English - 4th to 12th

English 4-12 Overview

The Ethos Logos Classical English scope, sequence, and selection took years of classroom teachers back and forth to develop. We looked at top Classical schools around the country, implemented various novels into our classrooms then interviewed teachers to find out which novels worked, and which didn't. We added and subtracted and continue to do so.  As you explore our selections realize that you have complete flexibility in what to teach in English but if you follow our unit (monthly) sequence, the benefits of thematic units and cross-connections which make Classical education so impactful will be seamless.

We are firmly anchored in the classics, but we've incorporated abridged versions of classic novels for some of our lower grades and full versions for upper grades. The abridged versions introduce students to famous English, American, European, and World literature in a format that they will comprehend and enjoy. 

Since many of these books have been in print for decades, many can be found online for no charge, used, or easily available from online booksellers. With our Lesson Cards and One Million and One Questions Project workbook and our digital instruction platform, you purchase or check out the novels and we help you teach the text in an impactful way. 

In making our 4th to 12th-grade literature selections we made selections that include:

  • Age Appropriate - We use the Lexile score benchmark to align age-appropriate books to a particular grade. 
  • Literature Review - As your child continues through their education, the ability to dissect, identify and compare literature becomes an important tool. 
  • Spelling -  Novel Words – Latin Root Words - Scripps Spelling
  • Grammar - In our digital support system, we spell out the grammar targets that your student should have mastered by specific grade levels. Exercises, worksheets, and practices are available to help you both cover the nuances of the English language.
  • Historic Alignment - History is the backbone of each of our units and we did our best to choose historical fiction stories that connected to what is being covered in our scholar's history lessons. 
  • Value and Virtues - The novels we chose have characters, many the same age as your child, experiencing trials and joys as they move through the story. One of the best ways to learn a life lesson is through classical stories' rich stories. 
  • Poetry - Age Appropriate and Memorized - Beginning in Kindergarten, each month our students memorize and recite an age-appropriate poem.
  • Plays and Theater -  In high school include we include Our Town by Oscar Wilder, Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, Antigone, and more.
  • Writing Prompts - Being able to formulate ideas and then communicate those ideas in clear and concise writing is the mark of a well-rounded education. Our team provided essay prompts and frameworks to explore various forms of writing (opinion, narration, etc.)
  • Presentation Skills - Classical Education helps to refine your scholar's ability to appeal to their audience using Ethos, Logos, and Pathos by becoming proficient in the forgotten art of Rhetoric.
  • Balanced Informational Text and Fiction 
  • Socratic Prompts - The power of a great discussion is what Classical Education platforms strive for. Prompts are included to help guide these discussions with your scholar.
  • Charlotte Mason Read Aloud - 18th-century educator, Charlotte Mason advocated for reading to her students using classical stories that may be a bit harder to comprehend than their grade level. These read-alouds are suggested up through middle school.
  • Whole Word and Phonetic Awareness - The debate about whole word and phonetic instruction has raged. We integrate both into our curriculum in the lower grades. By grade 4, scholars should be reading proficiently.
  • Struggling Readers Diagnostics and Tools - Because our curriculum is used in public schools, we've built a check and balance system based on the latest in literary research to help you identify reading gaps in your homeschool student. These tools are primarily found in our digital platform.
  • Handwriting - Cursive - We strive for mastery of cursive writing by 5th grade. 
  • Dyslexia Accommodations - When available, we include a link to the audio version of most of our assigned novels.
  • Benchmark Standards - Should You Wish To Follow - Since our curriculum is built for public and private schools as well as the home school community, we have a number of the state standards called out in the resource folders of each novel unit. Our standards tend to go above and beyond state prescriptions and act as a guidepost for your homeschool plan. 

Novel-Based English Instruction

By working within our selected novels, Lesson Cards, and workbooks we provide you flexibility and independence in your English instruction.   The One Million and One Questions workbooks include, reading comprehension questions, essay or Socratic writing prompts and spelling words aligned to the monthly novel. Add our digital platform and find even more resources, teacher trainings, and detailed assignments to support you with the novel study course of instruction. 

Intervention (Early Reading) and Dyslexia Scholar Adaptations in ELA

Included in our digital platform we have built in a number of diagnostic assessments, teacher training modules, and specific resources to address early reader diagnostics.  Many of these resources are found in public schools and help our homeschool families look for and address many common reading challenges that may occur in the K3 to K5 grades. 

Snapshots of Middle School English Medici Program

By fourth or fifth grade, scholars should have a strong reading comprehension understanding. It is time to transition to a stronger focus on writing, higher-level literature analysis, and a continuation of foundational skills in grammar and spelling. From 4th grade on, we line out 6-9 novels per year, becoming the foundation of your scholar’s instruction. The novels we chose are time-tested, classical works of literature, each aligned to the historical time frame which we are covering in our history instruction. 

With our lesson cards and workbooks, you will have the tools you need to craft your homeschool lessons. We include chapter questions, writing or Socratic prompts, and suggestions to help your child analyze characters, themes, plots, and settings. If you add our Medici digital service, we outline a week-by-week plan which your scholar can follow.  The digital platform also includes enrichment, grammar worksheets, benchmark assessment options, and a roadmap to follow. 

  1. Writing Prompts that focus on Narrative/Explanative, Argumentative/Opinion, Expository, or Research writing prompts are tied to the novel's prompts.
  2. Grammar Skills are pulled from the novels being studied and aligned to State standards. Included is a resource bank with hundreds of grammar worksheets that can be brought in as supplementation. All these tools are at the teacher's disposal for every grammar skill from K  to 12.
  3. Literary Analysis is loaded into the Ethos Logos curriculum in a chapter-by-chapter format, all aligned to State standards. The - teacher can once again use the pre-built lesson outlines or use any of the resources (powerpoints, compare contrast prompts) at their disposal to supplement what we provide.
  4. Vocabulary is a mix of Scripps high frequency, grade-aligned words, a Latin root word group to focus on (aligned with science), and vocabulary directly from the books being studied.
  5. Historical Background on the Author, the period the book is set, or the impact the novel made in history are all built into the 72 novels that are covered in the Classical model from K to 12.
  6. Alignment to our Monthly Value and Virtue Prompts. Each month, we call out two values and virtues in all our subjects. Over the course of a year, your scholar will dig deeply into ideas such as responsibility, justice, service, and more. The novels become amazing launch boards to explore how Classical characters wrestle with these big ideas. 
  7. Poetry Memorization and Analysis 


Over 72 Classical novels are included in our K12 program. Some of the recognizable titles include:

  • Robin Hood
  • Whipping Boy
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Sounder
  • Mr. Lincoln's Drummer
  • Heidi
  • Roll Thunder Hear My Cry
  • The Golden Goblet
  • Aesop’s Fable
  • Black Ships Before Troy
  • The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
  • Samurai’s Tale
  • Treasure Island
  • Call of the Wild
  • Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • Huckleberry Finn
  • All’s Quiet On The Western Front
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Night
  • 1984
  • Lord of the Flies
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Death Of A Salesman
  • Out Town
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Animal Farm
  • Tale of Two Cities
  • Les Misérables
  • Slaughterhouse 5
  • Life of Pi
  • Catch 22
  • The Iliad
  • The Odyssey
  • Hamlet
  • Don Quixote

English Curriculum Cards Middle School

The above ELA diagram lists the classic works of literature that the 5th grade ELA instruction is built around. The period the students cover in 5th grade is the Ancient civilizations from Mesopotamia to the Fall of Rome.  The book collections align with what is being taught in history and science.

The WHY of reading the great works.

Socratic Question Prompts help the teacher start deep discussions, a hallmark of Classical Education. Socratic lesson prompts are sprinkled throughout the Ethos Logos curriculum. In ELA, Science, History, and in some cases Art, the teacher will find prompts or big questions to use as lead-ins to Socratic discussions. These discussions will happen from Kindergarten all the way to graduation. In addition to the prompts, our PD department spends the time showing teachers the art of a good discussion. Their portfolio of work and additional compensation are tied to a teacher's ability to master the skill of Socratic learning.

Value and Virtue Prompts help a homeschool teacher embed the alignment with the monthly focus covered school-wide. These prompts may be in the form of writing assignments, Socratic discussions, or small group analyses.  Ask most teachers why they chose the profession of teaching and undoubtedly you will hear their desire to impact individual students and their communities.

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