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Anthea

Help Choosing Literature for Eighth Grade

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I would appreciate some help choosing literature for an eighth grade English class. I will be teaching this coming year in a Christian school that is not classical. The current curriculum is Abeka, but the principal has given me flexibility to teach outside the curriculum because they are desperate for teachers. I taught the Abeka curriculum twenty years ago, but I'd like to give the students more than what Abeka offers for literature at this stage. I have been classically homeschooling my children for fourteen years, so I am familiar with classical and Charlotte Mason methods. I plan on teaching The Lord of the Rings trilogy because the school already owns it. I am considering these other options to fill out the year: The Hobbit, The Silver Chair, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Last Battle, The Black Arrow, or The Call of the Wild. We'd have to order The Hobbit, but I thought it would be good background for The Lord of the Rings. The Lewis books would also have to be ordered, but I will be teaching three other Narnia books (LWW, Prince Caspian, and The Magician's Nephew) to the seventh grade. The Black Arrow and The Call of the Wild are owned by the school. 

My concern with teaching The Hobbit is that Tolkien would be the primary author for the whole year which may be too much of a good thing. Although I am teaching three Narnia books to the seventh grade, the eighth graders of this year will not have the first books for context. I am not a big fan of the The Black Arrow or The Call of the Wild but they would not cost the school anything. 

I will also be teaching a month-long poetry unit and several weeks of short stories.

Do you have any wisdom for me?

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I could also try a Shakespeare play such as Midsummer Night's Dream instead of another book.

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I love Tolkien and Lewis, but your list is pretty heavy on fantasy. Shakespeare would be a good choice, but only if you have the students read it in parts (or watch the play before or after reading). What about something like Robinson Crusoe or a Dickens book like Great ExpectationsLord of the Flies would be an appropriate choice for that age, as well.

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I agree, JTB_5 - I don't want to do too much Lewis and Tolkien for the same reason. The budget is very tight, so I can really only purchase one or two books for this class. I'd like to use what is already there, hence The Lord of the Rings. Adding Midsummer Night's Dream or Great Expectations would round out the year better than Lewis. Any thoughts on The Black Arrow? I have not read it.

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Anthea,

I've not read The Black Arrow, so I can't honestly comment on its value. The nice thing about Dickens (or Shakespeare) is that there are inexpensive editions. I hope whatever choice you make turns out well!

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8 hours ago, saraluck9090 said:

I suggest you to read Tolkien and Lewis, it's a great book no doubts. 

Thanks, saraluck9090. I decided to do Midsummer Night's Dream with the 8th grade after Lord of the Rings. I'll do some compare/contrast of the fairy story aspect in both. I decided to move forward with Kidnapped after the three Lewis books in 7th grade. I'm still not sure that it's a great choice, but saving the school some money by using what they already have is probably paramount at this point. I'm hoping that the difficult language will get them ready for deeper books in the upper grades. 

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