American literature curriculum is often something parents of high schoolers are looking for as it is typically a required course for high school. But how do you choose one? And what good options are out there for us homeschoolers? What other ways can you teach it and what resources are out there? Read on and find out!
Teaching Literature in Your Homeschool
Teaching Literature in your homeschool is an important piece of your child’s education. Why? Because literature education the whole person. Not only does it help students with the mechanics of learning new words, reading, correct sentence structure, etc., but it also gives opportunities to examine values and attitudes related to the world around them. PLUS using engaging literature in your homeschool brings is more engaging and fun than dry textbook learning!
When selecting a literature curriculum I look first at the list of books covered. While there is no right or wrong amount of books or specific titles, since the literature is the driving force of the curriculum I like to know what will be covered.
Then I look at the grammar and writing that is being introduced. Some kids may need more of one thing than another. For instance with my son who needed a ton of writing practice I wanted to be sure I chose a curriculum that not only gave him that, but walked him through it well also. My youngest daughter on the other hand is a natural writer and did not need as much detailed writing instruction.
7 Engaging American Literature Curriculum Choices
1. 7 Sisters American Literature High School Curriculum
This one-year study guide collection will provide your student with a college-prep level American Literature high school course. As with all 7Sisters curriculum, it can also be adapted to Honors level using the easy-to-follow suggestions in the “how to use this curriculum” introductory material.
Check out Betsy’s Review of this course
The titles covered are:
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorns
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Right Stuff by Tome Wolfe
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. Sonlight American Literature
Literature 430 takes learners on a yearlong adventure of independent study. The Literature and Language Arts Student Guide provides daily reading and writing assignments, along with additional notes and questions that reinforce and challenge your student. The accompanying Parent Guide keeps you in touch and on track, so you can come alongside at any point in your student’s learning.
Reading selections included are:
- Eternity in Their Hearts
- Up From Slavery
- A Separate Peace
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
- Ender’s Game
- Evidence Not See
- Teaching a Stone to Talk
- Death of a Salesman
- Huckleberry Finn
- Brave Companions
- Best Short Stories of O. Henry
- The Chose
- The Grapes of Wrath
- Jacob Have I Loved
- My Antonia
- 100 Best Loved Poems
- Out Town
- The Portable Poe
- The Scarlett Letter
3. Easy Peasy All in One High School American Literature
In this honors course, students will receive an overview of American literature from the founding of the nation to contemporary pieces. Literary study will be infused with historical applications for a better understanding of the social and historical context of the readings.
Literary terms and elements of poetry will be discussed throughout this course. Vocabulary will include literary terminology as well as general terminology important for high school students to learn. Grammar instruction will be given through various writing assignments. Writing assignments will include Responses to Literature journal entries, a Reflective Essay, a Poetry Explication Essay, a Rhetorical Analysis, a Persuasive Research paper, and a final writing project with a Literary Analysis.
Students will have a few novels assigned for outside class reading. Chapters will be selected and assignments given with a deadline of the end of the week. This will help students practice meeting deadlines and it will help us move through more of the literature available to us.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- A large selection of short stories
- Many various forms and authors of poetry
- Several letters/essays/speeches
4. American Classic Literature Series for Teens from
This literature course covers all you need for a full high school language arts credit. Your student will study literature, literary elements, grammar, and writing.
Here’s What You Get with this American Classic Literature Series for High School:
- A Study of TEN American Literary Classics
- A Study of Literary Elements
- A Party School to Celebrate Each Book
- Lesson Plans for Weekly or Monthly Book Clubs
- Writing Instruction of Essays and Fiction Stories
- Grammar, Spelling and Vocabulary Instruction
- Fun elements like Rabbit Trails and Magic Dust
Check out our review of Literary Adventures for Kids
5. Beautiful Feet Books
Beautiful Feet Books teaches history through literature. (Two birds, one stone) They offer American History/Literature at all grade levels.
- K-3 – Early American History
- 4-6 Early American Intermediate Pack
- 5-8 Modern American and World
- 7-9 Early American
- 11-12 Modern U.S. and World Senior Pack
Be sure to check out our FULL POST on Beautiful Feet Books Curriculum. Including an overview of all they have to offer as well as reviews for most of their curriculum options!
6. Lightning Literature from Hewitt Learning
This is a high school course split in two sections. There is American Literature Early-Mid 19th Century and American Literature Mid – Late 19th Century.
Two of the key founders and shapers of this country (Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass) give us their stories in autobiographical form while works from other key authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville illustrate how unique literary traditions were developed in this country.
Students work on writing skills like persuasive writing, tone and mood, and conflict. This course is written from a secular perspective, though it does touch on the religious concepts of sin, penance, and redemption in the discussion of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
- A review of Lightning Literature for Middle School
- A review of Lightning Literature for High School
7. Oak Meadow American Literature Course
Students read the thoughts and feelings of American men and women who have helped create and articulate the unique heritage of the American people and the rich fabric of the culture. Active reading and critical evaluation is emphasized. Students refine composition and presentation skills by writing essays (expository, interpretive, contrast/compare), magazine columns, travel guides, interviews, editorials, and speeches. In addition, students explore the works of modern American poets and write a literary research paper.
American Literature Selections Read in this course are:
- The Great Gatsby
- The Red Badge of Courage
- To Be A Slave
Oak Meadow also has another American Literature course called American Literature: The Westward Journey
Check out Betsy’s Review of Oak Meadow’s Literature & Composition II
Additional Literature Options for Your Homeschool
- Using Living Books and Literature Guides in Your Homeschool
- Five In A Row Literature Based Unit Studies
- Literature Based Ancient History for Junior High
- Learning Language Arts Through Literature
- World Literature a Full Year High School Course
- Learn History Through Literature with All Through The Ages
- High School American Literature List
- Excellence in Literature: Reading and Writing Through the Classics
- Literary Adventures for Kids from Hide the Chocolate
From Our Sister Site – You ARE An ARTiST
- The Power of Adding Art To Literature Lessons
- Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Homeschool Tea Time
- Anne of Green Gables Art Lessons, Tea Time, and Homeschool Ideas
- An Art Lesson & Tea Time for Families Seeking Simplicity
- The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkein
- Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling
Also Don’t Miss One of Our Most Popular Posts!
Our Favorite American History Resources is a giant gathering of homeschool reviews of our favorite resources for teaching American History in your homeschool.
More Resources for Choosing Curriculum in Your Homeschool
- The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Curriculum
- Choosing Middle School Homeschool Curriculum
- Help for Choosing High School Homeschool Curriculum
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum
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