English Literature and Composition

Dreaming Spires English - Building Relationships

We offer four categories for our “fireside chats” that make up our English department: Middle Ages, Renaissance, British Novels, American Literature. We welcome students as young as 6th grade to register for them, many of whom can start accumulating high school credits up to honors level.

We also have creative writing for those who want to get serious about their craft, and this year, there are two options: middle school and high school. More about those courses can be found here: https://www.dreamingspireshomelearning.com/p/creative-writing.html
We offer a four-year English program that builds confidence and maturity

While the course titles are probably rather self explanatory, we get many questions as to the best starting point for a student. The answer depends on the age and reading level of the child, his or her interests and aptitudes, and ultimately, the goals you hope to achieve.

That being said, here are some thoughts to bear in mind.

First, there is not one right way to proceed with our English courses: you could choose to start either in chronological order with Middle Ages Lit first, or opt for British Novels since a student might be more comfortable with that genre as a starting point, or finally, simply go with the one that fits your timetable best.

Second, the four courses all follow the same format. Students meet weekly in our live webinar session for a one-hour Powerpoint presentation, then for the remainder of the week, they read between 50 and 70 pages, write one summary, and answer three discussion questions. We keep the homework low key and personally relevant so those relationships between student and text can grow without being smothered.

Once each 10-week period, they will prepare a presentation which they deliver in class, either using their mics or by providing a screen recording of something they prepared beforehand. Sometimes, this includes collaboration in pairs or small groups.

Third, a key difference between the courses is not so much the books that a student reads, but the writing course that comes as an optional extra. For example, Middle Ages is paired with expository writing such as letters, speeches, persuasive essays, and newspaper articles, whereas research papers accompany the American Lit course. Clearly, the latter is going to be a stiffer challenge than the former. The other two, Renaissance and British literature courses, have their writing extensions focus on literary analysis.

See the page about add-on writing extensions for more details.

There are sound educational reasons to recommend any of these combinations, so feel free to do what works best for your family. If you’re still unsure, then you can connect with us via the contact form so we can talk it over with you in greater detail.

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