This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others. 

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American Literature Part One: Age of Exploration through Reconstruction

Join us on this enlightening journey through the rich tapestry of American literature. Over the school year, we will dive into the heart of American history and culture. This semester, we will explore seminal works from early exploration to the post-Civil War era, engaging in dynamic discussions and analyses that hone your critical thinking skills. With an emphasis on both literary mastery and historical context, this course promises to ignite your passion for literature while deepening your understanding of the American experience.

Total classes: 12

Prerequisite: Students should have basic paragraph and essay writing skills. Your student will need Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert a document to a Word-compatible document.

Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th

Suggested credit: One full semester of Literature or American Literature

Special Notes: Optional writing component available. This is Part One of a two-part course. Students are expected to also register for Part Two offered in the spring. This course aligns with Dr. Chalberg’s American History: Part One. If you have younger students, this course can align with the Homeschool Connections Grade School Unit Study: The History of the United States Program for grades 3-6.


This is a survey course in American Literature covering works written by and about Americans from early exploration through post-Civil War. Class meetings will use both lecture and Socratic discussion to engage students in both the history and the art of American Literature. Students will engage in weekly discussion forums and class discussions regarding historical context, culture, and literary techniques and themes. There is a strong emphasis in this course on learning to analyze literature as an academic skill.


Week 1: Discussion Forums, Class Overview, Timeline

Week 2-10: Literature Discussion; Literary themes of novel and short works

Weeks 11-12: Final Project Construction

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: Full length works (unabridged) required for student purchase:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Ignatius Critical Edition), https://amzn.to/3TiMrNS or https://loc.ignatius.com/ignatiuscriticaleditions/twain-huckleberry-finn.htm

From Slave to Priest: The Inspirational Story of Father Augustine Tolton by Caroline Hemesath, Ignatius Press (2010), https://amzn.to/4bO363c or https://ignatius.com/from-slave-to-priest-fspp/

Various short works, including poetry, short fiction, and prose, will be provided free as PDF files.

Homework: Weekly quizzes, graded discussion forums, and reading assignments. Approximately 2-3 hours of homework per week. Optional author project. Students can choose to complete a PowerPoint presentation or an essay that demonstrates an in-depth study of a literary theme.

Important Dates

Class Dates: Tuesdays, September 17 to December 10, 2024 (No class Nov. 26)

Starting Time: 1:00 pm Eastern (noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)

Duration Per Class: 50 minutes

Choose from courses in all subject areas for your upper grade school, middle school, and high school student—taught by worldwide experts in Catholic education.
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