~ A Fascination of its Own ~
Literature for the Young Lady at the Bend in the Road
“…my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend…” Anne of Green Gables
We are excited to share a set of plans with you on this Feast of St. Anne, a curriculum really, that we have been working on over the summer. This curriculum is designed for young ladies around the ages of 11 - 14.
As with all things on Serendipity, we share this as part of the overflow of our days. We can't promise when we'll update, or when we might add more, except to say we will do so as God and our vocations allow.
Literature for the Young Lady is a curriculum that offers a young lady (of approximately 7th grade – 9th grade age) a guide for studying and immersing herself in the virtues of femininity, the domestic skills and arts, literature and history of the Victorian Period, Natural History with a particular emphasis on Botany and Victorian naturalists - all while following along with a most faithful companion well suited to our young ladies as they develop into spirited but gentle young women – Anne of Green Gables. The study begins with Anne as a young girl in Lucy Maud Montgomery's first book, Anne of Green Gables, but continues and follows Anne throughout all 8 books of the series as she grows and matures into a beautiful woman full of vivacity and life. It is her vivacious, joyful spirit we mean to imbue this guide with.
The study itself is organized into baskets, or themes, named for the flowers Father Lasance offers as representatives of the virtues discussed in The Catholic Girl’s Guide. Following this introduction you will find documents for downloading resource listing for the first year of the program. This resource list can be used for the year to aid in planning and library lists. We will publish the Year 2 resource list sometime in the future. In a post following this one, we will publish documents that offer our plans for the first basket in the series, The Sunflower Basket.
~Note: All the books in the first basket--the Sunflower Basket--are in the Young Ladies' Books Amazon store
This curriculum is decidedly Catholic in content. There is no better model of purity and femininity for our young ladies to emulate than the Blessed Mother herself and we place this course under her protection. Faith studies are taught with an eye towards virtue development. Using The Catholic Girls Guide by Father Lasance, one virtue at a time is presented in order to provide time for prayer and depth of discussion. Lives of the Saints, particularly those who lived during the Victorian period, were chosen to further illustrate the specific virtues discussed. There is an element of Catholic culture in many of the course offerings in this curriculum.
Every attempt has been made to coordinate all subjects so that they work together and complement each other and the Victorian period as much as possible. This study does not wish to “idealize” the period, but does choose to point out the good and beautiful, and particularly wishes our girls to have Anne as a companion during the entirety of the study.
I'll briefly give you our vision for each of the individual courses....
:: History - Selections parallel the Literature pieces offering background or context of the Victorian period. The goal of the history portion of this course was to provide context and set the stage more than anything else, allowing the strength and vitality of the feminine characters of this study to offer a picture of life in the period. Special emphasis is given to Queen Victoria and the Victorian period in general during this first year. Next year, we plan to assemble a unique course spotlighting some very unique and strong First Ladies of the United States. In each basket we provide opportunities for adding to the historical perspective of the course through writing opportunities and additions in each of the girl's Book of Centuries/Timeline.
:: Homemaking and Hospitality - No course following Anne and fostering a cheerful domestic spirit would be complete without a thorough and practical examination of the skills of homemaking and an attitude of hospitality. In living out our vocations, we see skills and practices that can and should be nurtured within the home to assist in fostering these attitudes and practical skills. There is also a Catholic element we hoped to breathe into this course through the use of some of the beautiful offerings of Catholic author and homemaker extraordinaire, Alice Cantrell as well as other Catholic authors that have written beautiful books to assist in living out the liturgical year at home. We hope what we have assembled inches our girls towards cheerfulness and ability in the home and home arts.
:: Natural History - It seemed fitting to turn to Natural History for any course focusing on the Victorian period. The Victorian era saw a surge of prolific and talented naturalists, two of whom we have chosen to follow for this course. This first year will be spent following Edith Holden, a naturalist that technically lived and worked during the Edwardian era, the period immediately following the Victorian era and named for Queen Victoria's son, Edward. She enjoys a great deal of popularity after the publication of her nature notes in 1906 - The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. The second year will be spent following one of our absolute favorite naturalists, Beatrix Potter. Both ladies offer a substantial body of work for study and inspiration. Following along with Edith Holden, we will spend this year immersed in Botany offering many opportunities for reading, watercoloring, and nature journaling. Next year, following Beatrix Potter, our studies in Natural History will take us to Zoology.
:: Faith - Our goal was to follow along with Father Lasance in The Catholic Girl's Guide taking one virtue to really focus on for each basket. In addition, many books on the saints have been added because of their great value in illustrating through the lives of the saints the beauty of each of these virtues in action. Each basket contains a chapter of The Catholic Girls Guide, and at least one book on the life of a saint. This portion of the course is meant to be discussed frequently as some of the terminology and expressions Father Lasance uses are quite antiquated.
:: Poetry - Our studies for poetry are inspired by Anne. We'll learn some of the poetry Anne and Lucy Maud Montgomery found inspiring using Anne's Anthology by Margie Gray. The collection of poetry written by Lucy Maud Montgomery also fills the basket. In addition, the girls are following the R is for Rhyme series on Serendipity.
:: Fine Arts - We'll be following and learning from the Impressionists during this study with a special emphasis on the works of Claude Monet. We'll also spend a bit of time enjoying pieces of classical music from the Romantic period (1815-1910) such as Beethoven and Wagner and the Impressionist period (late 19th/early 20th century), such as Debussy and Ravel. As a further connection to our Natural History studies we are offering our girls many opportunities to learn how to paint with watercolors as well as opportunities for expression.
:: Handcrafts - In our effort to foster the development of skills common in the Victorian home as well as promote a joy in creating, we're offering our girls some focused time in the handworking arts - primarily sewing skills and creations.
:: Child Development - The selections in this course are offered with an eye towards equipping our girls with the necessary knowledge and understanding of child development that would be appropriate at this age. It was our hope that the knowledge gained here would be beneficial in the home right now with younger siblings, as well as down the road if God's plan for our girls includes the vocation of Matrimony.
:: DVD documentaries/movies/viewing options - This course is rich in terms of its literary offerings, but I would be remiss if I didn't communicate to you what a wonderful resource I've found for further enhancing a study in the offerings at Netflix and from the local library. Each basket contains a number of DVD offerings to enhance the basket.
:: Copywork/Dictation/Writing Opportunities -We are comfortable adding these opportunities into each basket for our girls as a way of furthering and developing the skills of Language Arts. We have not provided specific passages for copywork or studied dictations in our plans, though we have requested some written narrations as well as biographies for the girl's Book of Centuries. Many of our selections will come from our poetry selections, our faith studies or reading from the saints, beautiful and well-written phrases from literature selections, or a lovely and inspiring thought from one of our Victorian naturalists. This approach is important to us, but it doesn't have a mentioned place in the curriculum. (For further reading, Ambleside Online has some discussion of the language arts principles of narration, copywork, and dictation.) I also wanted to list another FAVORITE resource of mine for notebooking pages. Some enjoy making their own in a simple, blank notebook, but my children just love doing copywork and dictations to add to their Book of Centuries on these Notebooking Pages. A particular favorite of my daughter are the floral designs notebooking pages. They're quite inexpensive and make a lovely addition to any notebook!
A final word about how this course looks...in our homes and yours. These plans, these suggestions are just that - suggestions, a framework. This course will look different in our individual homes - one could spend much more time in each basket adding a variety of resources and materials to flesh out a particular book or concept, or you might enjoy focusing more heavily on one section/subject of the basket than any of the others. You could certainly substitute books and resources other than the ones you see here. We embrace a literature rich approach to homeschooling, but we each have unique ways of implementing that philosophy, and each of our daughters have individual interests and talents they wish to pursue at this time.
We feel that this course is best experienced at a relaxed and gentle pace, and we suggest a 2 year time frame – which means completing 4 baskets a year. This allows for approximately 9 weeks per basket (in a 36 week year) providing time for writing and expression of creativity through handwork and practical homemaking exercises, all of which is essential to the development of this course and our young ladies.
What isn't here...This course does not contain any math suggestions - you will need to add your own curriculum for math and Latin or another language if you choose.
The planning sheets...Each basket has its own unique set of planning sheets. The guide or outline of each basket is provided for you in a format that is easy to use as a reference. The daily and more detailed planning is left to you or your daughter. We are excited to hand over some of the daily planning to our young ladies. It seems a very good exercise in time management as well as valuable experience gained in planning as our daughters prepare themselves for their vocations.
A call to prudence...Almost all of the books and many of the movies/documentaries suggested for this course have been read or reviewed by one or both of the authors, but there are those here that have not yet been previewed. We’re learning as we go. It goes without saying that the authors encourage family prudence when choosing and offering books and DVD’s for this program. We recognize that we're the best judge of our daughter's needs and sensitivity levels, and you are the best judge of your daughter's needs. If you don’t like something you see suggested...simply remove it from the basket or substitute something more suitable in it’s place and move forward in joy!
It is our prayer that this course fosters a communication and dialogue of true femininity, beauty, and virtue between mothers and daughters at “the bend in the road” while offering noble and great books to feed the intellect, imagination, and soul.
God bless you.
Literature for the Young Lady Resource Lists:
A reminder...this is only Year 1. Year 2 will be posted at a future date.
As we post individual basket plans they will be linked here:
:: Sunflower Basket Plans and Forms
:: Ivy Basket Plans and Forms
:: Peony Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!
:: Rose Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!
:: Year 2 Resource Listing....coming soon!!!
:: Carnation Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!
:: Forget-Me-Not Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!
:: Violet Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!
:: Daffodil Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!
:: Narcissus Basket Plans and Forms...coming soon!!!