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Homeschool High School - Reading Books or Reading Excerpts

I recently picked up a high school textbook called "American Literature" to see what public school kids were reading these days.

litreature-reading


First of all, it was HUGE - much bigger than the dictionary.  Yikes!  No wonder kids have back pain!  When I looked inside, I had fond feelings for my own high school honors English teacher.  I remember her reading aloud, and how fun she made everything.  I remembered reading Shakespeare plays as a  lass, each student taking a part.

Then I remembered reading only one or two books a semester.  Wow - really?? Can that really be all that was required?

The American Literature book I was looking at seemed very fun, but it did NOT contain whole books.  There were multiple books mentioned and  discussed, but the textbook only provided selections and excerpts from the book. Interesting.

When my sons got to college, and began the University Scholars Honors Program, studying the great books, they did have one complaint.   Excerpts. In our homeschool, we actually read BOOKS.  From beginning to end!  (I am not making this up!)

It's fine to include book excerpts on your reading list.  You can include the word "Excerpt" by the book if you like.  It's Ok to have a book list of 6 books a year.  It's ok to have a book list with 60 books per semester. Some parents choose to include textbooks as well as literature.  You can include all reading: for school, for pleasure, magazines, newspapers, current books,  great books, classics, and "fluff."

Including a variety of books on your book list is helpful.  I have had colleges say they want homeschoolers to show they have read at least some current books, to show they aren't too sequestered.

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Comments 3

Guest - Audrey on Monday, 24 May 2010 17:27

Ugh. This is where I am tonight. What shall we do for summer reading? What shall we do for senior year? This year, despite a great plan to have American Literature (whole books and excerpts) fill the spring term, he is finishing up just an annotated "Moby Dick" (online text). So shall we continue the American Lit I planned during the summer?? I have to decide. Then, I reviewed the book of English Lit I wanted him to use for senior year. It is nothing but excerpts, with the curriculum adding two full length texts as well. Ugh, again! Decisions, decisions...... Trying to determine from which sources they will benefit the most.

Ugh. This is where I am tonight. What shall we do for summer reading? What shall we do for senior year? This year, despite a great plan to have American Literature (whole books and excerpts) fill the spring term, he is finishing up just an annotated "Moby Dick" (online text). So shall we continue the American Lit I planned during the summer?? I have to decide. Then, I reviewed the book of English Lit I wanted him to use for senior year. It is nothing but excerpts, with the curriculum adding two full length texts as well. Ugh, again! Decisions, decisions...... Trying to determine from which sources they will benefit the most.
Guest - Lee (website) on Monday, 24 May 2010 05:53

Hi Debra,
When a child doesn't enjoy reading, or has difficulty, sometimes the solution is to read whole books that are SHORT (like Old Man and the Sea) and only read an excerpt is the book is LONG (like Moby Dick.) As you say, it doesn't mean kids are only reading snippets, but we can include that in our bag of tricks, right?
Blessings,
Lee

Hi Debra, When a child doesn't enjoy reading, or has difficulty, sometimes the solution is to read whole books that are SHORT (like Old Man and the Sea) and only read an excerpt is the book is LONG (like Moby Dick.) As you say, it doesn't mean kids are only reading snippets, but we can include that in our bag of tricks, right? Blessings, Lee
Guest - Debra (website) on Monday, 24 May 2010 05:44

Lee!! This is great. So often in homeschooling circles I feel criticized for thinking it is okay to read some abridged titles, and some excerpts. Like Moby Dick-- I think it is important to understand the main story, but wow, is that book tough to slog through... at least it was for both dh and I. When I mentioned having my kids read an abridged version, I was met with gasps of horror.

We don't ONLY read abridged or excerpts. We read lots of great stuff cover to cover.

Thanks for the permission to not ONLY read full classics. I love it.

Lee!! This is great. So often in homeschooling circles I feel criticized for thinking it is okay to read some abridged titles, and some excerpts. Like Moby Dick-- I think it is important to understand the main story, but wow, is that book tough to slog through... at least it was for both dh and I. When I mentioned having my kids read an abridged version, I was met with gasps of horror. We don't ONLY read abridged or excerpts. We read lots of great stuff cover to cover. Thanks for the permission to not ONLY read full classics. I love it.
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