British Novels

Course Length: Full academic year (30 weeks)
This Year's ScheduleClick here to view


Aims of the Course

The main aims of this course are to introduce students to British fiction from Defoe to Wilde, while guiding them in regular, consistent written exercises to improve their writing skills and grammar usage in context. This means you'll see a lot of the famous titles like Robinson Crusoe, Frankenstein, and Far from the Madding Crowd on the reading list.

Homework Expectations

As in all the English courses at Dreaming Spires, the homework each week is to read about 50-60 pages of text, write a short summary, answer three short discussion questions, and attend a one-hour webinar where, mostly, the tutor talks on the mic and students type in the chatbox. Three times a year, they will be assigned presentations to take over some of the teaching (the best of learning, right?).

Add-On Options

The add-on writing extension for this course uses our main texts to teach ways into writing about novels, which are often more tricky and subtle than, say, poetry or drama. We look at character, setting, atmosphere, etc, and the tools of using and explaining quotations. The homework for this averages 2 hours a week, and when combined with the main course, affords any US student an “honors” designation on their completion certificate.

How It Supports Your Child's Education

For UK students and others doing UK-style IGCSE exams, or US students starting their high school English credits, the main course with add-on writing create invaluable foundations in mature reading skills, critical thinking, and written expression. 

For US students, this course provides one credit in high school English. British Novel is often the level of choice when starting with Dreaming Spires’ English courses due to the accessible texts, most of which are free online and as audio books.


Who Teaches British Novels?

Dr. Kat Patrick now resides in her home state of Texas with her four children, all of whom are Dreaming Spires students. Before that, she lived for 25 years in England. Her background includes an MA from Durham (UK), a PhD from Delaware (US), and a UK PGCE teaching certificate, all in the subject of English. She continues to examine for both the Cambridge Assessment International Education and Oxford, Cambridge, RSA examinations boards for both IGCSE and A-level. Her revision guide is available to purchase via Amazon.
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Fiona Williams has a degree in English and Cultural Studies and an MA in Shakespeare (from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford upon Avon, no less). She has been running private tutorials and working part-time at the Oxford-based tutorial company, Wolsey Hall, for some years, and works as a volunteer at the Globe Theater in London.
See all courses taught by Fiona