I thought I would give an update on how we are progressing with our English Literature this year. English Lit is definitely a subject that my daughter loves so we do tend to spend a lot of time on it but then I also enjoy it and I find from a home educators perspective that a good book actually tends to cover more than just literature, we also end up doing language activities, we often cover History and Geography (we like to look at the time and place where the stories are set) and sometimes we even manage to sneak in a bit of Science (because if you are reading a book about a Wolf or an Osprey then you just have to do some research – according to my kids).
So what have we covered so far this year? What have we enjoyed? And what are we still planning on working through?
We started off this academic year by finishing up with Romeo and Juliet (I say finishing up but my daughter has gone back and re-read some sections a few times since then). She really enjoys the story, the setting, the characters, really everything about it. And I am thrilled because she is not intimidated by Shakespeare, she actually finds the differences in his writing style interesting. So we are going to keep the Shakespeare interest alive and moving onto A Midsummer Night’s Dream after Easter.
I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about covering Shakespeare with the kids, I enjoyed reading Shakespeare when I was younger but I was not sure if I was going to be alright “teaching it/helping them understanding it.” I did find the RSC School version of Romeo and Juliet incredibly useful and I know both my daughter and I loved the fact that they included so many photos of the play being performed, it really helps you understand what is being conveyed in the passage you are reading. We will be using the RSC School Shakespeare book for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and also for any future works we read. Honestly, I can not say enough about this version, just because I don’t think she would have enjoyed reading Romeo and Juliet as much if it was just passage after passage without commentary or photographs to help her understand.
My daughter is now about two-thirds through Pride and Prejudice. We are taking it really slowly and are breaking a lot to discuss the characters and events in a lot of detail. I am very happy with how she is progressing and I thrilled that we choose to do this book even though it is challenging, I think she is up to the challenge. And interestingly my youngest has started showing an interest as well and has actually read sections of the book (he does tend to skip some sections but then he is only 10-years-old so I am not fussed with that).
I also want to stress here that my daughter has really enjoyed having the Pride and Prejudice Literature Companion book to use and read along with the actual book. She has found it very useful and I must admit I am very thankful that we have had it to turn to during a few of our discussions.
Then onto some “lighter” books. We have completed and worked through the resources for Sky Hawk and The Last Wolf. Both books my kids loved. The Last Wolf was brilliant but if I had to choose I would say Sky Hawk was the favourite. The story just captivated the kids. Naturally the whole animal angle was a winner but the fact that the author also wove in a heart-tugging story about a group of kids, their relationships and how their characters changed and developed with the Osprey was brilliant. I was really impressed with this story.
So apart from A Midsummer Night’s Dream we are also going to do one more book after Easter. The problem is I cannot decide between Beowulf and Soldier Dog. I think Beowulf will be interesting because both my kids are fascinated by Anglo-Saxon History and it is written as a play, so we can have some fun acting it out. But then Soldier Dog is also “calling us”. The kids and I keep coming back to the First World War, almost by accident sometimes but it is a topic that both kids are interested in and we have already read some Historical Fictional books based in that time and they were spell-bound so aahh it is a tough one and honestly I am not sure which one we will go for at this stage.
So that is where we currently are in our English Lit. I hope that helps anyone looking for ideas.