Last spring a movie pricked Elijah’s interest in Jules Verne, and he told me he’d like for his first English credit for high school to be science fiction literature. I told him that was doable, and the researching began. I even had the opportunity to pick Jan Bloom’s brain at the Midwest Homeschool Convention, and I want to give her a public "thank you" for some amazing suggestions.
I wasn’t sure how to structure the class, but I did want to run with Elijah’s idea and let him have some input. We decided on three components: a required reading list, an optional reading list, and two projects. I used this record keeping form to track grades and progress throughout the time he spent on the course. You can type right on the form.
If you'd like to see a sample, you can take a peek at this completed form.
Based on Elijah’s desire to read Jules Verne plus my desire to discuss some books with him, I compiled this list, and he gave me a thumb’s up.
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented Tomorrow by Peggy Teeters
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis
“On Science Fiction” essay by C. S. Lewis
If you need help with discussion ideas, you can search the internet for discussion guides. Many of the books used in this course have free guides readily available; these can aid tremendously in discussing plot, theme, and characterization witih your student. If you decide to use The Giver, Fahrenheit 451, or The Hunger Games, I highly recommend parents read the books, too; these books present the reader with warnings that create rich discussion topics.
Elijah gave me a few additional titles he knew he wanted to read, and I combined those with my research to create his optional reading list. I told him to choose ten titles from this list. I asked him to complete quizzes for five of the books he chose (based on quizzes that were available at Book Adventure). We do not use a quiz or discussion guide for every book; I don't think it's necessary or wise.
I spent a chunk of time researching and determining this list. I wanted to include a variety of writers, and I wanted books to be appropriate for a young high school student; I also wanted a variety of reading levels as I don't think it's good practice to require a student to consistently read at the tippy-top of his or her reading level. Please do some research to insure that this list meets your own criteria.
The Time Quintet
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L’Engle
Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle
An Acceptable Time by Madeline L’Engle
The Hunger Games Triology
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins
note: Out of the Silent Planet is the first book in this series and on the required list
Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
Other Suggested Titles
Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam
The Ear, the Eye, the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursual K. Le Guin
if your student enjoys this book, it is a series
The White Dragon by Ann MCaffrey
The White Mountains by John Christopher
this is also a series
Additional Course Requirements
We decided to keep it simple and only add two projects to this class.
The first project Elijah completed was a research project. Your student can research a science fiction author and complete a Prezi, Power Point Presentation, or Glog. The details for this project are included on the Science Fiction Author Research Project Rubric.
The second project Elijah completed for this class was an essay. The essay assignment requirements are on the Science Fiction Essay Rubric.
Transcript and Record Keeping Information
I decided to include the course description and method of evaluation information in case it would help someone else. You can tweak it as needed for your own records.
This was a one semester class; it could be used for an English credit or an elective credit.
Student will read and discuss a variety of science fiction selections. Literature discussions will include an analysis of plot development, characterization, and themes. Student will write an essay explaining the components of science fiction literature. Student will also complete a research project about the life and works of a science fiction author.
Method of Evaluation
Quizzes and Discussion 30%
If you'd like, you can download my handy-dandy (and free!) gradebook: Free Homeschool Gradebook