Reading Great Christian Writers for High School credit? Absolutely!
One of my favorite things to do is teach literature classes to teenagers. This year, I’ve been teaching a Great Christian Writers class at our homeschool day-school, and it’s been tremendous. The kids are learning stuff, and so am I!
Great Christian Writers High School
One of the many blessings of homeschooling through high school is getting to choose books to read with our kids, and then discussing those books. While I make sure we spend time on American Lit., British Lit., and World Lit., it’s also wonderful to spend a half-credit or even a whole-credit on a specialized category of literature, or a topic, or a particular author’s work.
You can tailor your book selection to your child’s unique interests, for example. One of my sons earned credit for reading books about great filmmakers, and reading classic works of literature that were made into classic movies, then analyzing the transfer from page to screen in papers he wrote. A student with a passion for history could focus on books about a favorite time period for literature. A kid with a passion for animals might want to choose books that center on that topic, and so forth.
Great Christian Writers came out of the desire of some of us moms to see our kids read well-written books by Christian authors who want their readers to meditate deeply in their spirits about the things of God as well as have their intellect stretched and entertained with their words. We wanted to include biographies and autobiographies, books of theology, devotional materials, and fiction.
This is the “book list” I’m using in Great Christian Writers this year:
* The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom)
* Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan)
* Practice of the Presence of God (Bro. Lawrence)
* The Essential Father Brown short stories (GK Chesterton)
* Armchair Theologians Series – Augustine
* God’s Smuggler (Bro. Andrew)
* Something Beautiful for God (Malcolm Muggeridge)
* The Normal Christian Life (Watchman Nee)
* This Present Darkness (Frank Peretti)
* Mere Christianity (CS Lewis)
* Joni (Joni Eareckson Tada)
* Born Again (Chuck Colson)
* The Great Divorce (CS Lewis)
A few of the selections are obviously not books. For the hymns, poetry, prayers and devotions I used the internet as a resource for compiling great examples of these forms of writing, and assigned these collections to the students in lieu of a regular book. I created a study guide called Hymns and Creeds to go along with those weeks on the syllabus.
Because we are reading these books with a class, for each book I have created a study guide for the students to use in preparing for their class discussion. The study guides really help the students focus on important themes in the books, and they provide background information about the authors and vocabulary resources, as well as supplemental activities and suggestions.
I have enjoyed this class more than I can say! The kids amaze me with their insights in discussion, and it is so interesting to see which kids fall in love with which books…and which they deem “boring”!
9 of the Great Christian Writers study guides are bundled together to provide you with a full year of literature for your high schoolers. We selected 9 titles so that teens who like more variety in their reading list for the year can still read one Great Christian Writers title each month (of the traditional 9-month academic year) and fill out their reading requirement with other titles of their choosing for more variety. For more information on how we recommend choosing books for high school literature, click here.
In the spirit of Great Christian Writers, here’s a video interview with Martin Luther, including his famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (one that I included when our GCW class studied hymns) in GERMAN!
(Thanks to Vicki Tillman’s homeschool grad son, Ezra, for sharing this with us!!)
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Your turn: What books would you include on your “must-read” list for a Great Christian Writers course?
Great Christian Writers High School
6 Replies to “Great Christian Writers – A Literature Option for High School”
How many hymns or poems would be enough to be considered a “book” ??
Thanks for the great info.
There’s no “right” answer to that, Judy, but I used 50 in a group class setting, assigning each child 2 hymns to study (history, lyrics, alternate verses, etc.), and then had each student share what they had learned in a 3 minute oral presentation. So they heard my lecture on hymn-writing, were exposed to 50 hymns via the presentations of all the kids in class, studied 2 in depth on their own, and presented on those 2.
If I were doing this in an independent study setting, I think we would study 10 in depth, read 10 more, and count that as a book.
As far as poems, I put together a collection that was about 50 pages long when I printed it out. We counted that as a book. Many collections of poetry are not terribly long, so the collection I made was on the short-side, but I didn’t feel like I was “cheating.”
Some of my favorites made your list!
Here from the Hop.
Well, in honor of Ezra’s video, which is a hoot btw, and one of the most major shifts in Christianity, I would have to vote for something on Luther, probably the armchair theologian series or Luther: Biography of a Reformer by Frederick Nohl!
Of course, at some point, everything else CS Lewis wrote: especially Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters, and the Space Triology…