Thursday, October 16, 2014

Teaching Literary Analysis in Your Homeschool

In just a wink, my oldest will be in high school, and with that comes new homeschooling challenges as well as exciting beginnings. Think: transcripts, grading, rubrics, credits. While Peter is very well read (thank you, Sonlight), there are some holes in his literary knowledge, specifically in the area of literary analysis, which is essential for writing high-school and college-level essays.

Not to mention, literary analysis is always an outstanding higher-level thinking exercise. He's done plenty of discussing, but not enough written literary analysis, so as a teacher I must morph myself into a secondary-education specialist. Homeschool mothers by necessity must reinvent themselves; never does boredom set in.

As I find middle- and high-school literary resources, I'll be sharing them here, for the benefit of the homeschooling readers. Happy writing, fellow mothers. You'll definitely be writing samples with your child, before asking him to write his own five-paragraph literary analysis essay. Or, there will be tears--yours, his, and the traumatized siblings'.

1. From Homeschool Creations, I learned about: Teaching the Classics: A Socratic Method for Literary Education, and Ready Readers

The link above is to a Cathy Duffy review on these products, which are put out by the Center for Literary Education. The products teach and assist the parent in how to provide literary instruction using the Socratic questioning method (very comprehensive instruction here, including all you would need to design a high-school literature and composition curriculum for your student). For the sake of brevity, I'll just have you click on the link if you're interested. Prices range from $29 for a teaching workbook, and $89 for the teaching workbook and 4 instructional DVD's. All these products are explained in Cathy Duffy's review. Most homeschoolers know this already, but Cathy Duffy writes the best, most comprehensive reviews. My two cents: Never buy anything without checking her review on it first.

The Ready Readers (books not included) sell for $29 for each of the four levels. Ready Readers help the teacher apply what she's learned in the workbook and DVD seminar above, using 5 different classic children's books, including the teaching of conflict, plot, setting, characters, theme, and literary devices. There are four levels of Ready Readers, including one that provides teaching instruction on the entire 7-book Narnia series.

2. There are also generic resources you can refer to that are published on the Internet by high schools or colleges, such as these literary analysis questions by Chandler Unified: web view

3. There are also 41 literary terms (web view) the teacher and student need to become familiar with and be able to use in essays.

4. Online also are complete guides (PDF) on writing a literary analysis essay (this document put out by

5. Along with the writing of formal essays comes the question of rubrics for grading them. Which one to use? Samples abound on the Internet, just like these: Rubrics for teachers. And this one from readwritethink. And this sample, specific to a literary analysis essay, by Lake Washington school district.

So go ahead, reinvent yourself into a high-school lit teacher. Exciting times ahead. 

Or not, but I remain positive, despite the dysgraphia involved for my oldest. The Lord is my shepherd, and my partner in all things homeschool.

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