Develop a love for classic literature.
Books aren't written to be fodder for "rigorous" high school literature teachers. They are written to inspire, awaken and delight readers. In these classes, geared toward homeschoolers, we respect the intentions of the authors. We don't read selected excerpts--we read whole books. And we don't do endless, pleasure-sucking analysis.
We read and we discuss what we've read. We seek first to understand, as much as possible, what is going on. Then we talk about what makes great books great with an eye to developing appreciation and enjoyment in reading them. We talk about what we like and don't like about a book. It's not important that students love every book, but it's important to know why they do or don't.
We don't read books in order to learn literary concepts. That's backwards. We learn literary concepts in order to help us more fully enjoy the books.
In a nutshell, it's about the books.
As the teacher, I'll help students along this exciting journey. I will be a resource to some. I'll be a tour guide for others. I'll hold some hands and show some the way. But I won't get in the way of the books. Whatever I have to offer pales in comparison to what Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Faulkner have to offer. I mostly let them do the talking. My role is more like color commentator.
If this is the kind of experience you want for your teens, enroll them today!
Yes, your kids can handle these books.
I know the reading list can seem intimidating. Parents and students sometimes wonder if they are ready for difficult classic works like The Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Crime and Punishment and Moby Dick. But trust me; I've been teaching this stuff for almost twenty years to students of a wide range of abilities. They are always capable of much more than you or they would expect.
Some books will seem beyond students when they first attempt to read them, but I provide lots of resources to help along the way. And, of course, we spend much of the time in our class discussions on the basics--sometimes just figuring out exactly what is going on.
We will challenge students of every ability. Some will be ready to go beyond simple comprehension into literary analysis and criticism. Others will simply work to get a feel for the basic purpose and plot of each work. Either way, students will come away with life-changing encounters with some of the best writing our culture has ever produced.
Give it a try--you won't regret it!
What are the Great Books?
There's no officially recognized Great Books list, of course, and even if there were, these courses would only cover a sampling. Scholars have offered various versions of the "canon" of Western literature for generations. The books we cover are included by most.
All courses focus on works of fiction, though we do sprinkle in some classic non-fiction as well. Students will encounter epic poems, novels, drama, short stories, poetry, biography, memoir, and works of philosophy and theology. They will be provoked to think and feel more deeply about the world and their place in it.
How Do Classes Work?
Classes meet virtually each week during a course. We use Go To Webinar, a program that enables students to view the teacher via webcam and the teacher's onscreen presentation material. Students may participate in the class session--asking and answering questions via live chat.
All class sessions are recorded and made available for students who cannot attend the live session.
About Brian and Melanie Wasko
Brian Wasko has been teaching middle and high school English since graduating from the University of Virginia in 1988. He has taught in various contexts, including public school, private schools, and a homeschool enrichment program. In 2001, Brian started WriteAtHome.com, an online program dedicated to improving the writing skills of homeschoolers. WriteAtHome continues to serve thousands of students every year. Brian developed the curriculum for his literature courses over nearly twenty years teaching homeschooled teens at the Centerville Homeschool Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia. Graduates of CHA have gone on to top colleges like William and Mary and the University of Virginia. Several went on to graduate first in their class at Old Dominion University. Mr. Wasko is a popular teacher, known for his humor and engaging, often inspiring lectures.
Melanie Wasko graduated with a degree in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Virginia in 1985. She was primarily responsible for homeschooling the Waskos' four daughters from preschool through high school graduation. Mrs. Wasko will assist with all courses, bringing her focus and administrative skills to balance her absent-minded professor husband.
More success stories coming soon...