For quite a while now, I have followed the blog for “Writing with Sharon Watson”, so I was thrilled when our family received the opportunity to review one of the literature products from “Writing with Sharon Watson”. I have loved reading about all of the products from Writing with Sharon Watson so I was super excited to add Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis to our homeschool curriculum list! Considering that I have a son who loves anything from Shakespeare, I was very excited to see “Much Ado About Nothing” was among the selections included in this course.
In addition to “Much Ado About Nothing”, a short story entitled “A Jury of Her Peers”, another assortment of short works, and the full works of “Frankenstein”, “Silas Marner”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “The Hobbit” are included. The materials our family received include a Teacher’s Guide, text, Quiz and Answer Manual, Novel Notebook (downloadable from the website, and online quizzes (which may be accessed on the website).
Illuminated Literature: Characters in Crisis” is not grade-specific, but is instead designed for any high school student. So the beauty of this program for our family is that all three of our high school students could use the same program. On the website, you can download sample chapters, grading grids, quizzes on the course page.
The first component we received was the Teacher’s Guide, which recommends using the coordinating versions of the literature books that can be found on the Writing with Sharon Watson website. This is because the textbook matches up with the page numbers in those versions. This eliminates wasting time or becoming frustrated. If using an e-reader or tablet, students should be able to use the search function proficiently. The first pages provide a list of the books and short works that will be covered in the course. A Grade guide and sample grading grid are also included. This makes keeping up with requirements simple. Course objectives are also included. Suggested schedules, a book-of-the-month club guide and more are included in this guide. This truly is a guide meant to direct the teacher in what students need to go along with providing an answer key.
The next component is the textbook, which is to be used by the student. It includes an introduction to the course. At the beginning of each lesson, there are certain activities the student is to complete prior to reading the assigned literature. Some of these our children enjoyed, while other ones did not capture their attention as much. A suggested reading and homework schedule is provided as well. Information, descriptions and more are included for each lesson. Our children felt the amount of work per lesson was reasonable – even if they did not always enjoy everything. Then the students read the selection while reading the extra information along with activities. Students complete additional activities along with a group of final selection of activities the parents or students can choose from. For our family, I narrowed the number of choices down and then let the children select the ones that caught their attention the most.
Next, is the Novel Notebook, which is the only free downloadable component from the website. Parents can select what questions the student answers. Then during a discussion time, students share what they found. Or if a student is doing it alone, the teacher/parent may simply look at the novel notebook.
The final component of the program is the Quiz and Answer Manual. Students may either complete quizzes on paper or online. The benefit of completing the quizzes online is that feedback is immediate. Plus, for our family, it saves paper and printing costs. Each quiz contains approximately ten questions that demonstrate how much the student is retaining what they read. Our children found them relatively painless to complete.
All-in-all, our family has been very pleased with Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson. I encourage you to check it out for yourself. You can read other reviews by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking here or on the graphic below.