Middle School Literature

Middle School Literature

(1 customer review)


Instructor Maggie Purifoy, homeschooler of her 3 children, has spent several years in the classroom both in Europe and America. This course approaches literary analysis of novels, plays, and poetry via lively discussion. Varied writing assignments, including the comparison essay, the expository essay, and the thesis paper, flow from this analysis.

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This course uses lively discussion as the way to approach literary analysis. Socratic questioning generates those discussions, and gives writing assignments that flow from the analysis. Assignments include the comparison essay, the expository essay, and the thesis paper.

This course is part of the Compass Lectures Series where veteran teachers are filmed as they teach in an actual classroom. This product includes streaming access to the videos filmed live in Nashville. Assignments for local students are explained on the videos and in the course steps. However, parents are solely responsible for assigning and grading this work.

Required Books

  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Shakespeare, some short stories, and poetry
  • Each student needs to have their own Writing and Rhetoric book as a guide for instruction. Parents will need the Teacher’s Edition which provides a clear rubric to grade each writing assignment. In the second semester, we will begin Book 10.  It is a very comprehensive, step-by-step guide.


*Copies of these books can be purchased on any of these sites, Better World Books, Thrift Books, or Amazon.com

Maggie graduated from Covenant College in 1996 with a degree in Elementary Education. She spent several years in the classroom, including working at Vienna Christian School in Austria. She helped her husband, Thomas, establish The American School of Lyon in France in 2000-2001. Since then, she has homeschooled her own 3 children; her oldest graduated high school in May 2020 and will be attending Samford University. In 2019-20, she taught Medieval History and Literature to a class of 7-9th graders (something she thoroughly enjoyed).

License: This product is licensed for use by one family. For group, co-op, or school use, each family will need to purchase a copy or purchase licenses for each student. For more information, visit our group license page.

Additional information





1 MS

Credit Amount



Lesson Runtime

1 hr average runtime per lesson




Maggie Purifoy



Download Scope & Sequence with assignments

  1. Course Introduction Using A Bargain for Frances
  2. Johnny Tremain (Part 1)
  3. Johnny Tremain (Part 2)
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Part 1)
  5. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Part 2)
  6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Part 3)
  7. Across Five Aprils (Part 1)
  8. Across Five Aprils (Part 2)
  9. Across Five Aprils (Part 3)
  10. The Hiding Place (Part 1)
  11. The Hiding Place (Part 2)
  12. The Hiding Place (Part 3)
  13. A Christmas Carol (Part 1)
  14. A Christmas Carol (Part 2)
  15. Murder On the Orient Express
  16. The Fellowship of the Ring (Part 1)
  17. The Fellowship of the Ring (Part 2)
  18. The Fellowship of the Ring (Part 3)
  19. The Fellowship of the Ring (Part 4)
  20. The Captured Shadow
  21. Shakespeare (Part 1)
  22. Shakespeare (Part 2)
  23. Shakespeare (Part 3)
  24. Shakespeare (Part 4)
  25. Shakespeare (Part 5)
  26. Poetry
  27. Thank You Ma’am
  28. Thesis Papers

Sample Lesson

This lecture was delivered on the second week of classes. In it Ms. Maggie covers the first part of Johnny Tremain.

Here’s the homework the the students where assigned.
1. Finish Johnny Tremain, taking note of specific passages (please note page numbers and paragraphs to mark the location). We will be focusing our discussion on the following questions, so please write down your thoughts or answers as you go through them while you read:
  • Complex character traits – things that seem to contradict each other (In what ways is this evident in Johnny? The British soldiers? The Sons of Liberty?)
  • What does the protagonist (Johnny) want? Why can’t he have it? Does he overcome his obstacles to achieve his object? (You can also ask these questions about the Sons of Liberty as a group.)
  • In your opinion, what is the climax of the story? (Is it circumstantial / emotional / physical or spiritual?) Were you satisfied with the resolution? If not, why not?
  • How does the solution of the conflict affect each individual character?

2. Work through Writing and Rhetoric (book 9). Here is a sample schedule:

  • Friday – Read pages 1-6. Doing “Talk About It” is optional, but we will answer “Narration” in class, so be prepared.
  • Monday – “Memoria” is optional. Do “Go Deeper” sections 1 & 2 (pp 7-9)
  • Tuesday – Finish 3 & 4 of the “Go Deeper” section (pp – 12)

3. Write a paragraph describing one character in the story. This does not have to be more than 3-4 sentences, but think about how to use vivid language and examples from the book where possible. This is a prewriting / warm up exercise for Lesson 2.

1 review for Middle School Literature

  1. Lila Shobel (verified owner)

    The Rhetoric and Writing book was a little over my daughter’s ability. If you have been using the previous books in this series, it should be fine. The outline for the class was hard to follow too. It’s geared more towards the kids in her class.

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