That hefty volume calls to me. It begs me to plan, plan, plan our year! I must decide what to do, how we will cover it, and write. down. all. the. things.
Everything. And you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Or is that the fault of over-planning? We homeschool moms are pretty famous for over-planning. Ahem.
In all honesty, I can’t wait to dive into Apologia’s American Literature course.
It really is literature study the way it should be covered. And the writers! We will cover Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain and Ben Franklin. There are poets like Emily Dickinson and Carl Sandburg too. There are letters between John Adams and his wife, which intrigue me on so many levels, and then there is my personal favorite, covered in its entirety: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. English was my favorite class in high school and I want to dive headfirst into ALL of it.
That doesn’t mean the entire thing is appropriate for my kids.
There’s no way we can do it all in one school year. Some families will have no problem tackling this curriculum as written. Designed as a 2-credit course, American Literature could become the most overwhelming subject for us. So how do you take a solid, heavily academic course and scale it for your not-so-academic child?
Slowly and carefully Momma. Very carefully.
Back when we first began homeschooling, my homeschool mentor once told me, “It’s YOUR school, Dawn. You get to choose where, when, what, why and HOW.” Lynn, if you’re reading this, I have to tell you that was the BEST piece of advice and it has stuck with me the past 19 years. It’s my school and I get to choose.
So there, stressed out homeschool Momma. There’s something you can grab on to when you’re drowning in ALL. THE. BOOKS. When you’re staring at that giant curriculum-in-a-box with excitement and absolute FEAR because you aren’t sure how in the world you’ll ever cover it all, remember that.
It’s YOUR school. You might not cover it all.
And that’s okay.
Does it matter that we are skipping Jonathon Edwards, Edward Taylor, and Ralph Waldo Emerson? I don’t think so. Will they feel they are missing something if they don’t read Walt Whitman? It is doubtful. I didn’t read any of those writers in high school. It’s a good thing that high school isn’t the end of our ability to read, isn’t it? You can always look for a nontraditional way to study high school literature.
Don’t set your kids up for frustration and failure just because the curriculum has a certain assignment included.
It matters not that we’re going to skip Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and similarly difficult works. We are working with the special needs of a child and meeting him where he will be challenged but not overwhelmed.
We’re also meeting the needs of a very average student who doesn’t care much for reading. It doesn’t mean they will never read it, it just means we aren’t going to make them read it in high school. We are covering a GOOD assortment of literature no matter what.
Here’s how to adjust a heavy literature curriculum for an average student or special needs:
- Skim through EVERY reading passage
- Skip writers that you feel write in a way that would be over your student’s head
- Skip reading passages that would not interest your student at all
- Make note of which passages will be challenging but WORTH IT to cover and jot some strategies for these
- Skim every question
- Make note of which questions would best be used for discussion and which should be used for written responses
- Decide how many questions your student can handle in a sitting and break the assignments down to realistic chunks
- Be prepared to break those chunks down into smaller pieces, if need be
About the lesson plans you see in the image above: I planned every single assignment for the entire school year but I didn’t plan them as daily assignments. There is much more listed here for each day than we will be able to cover! I will further adjust prioritize as we go through the year. Some of these works are covered in Movies as Literature as well, so that is another option if the reading is too much.
Even a very thorough, college prep curriculum can be used for an average student, with adjustments.
They will come through with an appreciation for quality writing and of the ideas and values included within. Remember that this is YOUR school. These are YOUR students. And you can help them learn the way that THEY need to.