Ah, high school. Homeschool moms all relax at the thought of teaching subjects like physics, algebra, and literature, don’t we?
It’s been too long since I’ve posted about our curriculum, but now that my oldest is in high school, I wanted to share some of the resources we are using. Literature can be a daunting subject to teach as the books get more challenging. I have used many literature study guides from different companies for help.They not only cover reading comprehension, but also background information, literary analysis, further research, vocabulary, and essay prompts. When we recently studied The Scarlet Letter, I found the Progeny Press study guide to be very helpful, and it really increased my son’s understanding of the novel.
We have also used the Progeny Press study guides for poetry, The Red Badge of Courage, Huckleberry Finn, Out of the Dust, and The Cay. My youngest and I have also used the Frog and Toad Together Study Guide and the guide for Charlotte’s Web. The ones we have used range in price from $12 to around $20, and I have found them to be well-worth the price, since I will re-use some of them with my younger two sons.
As we journey through my son’s beginning high school years, ease, simplicity, and relevancy are definitely high on my list for curriculum choices. I have found a few products that especially simplify things for me, and The Scarlet Letter Study Guide is no exception. Not only is this guide available on interactive CD, a format preferred by my computer-connected son, but it also contains everything needed to thoroughly cover The Scarlet Letter in an affordable package. Progeny Press guides are also available in print form and as instant downloads. The print form might be more attractive for “old school” style moms, like me. This unit study is designed to take from eight to ten weeks to complete. Parents can choose how much or how little to require, based on the amount of time they wish to spend and how in-depth they wish to study. If the entire guide is completed, Progeny Press recommends that it count as ¼ high school credit.
The format of The Scarlet Letter Study Guide makes it possible for students to complete as independent study, but ideally, parents should use the guide alongside their students. The interactive CD allows students to enter answers directly into the document, and parents can grade and leave comments in the file as well. The interactive CD includes a study guide for student and teacher use, a “Read Me” file with complete instructions and examples, and an answer key. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required but is free to download. The font and layout are clear and easy to read, and the file itself is easy to navigate (even for this low-tech mom). Instructions are included on the CD for those of us who need a tutorial for the technology.
The study guide includes a synopsis of the novel and background history on the author. Pre-reading ideas will increase understanding before beginning the novel and will help lay the foundation for the rest of the study:
Read a characteristic essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson such as ‘Nature’ or ‘Self Reliance’ as a way of familiarizing yourself with the ideas of this influential thinker of the early 19th century in America. Emerson’s Romanticism and the ideas of the New England Transcendentalists were ideas that Hawthorne largely rejected, but they influenced him greatly and set the intellectual agenda for the period in which he wrote. His own writing is an attempt to explore many of these ideas. (p. 7)
The chapter-by-chapter lessons contain enough material for students to cover all areas of language arts, including research and writing along with the reading:
- a variety of methods for vocabulary study including: origins/root words, synonyms, finding the best meaning, and context clues
- comprehension questions to check for understanding
- analysis questions for interpretation of the story
- some Dig Deeper questions require additional research
- summary essays
The Scarlet Letter Study Guide also contains biblical application, which is sure to spark great conversations with your student:
In the last paragraph of Chapter 5, Hester is horrified and fights against an impression she continually feels. What is this impression? Read 1 John 1:8-10. How does this apply to the feeling that Hester sometimes gets?
Read Matthew 7:1-5 and Romans 2:1-3. In light of these verses, what is the danger of judging the way Hester is being judged? (p. 20)
After studying The Scarlet Letter, my son and I both have a better understanding of this classic novel, and feel like it was time well-spent. When he revisits this novel in college, he will have a strong foundation to build on. I will be able to look back on his high school years and realize they were a breeze after all.Share this: