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Have you ever wished for an all-in-one resource that gives you a K-12 reading plan that can coincide with your history studies? Then I have the book for you! The Timeline of Classics from Institute for Excellence in Writing is your dream come true! And be sure to scroll all the way down to the end of this post to enter to win a $50 gift certificate from IEW.
What is the Timeline of Classics
The Timeline of Classics by Gail Ledbetter is a 120-page chronological index for the Good & Great Books. In addition to books, this resource includes films, plays, and other selected writings.
Here’s how the Timeline of Classics is organized:
Book Lists By Historical Era
You will find four large time periods delineated in this book:
- Ancients (5000 BC – AD 400)
- The Middle Ages (AD 400 – 1450)
- Renaissance and Reformation (1450 – 1850)
- The Modern World (1850 – present)
Under each time period, there are other historical eras listed which get even more detailed. For example, the Modern World is then dissected into smaller periods of time like American Civil War, Progressive Era, Machine Age, and so on.
Book Lists By Ability Level
Next, this resource is organized by ability level. So you will find this resource supremely valuable for every age and stage of homeschooling! Once you’re searching in the correct historical era, you can check whether the listed resource is at an Elementary, Middle, or High School level.
Reader Response Journaling Samples Plus More
Once you get your hands on this resource, you might be initially overwhelmed. However, the author has made it possible to be successful in its use!
The Appendix includes many helpful examples of how to practically use Reader Response Journaling with your kids. By giving detailed Reader Response Journaling Samples for Oliver Twist, The Prince and the Pauper, and The Magician’s Nephew, you can see how students could interact with literature without a standard literature “curriculum” asking comprehension questions.
I love this approach to discussing literature with my kids because it’s open-ended and doesn’t require a crazy amount of work from me as the homeschool teacher.
The Reader Response Journal idea is also a great way to keep an active posture of learning in your homeschool. Standard comprehension quizzes and worksheets are more of a low-level assessment. In contrast, the Reader Response Journal gives your kids enough structure to know how to approach the literature, but enough responsibility to interact with it at a higher level.
I’ve never considered using this approach in my homeschool, but armed with the Timeline of Classics and the inspiration and how-to of the Reader Response Journal, I think this will make a big difference in how we do literary analysis and literature study in our homeschool.
Another big bonus of using this Timeline of Classics book list is to help your kids read in context of history. This resource makes it possible to coordinate your literature and history studies!
Finally, your purchase of the Timeline of Classics book also gives you access to multiple other downloads of workshops, articles, and talks that will help you grow in your ability to walk your kids through literary analysis.
How You Can Use It
I think the best use of this book is to assign literature that dovetails with your history studies. When you add in a Reader Response Journal, this book can be your literature curriculum spine for K-12.
It could also be your history spine for K-12! This is an amazing thought. If you love Charlotte Mason’s emphasis on living books rather than “twaddle” and textbooks, then this is the perfect book list to use to craft a chronological history study through literature.
Adding your literature list to a history timeline is a great idea! Seeing these great books in their historical context is key.
Here are some other benefits of the Timeline of Classics:
- useful with any curriculum or homeschooling style
- saves you time because all the research has been done for you
- active learning through literature instead of worksheets!
When you add in the idea of using Reader Response Journals, then I see these additional benefits for your kids:
- increased comprehension and understanding of the literature
- expanded vocabulary
- learning literary analysis by keyword outlining
- gives your students a model for their own writing
The author gives detailed instructions for vocabulary study through literature. So, if you’re not sure how to practically implement this in your homeschool, don’t worry!
I’m pretty excited to have this resource on our bookshelf now. We will use it to plan our literature studies to line up with next year’s history plan. With five kids studying a wide range of history next year from elementary through high school ages, this will be my go-to literature resource. I just wish I would have found this years ago!
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