TOS Review: Excellence in Literature

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Wow! Only a few months into the school year and we have been blessed with some ah-mazing curriculum options thanks to The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew!

I have struggled for a couple of years to find a Language Arts program that would challenge my 14-year old son to read harder books and to write better papers. I really think I have found it in Excellence in Literature.

Excellence in Literature is a 5-year program designed and written by Janice Campbell. For this review, we received the first book in the series, English I: Introduction to Literature.
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I LOVE that the book is written TO the student. There is virtually no prep work for the parent. Each unit is broken into four-week segments, and the student is encouraged to take responsibility for his time. For example: a student may be assigned to complete more than one task in a week, but he/she is responsible for deciding when and how to get each assignment done. The author "speaks" like a true teacher, reminding the student to prioritize, etc. I LOVE IT! She says things I don't have to say!!

For our experience with Unit 1, I read over the assignment with JC14, answered his questions and left him to complete the assignments. I was thrilled that he completed his entire assignment on his own! My reluctant writer made real effort at good writing, and he succeeded. I think having sample essays available in the curriculum made all the difference in the world. If you're concerned about grading your student's writing, don't be. A grading rubric is also included in the material. Your student will be able to see the standard by which he/she is being graded.

English I: Introduction to Literature is a one year curriculum made up of nine units, and each unit is broken down into four weeks worth of  assignments. The first unit has the student reading six short stories: "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett, "The Diamond Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant, "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O'Henry, "The Purloined Letter" by Edgar Allen Poe, "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber.

Units 2-9 assign entire works--novel, play or poem--to be covered over the four week unit. Additional reading assignments (not listed here) are included for honors students. Novels included are as follows:

From the website:

By the end of the course, students will:



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We will definitely be using this curriculum for the rest of JC14's freshman year, and I plan to use the other units for the rest of his high school years.

If you are interested in purchasing this curriculum, you may choose e-book format for $27 or the print and bound version for $29 + $4.95 shipping.

You may also choose to buy the entire five year's worth of material as an e-book for $135 or printed and bound for $139 + shipping.

My only negative about this curriculum is not really a negative at all. It's that whole love/hate relationship that I have with e-books. I love the instant access. I HATE reading that much material on a computer screen. ;) So you know... I printed it all out!

For more opinions concerning Excellence in Literature, be sure to check out reviews from my crew mates at The Old Schoolhouse blog.

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Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this curriculum in exchange for an honest review. I have not and will not receive any other compensation. All opinions are my own.

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