How to Make a Great Literature Guide

November 15, 2023

We recently added another literature guide to the collection. Our Poetry Unit 1 provides detailed introductions to 10 famous poems from the Middle Ages to today. So, I thought it might be nice to reflect on what goes into creating our guides. Of course, we’re somewhat biased, but we have put a lot of thought into what makes for a great literary guide!

1. A Christian Ethos

Our lessons are written from a Christian perspective. That doesn’t mean that we constantly hammer on Christian themes. But we do relate everything to a biblical worldview. There are of course many Christian denominations. I’m Reformed. Jeremy, my web developer and partner on this project, is Orthodox. We have friends who are Catholic, Anglican, and so on. The important thing is that we subscribe to the ancient creeds and make every attempt to emphasize the faith that we share with fellow believers.

2. Micro-learning

The trend in education is to organize material into smaller chunks. Our videos are on average 10-15 min., with a few outliers where it takes a bit longer to cover the material. My daughter Sophie did Poetry Unit 1 and she mentioned that it was a nice break from the Veritas Press Omnibus course that she is also working on. Not to worry – she likes that one too, but she enjoyed the fact that this guide moves a little more quickly.

3. In-depth Analysis

Our guides are detailed and comprehensive. In fact, our longer guides average about 80-130 pages printed out. We make sure you have the resources to master a subject.

4. Courses that Scale

Whereas some literature guides are for a specific age group, we provide only a minimum age recommendation. In other words, we don’t dumb things down. If a guide says 14+, that means the material should speak as much to a 14-year old as to an 88-year old. Learning never stops.

5. Multiple Ways to Learn

For most of our lessons, we provide both a text and a video option. Everyone learns a little differently. At first, it’s easier to sit back and watch the video. But when you’re reviewing content or answering questions, then it is easier to skim through the text!

6. Meaningful Exercises

We don’t use quizzes and questions merely to review what students have already learned. We introduce new content and challenge students to think critically. In addition, our guides provide a variety of question types, from multiple-choice quizzes to short-answer questions and optional longer assignments. Each longer guide also includes a crossword review and a final test.

7. Affordable Price

In the Middle Ages, they used to say that knowledge belongs to God, so you should not sell it. Over time, they realized that this was not exactly a practical solution! However, the principle is an important one, and so we keep our course prices as affordable as possible. Since we have experience with both homeschooling and supporting a private Christian school, we want to do our part to provide excellent resources that don’t break the bank.

Final Thoughts

Since 7 is the number of fullness, I’ll stop there. But let me add a couple of quick final notes.

If you are interested in reviewing any of our courses, please email us. If it’s a good fit (e.g., if you’re a teacher or home-school parent), we’ll give you free access to the course of your choice. All we ask is that you consider writing a 2-4 sentence blurb that we might use for promotion. A social media share is also appreciated, though there is no obligation to do either.

In the winter we hope to publish a course on G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. It’s such a fabulous novel, and it really deserves a great literature guide for grade 11 and up. If you have suggestions for other courses, let us know.

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