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What lit path should I take for my daughter who will do World History for 11th grade?

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Dear Carrie

What lit path should I take for my daughter who will do World History for 11th grade?

Next year my oldest daughter will be a junior. She’ll be using Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) World History. I always love your book choices! My daughter won’t finish all of the high school guides though. So, should I just follow the lit path you have laid out for World History? Or, should I take a different lit path? Since we’ve used HOD since she’s been in 5th grade, she has obviously read tons of great books. However, I don’t want to miss some of the classics that she should have. What are your thoughts on what my daughter should do for lit for her 11th grade WH year?  Thanks for your thoughts on our lit path!


“Ms. Please Help Me with a Lit Path for My Daughter’s 11th Grade Year in World History”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with a Lit Path for My Daughter’s 11th Grade Year in World History,”

Good question! As far as the novels for the literature portion go, I made a point to put novels I consider especially important in the opening guides of the high school program. The novels in the World Geography guide are classics that are a tremendous stepping stone to the more difficult reading and difficult themes found in the World History guide’s literature. In my opinion, many of the novels in the literature portion of the World History guide are unmatched for their quality and their themes, while still being enjoyable reading. They are memorable and timeless, lingering in the mind long after the book is completed. They have stood the test of time! Still today, they remain classics. I think they should be a part of your daughter’s lit path!

“Ben Hur,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and “Les Miserables” – All Important Parts of Your Daughter’s Lit Path

I felt these novels were so important that I had my oldest son read several on that list (as a senior). Why? Well, I did not want him to exit high school without experiencing those books. (I hadn’t written all of the high school guides by the time my oldest son was a senior). He read Ben-Hur, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Les Miserables (along with other novels). They were his favorite books of that year. My husband read all 3 as well, simply because our son was so enthused about them. I cannot say enough about these titles. The life lessons to be learned as students read these books, the quotable lines of the characters, the rich language, and the allusions to the Bible in these books are amazing.

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” – A Winning Part of Your Daughter’s Lit Path

My oldest son also chose to read several sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel, simply because he loved the first one so much! My husband enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel too, and my older sister (who was a high school literature teacher and has homeschooled her 7 kiddos for the last 15+ years) said it was one of her favorites of all time. This makes The Scarlet Pimpernel a winner here. Our son had read the other books on the World History literature list in previous years, with the exception of Pearl Maiden, which we included because of its terrific themes and because it is a great Haggard book (much preferred by me over Haggard’s classic King Solomon’s Mines, which I did not like due to its dark violence).

“A Man for All Seasons” – An Important Classic on Your Daughter’s Lit Path

After watching the movie version of A Man for All Seasons, and having our pastor refer to it in a sermon, my husband and I discovered that play was such a picture into the time of Henry the VIII that it had to be included. What a classic I found it to be after I read it alongside the study of that time period! It brings up another side to Cranmer and Luther. This book too shows up on many classic book lists for a reason!

“King Arthur” – A Legendary Part to Include Within Your Daughter’s Lit Path

In my opinion, reading about the legend of King Arthur (even with the character of Merlin), is very important. This is because the legends of Arthur are a part of understanding medieval times, because they show Britain at a time when the Christian religion was overtaking the religion of the Celtic Druids of the past. Known for his themes of bravery, honor, and love, Howard Pyle’s Arthur and his noble traits illustrate the selflessness a king should have for his people. It was for these traits that Arthur is remembered in legend, and those legends show up in so many ways everywhere! Please note that this is the only version of the Arthurian legends that we recommend!

“Julius Caesar,” “Animal Farm,” and “The Celestial Railroad”- Each Important Parts of Your Daughter’s Lit Path

Julius Caesar is one of the “tamer” of Shakespeare’s plays (and omits the bawdy humor that is found in other Shakespeare plays). Exploring the issue of how the thirst for power affects those who desire it is a good life lesson that comes out in Julius Caesar, plus the play draws you in with the inner-workings of who is really able to be trusted as you see the conspiracy play out (and watch its aftermath).

Animal Farm is a book that really shows socialism in a way that students will never forget. It is terrific to read along with the time period of WWII, which is where we include it.

The Celestial Railroad is a wonderful book to read after reading Pilgrim’s Progress. This is because Hawthorne’s version of travel to the Celestial City has been updated to reflect modern times. Travelers no longer have to walk to the city, but can instead travel by train. Their burdens are no longer carried on their backs but instead are stowed in the luggage compartment! When Celestial Railroad is read as students are completing Pilgrim’s Progress it has a huge impact! This is the book that will end your year. As you can see, I wouldn’t want your student to miss the books on the World History literature list. I feel they are amazing classics that all students should read!


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