Literature Textbooks in our Homeschool

Over the weekend, I talked a little bit about what we’ve been doing in our  writing workshop. Today, I just thought I’d write a post about how we use the big Literature textbooks in our homeschool.

We’ve bought many Literature anthologies. They include stories, plays, poems, myths & legends, biographies and more from well known authors.  By many… I mean, just check out the back part of our literature shelf!!  My middle daughter used to read those textbooks like candy! You can’t see them all, but there are 14 texts hidden back there! (We’ve gotten them all used off Amazon.)

Literature Shelf BooksAmerican Literature:

This year, my older two are using the American Literature text that you see there on the front left in the picture above. We use an older edition of Prentice Hall’s Literature, The American Experience (affiliate link) partly because I have the Teacher’s Edition (which is useful, but not necessary).  We used this last year as we talked about (American) literature in the modern age. We read the selections by Anderson, Hemingway, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Steinbeck and William Faulkner.  I think this book does a great job of setting the selections in their historical context and giving background about the authors.

This semester, we’ve read selections by Columbus, de Vaca, John Smith, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet and others as we have started off our studies of early American History.

I’ve found this textbook useful if you need to add primary resources to your American history lessons. (Though to be honest, I also have a number of other resources I pull from too!)

Literature Grade 7 - McDougal LiteratureLiterature (Grade 6/7 or so)

Meanwhile, my youngest is still using a traditional Literature textbook. She’s using Literature: Grade 7 (affiliate link) by McDougal Littell.

We have been reading the selections aloud together and discussing the pieces while going over various literature conventions.  A week or so ago, we read Riki-Tikki-Tavi (the title is the perfect example of onomatopoeia, right?!) by Rudyard Kipling.

Today we just finished reading a teleplay called “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.” (It was actually a Twilight Zone episode.) We talked about the their thematic question, “What turns a crowd into a mob?” but went further and talked about Conflict in Literature too (person vs. person, person vs. self, etc.).  Now during her Writing Workshop time, she’s off writing her own story (using one or two of those conflicts).

Some people don’t like big textbook collections like these because they offer just selections from novels… but I’ve found that this actually sparks more reading.  The kids will often ask me to buy the full novel.  I remember DD demanded that I buy Flowers for Algernon (a fabulous book, by the way) (affiliate link) and just last week ED demanded that I buy the full book about the Titanic because we read a selection of that in her Literature book!

Other Literature: Note, we also generally have a novel that we’re read aloud together (right now we’re finishing up the Scarlett Letter). And, the kids always have a literature novel they are reading independently.  LD is reading Frankenstein. DD is reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. ED is reading The Inquisitor’s Tale.

That’s about it!  ED is ready to share her story with me from today’s Writing Workshop! 🙂

By the way, my older two were doing their online AP Computer Science class while ED and I did Writing Workshop. In general, we do WW together, but not today!  🙂  That’s how homeschooling goes sometimes, right?! You have to be flexible!

P.P.S. ED read her story aloud to me. I asked if she wanted me to read this post to her (which I wrote during Writing Workshop time). She said, “Sure.” Afterwards she said, “It was very interesting even for me.”  Hope this post was “interesting” for you too. 😂

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Happy Homeschooling! ~Liesl

Read more about our Writing Workshop here:

Writing Workhop in our Homeschool

Writing Workshop - What we've been working on

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