To begin Excellence in Literature, students should be reading at high-school level, and have grade-level or above skills in grammar, spelling, and language mechanics. I expect students to grammar- and spell-check all papers before turning them in, as learning to self-edit is part of the writing process (and something that is always required in college and in real life).
Do students need literary analysis experience?
It is possible to use EIL with no previous experience in literary analysis, and simply learn by doing, but many families prefer to work through the Teaching the Classics with Worldview Supplement DVD course by Adam Andrews of the Center for Lit. An alternate course is Windows to the World by Lesha Myers–a well-designed book based course published by IEW.
Students should be willing to:
- Independently follow the lesson plan
- Ask questions when they need help
- Read and act upon evaluations when they are returned
The last three things don’t always come naturally, but they can be learned with gentle, patient reminders.
Difficulty increases gradually
The five levels of Excellence in Literature increase gradually in difficulty. This is measured both by the level of challenge in the reading assignments, and in the length and subject matter of the writing assignments. An eighth-grader may begin with English I or II, but so may a tenth-grader who has little or no previous writing experience. A student who is comfortable with writing, and is ready for a more challenging study, may wish to begin with English III, IV, or IV.
EIL flexes to fit your needs
Finally, you may choose placement based on literature you want to read or the history you are studying. We have many families who use programs such as Tapestry of Grace, Sonlight, or Omnibus, and use the EIL literature and writing assignments rather than those included in their curriculum. By mixing and matching levels or modules as needed, you will find it easy to use EIL with any history curriculum.