posts. I'm so glad I bumped up my post. I'm really inspired to not think so rigidly about Omnibus, that there are other options to include the "great books" in our high school years. Also, just bc Veritas starts them in 7th grade, I have other options.

 

I was an English major. I minored in history and took several latin, philosophy and church history courses. I didn't read most of what Veritas recommend in 7th and 8th grades until I was a junior and senior in college. My twin went on from our university to a Masters/PHd. at Princeton and a Yale law degree. She laughs at the Omnibus book lists and age recommendations. It just seems crazy. When are my children going to have time to read all of the "good books" from the Truthquest guides?

 

So, thanks for opening up my mind that I can include some of the "great books" in our high school history/lit courses without necessarily following a complete focused curriculum like Omnibus 7-12.

Edited by LNC
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I want to encourage you to remember that your great may be someone else's good and vice versa. As well, a list is just that: A list from which to pick and choose what suits your needs and preferences. Omnibus looks to be a wonderful resource, but there are some selections in there that I would never have a student read at the age they recommend. (For that matter, I wouldn't force them on an adult.;)) Best of luck in your pursuits!

 

With Omnibus I (which we never did that much of in the first place), I would avoid Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars. Some of the descriptions of the Caesars and their lives would be too much for many kids (and some adults!). Colleen is right---a list is a list. There are many "Great Books" lists floating around; Omnibus is one of many resources from which you can choose. We never did all of Omnibus, and for that reason I never awarded the girls the three full credits which Omnibus says you can award your children. Last year I gave them a full credit for literature and a full credit for history. I tweaked the program in many ways to suit our needs; we substituted Spielvogel's World History: A Human Odyssey for his Western Civilization. We didn't do the progymnasmata writing for Omnibus; instead we did the Summa essays and I had those evaluated by Cindy Marsch. We didn't do all of the secondary readings, because my girls had already read a number of those books. We substituted Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther for the more heavily theological The Bondage of the Will. So, we used the book as a springboard for discussions, but adapted the program to suit our own needs. I loved having that freedom!

 

Yes, you can certainly tailor any program to meet your needs and the needs of your dc. I would just encourage you to choose at least some of the Great Books to tackle for reading, discussion, and writing.

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Just wanted to explain that I didn't respond to your first post because I don't know much about the specific curriculums you mentioned. I'm glad Lori read your question more carefully. I laugh when I think of applying some of those lists to my children, too. Now that my older one is 18, I can see what a jump in thinking/understanding he took when he was 16 or 17. Here (in case it helps) are some things my particular children are capable of appreciating before the jump:

(I'm writing from memory so I'm probably skipping some and misspelling lots of them.)

 

Humor: The Birds, The Importance of Being Ernest, Til Eulenspiegel, some of Canterbury Tales, some Shakespeare, The Ransom of Red Chief (also discussed racism when we did this)

 

Stories: The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Voyage of the Argo (did audio for this), Beowulf, Lord of the Rings, Tom Sawyer + Huck Finn, Canterbury Tales, more Shakespeare, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Everyman and othe morality plays, the more cheerful Dickens, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Emma, Gilgamesh, The Oresteia, The Aeneid, Sherlock Holmes, The Gold Bug

 

Poetry that told a story: They were intrigued at the "sick twistedness" (thier words) of Dante's Inferno, Ancient Mariner and other modern long story-telling ones (Technically I should list Sir Gawain and some other things we read here, but since we read them for the story and not for the poetry, I'm not, though we certainly enjoyed some of the poetic bits of them. Ancient Mariner etc. we read as poetry focussing on the poetry, not the story, so I list them here.)

 

Politics/government/philosophy: The Republic, Socrates' On His condemnation to Death, a few other snippets of ancient philosophers, a few of Plutarch's Lives, Common Sense, a few selected Federalist Papers (which we all agree we are glad we read since we understand the controlled, deliberate chaos of the government better - like a 4-way stop, but was way too dense to even think about reading in its entirety), The Eye of the Heron, Beating Celestial Drums

 

These are the things my children have responded best to. Other things we (or they) read were less successful, like Self-Relience (big duh reaction from my UU kids), and The Prince (son wants to reread it some day now that he is older). Not all of these are on anyone's list of great books. Some things my older one read, like 1984, he read and is glad he read, but he read after he turned 16, so I didn't include them on the before-the-jump list. Western Civ, Sophie's World, and Kingfisher have worked well as the main history/background reading.

 

Ok, have I screamed PICK YOUR OWN BOOKS loudly enough? Sorry! You won't have any trouble doing that anyway because you are familiar with the books and you know your own children. I hadn't read lots of this stuff, so it was harder for me to pick and choose. This post is mostly for other people reading this thread. : ) Whatever you do, have fun. This is the high school version of the cozy read-alouds many of us did in elementary school. You can still have them. You can still cuddle on the sofa and do it together and talk and talk. High school literature is a great time to build intimacy between you and your children and get to find out what they are thinking about and add your influence. Have fun.

 

-Nan

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... as usual, your posts on lit./Great Books are so helpful to me! I noticed in your first longer post that I have tended to pick the more "story-like" great books, too. That's a great idea for the poetry -- works that "tell a story." Our boys have NO patience for free verse poetry (LOL!), and aren't that interested in poetry in general (alas for DH, who really enjoys poetry and wanted to be able to share it). I was wondering how we were going to slip a little poetry in there -- last year it was easy, because we were doing LLftLotR and there is a unit on poetry; and this year younger son is doing LL8, which has poetry units. But I couldn't think how to include poetry in the next years...

 

Still working on getting a transporter working so we can "beam" back and forth for visits and discussions! :tongue_smilie: Hugs, Lori D.

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I look over the Ambleside Online lists -- even the Well Trained Mind lists -- and think that the ages listed for certain works are ridiculous. Some books are listed in jr. high that shouldn't be attempted until late high school or college! And some books listed for high school: *I* don't have enough life experience yet to attempt -- and I'm well over 40! I just try to keep in mind that these are lists of *suggestions* from which to choose. : )

 

BTW, the reason I listed what we've covered in our high school years was so you could see the kinds of Great Books we have selected (most are very story-like, "boy-friendly adventures" -- but with some meaty themes to discuss) -- but also that we read a fair amount of books that are not classics, that are well below grade level reading, and include books for enjoyment! We are not about reading just so we can check off a list. :001_smile:

 

And realize, we *don't* use every page of a lit. guide (we more skim and use parts), and we don't discuss *every* book. And not every book brings out some of those great conversations, either. Some we just enjoy reading with no discussion or writing.

 

I just want our children to maintain a love of reading, and to "widen their horizons" as to kinds of books they may enjoy. And I want us to be able to also read works so we *can* have thought-provoking conversations, too -- IF and when they happen. A good friend of ours still reads a few thought provoking books per year aloud to his 2 college-aged sons who are still living at home. My hope is we'll have a similar experience -- that we will have a great friendship with our children when they are grown and will still enjoy tackling the occasional book together and having some great conversations. What a privilege, gift and blessing doing the Great Books has been so far, and hopefully will continue to be. :001_smile:

 

Enjoy your reading journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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We're going to use WEM and take what we want from the novels list. As for great books, we'll pick and choose. I'm saving this thread in my high school literature folder (gotta love subscriptions on this forum!) for Lori's & Nan's posts, plus all the other ones. I do want to tryout Drew's Illiad guide, though, so whatever he writes will help with that selection. I only read books like that for fun, never study, so have no background in that part of it. But I preferred The Odyssey to The Illiad and don't think I finished the latter. Guess I will next year;).

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Here is what we do for Lit at the High school level....May sound a little strange, but it works for us....We have taken the WTM approach and "Tweaked it" a little.....

 

First, WE pick a list of 8 to 12 pieces for the year....I say WE, as the high schoolers "help" me make decisions about what they want to read....

We use the list in the WTM book as a guide....

 

Second, When we start a piece, we read the Intro and Information about the author in "Invitation to the Classics" or WEM.....

 

Thirdly, before we start reading a piece, I give the kids a "guiding question" to think about from Stobaugh's Lit guides. For instance, right now we are reading Pride and Prejudice...The guiding question is "How does Austen use the social party to develop characters and to advance action?"

 

Fourth, according to what we have going in the family, we decide how long it will take to read the book and break it down into days...The kids mostly do this, as I want them having experience planning their days before they go off to college....

 

Fifth: As they read I ask them to come up with 5 new vocabulary words a week that they did not know...Put the definition on cards and make a new sentence with the new word.....(This is working....they are using these words in their writing and speech....Hmmm....)

 

Sixth: When they finish the book.....We will sit down and make a "story map" from Teaching the Classics.... and discuss how the plot advances and what they think the overall theme of the book is....I LOVE this part...Discussions are VERY rich.....If there is not much discussion I might pull some questions out of the back of Sparknotes.....I use Sparknotes for ME as a guide, and I also let my younger rising 9th grader read the chapter summaries. This is her first time in Rhetoric level pieces.

 

Lastly, After we have read the book, and talked about the book, and maybe even seen the movie....I let the kids pick one of the essay topics out of the Stobaugh's guides and write an essay.

 

That's about it.....It works for us.....I try to pair up what we are doing in Lit with our history study.

 

I have used TOG and Omnibus in the past. These are wonderful guides for Lit discussion....But I keep coming back to this way....Read the book and discuss it....

 

There used to be "fear" on my part....thinking I was going to "mess them up" by leaving something out......But I have set aside that "fear" (letting the Lord have that) and now we are just enjoying literature....As it should be....

 

Hope this helps.....As you go on this journey, you must find what works for you and your family.

 

Blessings,

 

Brenda:001_smile:

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We use TQ as our guide for history......I have the old classic TOG that I pull out periodically for questions....But mostly I just use TQ as our discussion guide.....We keep a family Timeline and do map work, if called for.....I have also used the TC history DVD's ......AWESOME!

 

But like I said, in the previous post, you must find what works for you.

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This classical approach is MUCH easier if your high schoolers are familiar with the story line. We have been using the WTM method for many years. So when my high schooler was to read Beowulf....It was no big deal because he was familiar with the story. His dad had read it to him when he was in the grammar stage....A fun read aloud.....Good memories....But he KNEW the story....LOVED the story....Even acted out the story with his siblings.....

 

My younger kids will get to read these stories TWO times before they reach the Rhetoric level.....We didn't start homeschooling with oldest ds until 3rd grade, so he is only going through some of these time periods two times. But that is o.k!

 

I have even used an easy abridged version of a classic FIRST with a high schooler if they don't know the story.....For instance last year my high schooler was 9th grade and we were about to read Canterbury Tales...So, first we read McCaughrean's Version...Took him just a few days....But well worth our time.....He knew the story first.....

 

Hope this helps!

 

Blessings,

 

Brenda:)

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This is a fantastic list, Brenda! Too bad we can't gather my way, Lori's way, your way, and some of the other's who have reduced TWTM/TWEM to a routine for each book all in the same place so people who wanted to try this could look at our lists and come up with their own way, one that works for their family. Seeing examples seems to help people be brave enough to come up with their own.

 

I used to be worried I was missing too much, to, but as I saw how well my children were applying what they had learned, I stopped worrying.

 

-Nan

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I really appreciate all the above posts because it has taken me a long time to delve into the GBs....I just had a mental block. But after listening to SWB's tape about the Great Books a couple of times, I seem to have finally gotten enough courage to start.

 

She said that this time of reading is supposed to be a "handshake" with the Great Books. Whenever we get to parts that just don't sink in, we go on and look for the parts that do. We skip parts that seem too redundant or impossible and try to find the parts that have meaning for a 9th grader. Like in Descartes, he was talking about the nature of wax. Well my ds is studying chemistry, so we talked about how undeveloped the study of chemistry was when Descartes was alive and how he was trying to grasp the nature of elements, but didn't even have the vocabulary to do so.

 

With John Donne and his Meditations, it turned out they were written when he was very sick. But we only found that out after more searching and after reading several of them. So we went through the rest in a more cursory manner until we got to the 17th which is very well known and two books are named after phrases in that text...For Whom the Bell Tolls and No Man is an Island...and there were some concepts that my 15 yo could grasp, without devoting a huge amount of time. Now he sees that he can start to understand ideas that at first seemed impossible.

 

She has a quote by David Hicks on the end of her tape which is also on notes posted online on the handout...scroll all the way down..

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/historyaslit.html

 

I use the various guides - Omnibus, etc just to stimulate my thinking about what they could possibly be meaning in a text, to get background, etc...but they are all to be adapted to your views.

 

Best,

Joan

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Here is what we're doing because my dd is very opinionated about her curriculum choices. :lol:She loves the BJU Literature texts so she is doing the10th grade literature course. She doing Notgrass World History and reading the literature of her choosing from that. We are also reading through this list of books. http://www.thegreatbooks.com/courses/ancient

 

We are doing things this way mainly because this is what she wants to do. If she didn't have the motivation for it, we wouldn't do it. :001_smile:We like having a weekly schedule with the Ancients and she will talk with me or dh about the books she is reading. She will probably do a writing project based on her history study about France. She writes a lot on her own and is dyslexic/dysgraphic so I am happy with this amount of writing at present.

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With John Donne and his Meditations, it turned out they were written when he was very sick. But we only found that out after more searching and after reading several of them. So we went through the rest in a more cursory manner until we got to the 17th which is very well known and two books are named after phrases in that text...For Whom the Bell Tolls and No Man is an Island...and there were some concepts that my 15 yo could grasp, without devoting a huge amount of time. Now he sees that he can start to understand ideas that at first seemed impossible.

 

 

 

In recent weeks, we "shook hands" with Donne via the opera, Doctor Atomic, by modern American composer John Adams. There is an aria sung by the character of Robert Oppenheimer with lyrics that are Donne's beautiful sonnet, "Batter my Heart".

 

BATTER my heart, three person'd God; for, you

As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;

That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend

Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.

I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due,

Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,

Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,

But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.

Yet dearely'I love you,'and would be loved faine,

But am betroth'd unto your enemie:

Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe;

Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I

Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,

Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.

 

Admittedly, my son failed to grasp that which I see both in Donne's sonnet and in the aria. This may have been one of our less successful homeschool experiences for him, but, despite my frustrations over my son's lack of appreciation, I convince myself that a new door opened for him. One day he'll appreciate it.

 

I have reason to hope. This week, for his Expository Writing class at the CC, he wrote an essay on how a documentary film to which I dragged him changed his life. Hah!

 

Jane

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Jane, Is he shy about sharing his writing? I'd like to read it!

 

I appreciate all the connections between materials that you share.

 

My husband read Uncle Tungsten and liked it too. He shared some of the things Sachs parents made him experience wanting to turn him into a doctor....and other anecdotes which I liked a bit more if you know what I mean.:)

 

Did you go to Doctor Atomic or see in on DVD? Did you know ahead of time that the Donne lyrics were in it?

 

Best,

Joan

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Jane, Is he shy about sharing his writing? I'd like to read it!

 

I appreciate all the connections between materials that you share.

 

My husband read Uncle Tungsten and liked it too. He shared some of the things Sachs parents made him experience wanting to turn him into a doctor....and other anecdotes which I liked a bit more if you know what I mean.:)

 

Did you go to Doctor Atomic or see in on DVD? Did you know ahead of time that the Donne lyrics were in it?

 

Best,

Joan

 

Oops, I meant to share this website which has the aria. Michelle in Mo had pointed out this educator's site before Doctor Atomic aired here in the States on public television.

 

Regarding the essay: draft one was submitted Thursday, but I'll ask him when he has gone through the final phase.

 

Jane

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This is a fantastic list, Brenda! Too bad we can't gather my way, Lori's way, your way, and some of the other's who have reduced TWTM/TWEM to a routine for each book all in the same place so people who wanted to try this could look at our lists and come up with their own way, one that works for their family. Seeing examples seems to help people be brave enough to come up with their own.

 

I used to be worried I was missing too much, to, but as I saw how well my children were applying what they had learned, I stopped worrying.

 

-Nan

 

I just tagged it "great books," so that ought to help future seekers. Plus, don't everyone forget that you can subscribe to this and even set up a folder for it!!!

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and even set up a folder for it!!!

 

I just figured this out last night, after reading a comment of yours somewhere else about saving threads in "folders!!!!" I investigated what you were talking about, and now I have many folders starting to be filled with stuff I want to save! And need to search for past posts that were very helpful to me! Thanks for mentioning that!

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  • 2 months later...

I just finished reading this thread and thought it worthy of bumping up again for anyone else who missed it in January. Thanks to all of you who contributed to this. I have learned so much and have MUCH more confidence that I can devlope an English Lit syllabus that will work for me and my children.

 

My question now is how you do this saving to a folder idea. Any help?

 

Blessings,

April in WA

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Someone previously in this thread reminded me about Adam Andrew's Teaching the Classics. Upon going to the website again, I see he has three different dvd classes covering Huck Finn, "Hamlet" and The Yearling. Has anyone bought and used these? There is a free downloadable syllabus that accompanies each one. The one on Huck Finn looks great even without the dvd. Any thoughts?

 

Blessings,

April in WA

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My question now is how you do this saving to a folder idea. Any help?

 

Blessings,

April in WA

 

When you subscribe to a thread, you have the option of creating folders and then saving threads to those folders. I don't know the exact sequence right now, but if you go to your subscribed threads under the control panel, you might be able to figure it out. You can basically create whatever folders you want, then move subscribed threads into them.

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