Foundations of Western Literature


Your teen will be amazed to discover that the foundations of Western Literature go back to ancient writings like Genesis from The Holy Bible and Epic of Gilgamesh (the oldest writings we can get our hands on).

 Are you ready for a grand adventure back in time to explore the foundations of Western Literature that include Greek and Roman classics, the Bible, fairy tales, epic poems, and legends? It is exciting to discover plot lines that are thousands of years old repeated in our modern books and movies. Teens will also learn to analyze literature this year in bite-size chunks so it is not overwhelming.

Foundations of Western Literature, a one-credit high school English course, can be used at home or in a homeschool co-op setting.


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The foundations of Western literature go all the way back to Creation and Ancient times and were heavily influenced by The Bible, Greek literature, and Roman writings.

This year, your teen will be introduced to literary analysis very slowly and methodically. By the time the literary analysis paper is written, they will not be overwhelmed because every assignment works toward that moment.

Most students don’t get the opportunity to read the classics. Now as you scroll down the list, you will notice that I use rewritten versions of several books. I am known for using only unabridged books, but in this case I make an exception. You see, the Norse myths, AEneid, Gilgamesh, and Greek legends are fill with sexual encounters sometimes described quite vividly. I don’t want my children reading that so I have chosen some well-written alternatives that will give us the same story line.

Here is the nuts and bolts of Foundations of Western Literature.

Students Will…

  • Read & discuss Great works of literature in a book club setting
  • Discover and discuss the elements of literature
  • Progress step-by-step toward literary analysis
  • Complete reading charts for Genesis, Matthew, and Acts
  • Write an evaluation paper on Gilgamesh the Hero
  • Write about one character in The Odyssey
  • Literature project on David and Goliath
  • Theme analysis essay on Aesop’s Fables
  • Complete commercial analysis project using wisdom from Rhetoric by Aristotle
  • Write an essay on the theme of God’s Love in “Prodigal Son”
  • Imagery and Symbolism Project on “The Sower and the Seed”
  • Write a Parallel Lives Biography
  • Write a comparison essay of Pliny the Younger’s Description of Mt. Vesuvius and Jack London’s Description of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906
  • Turn “Prodigal Son” paper into a blog post
  • Character analysis on The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Paraphrase a fairy tale
  • Write your own fairy tale

The following writings are included in Foundations of Western Literature:

  • Sun Tzu on the Art of War: The Oldest Military Treatise in the World by Sun Tzu
  • Rhetoric by Aristotle
  • “David and Goliath” from The Holy Bible
  • “The Prodigal Son” from The Holy Bible
  • “The Sower and the Seed” from The Holy Bible
  •  “The Destruction of Pompeii” by Pliny the Elder
  • “The Story of an Eyewitness” by Jack London
  • “Song of Roland” poem

You will need to purchase, or download from the internet, the following books:

  • The Holy Bible
  • Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick
  • Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean retelling of Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Iliad for Boys and Girls by A.J. Church retelling of The Iliad by Homer
  • The Odyssey for Boys and Girls by A.J. Church retelling of The Odyssey by Homer
  • Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
  • The AEneid for Boys and Girls by A.J. Church retelling of The AEneid by Homer
  • Plutarch’s Lives by Plutarch
  • City of God by Augustine
  • 1001 Arabian Nights
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales collected by Jacob & Whilhelm Grimm
  • Collection of Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson
  • D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths by Ingri and  Edgar Parin D’Aulaire


This course covers 1 credit of high school English grades 8-12.


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