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British Literature

This course will focus on British Literature written from 1678 to 1954 and will provide a broad sweep of historical perspectives through mainly fiction readings. The books selected for the course will be studied in depth for their tremendous contribution to the literary world and the shaping of society. During this time frame, and particularly in the 19th century, British writing was prolific and greatly influential. This course will provide solid scaffolding for the further enjoyment and study of renowned British literature.

The goals of this course are:
To explore the timeline of British authors and recognize influential political, philosophical, social, and religious factors on the authors
To analyze writings according to their structure, form and purpose, and practice synthesizing ideas in the written word through a variety of writing projects

To develop comparative, analytical/critical, and responsive thinking, writing, and questioning skills that bolster communication with others and to practice using said skills in various settings. Of equal importance is the underlying current of the course, which is to nurture a spirit of searching and restful contemplation through the reading of powerful stories and essays. By examining authors, characters, conflict, and themes, students will make connections to themselves and their world while simultaneously recognizing the unchanging state of human nature.

The readings being with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and progress through the Enlightenment Era, the Romantic Period, and Victorian Age to Realism and Existentialism. As students investigate the historical impact of political, philosophical, social, and religious perspectives they will come to recognize effects on the writers of the time. They will develop the craft of asking questions following the form of Aristotle’s Five Common Topics of Invention; in doing so, they will engage with the text and their peers on a contemplative level. Students will be required to read all assigned texts (approximately 1 hour of reading per day) and write one major essay per book (comparison, narrative, expository, etc.). Additionally, students shall expect to maintain a dialectic notebook (to be explained in class), periodically submit short (1-page) response papers, and complete a portfolio. Participation in Socratic dialogue is imperative as it serves to promote vigorous contemplation and reflection.

The writing portion of this course will focus on various types of academic essays including compare and contrast, critical analysis, expository, and persuasive. Students will follow a rubric for each piece of writing in order to develop strong mental templates for presenting thoughts in differing forms. As the communication of ideas is paramount in literature, selecting the most appropriate structure to convey such ideas is a valuable skill. Likewise, a writer’s personal style can powerfully impact the reception of the work, and as such, students and teacher will together explore and practice schemes and tropes such as anaphora, antithesis, epistrophe, polysyndeton, and more. Experimenting with word play will enrich our study of British literature and lead students toward growth in eloquence. Students will be expected to employ proper grammar and mechanics of writing (including spelling, grammar, and structure) as they endeavor to stretch their writing abilities.

While this course primarily features literary study, it also incorporates some study from British history, helping students to see and enjoy the integration of both history and literature. This class is paired with our upper-school Western History: Enlightenment to Industrial Revolution course, taught by the same instructor, and scheduled back-to-back with that course in a “block.” Students who take both courses receive a discount. This course may also be taken as a standalone literature study.

The target grades for this course are 9th–10th grade. Students must have successfully completed an 8th-grade-level writing course; they will be expected to have competency in vocabulary, annotation, and essay-writing (various forms of written discourse) and know how to write a summary and reflect on a text (though the instructor will work to develop these skills throughout the course). Students are expected to have strong reading and writing skills as well as the interest and capacity for engaging in discussion about literature and history. Students well suited for this course will continue refining the following scholarship skills as they approach mastery:

  • Actively and independently engage in note-taking
  • Apply teacher critiques
  • Adhere to deadlines
  • Be responsible for class and project preparedness
  • Take initiative to ask questions for understanding and comprehension

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in English or literature.

**How much time will students spend on homework? **
This varies by student according to his or her pace. However, the average reader can expect to spend approximately 1.5–2 hours per week reading course materials, and approximately half an hour to an hour working on the questions. Students will submit regular weekly assignments. Midterm and final exams will be given.

**How is faith integrated with these courses? **
These seminar-style discussions unfold organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors. By contrast, we seek to read charitably. We treat classic authors as if they were friends, gleaning every available truth while also examining them from a robustly Christian perspective.

At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan (1678)
  • A Modest Proposal, Swift (1729)
  • Frankenstein, Shelley (1823)
  • Pride and Prejudice, Austen (1813)
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens (1859)
  • Jane Eyre, Brontë (1847)
  • Silas Marner, Eliot (1861)
  • The Screwtape Letters, Lewis (1942)
  • Animal Farm, Orwell (1945)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien (1954)
  • Various short stories provided by instructor

Other Materials:

  • Notebook for annotating, notes, and literary responses

Note: Most of the readings can be accessed online as they are public domain, but hard copies are recommended. Parents are welcome to purchase any edition that fits their budget.

Optional Course Texts

  • The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
  • On Writing Well, Zinsser
  • MLA Handbook, 8th Edition

Christine Seaward was born and raised in central California. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts and earned her elementary teaching credential at California State University, Stanislaus before becoming an Air Force wife in 1992. During the nomadic years of military life, she lived in various places: Oklahoma, Colorado, South Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and Florida. She is blessed to be a wife and mother of two teenage girls. Christine has served as the President of the Protestant Women of the Chapel at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. She has also served as a group and administrative leader in Bible Study Fellowship. She completed her M.A. in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and her Ph.D. in Humanities with a concentration in Literature from Faulkner University where the Great Books program changed the way she viewed education. Christine has taught high school English in a traditional Christian school. She also taught a course on Aquinas and Dante and served as the faculty adviser for the student book club at Kepler Education. She is a long-time admirer of C.S. Lewis, and she continues to grow in her appreciation for the Great Books of the Western World. She enjoys supporting her daughters, taking long walks with her husband, following sumo wrestling, and the pleasure of reading. cseaward.scholeacademy@gmail.com

Phaedra Shaltanis, Chair of the Humanities Department, has taught in private and classical schools for over 25 years and has educated her four children in the classical tradition, which has been the monumental joy of her life. After college graduation, she began teaching high school Writing, Literature, Spanish, and Art in classical schools. Her involvement with Scholé Academy includes teaching American Literature, British Literature, Western History, Rhetoric I, Formal Logic and Well-Ordered Language Levels 1 and 2. She is enthused to serve as the Humanities department chair and appreciates guiding parents and teachers toward restful education. In her Dallas community, she currently directs a high school university-model program, trains and mentors teachers, conducts seminars on classical education, builds curriculum, supports parents, and provides fine art instruction at a classical high school. She and her husband hope to support classical education as avenues present themselves. pshaltanis.scholeacademy@gmail.com

Quarter 1

  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan (1678) 
    1. Allegory, symbolism
    2. Dialectical journal
    3. Response questions 
  2. A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift (1729)
    1. Satire
  3. Short satirical writing 
    1. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1823)
    2. Dialectical journal
    3. Literary devices
  4. Gothic Romance
    1. Persuasive Essay

Quarter 2

  1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)
    1. Regency Period, England
    2. Quote analysis
    3. Response questions
  2. On Liberty, John Mill (1859)
    1. Contemplation questions
    2. Comprehension questions 
  3. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (1859) 
    1. Dialectical notes
    2. Response questions
    3. Informal debate
  4. Select poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley
    • Comparison of poetic styles

Quarter 3

  1. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (1847)
    1. Victorian Period, England
    2. Dialectical notes
    3. Contemplation exercises
    4. Character Analysis Essay
  2. Silas Marner, George Eliot (1861)
    1. Response questions
    2. Thematic Essay
  3. “The Necklace,” Guy de Moupassant (1884) and other short stories
    1. Student-led discussions and presentations

Quarter 4

  1. Select stories from Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (c. 1900) and Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton 
  2. Animal Farm, George Orwell (1945)
    1. Historical presentation
    2. Character chart
  3. The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis (1942)
    1. Question journal
  4. The Art of the Personal Essay (Lopate)
  5. The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R Tolkien (1954)
    1. Character analysis
    2. Epic novel
  6. 20th Century differences
    1. Select 20th century poetry
  7. British literature portfolio

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.

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