Monday, October 31, 2011

Excellence in Literature-Introduction to Literature, English 1 (review)


Literature was always one of my favorite subjects in school and college. I wish my children were naturally the same. However, they are not. 

I have heard Janice Campbell, the author of Excellence in Literature, speak at a homeschool conference. I was impressed with her approach to learning and her unique way of presenting academics. I had planned on getting Excellence in Literature to try for my kids, but had not done it yet. Then the opportunity to review the program (Introduction to Literature, English 1) came up and I jumped at it. 

The study I reviewed came in ebook form. At first, that challenged me. I do not  do well at reading for long periods of time on the computer, and neither do my children. Thank goodness there are easy options! I did not want to use my ink to print all 131 pages of the book, so I sent it to Staples to be printed. I also had it bound with metal spiral and put a hard cover on it. It cost me $13 and some change. Pretty inexpensive, and now I have it in both forms! There are links in the book and I can use the ebook to easily pull those up. 

When I got it all printed up, I sat down and read through it. I enjoyed it and I learned things I, a self proclaimed literature junkie, did not know. I decided to start off by assigning my daughter (an 8th grader) a few pages a day to read, up until the first unit. Well, the first day she read beyond what I had assigned her and asked to start the first unit! I wondered if in fact this were my daughter, and not one the aliens had replaced when they stole mine. She has since worked through almost two units, and is even doing the extra work, the honors track (even though I did not assign it). I am amazed that this is my literature reluctant 8th grader doing work of high school honors! It has also created in her an excitement for literature and writing that was not there previously. She even chose a non-assigned 700+ page book to read for pleasure, and that has NEVER happened. She is starting discussions with us and others that are deep and thoughtful. I cannot express to you the change in her that just the last few weeks of doing EIL has created! In addition to those things, it is teaching her to evaluate everything more thoroughly, and how to learn in new ways. 

So, with that being said I tell you I am won over. This is a curriculum that will be in our schoolroom permanently. 

This is what Everyday Education says is so spectacular about Excellence in Literature, and I must tell you I agree:
  • Carefully-chosen great books increase cultural literacy.
  • Self-directed courses encourage independent learning.
  • College-style syllabus helps to prepare students for university academic experiences.
  • Week-by-week lesson plans make it easy to know what to do when.
  • Honors Option provides motivated students the opportunity to earn advanced placement or college credit.
  • Evaluation rubric makes grading simple.
  • Carefully designed end-of-semester evaluation reports provide a detailed snapshot of progress.
  • Context readings provide in-depth understanding of literature in its historical and artistic context.
  • Students will be introduced to books they'll never forget.

The Excellence in Literature-Introduction to Literature, English 1 curriculum is for the age range of 8th-12th grade. You can get it in the print version ($29 + $4.95 S&H) or in the ebook format ($27). You can also try it out for free, with the sample unit.

I was given this curriculum free of charge to me in exchange for an honest review. My favorable review was not a condition of this exchange. You can read other reviews of this product and others over at the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.


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