Thursday, March 7, 2013

Curriculum Review: World Literature ~ Cultural Influences of Early to Contemporary Voices

Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing, is a publisher's name that I look for on books; I know their name means quality.  That being said, I wasn't sure I wanted to review a high school literature curriculum when the request was put before me.  Our children aren't at the high school level yet but it won't be long (gulp!).  When we do reach that point, we will have our first high school level book waiting; I can already hear the cries of anticipation in the other room...well, cries for something!

James P. Stobaugh has pulled together a good selection of world literature, created critical thinking assignments based on each selection, and written in a clear way so as to reflect the Biblical worldview we should hold in this fallen world.  When I was a high school student (early-90's), many books/authors were questionable in our public school.   In this decade, I've been shocked at some of the literature students are required to read/write about.  What happened to the quality classical works?  Look no further ~ this may be the solution you are looking for in your homeschool journey.

I appreciate that this course begins with distinguishing between world views.  Everyone has a starting point for how they think and what they believe; that affects everything ~ including literature.  World Literature is a classical approach to whole books and follows a Biblical worldview.

Broken into 34 chapters, each has 5 lessons; this is set up perfectly to use through one entire school year.  Literature is taken from Sumerian, Egyptian, and Hebrew; Ancient Greece and Rome; Early church history; Japanese, Indian, Persian and Arabic, Chinese; Middle ages; Romanticism; Realism; and Modern age. Vast assortment ~ well chosen. There are easy to follow reading schedules and a daily calendar to keep students and teachers on track.  Per the description, this book/course "equips students to think critically about philosophy and trends in culture, and articulate their views through writing."

The World Literature course includes a bound student text and a teacher's guide (hole-punched).  The student text is 496 pages in length.  It is actually quite interesting to me even though I'm not teaching it yet.  Our children have already heard many of the stories, places, and characters mentioned in this curriculum.  We are following the childhood audio series Story of the World and related resources.  It's encouraging for me to see that they will continue to glean more from literature as they mature and work on deeper levels.

In addition to World Literature, there are also American Literature and British Literature texts and associated teacher's guides available.  Offering 3 credits each, these are well-suited to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.

I appreciate the opportunity given to review this excellent work and look forward to using it personally in the future.

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