Our homeschool literary adventures in fall 2016 with Jane Austen and “Another Lady” in Sanditon culminated in a glorious Christmas Tea with vintage elves, Sebastian and Desmond.
Literature Study with Jane
Haley and I spent September through November working through Jane Austen’s final novel–unfinished before her death–Sanditon. She only wrote 11 chapters, largely laying out her setting and rich collection of characters. Several women have published their version of how Sanditon might have ended, but the best of the lot was published in 1975. Read more about that here.
We read five chapters a week, breaking down the progression of the storyline and studying the writing craft employed in plot and character development. There were some interesting historical elements to study, too.
For instance, the tale takes place at a seaside resort in the Regency era where “bathing machines” were a popular health regime. Enclosed sheds backed into the sea by a horse and driver, from which ladies in fully clothed bathing costumes descend for a 15 minute jaunt, standing in the sea water for its healing properties. The story was true to Jane’s world, closing with an impending marriage and good match for our heroine.
We closed out our study with a collage art book cover with images culled from the internet that connected to elements in the story. Cutting each image carefully, we altered a vintage book with aged pages and covered it in a design depicting Jane’s world using gluesticks, ModPodge, and random embellishments.
Haley and her mom took off a week before Thanksgiving for a two week trip to England and Scotland with various fiddle gigs in pubs and music fests. A highlight of her trip was to visit Bath and the Jane Austen Museum there.
Jane lived in Bath for a time and it was a setting in her final complete novel, Persuasion. A great way to end her lit study!
The Annual Christmas Tea
In December we focused on pulling together Haley’s story notes for the novella she’s working on. Storyboarding the various plot elements and fleshing out some of the characters brought her to readiness in a first chapter first draft.
But, the manuscript was set aside on our last class before Christmas for our annual Christmas Tea that we’ve enjoyed over the past three years of working together!
Haley suggested the main course of Caprese Salad Kabobs with a balsamic vinegarette glaze.
Served on my Lennox Holiday China, a yummy brew of Almond Cookies Green Tea was the perfect fit for a host of sweets!
Every year, Sebastian and Desmond, my vintage Christmas elves from the 1960s, visit our tea table for the festivities from their perch in my vintage-childhood themed tree.
Chatting and laughing and far too much sugar consumption took its dizzying toll after we’d thoroughly ransacked our plates. We were exhausted with delight!
New Year ~ New Semester
As we return to business as usual in January, Haley and I kick off a couple of months worth of poetry broken up into two sections.
Delving into poetry writing and reading basics, we’ll study composition and poetic genres before crafting an original piece that will become an element in her novella. This will be artistically explored in a mixed media collage project creating a representation of the poetic theme.
As a transition into the medieval theme of our literature study of Howard Pyle’s Men of Iron, we’ll spend a couple of weeks on elements of medieval poetry. The romantic early epic of Perceval taps into storytelling through verse and musical adaptation in French by La Nef. This is especially customized to Haley’s musical strengths and love of the Celtic cultures.
By the end of March, we’ll wrap-up our rhymes and head into a structured Principal Approach literature study, immersing ourselves in castles filled to the brim with knights in shinging armor, in England of old. More on that later!
Meanwhile, I’m prepping a post focused on the writing journey of Haley’s novella which will feature a FREE DOWNLOAD of my story planning tools!
Sharing Sanditon, Teatime, and a New Semester this week with:
Rose Chintz Cottage