Tale of Two Cities Thrift Edition
Please note that a brief synopsis of many of the books included here are provided in our Library Builders section. Study guides for the same book are often available from several publishers, so we found it more efficient to give a description of the book only once.
Of good literature guides, there appears to be no end. At least one might come to that conclusion when looking through this section of our catalog. However, there are differences between the many guides that we carry - and good reasons why we have added this series. From a secular publisher, this series reflects both the literature choices common to public schools as well as the content issues reflected by state standards. In general, these guides are well organized and easy to adapt to a homeschool or co-op. Although there is a consistent structure across the grade levels, there is also an increasing depth in terms of discussion and heightened expectations in terms of written output. There is also movement from a focus on reading strategies toward vocabulary development and literary analysis, although all three are covered at all levels.
Practically all of the guides include a Resources Overview on the inside front cover, dividing the literature selection (a.k.a. book or novel) into manageable reading assignments. Middle school guides typically have 4-5 assignments/sections while the high school guides have 6-7. Usually you can figure about a week per assignment section. Also included in the Resources Overview is a list of reproducible worksheets to be used with each section. Since each guide includes quite a few of these reproducibles (perforated and hole-punched), preparation is easy and minimal. The Overview also includes a "Connections" section. This refers to supplemental material - often excerpts from other books or magazine/newspaper articles - that is part of an (expensive) Holt library edition of the books which we do not carry. Although this material looks interesting and in some instances could be supplied from other sources, this portion of the guide is small (less than 10%) and will not be missed.
Which brings us to the excellent study material you will not want to miss. After a brief To The Teacher section (you know, objectives, tips, inclusion strategies, etc.), there is background info on the author as well as the historical and literary context for the book. This is followed by critical response information. [I found this fascinating - reading how contemporaries responded to the book. For instance, did you know that Charlotte Bronte was less than impressed with the work of Jane Austen?] Then on to a section called the novel at a glance - structure, major characters, themes, and literary elements. All of this serves to equip the teacher for a thorough and enjoyable study of the book.
The rest of the guide is the individual (weekly) lessons. Each reading assignment/section lesson includes: Making Meaning (first thoughts, reading check, shaping interpretation, connecting with and challenging the text), Reading Strategies (graphic organizers), Novel/Book Notes ("newspaper" with culturally related info), and Choices (project ideas - performance, art, creative writing, group discussion, etc.) all with worksheets. The beginning and ending lesson follow a different pattern. The first introduces the book while the last "Extends and Assesses" - a novel review, literary elements worksheets, vocabulary worksheets, writing projects, cross-curricular projects, and multimedia and internet connections. The remainder of the guides include a three-part test (objective, short answers, and essay questions) and a complete (both test and worksheets) answer key. As mentioned before all worksheets and the test are reproducible.
These guides are referenced to hardback library editions published by HRW. However, since most assignments are divided according to natural divisions in the book (i.e. chapters, acts, etc.) unabridged editions of the book will work. We don't carry a collection of either American or British short stories that match the ones covered in these guides. However, it's relatively easy to obtain copies of these from the internet by searching for the "story
An updated edition of a much-loved curriculum should offer significant improvements, and this 2014 edition of Exploring World History does not disappoint. The impressive color and extended global coverage along with more options for a variety of learning styles are welcome. I'm thankful they've kept all the features that make this curriculum user-friendly and enjoyable while adding just a few more like the student review book. I think you'll agree the overall package is a win-win.
Studying world history alongside world literature has always made sense to me. Evidently it makes sense to the Notgrass family as well, because they've developed a well-organized curriculum that integrates these two subjects and adds a solid Bible component. The result is a three-credit [World History, English (world literature and composition), and Bible in World History] high school level course that is strong in user-friendly features. Functioning either as an independent study course or a discussion-based study, the written-to-the-student texts allow for as much or as little involvement as parents choose (or are able) to give. There is a permeating emphasis on Bible and Christian history that provides a refreshing contrast to some studies of world history where the Christian is left with the impression that the Bible is not a historical document and Christians are culturally irrelevant. The father/author, Ray Notgrass, assures us that there is no denominational bias.
The thirty weekly units each provide five lessons and cover history from creation to the present in two full-color hardcover texts (about 450 pgs each). These are Part 1 Creation through the Middle Ages, and Part 2 The Renaissance to the Present. Concentrating one day a week on spiritual applications, one lesson in each unit is a Bible study, but sometimes an entire unit focuses on a biblical time period (i.e. Unit #5 God Chooses Israel). The units are organized with a consistent pattern that starts with an introduction to the unit a brief overview, a list of books needed, the project choices, and an introduction to the book(s) to be read. Several types of lessons are incorporated into the units historical overviews, key events, key concepts, key people, surveys of daily life and culture in addition to the Bible study lesson mentioned previously. Each day the student is expected to complete the assignments from the highly-readable Text and In Their Words, read a Bible passage, work on writing assignments or projects, complete literature assignments, and complete the optional Student Review. The "key" lessons seem a particularly effective way of compacting an in-depth historical understanding into a course that by its very nature (a one-year study) must be somewhat superficial. To get an idea of how this is accomplished, let's take a look at Unit #10 Roman Civilization. Unit lessons: (#46) The Rise and Fall of Rome; (#47) Key Person: Augustus Caesar; (#48) Key Concept: Roman Law; (#49) Everyday Life in Rome; and (#50) Bible Study: The Kingdom of God (contrasting with the Roman Empire). Books used in this unit are the Bible, selections from In Their Words (more about this later), and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Choices for a unit project include an essay (choice of why Rome achieved success or a news article on the death of Julius Caesar), a short play (set in ancient Rome), or creating a model of a Roman structure. Included at some point within each unit is a timeline (What Was Happening in the World?). The author suggests that most students will be able to successfully complete the course work in three hours per day.
The Curriculum Package includes the two text manuals plus In Their Words , a 370-page (much expanded from the last edition) compilation of original documents, poetry, stories, literature excerpts, and hymns from all over the world. These selections are continually used as reading assignments accompanying the lessons. The collection is impressive and completely indexed according to author,
Complete and unabridged versions of great literature with no "frills" to save you money!