Literature Course II

Last year I had the privilege of teaching a literature class for four high school-aged homeschooled girls.

I explained my goals and best attempt at planning the school year here.  

We get to do it again!

This year two of my girls are seniors. My thought as I considered selections was to attempt to fill in some of the “must-reads” they’ve missed. Again, I tried to think chronologically in an effort to fill in some gaps. I looked at and compiled lists, stared at my bookshelves, and thought a lot about what I would do if these were my own children. One advantage over last year is that I have a better idea how much these girls are capable of getting through. Last year I didn’t plan enough. This time I’ve probably aimed too high, but at least I won’t be scrambling in March for what to do in April and May.

New school year, fresh notebook!

Somehow, not one of the girls has read Homer’s The Odyssey. I’m not sure how that happened, but we’ll take care of that first. Each week I will also assign selections from Ecclesiastes, The Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, and perhaps other selections from The Apocrypha – this is the copy I have.

Read about their experience with The Odyssey here. 

Next, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. It’s one of Shakespeare’s that none of us has read. 

Read about their experience here.  

When we finish with The Apocrypha, we will start Cicero’s On Duties and read a certain amount along with whatever we are reading at the time. 

(*Note* We did not get to Cicero, but Sara has a good review here, if you would like to consider it for your students.)

Beowulf is a must! I plan to have them read N.D. Wilson’s Boys of Blur in the same month.
Some of our discussion is here.

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain are, of course, not medieval authors, but Doyle’s The White Company takes place during the Hundred Years War. Joan of Arc lived from 1412-1431. This may have been Mark Twain’s favorite of all his books.  

Thoughts on Joan are here.

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We’ll make quite a leap in time from Joan of Arc to Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss and Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

Thoughts on Stepping Heavenward are here.

I hope to fit George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into three or four weeks.  

Sara wrote a thorough review of The Princess and the Goblin here.


I plan to read Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner aloud during one class session.  Perhaps I’ll fit it in around Christmas time when we need to lighten the load a bit.  

Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons will be our representative for the turn of the 20th Century.

I can’t let my seniors go without strengthening their C.S. Lewis muscles beyond Narnia, so I plan to end the year with Till We Have Faces.

Some thoughts on this reading are here.

Have I been too optimistic this time? I’ll keep you posted.