Cozy mysteries are popular with many homeschoolers and their parents. When they walk by my booth at a convention, they stop a minute when they see the cover of my Who Dun It Murder Mystery Literature & Writing Class. After all, it’s a detective investigating a crime scene.
I get asked lots of questions about this course so I thought I would answer the most popular questions homeschooling parents ask me.
First of all, Who Dun It Murder Mystery Literature & Writing Class and Economics, Finances, and Business are my best-selling books. Both are one-credit high school courses that are a little out-of-the-box using living books and practical hands-on learning fun!
Before I answer questions, let me tell you a little bit about how Who Dun It? came to be. Before my oldest child started high school, I decided to take a year to write a novel as part of their English experience.
To be honest, I just thought it would be an exciting way to learn creative writing. However, the benefits amazed me. Writing your own literature gives you such a depth of understanding literature. In addition, creative writing is a completely different kind of writing than high school students usually do. I was blown away by the creative dialogue, plot ideas, and characterization my older two children created.
Along came my third daughter and we shared a love of mysteries. Why not write a mystery and read classic mysteries that year? Great idea, we both thought and so I created Who Dun It?. Again, I was amazed by the plot twists, red herrings, and surprise at the end. It required quite a bit of thinking, creativity, and logic to write a mystery. We had so much fun. I ended up teaching this course several times in a co-op setting and each time we had a blast reading one another’s stories aloud as we progressed through the course. I love teaching this course!
Okay, on to the questions.
Is This A Real English Course?
Yes, this is a real high school English course with classic literature to read and writing skills to learn. An English course doesn’t have to be boring to be a one-credit English course.
Do Students Read Literature in Who Dun It?
Yes, of course. They read classic cozy mysteries by Edgar Alan Poe, Sir Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers, Ellery Queen, E.G. Bentley, and Mary Higgins Clark. Like all classic literature, these works are well-written, timeless stories. Reading these works will increase vocabulary and strengthen grammar skills.
Isn’t It Overwhelming to Write a Novel?
It would be if you just handed kids blank paper and said, “Write a novel,” but that’s not what happens n this course. We take everything one step at a time with creating characters, planning scenes, and examining the books we read to see how the author created characters, scenes, clues, red herrings, and plot twists. We write a short story first and then spend the rest of the year working on our novel.
How Does Who Dun It Benefit Teens Academically?
Who Dun It explores creative writing by writing a short story and a novel. This causes students to learn so much about the elements of literature, the flow of the story, writing style, and how authors bring characters to life.
In addition, creating clues, red herrings, and plot twists involves a lot of logic and planning. Of course, reading classic literature is always a benefit to students!
Isn’t There a lot of Blood and Gore in Mysteries?
Cozy mysteries do not have a lot of blood and gore. They describe the murder scene with restraint and focus on the motives of the murderer, clues, and red herrings.
The exception to this is the first story we read, “Murder at Rue Morgue,” written by Edgar Alan Poe and considered the first murder mystery written. This story is not graphic, but it does describe quite a bit of the gory scene. One parent was concerned about this so I encouraged her to black out the gory description or to skip this story. The surprise twist at the end is worth suffering through that one paragraph.
I Heard that you Watch TV Shows in this Course? Is that True?
Yes. It’s true. We do watch mystery TV shows or movies. analyzing how they are structured and how they work each scene and how they add one scene to the next scene. You see, we look at our stories as being laid out in scenes and learn to think in terms of scenes when we are creating.
How Does Watching TV Shows Help Write a Cozy Murder Mystery?
TV shows are divided into scenes and it’s easy to tell when the scenes change.
Sometimes cozy mystery writers brainstorm using storyboards and plan scenes. Each “scene” has to impact the quest to solve the murder, or, of course, misdirect the reader. All scenes must have a purpose.
Analyzing TV shows (which are short), helps the writer think in terms of “scenes.”
Isn’t This Really Just a Fun Elective, not a Core Subject?
Yes, it is fun!
But, no it is not just an elective.
This is a core English course with classic literature and high school level writing. Students will earn one-credit of High School English for this course. Students will cultivate a deep knowledge of literature, as well as learning fundamental creative writing skills.
Can I Use Who Dun It in my Homeschool Co-op?
Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature & Writing is set up to use at home or in a homeschool co-op. Work is divided up that is done at home and in class/with Mom. The book is easy to follow and discussion questions and class time activities are easy to follow.
Where Can I Purchase Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature & Writing?
You can purchase Who Dun It? at Amazon in print. The E-books are available at PayHip, TeachersPayTeachers, and on this site.
Who Dun It? is a one-credit high school English course where students read classic who-dun-its and short stories while learning creative writing skills that help them create their own cozy mystery.
I heartily recommend this course to anyone who loves a good mystery from grades 8 to 12. Yes, I think 8th graders would enjoy this course, too. Right now I’m teaching it to a group of middle and high schoolers. We are having a blast!
God bless you in your homeschool adventure! Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!