How to Discuss High School Literature Without a Curriculum

Have you ever wondered how to discuss high school literature without a literature curriculum what questions to ask, what terms to review, and what themes to look for? I know I have.

There are times I don’t want to be tied to specific list of books. Sometimes the books are dull, other times my teenagers have requested a different title, and still other times I can’t easily get ahold of the needed title.

At these times I need flexibility without sacrificing a quality education. Here’s a quick guide to discuss high school literature without a curriculum.
Tired of being tied to a literature curriculum for high school? Learn how to discuss high school literature without a curriculum.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

How to Discuss High School Literature

1. Who Wrote the book?
Who was the author of the book? Did he or she write it in response to a situation? Look up the author in the encyclopedia or on-line. What do you discover?

2. Historical setting
When was the book written? What historical events were going on at the time? There’s a huge difference between Gilgamesh and The Song of Roland. Both stories were written to be current for their time period. But ancient Mesopotamia is a very different place from the Dark Ages.

3. Genre
When you discuss high school literature, be certain to cover the type of writing it is. Is it a play, novel, epic? If you’re covering modern literature, the piece could be science fiction, fantasy, or a mystery. How does this reading compare to others you’ve read of the same genre?

4. Characters
Who are the characters and what are their problems? Are the characters multi-dimensional with a lot of character development or are they one-dimensional? Are the characters important to the story or peripheral?

5. Setting
Setting includes both where the piece happened and when it happened. Did it happen on an island yesterday or did it happen in a city 1000 years ago? Does the setting affect the plot or could you easily change the setting without affecting the plot?

6. Plot
What happened and why? Or another way of looking at plot is what is the main character’s problem and how does he or she attempt to solve it?

7. Theme
What is the message the author is trying to give us? Do you agree with the message? Why or why not? Draw the teenagers out in your discussion. This is a wonderful time to get into questions of morality, ethics, and religion.

8. Style of writing
Authors have different styles of writing. Some authors add a lot of embellishments and others write plainly. How did this author write? Did the style of writing aid or hinder theme the author was trying to convey?

9. What did you like and/or dislike about the book?
Draw the teens out and have them go into detail. Did they enjoy the author’s style? Did it annoy them? What did they think of the plot? What would they change about the reading if they could?

Learning how to hold literature discussions without the use of curriculum gives you and your teenagers the flexibility to tailor the education to your child and read books in which you are interested. This also helps when your child is a reluctant reader. You can assign books your child will be enjoy rather than books you have to fight to finish.

If you’re looking for more information on who to hold discussions without a curriculum, read The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer or Reading Strands: Understanding Fiction by Dave Marks.

What are your favorite literature points to discuss?

The Mystery of History
Save money, time and get it done, go ahead and subscribe!

CurrClick   Often my posts contain affiliate links. Affiliate link purchases help us to pay for this blog and for our curriculum. Thank you for using them when you are able.
Follow me

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a homeschooling mother of 6 children ages 4 through 18. After much research into homeschooling in 2000, she and her husband fell in love with classical education and used it as the foundation for their homeschool. Sara Dennis blogs at Classically Homeschooling.
Follow me

Latest posts by Sara Dennis (see all)

About Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a homeschooling mother of 6 children ages 4 through 18. After much research into homeschooling in 2000, she and her husband fell in love with classical education and used it as the foundation for their homeschool. Sara Dennis blogs at Classically Homeschooling.

6 thoughts on “How to Discuss High School Literature Without a Curriculum

  1. I find it very, very difficult to do an adequate job of this with my high schoolers, and therefore I try to find resources to help whenever possible. Our favorite is Veritas Press’s Omnibus series, but we also use Leithart’s books, Bob Jones and whatever else we can find at the library or inexpensively.

    I was not classically educated myself, so I cannot give that kind of education to my teens without quality resources. However, I am learning along with my older ones and perhaps I will be able to do so with my younger ones.

  2. It is hard and intimidating to discuss high school literature with our teens. My family uses and loves Tapestry of Grace literature, but sometimes I’ve found we’ve wanted to read and discuss other books. Having quick guide to get us started has been useful. 🙂

  3. I want to know how to discuss literature with my 6 yr old =) hehe That can be your next post 😉

Comments are closed.