For 2017-2018: 
Four Eras of Literature

Dreaming Spires' literature division offers four different eras of study for the school year 2017-2018, first classes to start the week of 11th of September and run until the second week of May.

STOP PRESS!!! Both the British Novels course and the Middle Ages courses are now being offered through a second course taught by our newest tutor, Mrs Pavlenko (see her biography on the About Us tab). The red text on the timetable below shows the new times!

English Literature and Composition
Course Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Middle Ages Lit 8 am CST/2 pm UK full
NEW 12 noon CST/6 pm UK
American Lit

1 pm CST/7 pm UK

British Novel
NEW 8 am CST/2 pm UK
1 pm CST/7 pm UK full


8 am CST/2 pm UK

Although they differ in the eras of literature with which they are concerned, they share certain characteristics as outlined here.
  • In a Dreaming Spires literature course, a student will read approximately eight texts throughout a 30-week year, plus two background texts that are assigned only a chapter a week.
    • Middle Ages texts include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Canterbury Tales, and some lesser-known but important works like the York Mystery Plays and Piers the Ploughman. We also read Ivanhoe, Once and Future King, and Tennyson's masterpiece, Idylls of the King.
    • Renaissance texts include Utopia, Faerie Queen Book 1, Pilgrim's Progress, Paradise Lost (the whole thing!), three Shakespeare plays, and a selection of sonnets.
    • British Novels include Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Mansfield Park, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dickens and a selection of Romantic poets.
    • American Literature includes Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Little Women, Huckleberry Finn, The Jungle, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, a choice of two more modern texts (to be announced), and Fahrenheit 451.
  • The reading commitment for all courses is approximately between 70 and 90 pages a week. It is demanding and challenging, but because there are only three short discussion questions and one summary due each week, the overall work-rate is achievable with just a little bit of planning and diligence.
  • In addition to the main courses as described above, students are able to extend their studies by adding either a writing skills component which consists of:
      • speeches, letters, article- and story- writing, etc (Middle Ages), 
      • literary essays (Renaissance and British Novels), 
      • or research papers (American Literature);
  • All Dreaming Spires Home Learning literature courses equate to 1-credit in either British or American Literature for your child's homeschooled high school transcript. The writing extension adds another 1/2 credit.

Students meet altogether in a secure, live environment for a one hour, tutor-led webinar each week for a 30-week period (writing extensions 1/2-hour slot as detailed in timetable above; book clubs meet one hour monthly). A sample of our live classroom can be seen on our Facebook page here:

In between these live webinars, students have 24/7 access to the course environment where there are posted pdfs to the Powerpoints, links to recordings of webinars, additional background resources, and discussion forums -- both those that are purely social, and those that are intended for posting homework.

Five Levels of Attainment on Offer

Students of Dreaming Spires have a choice of five different levels of involvement, catering to every ability -- from those just getting their feet wet with higher-level academic work, to those who really want to soar. There is some flexibility throughout the year for moving between levels, such as intending to only audit and finding that, actually, their participation has been higher.

  1. Audit -- simply keep up with the reading and attend/participate in the weekly webinars;
  2. Pass -- in addition to requirements for the audit, this student will provide at least 60% of the short written assignments due weekly throughout the course, plus three student presentations;
  3. Grade A -- in addition, this student will provide at least 90% of the weekly assignments;
  4. Grade A with Honors -- in addition, this student will undertake the Add-on Writing Extension.

1 comment:

  1. From a 2014-2015 student, now going to college: What I really wanted to let you know, is that I am very grateful for the year that I spent in Brit Nov with you. I really can see now, that the writing that you had me do in your course was the perfect final phase of my high school education, and that it helped to propel me into the college level of academics. There are so many students at community college who are not ready to work at college level, or who don't understand what is really expected of them. I think that my time spent in your course was the perfect preparation for me. Thanks again Dr. P!