Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review of Excellence in Literature

For the last month, I have been using Everyday Education's Excellence in Literature with my daughter.  Although I received this product free in exchange for my review, it is the program that I had already decided was tailor-made for Therese.  It is comprehensive and thorough, covering all levels of high school literature, including World, British and American Lit.

Excellence in Literature is a self-directed course, meaning that it is written to the student.  Level 1 is An Introduction to Literature, and it promises the following:

These goals are perfect for the English I student! Janice Campbell, the very well known author of this series, has designed this course to be completely user-friendly.  She assumes that a student knows how to read going in to the course, but not that the student *knows* how to read.  Like Mortimer Adler, her goal is for students to be able to join the Great Conversation.  In fact, she writes a 25 page introduction telling students exactly what they will get out of the course, answering common questions, and generally familiarizing them with her style.  Although my daughter was a little disappointed when I told her that her first assignment was to read the introduction, she flew through it and got really excited about the course.

An Introduction to Literature covers many literary forms, which is great for giving students a taste of all that is out there.  For example, Unit 1 covers the short story:

The author does a wonderful job choosing stories that I remember fondly from my own school days - stories that can't help but draw a child in.  Writing assignments train students to recognize literary elements in the stories.  The writing assignments are all very clearly explained, and ample time is given for completion.  Of course, parents can always extend the time given for units if they choose, but this is one program that seems perfectly paced.

Later units cover very well-known novels by Bronte, Verne, Stevenson, Orwell, and others, along with plays by Shakespeare and Shaw.  It is a wonderful introduction to the world of high school literature.  One of the best features of the program is the "Honors Track" option.  For students to earn an honors credit, the author provides an additional focus text for each unit, thereby allowing for a deeper exploration of the topic and skills under study.

Introduction to Literature is available for $27 as an ebook, or $29 + $4.95 shipping as a print book.  I can't recommend this product highly enough.  For my family, it was the answer to a prayer.  Having a gifted child is hard, but this program has turned out to be perfect for my ten year-old daughter.  If you would like to read further opinions, be sure to check the Crew blog.

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