Writing With Sharon Watson, Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis – My Review

We have had the opportunity in the past to use curricula from Writing With Sharon Watson, and because “The Artist” really enjoyed it we were very happy to get the chance to review her Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis!

For the purpose of this review, we received the following:

  • Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis Student Text/Workbook
  • Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis Teacher’s Guide
  • Bound copy of Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis Quiz and Answer Manual


We also received access to the Quizzes to be done online, which then would grade them for us, allow the student to print out the completed quiz  and scoring, and would also then email the same to the email address used to log in and take the quizzes. In this case, I had “The Artist” use my email, so I would receive copies after he had done them.

We were also able to download as a pdf the free Novel Notebook, an 86 page optional addition. I did not tell “The Artist” that it was optional, because I really wanted him to use it. As it happens, I just asked “The Artist” what he thought of the Novel Notebook, and he says “It’s pretty good!” FYI, sometimes old age and trickery works! 🙂

Here is what I like best, as a parent/homeschooling teacher about products from Writing With Sharon Watson: I have found them all to be very good “open and go” products. I didn’t need to do any prep, other than providing the books called for. Basically, I handed it to “The Artist” and let him “have at it.”

Required readings are:

  • A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, in the textbook
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dover Publications
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot, Dover Publications
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, Dover Publications
    • An Assortment of Short Stories:
    • “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett, in the textbook
    • “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges, link provided
    • “Haircut” by Ring Lardner, link provided
    • “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton, in the textbook
    • “Of the Passing of the First-Born” by W. E. B. Du Bois, in the textbook
    • “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas, link provided
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Dover Publications
  • Biography or autobiography of student’s choice
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Mariner Books

Within the text, Sharon Watson recommends specific editions, because when the Student Text asks questions, the student is often directed to a specific page or pages of the novel.

There are suggested activities for each reading. Below, you will see a pencil drawing that “The Artist” did after reading the short story “A Jury of Her Peers.”


I was pleased with the amount of details he put into this drawing! Although, funny thing, when I pointed out that the kitchen sink setup seemed awfully modern, he said, and I quote “That’s the only kind of sink I know about!” 🙂

“The Artist” is now solidly into “Frankenstein”, which is the novel required for the second reading. He’s enjoying it very much, and looking forward to some of the other novels as well, especially “The Hobbit!”

This course is written for grades 9 – 12, and will qualify your student for one credit over two semesters. As with the other curricula we have used which was written by Sharon Watson, this is definitely written from a Christian worldview.

By the time he finishes this curriculum, “The Artist” will have been taught almost 100 literary terms and devices when they occur naturally in the reading selections. My hope is that as intended by Sharon Watson, my own student will gain a real appreciation for fine literature, and retain the knowledge of the many tools used by authors when they write.

This is the second volume in a series. However, students may take this and the first volume Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide in any order. This is another thing I quite like about Sharon Watson’s curricula.

All in all, we are so pleased to have the opportunity once again, of working with one of Sharon Watson’s products, and highly recommend this, and any other of her works.

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Filed under Sharon Watson

2 responses to “Writing With Sharon Watson, Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis – My Review

  1. writingwithsharonwatson

    Hi, Lori. Thank you for your review and for including your son’s drawing of the scene in “A Jury of Her Peers.” I love it that your artist could choose something artistic as a follow-up to the story.

    And, yes, subterfuge is sometimes needed as a homeschool mom! 😉

  2. reehp

    That’s a really great drawing! I can see why you call him The Artist 🙂

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