But Does Dreaming Spires Work?

Families can get spooked by this idea that lies underneath all the courses at Dreaming Spires: that reading good books, summarizing them, and talking about them is an effective pathway toward education.

But note: we don't think of our goal here at Dreaming Spires as educating your child: instead, we design our courses and deliver our webinars in order to nurture our students to educate themselves!

We have seen the fruit of our philosophy come to harvest in the last couple of years when many of our first students are now thriving at university. They enjoy reporting back about how we prepared them to, not just survive, but excel in higher education.

Here's a letter we received recently from a British student who is now in her first year at university in America.

"Hello! My name is Hannah, and I’m a 19 year old freshman in a small, Christian university in the rainy and beautiful Pacific Northwest. I moved here from the southwest of England in August 2019 to major in English, with a minor in Biblical Studies. 

If you had told me 5 years ago that my favourite subject in high school would be English, and that I would then pursue English in university, I would’ve wondered what you were on about. The English courses I took from Dreaming Spires Home Learning took me completely by surprise – and changed my life.
Between September 2015 and May 2019, I took all four of the DSHL English classes: Renaissance Lit + Add-on, American Lit + Add-on, Medieval Lit, and British Novels +Add-on (in that very random order!). While at first skeptical that these classes would work for me, with their online structure and sophisticated reading level, I soon fell in love with everything about them. I loved the challenge that the various styles of literature posed me.

My reading repertoire grew and diversified as I took on authors like Milton, Austen, and Bradbury – inhaling their stories, discussing their themes in class, and dissecting their language in many essays. My natural bent towards literature was fostered through every class where I was constantly challenged and encouraged to learn. The standards were high, but I enjoyed pushing myself to meet them to the best of my ability. Dr Patrick was there every step of the way – providing personalized encouragement and feedback that was invaluable as I grew as a reader and a writer.

When my four years stint with DSHL came to an end with my graduation from high school, I was saddened. These literature classes had been a core part of my education for four years. Through them I had formed relationships with many other students, as well as building invaluable relationships with the books themselves.

However, just because my DSHL days are now over, does not mean that their influence in my life has ended. Far from it!
The literature classes that I took throughout high school were some of the main reasons that I chose to study English at university. They fostered a passion for literature in me and pursuing that passion in uni was a natural decision. There are so many practical benefits that I have reaped from these classes since graduating. One very obvious benefit that I reaped was seen when I received a nearly perfect score in the English portion of the SAT exam.

In addition to that, since coming to uni, I have seen just how incredibly well I have been prepared for studying English in a higher education setting. Because of the high reading level of the DSHL classes, I have found that moving to a university reading level hasn’t been a struggle for me at all. Taking a 400 level class in Shakespeare this past semester has been relatively easy for me. I studied Shakespeare with Dr Patrick during my freshman year of high school – and to be very honest, I feel that I may have learned more from her about Shakespeare and his works at that high school level than I have from my 400 level university course.

I also have seen just how helpful the DSHL classes have been in my writing skills. Not only have I been well prepared to analyse literature in essays, but I have also found that writing timed essays has been a breeze. I was trained how to write swiftly and well by Dr P, and the various writing techniques I learned through her have stood the test of time here at uni.

Various professors have remarked how I seem to have a very good grasp of literature, and are impressed by the way I am able to analyse text and express my thoughts on different literary works, both in discussion in the classroom, and in essays that I’ve written. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to point to the training that I received through my DSHL classes.

I give credit to Dr Patrick and her teaching for much of my skill and passion for English. All four of the literature classes offered by DSHL are an invaluable resource, and I highly recommend any and all of them for students seeking to grow in skill and build healthy relationship with good books!”

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