Middle School and High School Literature Lessons


New Unit Each Month Includes

Parent Guide

The parent guide is one of the key components to our curriculum. This is where we provide you, the parent, a detailed summary of the literature, so you do not have to read it. You can discuss it with your child or grade their work with what we provide you in the summary. It also includes an overview of the monthly theme that connects all of the readings together. In addition, each activity, exercise, and quiz comes with a grading guide or answer key,

Writing Prompts

Our curriculum provides many opportunities for your child to write about what they are reading. From short answers on the quizzes, to reflection papers where they share their own thoughts, to longer more formal essays and research, we want your student to feel confident in their writing and be able to formulate their thoughts and arguments on paper before heading to the next level in their schooling. We also provide resources for the parents to use for grading writing assignments and best practices sheets for students to use while they are writing. We have even developed a writing course that students can take online to improve their writing skills. You can find more information on that here.

Standards and Objectives

In our curriculum, we have a page dedicated to learning objectives and standards if you need to use those for your local or state education departments. For each work, there are learning objectives that outline the main takeaways a student should have after completing the lesson. These use a higher level of Bloom's Taxonomy of action verbs to ensure that they are both attainable and measurable.
Our literature lessons are tied to national Common Core standards. While we realize that not all states and districts use these particular standards, they are easy to adjust to the local standards homeschool families have to account for. Each month, the standards that are met when the unit is completed will be outlined. These will focus on reading and writing for both informational and literary texts.

Student Readings with Reading Guides

The student will read a novel, play, short story, or poem along with carefully curated readings that put the literary work into historical, cultural, and/or thematic context. These readings are based on original source material with original content created by our education experts.

Activities and Quizzes

Each month will include Pisan Academy exclusive activities and exercises. These may include literary analysis, researching a related topic, reflecting on a particular aspect of the literature, or writing a short essay. Also included are quizzes that the student can take to measure their reading comprehension and literary analysis skills.

Classical Period

Classical works from ancient Greece and Rome such as The Iliad by Homer and Antigone by Sophocles

Middle Ages through Reformation

Literature from the Middle Ages such as the Song of Roland and Renaissance classics such as the Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari and poetry of the time.

The 18th and 19th Century

The 18th and 19th century brought about an enormous corpus of novels, poems, and plays. This was the era of the novel, from Sir Walter Scott to Jane Austen. With lending libraries, reading became a popular past time.


There are some great books that come out of the first half of the 20th century. Authors such as Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, and E.M. Forster continue the tradition of writing about heroes and a moral sense of life.

Two Levels Included

Three months of core curriculum to get you started for each level

Middle School

Designed for a 7th and 8th grade reading and maturity level, this level begins to provide more analysis and critical thinking than earlier grades. Subjects and themes will be more complex than you get in grammar school literature. 

Three month core unit includes:
Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
Greek Mythology by Bulfinch
Antigone by Sophocles
Additional works to be added each month include:
The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain
The Iliad by Homer
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
And many more...

High School

This level expands the readings to a higher level of complexity. The assessments also reflect this change by asking students to write more complex essays and provide more original analysis. In addition, philosophical writings may be included to provide a deeper context to the literary work.

Three month core unit includes:
Short story and a short novel by Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Additional works to be added each month include:
The Clouds by Aristophanes
The Epic of Gilgamesh 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
And many more...

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Provide your child with the tools needed to analyze literature and evaluate it in terms of structure but also to examine what makes a work "great." They will also learn how reading for learning differs from reading for pleasure.


Theme is one of the main components of understanding literature. By deciphering the work's theme, students will gain a deeper understanding of the work but also of the time period in which it was written. Theme often reflects the culture of the time.


Through the accompanying readings, your child will gain a deeper appreciation for the novel. Whether it is an examination of history, a cultural aspect, or an example of an underlying theme or character trait, these additional readings serve to provide opportunities for reflection and further understanding of the literary work. 

Literary Devices

Provide your child with the tools needed to analyze literature and evaluate it in terms of structure but also to examine what makes a work "great." They will also learn how reading for learning differs from reading for pleasure.

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