Sophomore English Thy Name is SATIRE

Sophomore English as it’s taught today is a hodge-podge of literature except for the emphasis on persuasive writing and speaking. As such, I was dissatisfied with the curriculum for many years. Therefore, after careful consideration, which included dreaming about it, I have decided to make it into something more. Let’s title it:

Literature Against Social Injustice, or

Motivational and Inspirational Literature, or

Propaganda for Social Change.

Anyone one of those titles works well for me. And, I humbly believe, that your sophomore will like it too from that perspective. It is difficult to see the sophomore psyche in a small group of –let’s say your son or daughter—but right now, your teenager is a “wise fool”. 

A sophomore is a student who survived the freshman year. 

More students drop out of high school during the freshman year than any other, but if they can make it through it, there is a pretty good chance, they will graduate. 

While this doesn’t apply to homeschooled children, there is still the same mentality to some degree.  Sophomores know that they were smart enough to make it through the extremely difficult adjustment from middle school to high school. 

However, they are not close enough to graduation to feel that they are on easy street like the juniors and seniors feel. 

Additionally, they only have a bit of knowledge (soph=wise) and they definitely still have a lot of the moronic (mor= fool) in them.

That term sophomore wasn't picked out of thin air, Moms!

We should show them respect for how far they have come, but remind them, they still have more to learn.

We may think that they have only completed one year of high school, but to them, they have had to adjust to being  “top dog” in the 8th grade to someone trying to sell them elevator passes  as “dinky freshmen.”

Even homeschooled kids will want more independence with their studies, but they are not always mature enough to work completely on their own.

Develop a set of checks and balances for them as best works in your family. In this sophomore English study, as well as their other classes, don’t give them so much freedom for so long that two months later, they have only done one week’s worth of work.

Playing catch-up in homeschool is no fun for anyone.  My own sons still want supervision for work that I know they can do on their own.  They did, however, give me nice Mother’s Day cards stating how - I’m always there for them.

Sophomores have a bit of an edge on or and a bit of a chip on their shoulders. One day they feel as smart as can be, and the next day, they are acting like idiots.

That word sophomore wasn’t picked out of thin air centuries ago; it was earned and deserved. It still is, so try to be kind, but firm with your teenager.

That said, I think they will appreciate sophomore English literature this year.  Present it in the following context: Authors write because they have something to say. Period.  Sometimes there are evils in society that in good conscience they MUST write about.

On the sophomore English curriculum page,  I will give you a large list of readings on authors who wrote for social change.  Some of them used humor, some used scathing sarcasm and satire, each to the author's style.

     One of the selections in sophomore English is Animal Farm. George Orwell, once a believer in communism, wrote Animal Farm after he saw how communism had failed in the Soviet Union.  

In the story the pigs are the Communists with the main pig Napoleon as Joseph Stalin. His comrade –who soon fell out of favor with Stalin—is Snowball or Leo Trotsky. Snowball is run off Animal Farm and in real life, Stalin cut out Trotsky’s face in all the photos of Communist leaders.

Later, Trotsky was murdered by a Stalin assassin while in exile in Mexico City.

I am also recommending “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift.  This essay was written in context of the economic circumstances of 18th century Ireland.

Swift, a satirist and cleric in the Catholic Church, wrote this during Ireland’s second greatest famine.  

In the essay he proposes that a simple way of ridding Ireland of all its starving, begging populace is by eating the babies. Yes, it’s shocking, but that was the point.

By using an absurd premise in the form of a “modest proposal,” he made a stirring argument for humanity to care for each other.  This will be a great read for a sophomore.  Swift also wrote the novel Gulliver’s Travels, which your teenager may want to read as well.

This introduces the sophomore English literature assignments. For more complete details, please click on sophomore English here.

If you would like to go to High School English curriculum, click here. 



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