British Literature

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 9th – 12th

Live Class: Thursday 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. EST

Course Dates: August 29th – April 30th

Price: $599

Instructor: Susan Spivey



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Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Susan Spivey

Learning about authors and their works should be interesting, not a chore. My goal is to help students see how the writings of centuries past is still relevant today and how writers have influenced one another over the years. This British literature course begins by looking at works from the early Anglo-Saxon period and concludes with writing from contemporary authors. Students will explore works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Blake, Dickens, Yeats, and Orwell, to name just a few. Through reading, discussion, and written responses, students will gain a better perspective of how literature fits into British history. In addition, to writing assignments, students will have the opportunity to share their unique talents and gifts by completing creative projects based on a subject we have covered in class. Students have thoroughly enjoyed these projects and have created board games, outfits, children’s books, and artwork in response to these assignments.

Course Structure

This is a discussion-based course and students will be expected to participate in our weekly classroom chats. Students are assigned a specific reading and homework that relates to that reading each week. Once a week we meet in a live classroom and discuss the reading. I provide a lecture on the material the students have read and an opportunity for students to ask questions and offer opinions. In addition to short written responses that students will complete in their homework each week, there are three longer papers assigned over the course of the year that allow students to do deeper research and explore a topic that they find particularly interesting. As mentioned above, there are also two creative projects assigned in this class, one in the first semester and the second in the final semester. There are five tests that are spaced out over the course of the school year.

Who should enroll?

This class is better suited for 11th and 12th graders, but 9th and 10th graders have done well in this class, as well. We cover much material so the ability to stay up on the assigned reading is necessary.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

If students complete their weekly homework on time and answer the questions to the best of their ability, they receive full credit. I expect students to ask questions when they do not understand something and I am happy to respond quickly, usually within the same day to their emails. I grade homework promptly and will let parents know if their student fails to submit work. The larger papers and creative projects for this class are worth more points and are graded on creativity, as well as context and accuracy. Since students are encouraged to choose their own topics for these larger assignments, they have the ability to learn more about a topic that they found personally interesting. This has proven to spark outstanding work from my students.


Once you register your student for this course, you will receive a confirmation email from me within a week. If you have questions before registering, pleae feel free to email and I will be happy to answer your questions. If your student is submitting their work on time, you will hear from me at the end of the first semester when I send out grades. Final grades will be posted within a week of the course ending. If parents have concerns at any point, I am always available to discuss these concerns.

View Course Syllabus

Required Texts

Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. ISBN: 0-13-434058-2.

Additional required texts:

  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare (any unabridged edition will suffice)
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (any unabridged edition will suffice)
  • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (any unabridged edition will suffice)


  1. Debra

    This course is thorough, engaging and provides a reasonable balance to the school week. The British Literature book is full of interesting pieces of work that I never would have considered introducing my child to. I am very happy that he has had the opportunity to study this aspect of literature. The weekly critical thinking exercises encourage students to analyze what they are reading and help to solidify this ability through repetition. There are several creative literary projects throughout the year which add a fun element to the course. Mrs. Spivey’s class lectures are thorough, engaging and she keeps the course interesting. I highly recommend Mrs. Spivey’s British Literature course.

  2. Blair Drewell

    We were so pleased with British Literature with Mrs. Spivey when our
    daughter took it 4 years ago, we signed our son up for it. This class is
    the perfect balance – exposing the students to literature, making them
    think and engage without overloading them and taking all the joy of
    literature and learning away. Our kids have taken many online classes and
    it is hard to find that balance… most are either are “too easy” and the
    kids are not challenged to think or “too difficult” through workload making
    the kids resent school. Mrs. Spivey’s class is neither of these, and we are
    so thankful.

  3. Rachel Shey

    British Literature has been a great class! Not only did I get to read many great pieces of British literature, I also learned a lot about the history of Western Europe. Mrs. Spivey has a very engaging teaching style; she does not only lecture, but also asks the students questions and invites discussion. In addition, she also explains literary interpretations of the pieces we discuss, clarifying their meaning.

    A specific example of a subject Mrs. Spivey enlightened me on was English metaphysical poetry. When I first read the poetry and prose of John Donne, Ben Jonson, and the other metaphysical poets, I did not contemplate the meaning behind the verses enough to realize the special characteristics of metaphysical poetry. However, after attending class, I understood metaphysical poetry far better, and even enjoyed rereading the poems!

    Not all of learning with Mrs. Spivey has been strictly academic. One of my favorite experiences in her class has been the creative project, in which I illustrated characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. While imagining them engaging in lively conversation as I read the book was entertaining, drawing them brought them to life in a way that I could not have done by reading.

    While usually the reading assignment is in the book, Mrs. Spivey also assigns books, plays, and online resources to read on occasion. In her class, I’ve had the opportunity to read many classics like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Pride and Prejudice, Shakespeare, and Auguries of Innocence. Taking Mrs. Spivey’s British Literature class has taught me a lot, and surprised me sometimes with the prevalence of British literature references – ranging from ubiquitous Shakespeare to lesser-known authors like Elizabeth Barrett Browning – in everyday life. Whether reading newspapers or consuming pop culture, British literature is everywhere. I am very glad I chose to take this class and definitely feel like it has made me much more knowledgeable about British literature!

  4. J.S.

    Mrs. Spivey’s literature class challenged and equipped me for college in a way few other high school experiences did. The class, which I took at a homeschool co-op during my senior year, surveyed great Christian literature with a diverse and challenging reading list. Our class meetings were a chance for Mrs. Spivey to push her students to think critically about the material we read; she encouraged us to reevaluate our presuppositions and validated our thoughtful opinions, even when she didn’t share them. This open discussion stood in contrast to many high school classes that shielded authors from critique. Mrs. Spivey’s approach to in-class discussion helped prepare me for college literature and writing classes, where criticism of an author and their worldview is encouraged. Her love of literature was apparent in everything she did; from her enthusiasm in class to her warm invitations to continue discussions and reading outside of it, Mrs. Spivey was a hugely influential teacher who was instrumental in my decision to pursue English and writing as a part of my college and career.
    J.S. PA

  5. J.M.

    Susan Spivey does an excellent job of instilling the love of learning and literature into her students. I have had two children participate in her English/Literature classes, and even though they enjoyed reading before, Susan was able to unlock areas of interpretation that allowed them both to understand more fully what the authors are attempting to convey. Her writing assignments challenged them to think deeply and put into their own words portions of specific text. Susan also challenges her students by assigning projects that may not be in their particular strength. For example: Not only do the students write, but some assignments may require them to perform a dramatization or an art project. She realizes that not all the students have the same strengths, but she motivates them to branch out and try something new. Susan also wants each of her students to succeed and encourages them to use whatever gifts or abilities they have to do their best. Thank you, Susan, for using Literature to help my children to mature and flourish.

    J.M. PA

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Instructor Bio

Susan Spivey

Susan Spivey is enthusiastic about sharing her love of literature with students and finds teaching to be a tremendous joy. Finding as much joy in learning as she does teaching, Susan recently earned her Masters in English from Arizona State University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland and worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for several years. After starting her family, Susan was as a freelance writer for magazines and began substitute teaching in public schools. She has taught English in homeschool co-ops for many years and has been teaching for AIM Academy since 2015.

British Literature
American Literature


All classes taught by Susan Spivey