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Literature curricula can be expensive and the choices dizzying, but it doesn’t have to be. You can plan and implement a literature curriculum easily and economically.
First, you need a library card. I’m sure most of you already have one because that place is a homeschool mom’s best friend.
You can simply read the books and discuss them in a book club format. If you want more depth, you can use study guides. These often times are filled with literary themes and analyses.
Some libraries may have study guides in their inventory. If not, you can find them free on the internet.
My favorite free literature guide websites:
Glencoe Literature Guide Library: This one is my favorite. I’m using these guides in my literature classes at Renewed Moms Ministry. These guides last around 4 weeks. Three weeks reading and answering questions, and another week with related readings with questions. Each guide has an author profile, introduction of the novel, pre, post and active reading activities. Vocabulary, journaling ideas, creative writing, and analyzing literature are other included activities. I really like the way these are laid out and they are simple for middle and high schoolers to understand. The only downside is Glencoe doesn’t have an extensive list of study guides.
Bibliomania: This website has an extensive list of top-quality study guides and teacher resources. Here’s a quote from their website:
Our study guides to famous writing from around the world have been written by Oxford and Cambridge University graduates, and offer in-depth summaries, discussions and commentaries on the texts. If you have an exam coming up, a tricky essay or just a passion for literature, read our guides! They cover a huge range from English and American Literature to Psychology and Religion.
They not only have study guides, but you can read and research numerous authors and literary works.
SparkNotes: This website is not limited to literature, but has overviews of every subject you could possibly teach in your homeschool setting. In there literature guides you’ll find summaries, context and themes, as well as study questions and quizzes.
My favorite inexpensive literature guide website is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. The site cost $12.95 per month, or $139 for a yearly membership. You can find literature studies for Pre-K to high school. Before you scoff at the price, I want to point out this isn’t just for literature. You can get every subject (including electives) for your homeschool for an entire year at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. One membership fee is for all of your children. The Renaissance history curriculum I wrote for Renewed Moms Ministry last year is featured on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.