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British Literature

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 9th – 12th

Live Class: Thursday 12:00 – 1:00 PM EST

Instructor: Susan Spivey


The course information listed here is for the 2017-2018 school year. All information will be updated when registration for the 2018-2019 school year opens on March 1st, 2018. Any specific questions or inquiries may be directed to the instructor.



Course Description

Course Description: Through reading a number of classic British novels and poems, as well as excerpts from other works, students will learn the tools and gain the confidence to respond to literature in both written and verbal form. Students taking this course will extend their knowledge of literary devices used in both fiction and poetry.

Course Objectives:

  • Provide students with a survey of English Literature from the 5th century to modern times.
  • Explore the cultural and historic forces that fueled various literary movements in England, Ireland, and Scotland and help students recognize the impact major literary voices have had upon English culture and thought.
  • Provide ample opportunity for students to recognize how British authors used literary devices and how these devices affected their work as a whole.
  • Equip students with the knowledge needed to construct an analytical essay in response to various types of reading selections.
  • Provide guidance to help students learn to develop clear and concise thesis. Additionally, students will learn how to best organize their ideas and how to incorporate transitions to allow their papers to flow smoothly.
  • Students will be required to participate in class discussions and learn how to analyze literature and share that information verbally with others.
  • Students will be given the opportunity to choose a subject covered in class and respond to it with a creative project of their choosing.


  1. Debra Bell

    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

  2. Debra Bell

    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

  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!

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Required Texts

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Any unabridged edition will work)
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare, (Any unabridged edition will work)
  •  Literature: The British Tradition  (Prentice Hall Literature). ISBN: 0134340582 (1999 edition)

Instructor Bio

Susan Spivey

Susan Spivey received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in English. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for several years. After starting her family, Susan began substitute teaching in public schools. She believes one of her greatest accomplishments has been homeschooling her own children. Susan has taught English in homeschool co-ops for many years and has been teaching online for AIM Academy since 2015. She is enthusiastic about sharing her love of literature with students and finds teaching to be a tremendous joy.

British Literature
American Literature


All classes taught by Susan Spivey