High School Language Arts – English 4 Course Overview

Time4Learning offers an online, interactive, high school Language Arts curriculum that can be used for homeschool, afterschool, and summer skill building. At the high school level, Time4Learning is organized by courses rather than grade levels, so parents have the option of choosing any four as part of membership.

English 4 is one of four courses covering the Language Arts curriculum at the high school level. English 4 is taught using a combination of multimedia lessons, instructional videos, worksheets, quizzes, tests and both online and offline projects.

This page includes information about the material covered in the High School English 4 course, in addition to an overview of the high school program structure.

Homeschooling High School – Language Arts / English 4 Course Overview

English 4 is the fourth of four standards-based language arts courses provided by Time4Learning, and is a great addition to any homeschool approach. Materials are presented within an automated, student-paced system that teaches the lessons, reinforces concepts, time-stamps online activities (for attendance), tracks progress, and keeps printable reports that can be turned into student transcripts or included with homeschool portfolios.

The English 4 course examines works of British literature including works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, folk tales, and drama.The course uses a chronological format to and each chapter provides an historical overview to aid in understanding the themes of literature from that period. Students apply what they have learned in the course with the study of the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

When homeschooling with Time4Learning, parents are considered the “teacher of record”, and the home from which they teach is the “school.” Time4Learning offers its members a suite of online tools, teaching resources, and homeschool support to help, but ultimately, it is up to the parents to review and grade their student’s offline lessons & writing projects, compare Time4Learning to their state standards, and make sure all graduation requirements are met.

Below, you will find a brief summary the lessons covered in each chapter of the high school Language Arts / English 4 course.

Chapter 1 – Anglo-Saxon: 449-1066

This chapter introduces students to the historical background of the years 449-1066. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 449-1066, Beowulf Excerpt: Part 1, Beowulf Excerpt: Part 2, Vocabulary: Word Choice and Personal Style.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview: 449-1066 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 449-1066 also known as the Anglo-Saxon period. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • Beowulf Excerpt: Part 1 – Students will look at how the ideas, values and themes of Beowulf mirror the time from which it was composed.
  • Beowulf Excerpt: Part 2 – Students will read part of Beowulf investigating the way the author uses descriptive and figurative language. They will see how the English language has morphed by reading the account of Beowulf’s fight with the dragon.
  • Vocabulary: Word Choice and Personal Style – Students will watch as the teacher shows how to inspect the writing styles of professional writers. As a result they will learn how to form their own personal writing style.

Chapter 2 – Medieval: 1066-1485

In this chapter students will learn the historical background of the years 1066-1485. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview: 1066-1485, Robin Hood and Allen-a-Dale/Fair Rosamond, Le Morte d’Arthur, Excerpt, The Canterbury Tales: The Prologue, The Canterbury Tales: 3 Tales, Paston Letters, Story Weaver: Tapestries of the Middle Ages, Vocabulary: Analogies and Word Relationships.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview: 1066-1485 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1066-1485 also known as the Medieval period. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • Robin Hood and Allen-a-Dale/Fair Rosamond – Students will gain an understanding of the genre of ballads by reading two called, Robin Hood and Allen-a-Dale and Fair Rosamond. They will learn about the structure, characteristics and themes of ballads.
  • Le Morte d’Arthur, Excerpt – Students will investigate the way archetypes are drawn from myth and tradition in the characters of Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.
  • The Canterbury Tales: The Prologue – Students will read portions of the Prologue of Canterbury Tales. They will look for the main idea, using the tools of inference, paraphrasing, and summarizing. They will then craft an analytical response to this piece of literature.
  • The Canterbury Tales: 3 Tales – Students will read 3 of the Canterbury Tales looking to understand the historical, social, and economic concepts of the time by investigating the characters, setting, and theme. They will then write their analysis of the tales.
  • Paston Letters – Students will read the Paston Letters which are primary source historical documents. They will be looking to understand the author’s beliefs about his time in history, his style and his viewpoint. They will then compose an analytical response to the letters.
  • Story Weaver: Tapestries of the Middle Ages – Students will inspect the stories which were revealed in historical tapestries. They will learn how tapestries were designed to tell specific stories. The will look at how the tapestries showed details about society, culture, and beliefs and understand the history contained in them.
  • Vocabulary: Analogies and Word Relationships – Using examples and nonexamples, the teacher will show students how to guess the meaning of words using investigation of analogies and word relationships. Students will then use their new knowledge to improve their understanding of written material and improve their writing.

Chapter 3 – English Renaissance: 1485-1625

In this chapter students will learn the historical background of the years 1485-1625. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1485-1625, The King James Bible: A Brief History Excerpt, Macbeth: Act 1 Macbeth: Act III, Macbeth: Act IV, Macbeth: Act V, Vocabulary: Denotation and Connotation.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1485-1625 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1485-1625. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • The King James Bible: A Brief History Excerpt – Students will investigate a brief history of the King James Bible inspecting for clarity and consistency of political ideas. They will express their opinions in a literary analysis.
  • Macbeth: Act I – Students will examine Macbeth Act I, looking at the characteristics, structure, and literary devices which are only found in drama. They will look for the connections between the characters, setting, and theme to its time in history. They will use these techniques to improve their understanding of written material.
  • Macbeth: Act II – Students will examine Macbeth Act II, seeking to understand the moral dilemmas faced by the characters as they are brought to light by their underlying motivations and behaviors. They will look for the symbolism. They will use these techniques to improve their understanding of written material.
  • Macbeth: Act III – Students will examine Macbeth Act III, investigate the way the theme is like a comment on life. They will show proof from the text to support the theme. They will use these techniques to improve their understanding of written material.
  • Macbeth: Act IV – Students will examine Macbeth Act IV, seeking to understand the moral dilemmas faced by the characters as they are brought to light by their underlying motivations and behaviors. They look at how foreshadowing moves the action of the play forward. They will use these techniques to improve their understanding of written material.
  • Macbeth: Act V – Students will examine Macbeth Act IV, investigating the literary devices which are only found in drama and the way in which they uphold the themes. They will look for the connections between the characters, setting, and theme to its time in history. They will use these techniques to improve their understanding of written material.
  • Vocabulary: Denotation and Connotation – Using examples and nonexamples, the teacher will show students how understand the difference between denotative and connotative word meanings. They will use graphic organizers to make sure they understand the information. Students will then use their new knowledge to improve their understanding of written material and improve their writing.

Chapter 4 – Seventeenth Century: 1625-1660

Students learn the historical background from the years 1625-1660. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1625-1660, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Donne Poetry, Andrew Marvell and Omar Khayyam Poetry, Paradise Lost, Excerpt.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1625-1660 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1625-1660. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • Shakespeare, Jonson, and Donne Poetry – Students will look at 3 poems, Sonnet 130 by Shakespear, Holy Sonnet 10 by John Donne, and To Celia by Ben Johnson in search of literary devices, structure and theme. They will then write a composition looking at the similarities and dissimilarities in two poems by Shakespear and Donne.
  • Andrew Marvell and Omar Khayyam Poetry – Students will look for the similarities and dissimilarities in themes in To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell and excerpts of Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. They will scrutinize the poems for the ways that literary devices, structure, and theme show the mood, meaning and make it look nice.
  • Paradise Lost, Excerpt – Students will investigate excerpts from Paradise Lost looking for different literary devices. They will look for allusions to Adam and Eve. They will then craft a response to this piece of literature looking at the allusions used in it.

Chapter 5 – Restoration/Enlightenment

This chapter gives the historical background of the years 1660-1798. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1660-1798, “An Essay of Dramatic Poesy”, Plague, Gulliver’s Travels, Excerpt, The Journals of Captain James Cook, Excerpt, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, Excerpts, William Blake Poetry

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1660-1798 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1660-1798. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • An Essay of Dramatic Poesy – Students will study John Dryden’s An Essay of Dramatic Poesy as they point out and inspect the elements of different kinds of nonfiction. They will investigate the structural patterns and parts of nonfiction and look at the way the author’s style meets his rhetorical and aesthetic goals. They will compose and analytical essay detailing their response to the author’s style.
  • Plague – Students will look for the similarities and dissimilarities in fiction and nonfiction accounts of the plague. They will look at the moral dilemmas shown in the behaviors of the characters. They will show the links between the facts, ideas and events in an organized manner.
  • Gulliver’s Travels, Excerpt – Students will inspect Gulliver’s Travels looking for the elements of satire. They will investigate the way the theme is like a comment on life. They will look for the connections between the characters, setting, and theme to its time in history.
  • The Journals of Captain James Cook, Excerpt – Students will look for the purpose and perspective in the journals of Captain James Cook. They will analyze his writing to better understand the historical context.
  • Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, Excerpts – Students will look at the way that author’s give tone to their work by reading excerpts from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary. They will also gain an understanding of how words and their meanings can change in language.
  • William Blake Poetry – Students will look for the use of symbolism in William Blakes Poetry. They will analyze differences in sound, form, figurative language, and structure.

Chapter 6 – Romantic: 1798-1832

This chapter covers the history of the years 1798-1832. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1798-1832, William Wordsworth and Lord Byron Poetry, Don Juan, Excerpt, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats Poetry, Frankenstein.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1798-1832 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1798-1832. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • William Wordsworth and Lord Byron Poetry – Students will learn how the industrialized climate of the time and the need for social and political reform lead to the rise of the Romantic Movement. The will look at works that were at the leading edge of that movement focusing on the simple structure, themes of nature and imagination, and simple language which was easily understood by the common people.
  • Don Juan, Excerpt – Students will inspect Gulliver’s Travels looking for the elements of satire. They will investigate the poetic structure, rhyme, and rhythm.
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats Poetry – Students will look for the similarities and dissimilarities, investigate, and decode poetry in search of literary devices. They will look at the ways that poetry shows mood, meaning and looks nice.
  • Frankenstein – Students will study passages from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein looking for the way different points of view and various types of narration impact the work.

Chapter 7 – Victorian England: 1833-1901

In this chapter students learn about the years 1833-1901. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1833-1901, The Signalman, The Three Strangers, Victorian London, Media: Evaluate Print Media, Vocabulary: Resources and Digital Tools.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1833-1901 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1833-1901. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • The Signalman – Students will analyze The Signalman by Charles Dickens looking for the way the story line is advanced by innovative plot structures. They will also see how foreshadowing and suspense are used to refine plot structure.
  • The Three Strangers – Students will look for the literary elements of plot, character, and setting in The Three Strangers by Thomas Hardy. They will inspect the way in which foreshadowing and suspense help to move the action forward in the story.
  • Victorian London – Students will look at several primary source historical documents from the time of Victorian London. They will investigate characteristics of the various documents. They will confirm and make clear information while organizing it in a way that illustrates their comprehension and the links between the data and concepts.
  • Media: Evaluate Print Media – Students will do a study of print media looking at the way it mirrors social and cultural views. They will also look at the relationships between layouts, pictures, typeface, text and other elements found in print media.
  • Vocabulary: Resources and Digital Tools – Students will learn how to use specialized references which are both print and electronic in order to comprehend the meanings of words. Students will then use their new knowledge to improve their understanding of written material and improve their writing.

Chapter 8 – Modern: 1901-1950

In this chapter students learn about the years 1901-1950. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1901-1950, The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb, The Other Side of the Hedge, The New Dress, The Rocking-Horse Winner, Pygmalion, Acts 2 and 3, William Butler Yeats and Dylan Thomas Poetry, Neville Chamberlain: Speech to Parliament.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1901-1950 – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1901-1950. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb – As they read Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb students will look for complex plot structures and literary devices and how they work to move the action forward. They will compose an analysis detailing the literary elements contained in the genre of mystery.
  • The Other Side of the Hedge – Students will investigate the elements of allegory and point out the symbolism in The Other Side of the Hedge by E.M. Forster.
  • The New Dress – Students will look at the writing style, paying attention to the particular sentence structure, punctuation, and stream-of-consciousness narration, in The New Dress by Virginia Woolf. They will inspect the descriptive and figurative language, especially metaphor.
  • The Rocking-Horse Winner – Students will investigate how the author uses irony and dialogue in D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking-Horse Winner. They will look at how omniscient narrator impacts the development of the plot. They will then compose an essay detailing the way the plot is moved forward by the way plot and dialogue are used.
  • Pygmalion, Acts 2 and 3 – Students will examine Pygmalion, Acts 2 and 3 by George Bernard Shaw and also listen to a pacifist speech by him. They will seek out the literary devices which are only found in drama. They will briefly explain the reason for the speech and their understanding of it and then compose a short explanation about the speech.
  • William Butler Yeats and Dylan Thomas Poetry – Students will look for the similarities and dissimilarities, investigate, and decode the poetry of Yeats and Thomas. They will be in search of how literary devices, structure, and theme, make apparent the tone, mood, meaning and make it look nice.
  • Neville Chamberlain: Speech to Parliament – Students will both read and listen to the speech Defense of the Munich Agreement by Neville Chamberlain. They will examine the force, justification, and integrity of his rationale. The will look at the links between the evidence, assumptions, and claims. They will also decide how persuasive the speech was.

Chapter 9 – Contemporary: 1951-Present

In this chapter students learn about the years 1951-present. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Historical Overview 1951-Present, Stories in Six Words, A Shocking Accident, Something for the Time Being, Functional Text: Workplace Documents, Death by Landscape, The Role of DNA in Criminal Investigations, Author Study: Bowler, Pratchett, Kinsella, Vocabulary: Greek and Latin Origins.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Historical Overview 1951-Present – Students will become acquainted with important historical events during the time from 1951-present. They will read an assortment of texts containing information from the period. They will expound on how the period is mirrored in the themes, ideas, and values within the texts. They will then craft an assessment of the way history effects literature.
  • Stories in Six Words – Students will read a selection of stories that have only six words. Students will see the metamorphosis of English by looking at the steadiness, clearness and succinctness of the way the concepts are expressed.
  • A Shocking Accident – Students will inspect for setting, plot, characterization, and conflict in Graham Greene’s work A Shocking Accident. They will look for the similarities and dissimilarities in traditional, classical and modern texts using the format of analytical essay.
  • Something for the Time Being – Students will inspect Something for the Time Being by Nadine Gordimer looking for how the literary devices uphold the theme and the way the theme is like a comment on life. They will look an how the characters are shaped by the social and economic factors and their time in history.
  • Functional Text: Workplace Documents – Students will look at contracts, handbooks, memos, e-mails, and meeting summaries to see if they are clear, professional, and befitting. They will then compose their own business memos and e-mails.
  • Death by Landscape – Students will inspect Death by Landscape by Margaret Atwood looking for how the author uses flashback.
  • The Role of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Students will study a nonfiction story to see how authors making different assumptions, looking at separate evidence and following different lines of reasoning leads to opposing conclusions.
  • Author Study: Bowler, Pratchett, Kinsella – Students will listen to several author interviews. They will then comment on what each author said about how they feel about their writing. The will then summarize each interview in writing explaining the important points brought up by each author.
  • Vocabulary: Greek and Latin Origins – Students will be challenged to comprehend the meanings of terminology in political science and medicine using their knowledge of Greek and Latin root words.

Chapter 10 – Novel Study

In this chapter students will read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. The lessons are arranged in these headings, Heart of Darkness, Background, Heart of Darkness, Chapter 2, Heart of Darkness, Chapter 3.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Heart of Darkness, Background – Students will prepare to read Heart of Darkness by studying maps, looking at the historical and political time period and the setting of the novel. The will also learn about the author’s background.
  • Heart of Darkness, Chapter 1 – After reading chapter 1 of Heart of Darkness, students will inspect the structure and character development. They will then compose an analysis of character.
  • Heart of Darkness, Chapter 2 – After reading chapter 2 of Heart of Darkness, students will inspect the character’s moral quandaries, and the way the theme develops. They will then compose an analysis of theme development.
  • Heart of Darkness, Chapter 3 – After reading chapter 3 of Heart of Darkness, students will inspect the symbolism, imagery, metaphor and theme. They will then compose an analysis of the novel’s theme.

Time4Learning High School Courses – Program Structure

Time4Learning high school offers an online, interactive curriculum for ninth through twelfth grade that correlates to state standards. The majority of Time4Learning members use it for homeschool, although some use it as an afterschool alternative to tutoring, or for summer study.

High school is distinguished from the PreK-8th grades by an increased emphasis on higher order thinking skills, the effective combination of video with animation, and an increased number of writing projects designed to help students achieve overall college and career readiness. It is organized into courses that cover math, language arts, science, and social studies, with the optional elective courses of health and economics/finance also available.

Students use their own individual login to access Time4Learning’s secure, ad-free learning environment. An automated system combines multimedia lessons, instructional videos, printable worksheets, quizzes, tests and both online and offline projects to teach the materials. The system also reinforces concepts, tracks progress, and keeps printable reports that parents can turn into student transcripts or include with homeschool portfolios.

In addition to our standards-based curriculum, Time4Learning members have access to a suite of online tools, lesson plans, teaching resources, and homeschool support to help them along their journey. Parents are considered the “teacher of record”, and the home from which they teach is the “school.” It is up to the parents to review and grade their student’s offline lessons & writing projects, compare Time4Learning to their state standards, and make sure all graduation requirements are met.

It is also important to mention that Time4Learning is a curriculum provider– not a school. Therefore, Time4Learning cannot be accredited, nor can homeschooled students “graduate” from Time4Learning. Visit our homeschool high school resources page for additional tools, tips and high school resources on this topic.

Time4Learning’s secure, automated learning system teaches the lessons, reinforces concepts with plenty of practice, tracks, progress, and keeps printable reports that parents can turn into transcripts or include with homeschool portfolios.

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