Thursday, November 16, 2017

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson: A TOS Crew Review

Writing with Sharon Watson
Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson
We have another favorite from Writing with Sharon Watson We are loving Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon WatsonThis literature curriculum is designed for grades 9-12th, and is a full year of study.  Be sure to also check out the first volume - Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide {Crew Reviews} - they can be done in any order.
Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis comes in a 4 book set (3 physical softcovers, and one a reproducible PDF download):

  • Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis Paperback
  • Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis, Teacher’s Guide
  • Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis, Quiz and Answer Manual
  • Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crises Novel Notebook {PDF}
Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisIlluminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

This volume covers both short stories and books - 

  • “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, in the textbook
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dover Publications
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot, Dover Publications
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, Dover Publications
  • An Assortment of Short Stories:
  • “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, in the textbook
  • “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges, link provided
  • “Haircut” by Ring Lardner, link provided
  • “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton, in the textbook
  • “Of the Passing of the First-Born” by W. E. B. Du Bois, in the textbook
  • “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas, link provided
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Dover Publications
  • Biography or autobiography of student’s choice
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Mariner Books

The author recommends using the coordinating versions listed by ISBN number in the Teacher's Guide - the benefit is that all the exercises are keyed to specific page numbers for your student.  The short stories are included in the textbook, or with a provided link.  

I don't even know where to start with telling you how much I adore this curriculum!  Literature is one of our favorite subjects, and we love a focus on the classics with upper level thinking (and no twaddle!) Especially in high school. This curriculum exceeds all of my expectations.

First - The Teacher Guide walks you through step-by-step how to get your children involved in the Great Conversation of literature.  It includes everything you need: from a planning guide with fun ideas for a Book-of-the-Month club (coming soon to Bentz Academy - working out the details now!) to a detailed answer key and guide for each of the literary works covered and grading rubrics and online quizzes (graded for you).

This, I believe, is where most of the homeschool moms I know have the hardest time.  Making the transition from just reading literature with their students to truly studying literature in-depth.  Sharon Watson gives you everything you need - from Facebook posts with interesting facts for you to share with your students, to quality discussion questions/answers, to a full "Choice of Activities" to really bring your student's literature to life - i.e. research, create, rewriting the story, hands on activities, and more!

The Student Text is written directly to the student in a very engaging and interesting manner.  It includes pre-reading activities and a suggested reading schedule and a homework plan to help your student manage their time.  The course is designed for you to spend approx. 3-4 weeks on each novel/story. This course can be done at-home, or it makes a perfect Co-op class (our Co-op is currently offering her other course).  

Literary terms are clearly defined and discussed.  The short stories are all included in the text.  After reading, the text includes passwords for the online quizzes (which are graded for you), questions for discussion, and their choice of activities to bring the literature to life.

The Quiz & Answer Manual is included for those who prefer paper.  Each literature choice includes a "Yes, I Read It" quiz, and a "Literary Terms" quiz.  These are excellent ways to test your student's comprehension and understanding.  The books also include an "Opinion Survey" that allow your student to express themselves and apply lessons from the literature to their own worlds.

The Novel Notebook - this is a 86 page, downloadable PDF in full-color.  You can download as many as you need for your students, or just the pages you want them to complete.  It includes questions and worksheets your student can complete to go along with each piece of literature studied.  Here a just a few examples - 

Now - on to all the ways I love this course!  

  • It's written from a decidedly Christian worldview.  All of the characters in literature may not be Christians, but they can and do reflect our human condition and God's grace.  This course helps our students understand and apply these lessons through literature.
  • The discussions -  What a joy it is to discuss high-quality literature with your students!  We started with "A Jury of Her Peers" first, and we are still discussing it. Having both sons and daughters in my test group - we had some very heated discussions.   Sharing literature with your high schoolers will be one of your greatest homeschooling memories...I promise!  This course gives you all the tools you need to really get to heart issues.
  • The extras.  Sharon Watson has really gone above and beyond to craft a well-rounded literature study. There is something to engage every single learning style.  The variety will keep your students engaged and learning.  The depth of the study will give them the preparation they need for college study.
This is by far, our favorite literature study for high school.  You will want to check this one out!
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See what other members of the Crew thought here
Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}
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  1. Doesn't that first quote from Cervantes crack you up? It does me!

    Thank you, Renita, for your enthusiastic review of Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis. I wish I could have heard some of your heated discussions of "A Jury of Her Peers," and I love it that you are discussing some of these stories and issues together. What a blessing to your family!

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