Purchasing literature guides is an option. There are some very nice ones available. But, my experience has been that my kids tend to get frustrated with them. The lit guides we used in the past had some great questions to think on but also had much in the way of busy work - crosswords, word finds, and puzzles that had little to do with examining the book. Eliminating the busy work was certainly a possiblitly, but then we found we weren't using a great portion of a study guide we paid for. Wasted. We have since opted to simply discuss the literature and try to draw out the significance of the writing. Then, perhaps a book report or an essay to wrap up our study.
But, now that my oldest will be going on to read books mostly on his own while I spend time with the younger kids, what do I ask? What if I don't know anything about the book?
That's when I'm grateful for websites like Shmoop. It has a lot to offer - more than I can describe in this article. Some of the content is by membership and fee only. But, much of it is free. I am specifically interested in the Learning Guides which offer
- US History
- Best of the Web (links)
- Write Essay (a guide through writing an essay)
If you have a child in high school, you may be interested to know that Schmoop, for a fee, offers test preparation for a number of different tests such as the SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, etc.