Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Excellence in Literature – TOS review

Company:  Everyday Education
Product:  Excellence in Literature: English 1
Price:  Print - $29 plus shipping
        E-book - $27

I’m going to be honest.  My kids are behind in English.  I’m not sure why I’ve let this happen.  I always did really well in English in school and I liked it.  As I have been teaching my kids, I’ve just focused on things that my husband and I have felt were more important.  Like the Bible.  (I know, that’s not a complete sentence, right?) 
Because of this, I’m starting to get anxious about Griffin.  He is in the 7th grade and I don’t want him to be at a disadvantage because of my lack of teaching.  So, we’ve decided to really start hitting English heavily this year.
PhotobucketI received Excellence in Literature: English 1 Introduction to Literature with Honors program.   This program was created as a college preparatory course.  There are 9 units and it really is geared towards Freshman in high school. 
I received the e-book format and downloaded it with no problem once I got the link.  My first thought was , Wow, I may be in over my head.  It is written by Janice Campbell and I have to admit I was overwhelmed when I started reading it.  It is written to the student which I really like.  The first sentence of the book is
Do you know that very few people know how to read?
Well, of course I know how to read.  I love to read. It is my favorite thing to do.  But, the author goes on to explain that even though most people can read words on a page, they don’t know how to put it into it’s proper literary and historical context.  My thought when I first read this was, Huh?  I don’t even understand that sentence.  After reading the remainder of the introduction I got it. 
Remember I said I’m going to be honest?  Well, honestly, if  my children go to college, I think they’ll need this.  So, we will learn all about analytical writing and writing skills.  But, for me, I just want to read because I love it.  I don’t really want to pick apart a book and study it or proofread it.  I just want to enjoy it. Now saying that, I do think this is a really good course.  When Griffin (and Bella) is a little older we will finish this so that he can be better prepared if he goes on to college. 
After finishing the course students should be able to understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary and thesaurus.  (I do think these things are important.)
We did the first two stories, The White Heron and The Purloined Letter.  I read them aloud to the kids.  I’ve never read either one of these so they were new to me as well.  We liked the White Heron. 
The course suggests that you learn about each author as well as read the stories.  We read a biography on Sarah Orne Jewett who wrote The White Heron.  Griffin couldn’t have cared a less.   There are great resources and links included that allow the student to perform research in order to fully understand the novels, plays and poems that will be studied.  
The MLA format is explained in the samples given and in the glossary.  I’ve always thought this was unneeded but I know that colleges require it.  I, personally, had 3 years of college and never wrote an MLA paper.
Each of the nine units are to be completed in four intense weeks.  Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be done at that quick of a pace.  Hopefully we will get this done by the end of Freshman year.  (I’m only partially kidding.)   I do understand that this fast pace is done so the student can be prepared for the challenges of college. 
There is also an honors portion that gives additional reading.  If you do these readings, Ms. Campbell states that you will well prepared to take an AP or CLEP test at the end of the year.  After doing this, you can get college credit for the course.
I guess that is why I was overwhelmed with this with my 12 year old.  He really isn’t ready for such an intense English course.  But, it did get him writing every day and we enjoyed the stories.  I will continue the practices taught in this course so that in a year or so we can pick up where we left off and be on track for college. 
Some of the stories that you will read in this course are:
Short stories – Unit 1
Around the world in 80 days – Unit 2
A connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court – Unit 3
Jane Eyre – Unit 4
Pygmalion – Unit 5
Treasure Island – Unit 6
Animal Farm – Unit 7
The Tempest – Unit 8
Gulliver’s Travels – Unit 9
I do love the fact that most of the books can be gotten online for free.  We read The White Swan on the Xoom and Griffin loved that.  He wants me to download more books for him to read on there.
You can get this in two different ways. 
The print book is 132 pages and is $29 plus 4.95 shipping.  
The Ebook version is $27 and you get instant access to it.  This is nice because when you look at on the tablet or a computer, all of the links could be gone to directly.  I liked that a lot.
Our Family gives Excellence in Literature
image image image
For us at this time it should be a 2 smileys but I really like the program for an older child.

Smiley guide
1 Smiley - Product not really for our family. Probably wouldn’t buy. This really should probably be a frown face but we hate to be negative.
image image
2 Smileys - Would maybe buy this product if on sale. Not a great fit for our family.
image image image
3 Smileys - We really liked this product and would probably recommend this to friends and fellow homeschoolers.
image image image image
4 – Smileys – Definitely would buy this if the budget would allow. We suggest you check this out to see if it is a fit for your family.
image image image image image
5 Smileys – Would sell the family pets to get this one (just kidding). A must have for our family and we think you should get it too.
To see what my fellow crew mates have to say about this this product, click here.
For giveaways,and other great stuff, please check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog by clicking below.

Please note: I received this in exchange for my honest opinion in this review. No other compensation was provided. Thank you to Excellence in Literature and TOS for this opportunity.

1 comment:

Lil' Momma @ Five in Training for HIM said...

I am like you my son is a behind in enlgish too but it is because of his learning style. This review sounds great. Have you ever seen Homeschool Literature It is a great site that tells you about books written or about homeschoolers. If you are interested in more great books to read out loud or your kids can read themselves.

Thanks for the review.
Lil' Momma
Living with a hard working husband, 1 toddler, 1 preschooler and 1 middle schooler who are Five in Training for HIM


I would like to let you know that this blog contains reviews done by me in exchange for products from certain companies. I have not received any other compensation for the honest reviews that I post. I will never promise a favorable review. If I don't like the product, I will honestly tell you why.

I would like to disclose the following existing relationships with affiliates: CurrClick, AdSense. I am an affiliate with the aforementioned companies and may receive compensation if a reader clicks through a link on my blog and makes a purchase.

If you have any questions about this, please e-mail me at,\