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View Full Version : Looking for a great secular English I course for my rising 9th Grader!



nzberkowitz
10-20-2016, 07:37 PM
Hello All! I am new here so let's see how this goes. ;) I found this website while searching for non religious curriculum and I am so glad this exists! I am now in my 5th year of homeschooling two boys and I have been through a LOT of curriculums, mostly Christian based ones that we have tried to tweak where we can so they are not so saturated. My dilema for the next year is an English I curriculum that is diverse in literature. I have grammar and vocab situated already. My oldest is doing 9th grade this year but he is working on an honors level of English. My younger son will be starting high school next year and will not be on an honors level. Any good suggestions welcome!

farrarwilliams
10-20-2016, 09:06 PM
If you're up for it, I would DIY a literature list and go from there. 9th grade is often a sort of "intro to great lit" course with a mix of European, American, and world lit in translation. I think it's a nice way to go because it lets you dip into lots of different things. I like to think of making a list as being like assembling a variety of categories - and some works might check multiple boxes. For example...

- a play
- something British
- something American
- something in translation
- an epic
- something more than five hundred years old
- something from the last ten years
- a quality YA book
- a coming of age story
- a non-white author
- a female author
- a political novel
etc....

Some things being read in a lot of 9th grades currently include books like...
The Book Thief
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Tempest or MacBeth or Romeo and Juliet (good first Shakespeare)
Animal Farm
The Odyssey
A Doll's House
All Quiet on the Western Front
Things Fall Apart
Flowers for Algernon
The Call of the Wild
The Good Earth
The Joy Luck Club
Great Expectations
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Lord of the Flies

You can find lit guides to nearly any classic or commonly read book. The Glencoe Lit Library is excellent:
Glencoe Literature: Literature Library (http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/)

The Penguin ones are great too:
Teacher's Guides - Penguin Books USA (http://www.penguin.com/services-shared/teachersguides/)

crazyme
10-22-2016, 01:36 AM
I'm using Excellence in Literature. I'm slowly (verrrry slowly) working on getting a book club together so my son isn't reading the books in such a vacuum.

nzberkowitz
10-22-2016, 06:41 PM
I just found Excellence in Literature yesterday and I love it from what I saw! Any feedback on it is welcome. It seems to be laid out well and the literature choices are great. How old is your son?

nzberkowitz
10-22-2016, 06:47 PM
I would love to DIY, my only concern is state standards and all of that jazz. Here, in SC, I opted for our 3rd option to be a part of SCAIHS because we have had such a difficult time finding a home school group in our town that isn't completely church based. They have some pretty strict guidelines as to how the curriculum is to be set up and what is required in order for it to be approved. I would be too much of a wreck trying put it all together, not to mention the time factor! I love all of your suggestions though, thank you so much for all your input!

crazyme
10-23-2016, 02:21 AM
The reading list is great. We're struggling on getting the formatting of the papers down, but that is more because we have been pretty loose with our writing. I liked that it had a literature component, but also formal paper writing. My son is 13 (almost 14) and in 8th grade. We got the Intro curriculum last year; he could have completed it, but we got distracted with life, so will be completing it this year. He has long had a very high reading level, so I can't you judge that, but I can give you the list that the intro has--although I'm pretty sure that is on the website.

I would like more discussion questions, but those are also easy enough to find online. Like I said before, I don't like that he is reading in a vacuum (as far as discussing the books--the program has a lot of links to various background reading, such as biographies, info on time periods, etc.). I might just have to play book club with him, and make a special date night for our discussions--we definitely need to set aside a special time outside of the house to do that. I let too many things get in the way, sometimes.

Free Thinker
10-23-2016, 01:05 PM
We are using Oak Meadow for 8th grade English, and I like the looks of the 9th grade. It's all laid out for you. You may also look at LIghtening Lit, also secular. I'm still thinking about what I will do for 9th grade- right now I have just a list of ideas :)

farrarwilliams
10-23-2016, 04:25 PM
I would love to DIY, my only concern is state standards and all of that jazz. Here, in SC, I opted for our 3rd option to be a part of SCAIHS because we have had such a difficult time finding a home school group in our town that isn't completely church based. They have some pretty strict guidelines as to how the curriculum is to be set up and what is required in order for it to be approved. I would be too much of a wreck trying put it all together, not to mention the time factor! I love all of your suggestions though, thank you so much for all your input!

If you want to go that route, I'd literally choose between 7-12 books with Glencoe or Penguin reading guides and then say that's your literature plan. And then I'd add something like Lively Art of Writing (old fashioned solid essay book) or BW's Help for High School (relaxed essay course) and be done with it. I understand about strict standards, but 10ish books and an essay program is a VERY solid academic year for 9th grade. And having those excellent lit guides should make it look all kosher and documented for the umbrella (I assume that's an umbrella?). Both of them contain extensive reading questions. I'm a former high school and middle school teacher - really, that's a solid curriculum. Note that some of the Glencoe books are more middle school level, but definitely not all.

Really, I haven't seen anything out there for high school that's stellar - and I think it's in part because making a list and reading and writing about books is just that straightforward. There's not a ton of money in making a great program when there are great lit guides abounding for free on the internet and when you can see the syllabus of most 9th grades out there online as well.

farrarwilliams
10-23-2016, 04:31 PM
Also, if you're really looking for a state stamp of approval, I would assume that using a few of the Common Core exemplars is probably a decent way to get it. The 9th-10th exemplars for literature are listed in the appendix here (you can just look at the TOC - the example bits are what's later):

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf

mommyshanti
11-17-2016, 06:53 PM
Also, if you're really looking for a state stamp of approval, I would assume that using a few of the Common Core exemplars is probably a decent way to get it. The 9th-10th exemplars for literature are listed in the appendix here (you can just look at the TOC - the example bits are what's later):

http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf

Thanks for the link and the useful info farrar :)

CO-MOM
11-19-2016, 09:38 AM
I just started Mosdos with my 5th grader - Gold is their highest level and it's for 8th graders. It is secular. It has stories that promote good values (e.g., courage) but they are not faith based at all.

(https://mosdospress.com/)

I'm impressed! For a few months we were working solely on dyslexia related issues and writing. We had made great progress. With BYL we were reading some good books, and she's a voracious reader anyway. I didn't want her to do book studies. She is enjoying the novels so much I didn't want to take the wind out of her sails :) I always hated novel studies of books I enjoyed. Especially when I read it in a couple of days and we had to talk about it for weeeeekkkkkss.

I started trying to piece together a program but simply didn't have enough time.

Mosdos is mostly short story and poetry based. I think there is a short novel in each text book. A student workbook and extensive teacher's guides help make it open and go for parents.

I had seen it recommended a few times on this board and I'm glad I did! (I'll write a review when we're farther into it).