Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Clubs and Co-op classes


Your guides look wonderful! I have a group of 5 homeschooling girls (grades 8 & 9) who are considering doing a "book club". I would like to see them use your guides at home and then come together to discuss the information with a parent facilitator. What do you think? Would that work? We were thinking of meeting once or twice a month. Is that enough? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for starters? (We have never done any literature study guides before.)

Thanks for your help.


Dear Susan,

What a great idea! I've had many moms and teachers do book clubs using our guides.

Meeting weekly works the best if you want to finish a guide in 8 to 9 weeks. Discussing and going over one lesson section per week creates plenty of discussion. If you wish to meet bi-weekly, I recommend taking a little longer to go through the guide, so you can get the most out of it. Discussing two lesson sections per meeting is possible, but be sure to allow plenty of time that day!

One option is to have the students read only the chapters they will be working on for the next meeting, and hand out study guide pages that will be discussed at that time. (Some students may read through the entire book quickly instead of waiting, and that's perfectly fine. Personally, my kids are unable to put any book down once they begin.) At the next meeting, everyone should have read that section of the book, and have the corresponding lesson completed and ready for discussion. Suggest to the parents that the students should do a little work on that week's study guide section each dar rather than attempting to complete an entire lesson in one sitting. You'll get much better responses from students if they work through the lessons in small chunks.

The choices for a fun discussion groups are many. Anne of Green Gables is a favorite with girls and has many good discussions. Another hot book right now is Holes. It is fabulously written, and a great mystery story. Many teachers and moms are doing it this summer so they can go see the new movie as an end of book party. The movie is reputed to be excellent. The Hobbit is a great book and Tolkien a marvelous writer. If your students like adventure and history, The Bronze Bow or The Witch of Blackbird Pond would both be good choices. And intense book with many deep issues to discuss is The Giver. Also consider The Secret Garden, Out of the Dust, Redwall, The Swiss Family Robinson, Johnny Tremain and any of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books.

Remember, a book club is the perfect environment for doing group projects or reports. The guides all have before-you-read and after-you-read essays and/or projects. Keep the group fun, be creative, and don't let them put it off because "it's not real school." Just a book club. This is definitely real school and in high school each guide may count as 1/4 literature credit.

A final suggestion: Let the girls vote on what book they all want to study. Book clubs usually choose titles together, and this gets them all invested in the decision and they try harder to show they chose well.

Good luck and let me know in the future what book they chose and how the group went.

God Bless!



  1. I have a daughter who will be a junior in high school next year. I look over the selections you offer for the high school grades and am struggling with which study guides to pick. Do you have any suggestions on what would be a good way to group reading for her junior and also senior year? We did a grouping of world literature for her freshman year and American literature for her sophomore year. She is the our first homeschooled high schooler so we need direction :)

    1. Dear d73,
      If you've already done World Lit and American Lit, then I would suggest doing British Lit for her junior year. Some titles that would be great to include: One of the books by Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities or Christmas Carol; one of the C.S. Lewis titles, such as Screwtape Letters or Perelandra or Out of the Silent Planet; one of the Tolkien titles, I really love Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King; and then a fourth title such as Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice or Beowulf, The Scarlet Pimpernel, or Treasure Island. Remember to read at least 8, studying four of them with the study guides for a full literature credit for the year.
      During her senior year, you can simply study literature in depth using any titles you've really wanted to do and don't want to miss. You could do "Christian authors", "Shakespeare", "Women authors", "Historical fiction", and more. Even a different type each quarter.
      Hope this helps!
      God Bless!


Have a similar issue or question? Let me know and I will be more than happy to help out!