Welcome to the SchoolhouseTeachers.com Literature Class
Study The Odyssey by Homer
Course update for fall 2014: Adam has exciting lessons planned for fall and winter 2015.
Here is Adam’s lineup, which includes a run of studies on the world of Narnia and C.S. Lewis’s classic books:
• September: The Odyssey (Homer)
• October: The Silver Chair (Lewis)
• November: MacBeth (Shakespeare)
• December, January, and February: The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle (all by Lewis) —Ed.
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In this space, I am sharing some powerful techniques for reading comprehension and literary analysis that you can use with students of all ages, from kindergarten through high school. From month to month we are looking at a variety of great books—some written for adults, some for the smallest children—and showing how the same key questions can be asked of each one. Using these questions, you can lead a powerful discussion in your home or classroom almost automatically. You’ll be amazed at the results!
The lessons posted here are not designed to be used by the student as daily worksheets; rather, they are created to facilitate periodic (weekly or even daily) discussions between teacher and student. It’s this simple:
- First, the student reads the assigned title (listed below) over the course of several days or weeks.
- Then, teacher and student meet together to discuss the story, using the questions provided in this month’s lesson as a guide.
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Our September 2014 lesson takes readers through an ancient literature classic, The Odyssey, by Homer. Pick up a copy at your local library, bookstore, or order one from many online retailers. Read the story with your child(ren). Then answer questions for Socratic Discussion based on plot, setting, characters, conflict, themes, literary devices, and more. This month a guest teacher sits in for Adam: Sam Johnson. (Adam returns as the course Teacher next month.)
Enjoy the discussion!
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Our August 2014 lesson takes readers through the third book in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Pick up a copy at your local library, bookstore, or order one from many online retailers. Read the story with your child(ren). Then answer questions for Socratic Discussion based on plot, setting, characters, conflict, themes, literary devices, and more. Enjoy the discussion!
You’ll learn about the conflicts of Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Nature in the latest Narnian adventure of the Pevensee children. Learn how Lewis uses the outer story of an ocean journey to various islands to allow entrance into the world of each of the main characters, who must confront and overcome his or her inner conflicts.
Course note regarding the provided story charts: Adam is providing a blank story chart with his lessons this fall. He cautions parents that while the charts are helpful for organization and capturing the main elements, they are not to be used as assignments in a strict sense, or subjected to rigid grading. Instead, the idea is to plot the main elements, leading to open discussion on the work and a chance to interact with the story as a complete work of art.
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If you’re looking for worksheets, beware: fill-in-the-blank exercises may actually hinder a student from understanding literature! The goal of literary analysis is to interact with a story as a complete work of art, to understand its themes and carry on a “conversation” with its author. At The Center for Literature, we have found that worksheets rarely contribute to such understanding. On the contrary, they often bore and frustrate even the most willing students.
After you and your students have read the book, click to go inside for this month’s lessons in weekly sections.
Happy Reading! Mr. A
Adam Andrews is the Director of the Center for Literary Education, www.centerforlit.com. He received his BA in Political Economy and Christian Studies from Hillsdale College in 1991. He earned his MA in History from the University of Washington in 1994, and is currently a candidate for the PhD in History. He is writing his doctoral dissertation on the history of American higher education. Adam is a Henry Salvatori Fellow of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and was a founding board member of Westover Academy, a Classical Christian school in Colville, Washington until 2007. He is the assistant director of the American Council for Accredited Certification, a non-profit professional certifying body.