So many questions about it, we decided to do a post: How 7Sisters Literature Study Guides Work.
How 7Sisters Literature Study Guides Work
The twenty-six teens that we 6 Sisters have graduated from homeschool high school and the hundreds we have taught locally are opinionated about curriculum. Are yours the same way? (BTW- there are 6 of us 7Sisters, so who’s the 7th Sister? YOU are!)
When we first started out homeschooling (so long ago that we were still doing “truant officer at the door drills”), there were few curriculum choices available to us. We would purchase literature study guides of various kinds but our teens were not impressed. Mostly they gave us this feedback. Many literature study guides were:
- Picked apart the book so much that they could not enjoy the book
- Way too long (they had other books they wanted to read, too)
We moms added to the list that literature study guides were:
- Not adaptable to our different teens’ abilities, interests and goals
One of the fun things about my 7Sisters is that, if they do not like what is available, they will create something that fits the need- or find someone who understands our teens and can create something that our teens will love. (For instance, some of our teens were asking for a Philosophy course, so homeschool graduate and my son, Dr. Micah Tillman helped me create History and Philosophy of the Western World and one of my kids’ favorite etexts: Philosophy in Four Questions.)
So we created 7SistersHomeschool.com Literature Study Guides
Our Literature Study Guides follow the 7Sisters philosophy of education:
We know teens (and kids) don’t learn well if they are bored, so we work instead to inspire thinking and creativity
- All our guides are written with the idea that there should be NO busywork (and should inspire thinking and maybe even creativity)
- Literature Study Guides should never kill the book
- They should be short so teens have time to read plenty of books
- Only cover one or two themes (there is lots of time in life to learn all the themes in literature)
- Adaptable to different abilities, needs and goals
How 7Sisters Literature Study Guides work
We have Literature Study Guides for:
- High School
- Middle School
- Elementary School
- AND one guide (Anne of Green Gables), that the family can do together!
7Sisters High School Literature Study Guides:
Each Literature Study Guide includes:
A list of instructions and activities for teens who want to “level up” the guide (some teens do not need to do college prep or honors level work, so there are different activities explained for each level)
- A short background introduction to the book
- An explanation of the theme we will explore
- A vocabulary list taken from the book
- A few comprehension questions but mostly questions that develop reasoning skills.
- A list of activities for teens who want to “level up” the guide (for those aiming for Honors credit)
- Tip for success: Include your teen in the decisions on which level to pursue.
- A separate answer key
Excerpts can be found for all the Literature Study Guides by clicking the link on each guide’s product page in the estore.
7Sisters has high school Literature Study Guides for these topics:
- Great Christian Writers
- American Literature
- British Literature
- World Literature
- CS Lewis
- Poetry (American, British, World)
- Cinema Studies for Literature Learning
Here’s a complete list of 7Sisters Literature Study Guides that you can download to help you with your planning.
How to use 7Sisters Literature Study Guides
Remember: There’s not ONE way to homeschool high school…or to use Literature Study Guides. Do what is best for YOUR family!
- We recommend using Literature Study Guides every single year but not for every single book
- Here’s a really useful post on choosing literature curriculum!
- A good rule of thumb of one study guide per month for a non-college-bound teen
- Two or more guides per month are good for college-bound teens
- Decide what level your homeschool high schooler will be a best fit
- Reluctant readers or those with learning issues can choose average level instructions or work through the guide in discussion format with a parent or tutor
- College-bound homeschool high schoolers do not need to complete every guide at college prep or honors level
- Teens aiming for a Literature or Writing major might want to aim for higher levels for each guide
- Choose the number of Literature Study Guides your homeschool high schoolers will complete based on the length of the book itself
- Some books (such as Les Miserables– even the abridged version) are quite long
- Choose Literature Study Guides for just a few long books
- Do more guides for shorter books shorter books like God’s Smuggler
- Decide with your teen how many chapters per day they will read in each book
- This will vary by book and other activities in your teen’s life
- Have your teen write this on their scheduler (or if you are using 7Sisters complete ELA curriculum, follow the schedule included)
- If you will be having discussions with your teen about the book, here are some good discussion questions
- Check out our Authoritative Guide for Literature for Homeschool High School and this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast for more ideas
- If working with a group, we have helpful information on:
- Check HSHSP Episode 153: Helping Teens Adjust to Group Classes and HSHSP Episode 92: Helping Literal Thinkers with Literature Analysis.
Middle School Literature Study Guides
Our preference when our homeschoolers were in middle school, was to introduce Literature Study Guides but only do one or tow a year. At these age, we want to concentrate on the joy or reading. Our middle schoolers might write one or two reports on the book, also.
7Sisters Middle School Literature Study Guides are similar to the high school guides but place more emphasis on comprehension questions. Try out our freebie guide for Misty of Chincoteague.
Elementary Literature Activity Guides
7Sisters Literature Activity Guides for Elementary Ages are completely different. Based on classics. These are hands-on learning type study guide that kids love. Each guide includes
- specific vocabulary to provide a better insight to the selection
- suggested spelling list with a phonetic theme
- introduction and reinforcement of sight and high frequency words in a game-style context
- focus activity on one (or maybe two) specific reading strategies appropriate to the book
- review of the story elements for each fiction pieceopportunities to delve more deeply in the subject matter — with a selection of options
- some comprehension questions
And check out these helpful posts:
- Reasons to Use Activity Guides
- How to Create a Unit Study with Activity Guides
- How to Use Activity Guides at Co-op
- How to Use Activity Guides (Daily activity breakdown)
Literature Study Guide for the whole family
We love doing family read-alouds. One of our favorite read-alouds was Anne of Green Gables. One year, Sabrina’s family wanted to do a study guide together, so she created a guide with adapted activities for each age group. It is low-key, interesting and you can download it for free!
We all want our homeschoolers to learn and they might as well enjoy what they are learning. When we choose Literature Study Guides that inspire, rather than tire, our kids, they can learn to think and love learning. Download Literature Study Guides from 7Sisters to meet those needs!