Looking (Far) Forward to Curriculum Choices- American Literature by James Stobaugh

I was VERY excited when I reviewed James Stobaugh’s American History curriculum.  I am so excited to think of using it for Kathryne in the 10th grade.  So when I saw that Stobaugh also had an American Literature course, I had to have a closer look.

Stobough’s American Literature Course is published by New Leaf Publishing.  You can see more about the course with this video from New Leaf, and you can see what others are saying about this curriculum on New Leaf’s blog page.

This course, like the history course, is designed so that the student completes the work independently.  It is a thirty-four week course with thirty-four chapters of five lessons each.  Each lesson has readings, concept building activities, essay choices, and a test.  There is also a list of required reading that should be completed prior to the lesson that references it.  It is recommended that the student complete some of this reading in the summer prior to taking this course.  There is a teacher’s guide that contains essay questions, tests, and suggestions for use.  The course ties in literature with times throughout the history of America.

There were quite a few things I really liked about this course:
1. It is designed to be the responsibility of the student.  There isn’t much extra planning required for me except picking an essay question and grading.  I think this is especially important in a high school course to teach independence.
2. It has a very distinct Christian worldview.  The history course had this also.  The first chapter is designated for reviewing various worldviews, and throughout the course, students will examine how their readings fit different worldviews.
3. Much of the reading is whole books or whole works- not just a collection of excerpts.  Students will read real books, whole books.
4. Writing is woven throughout the study of literature as students write their essays each week and answer essay questions on the tests.
5. The tests are mostly discussion and essay- not easy to answer questions that don’t really indicate a grasp of the material.

I have two concerns/things I’m not crazy about:
1. I am concerned about the amount of extra reading. There are twenty additional books listed that the student should have read before the designated chapters.  Kathryne is a prolific reader, but I’m not sure she can even do that much.  I plan to choose the books that I feel are most central to the course and use these for required reading and give the others as supplementary reading.
2. I think the student book is going to have to be used as a consumable.  I usually have the kids answer questions/do work in a notebook so that we can reuse books.  But I’ve noticed that many of the concept builders are charts to be filled out or readings to be marked.  I’m concerned that trying to photocopy those might be more difficult than it is worth.

I know that this is only the second half of Kathryne’s 8th grade year, but I am excited about this course.  I’m planning to read through as much of the required reading as I can this year too.

I received a free copy of this curriculum for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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