Choosing the reading material for our literature classes is one of my absolute favorite parts of planning the school year. Our oldest daughter and I are avid readers. The trick is to choose a wide variety of books so our girls get a smattering of all the different genres and still pick ones I believe will interest them or inform them about important things. Sometimes my choices are spot on. Sometimes there’s a lemon or two in our bag of literary delicacies. And no matter what, there is at least one disgruntled reader as the girls choices in books are so different. These are the books I chose for this year, with a little input from them.
We have a 10th grader and a 6th grader and we use a Charlotte Mason Method approach for most of our subjects. I chose books we could finish in 3-6 weeks, but I planned to spend a month on each of them.
September – Originally, this book was The Epic of Gilgamesh, but we didn’t even make it through tablet one before I could sense their dissatisfaction. Certainly, in college they will not be able to choose, but they aren’t in college yet. And I have warned them about that. I shifted it to Beowulf, which happens to be one of my favorites and spurred me on in my love of ancient things. (Genre : Ancient Literature/Epics/Mythology/Legends)
October – Volsungasaga – Or if you’d rather the English translation of the title, The Story of The Volsungs… I think this one might be a toughie but we’ll see when we come to it. (Genre : Ancient Literature/Epics/Mythology/Legends) (The first link is to the Kindle version on Amazon. The second link takes you to Project Gutenberg’s download page for the book.)
November – The Pilgrim’s Progress – I read this book as a child and truly enjoyed it. I hope our girls will enjoy Pilgrim’s journey, too. (Genre : Fiction/Fables/Stories That Teach)
December – The Tempest – Ever since my son started 9th grade, we’ve managed to do at least part of a Shakespearean play every year. Last year, we struggled through King Lear. This year might be more fun…or at least more to our taste. May I suggest “No Fear Shakespeare” for those who aren’t sure how to explain the Shakespearean wording to their students? We really enjoyed using those helpful books in past years. (Genre : Plays)
January – Around The World In 80 Days – This one will be a challenge, I think. (Genre : Fiction/Fantasy/Adventure)
February – Murder On The Orient Express – Now you might be asking why we’re doing a murder mystery during the month of February instead of The Tempest but…well…December seems to work best for us when we read the plays. (Genre : Fiction/Mystery)
March – White Fang – This may also be a challenge book. Our youngest is not an avid reader but she loves animals. I’m really hoping this will encourage her to read more challenging books. (Genre : Fiction/Adventure)
April – The Hiding Place – This one will definitely be a challenge because of the subject matter. It’s a heavy topic and our youngest does not like stories full of sadness. We’re sticking with this one for sure, though. It’s a story that should be told and remembered. (Genre : Biography/Memoire)
May – Life of Pi – Another animal tale, this one was actually chosen last year by our youngest and we didn’t have time to read it or a way to acquire the book within budget. (When I buy physical copies, I get one copy for each of our children.) (Genre : Fiction/Adventure/Action)
June – If we have enough energy left over after all our studies, we may continue the reading with The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. Our oldest is all about “girl power.” She loved the description of this book. (Genre : Fiction/Drama/Facts of life/Growing Up/Difficult Decisions)
All these links will either take you to Amazon or to Project Gutenberg, which is where I found most of my resources. Some of these books, I already had on my shelf. I also take the opportunity to download free public domain audiobooks when they are available for the literature I pick out. I get those at Libravox. I do not like Audible but some of the newer audio books are only available there. Audible doesn’t run well on my computer and even if it did, I can’t afford the monthly subscription fee. There is a link to try Audible for free at the Amazon website, but do be aware, the trial time is limited. Though I don’t use it, the site may be helpful to some of you. I know audio books really help when we’re fighting colds or sore throats. The Story Must Go On!
I hope all this information is helpful to my readers. I plan to post next week about our work with the local theater. Be keeping your eyes open for that post if you’re interested in theater and ways you may be able to get involved in your own local theater group.