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Over the summer, as you may remember, I posted lists of my household’s reading here and here.

Well, now the last sun of summer has set over the gables here at the House of Curiosities. In actual point of fact, the sun set, as it does every day, over the Aspen Street viaduct to the west of us, but you know what I mean. It’s over. Today college classes start, which means we’ll see my husband again long about Thanksgiving. Tomorrow the teenager begins her third-year Latin class at the college; we’re still trying to sort out her dual-enrollment status so that she can also take a lab science and — she hopes — ballroom dancing.

Though I’d planned to start school with the other three next week, already the 11-year-old has been fingering his new books on the butler’s-pantry shelf and saying things like, “You know, I’m really tired of summer . . . ”

On Sunday the 7-year-old had his first First-Communion class, taught by me, which you’d think wouldn’t be that thrilling to him, but apparently it is. Sunday night at dinner he kept hopping up from his chair to put me in the headlock of undying affection and exclaim, “It’s so exciting to live with my First-Communion teacher!” I’m not making that up, and being something of a kneejerk skeptic, I keep wondering how long it will last. But it is kind of sweet.

Because it’s been a while since I last posted a booklist, I thought I’d do a series devoted to our homeschool reading. Today we’ll look at 11th grade:

Jenney’s Third-Year Latin

She’ll be using this in a college class, and we haven’t received it from Amazon yet, so I can’t review it. Anyone familiar with this one?

Glencoe’s Reader’s Choice Course 6 American literature text.

I’ll tell you right now that I did not pay $95 for this book. I found it through a used-book vendor and paid about $15. This is your standard school-type English 11 textbook, of the sort I haven’t used since I taught English 11 in public school twenty-three years ago.

In general I am not a great fan of the textbook, being heavily influenced by the Charlotte Mason philosophy, which emphasizes “living books.” For the past two years, I’ve made up my high-school English curriculum for a class of homeschooled students which included my own teenager. I wanted to work chronologically through literature in the Western tradition, dovetailing our literary studies with history, so that my students could see how an event like the Trojan War, for example, has shaped an entire cultural imagination and given it a language for its ideals.

This was a lot of work. Great stuff, but a lot of work. This year, with all four children schooling and a blog to write and other paid projects needing to be done, I took the easy way out for American lit. The Glencoe series seems to suffer less from political correctness and revisionism than do some other texts, and it provides a fairly complete course in writing and literary analysis which my self-directed daughter can work through on her own during long days on the college campus. And it contains everything one really needs to have read in American literature, so as not to appear an unwashed barbarian: William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson, Whitman, Crane, Cather, O’Connor.

We’ll supplement with novels: Song at the Scaffold, Death Comes for the Archbishop, etc. She read The Scarlet Letter and The Red Badge of Courage over the summer, though the Glencoe text will revisit them during the course of the year.

Christ and the Americas

We ordered the accompanying worktext as well; this consists mainly of short-answer and multiple-choice reading-comprehension and retention-type questions of the sort I don’t normally use. As the teenager largely directs her own work, however, I think that a reading checklist of this sort will help her to keep herself on track. She’s already a good note-taker and writer.

Teaching Textbooks Algebra II

I’m not a math teacher. The child in question is not a math-oriented student. After years of tutors, we’ve had success with this self-contained program.

Understanding the Scriptures (The Didache Series)

These seem very textbooky to me, but she loved the first installment in this series and actually asked for this second book, on the Bible, for her birthday last year. I’m probably the only Catholic convert on the face of the earth who has never read anything by Scott Hahn; I guess after this course the teenager can fill me in.

All of the above books constitute our formal core curriculum for eleventh grade. They aren’t the sum total of our homeschooling, which tends to include a lot of independent reading, independent art projects, sewing and knitting, violin-playing and choral singing, folk-dancing, household responsibilities which I count as elective home-economics credit, and, currently, the launching of an Etsy business to sell some of her hand-knit goods, which experience I can fold into her required economics half-credit.

Meanwhile, yesterday I received from my thoughtful friends in the First Things office a third copy of a book entitled Write These Laws on Your Children, by Robert Kunzman. The premise of the book is that a teacher-turned-investigative-journalist embeds himself with six different conservative Christian homeschooling families and reports his observations, ultimately drawing some larger conclusions about homeschooling as a practice.

Three copies of this book. Thanks, guys. I’m speechless. I guess I should review it already. What I think I’d like to do is to write about it here in a series of posts, hand-in-hand with these homeschool book posts, taking on what I think he gets right as well as assumptions about children, parenting, and education with which I take issue.

Right now, however, doors are slamming and voices are raised upstairs, so I think I’d better go put my own assumptions about children and parenting, if not education right now, into some kind of forceful action.

More on: Books, Homeschooling

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