See the book on the right? The green book? This is where the readings are found. I loved that we didn't have to find or purchase separately the short stories and poems which are used in this course. They are all here in this slim book. This course covers a range of American Authors, including
Edgar Allen Poe
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Oliver Wendell Holmes
James Russell Lowell
Ernest Lawrence Thayer
John Greenleaf Whittier
(and then some British poets as well in the appendix)
Chosen selections of each of those authors are included in the student book. The student workbook (the middle book in the above picture) begins with an instruction of how to mark important parts of readings--and why to do so. I really like this focus, it is definitely a skill that crosses discipline boundaries and can be used for many different types of readings (reading textbooks, readings on standardized tests, reading your Bible, and more!)
After a brief overview/introduction to American Literature, the student workbook guides the student through a chapter for each piece of literature. This curriculum is a part of a classical education program, and the titles of the sections of each chapter reflect that: Pre-grammar|Preparation, Grammar|Presentation, Logic|Dialectic, and Rhetoric|Expression. [[[[Don't let that confuse you -- we do not particularly use a classical approach to education, but we LOVE this curriculum and incorporate it with the eclectic mix of curricula that we use.]]]]
The first section (Pre-grammar|Preparation) sets the student up for thinking in the mindset of the story/poem that they will be reading. Several leading questions invite the student to think about a few topics--for example, before reading James Russell Lowell's The Heritage, students are asked to answer "What are some advantages and disadvantages of having wealth?" "What are some advantages and disadvantages of having just enough to get by?" "Does death care whether one has money or not?" Thinking about these topics enough to answer those questions prepares the student to read Lowell's poem in a way that it will resonate more with them than if they were just jumping into it blindly and thinking about those things afterward.
Section two, Grammar|Presentation, varies according to the story/poem selection. This section gives the student background information, clarifies vocabulary which may be challenging, and introduces the student to literary terminology and how it is used in that instance.
Following this comes section three: Logic|Dialectic. This part of the process helps the student through the interpretive process, understanding the main idea(s) and different literary devices which have been utilized.
At the end of each of the lessons there is a prompt for an optional essay, which you may have your student do if you like!
There is also a Teacher Guide which allows the parent/teacher to easily facilitate this class.
How did we use the materials? We actually purchased a second set so that both of our homeschooled highschoolers can utilize this course. I REALLY like this program, and both of them will use it in its entirety. It is easy for the student to go through the lessons--it is very clear what they are to do when--so they don't need me to direct their movement through the chapters. We do go over the answers and chat a little about the readings and the main points, literary terms, etc. The kids actually like this program as well--and it's very helpful for their understanding of this genre of American Literature (and helpful to learn how to read/interpret literature in general as well).
I highly recommend this course. I am, once again, very impressed with the materials produced by Memoria Press and suggest that you look into their Poetry and Short Stories: American Literature Set. They actually have many different literature curricula (a few examples are Poetry, Prose, & Drama Book One: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set, Poetry Book Three: The Romantic to the Victorian Age Set, and more!) They also offer a full Latin curricula, phonics and reading programs, and more!
Please click on the link below to read what others thought of these (and more!) Memoria Press offerings!