Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jane Eyre with Total Language Plus

I will fully admit British Literature is not my favorite genre but my daughter and I do have a soft spot for Jane Eyre.  Ariel had her acting debut as a schoolgirl in the play Jane Eyre over at Bethel college a few years back and has fond memories of it.  For me I sat through countless rehearsals and I too memorized many of the lines.

Rochester and Jane are such deep, complex, "different" characters that it makes for interesting discussions.  It's for this reason and my daughter's affinity that we chose it for study in our co-op this year.

What I liked as well was the options that the Total Language Plus guide had for this one.  Many times at this level I feel like I'm assigning writing and writing project and quite honestly I get burned out of giving feedback as well as the kids getting burned out on the actual writing.  With this guide there are options in each unit for "re-writing and reciting".  We used these as a class activity each week to re-write portions of the text into our normal conversational language and then present them dramatically.

It's been fun and has added a bit of variation to the usual high school literature routine.  For instance here is a typical section from Jane Eyre:

"I dreamt another dream, sir; that of Thornfield hall was a dreary ruin, the retreat of bats and owls.  I thought that of all the stately front nothing remained but a shell-like wall, very high and very fragile-looking...."

the student turn it into something like this...

I had a dream of Thornfield hall, only it was not standing but a ruins where bats and owls lived.  The only thing left was one wall that was very high and about to crumble.

That is just a small section but to give you an idea of the type of language and the "translation" that is done.

Actually thinking about it, this could be a great activity for many of the books you read.  What's more fun that putting something into the students own words and reading it dramatically.  Okay, I'm sure some students can think of "something" more fun but it would add a twist to their next reading book!

Of course with the guides there are also writing assignments and we have done some of those as well.  Because of the complex characters we've found there to be many opinions on their actions which had made for interesting reading! 

Jane Eyre is a thick book with some VERY rich vocabulary!  But if you can avoid being scared off by the thickness of the book itself and can take your time with it you will be rewarded.


  1. I met you at the recent IAHE convention and am so happy I did! I had just ordered my children's language arts for next year (with a heavy heart; not convinced it was the right way to go) when a friend began telling me about your product (that's when we showed up at your booth). Thank you for explaining it all to me (and again to my husband). After poring over the first book, we have decided to cancel the LA program and jump in to Total Language Plus (we will be ordering the other books soon).

    I do have a question/concern however. We don't do fantasy reading at all, and so will not be reading Charlotte's Web or any other fantasy-related book (personal preference), and we are wondering if we skip those few books, will the children be hindered? Thanks for all your help!

  2. So glad you're going to give TLP a try for the coming year. You can pick and chose the books without any hindrance. The only ones I recommend doing all of are the first 6 which includes Charlotte's Web. The reason for this is that all the basic parts of speech are "taught" in these first six guides. If you feel your child already has covered those with another program then there is no problem at all. If you still need that teaching I would recommend using a grammar handbook (like Blue book of grammar, Writers Inc. etc...) where you work through the ones you miss on your own. If you need further assistance or clarification please private message me at and I can maybe give you more direction.