History through Literature and the Arts

We’re excited to be offering this semester-long, scholarly course for upper-teens. Over the fall semester, students will learn history lessons and composition skills through in-depth studies of literature, supplemented by music, film and art. Your student will read significant narratives, engage with important ideas to understand the impact of American history, gain composition skills, and write a full-length “response to literature” essay.

This course will greatly assist parents/students in meeting a-g goals in English and history, and will meet many selected CCSS/OGCS requirements. At the end of the course, you’ll get a list of the standards met.

This semester-length course is recommended for ages 16+, but younger students are welcome at parental discretion. It is not necesssary to take this fall semester before taking the spring semester.


American Inheritance (Revolution through Westward Expansion)

Week 1 – Sept 1)  Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (excerpt from the book); “The American Crisis, Number 1” by Thomas Paine (excerpt from essay)

Week 2 – Sept 8)  “On Being Brought From Africa to America” byPhillis Wheatley (poem); Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (novel)

Week 3 – Sept 15)  audio from Hamilton (the musical)

Week 4 – Sept 22)  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (novel)

Week 5 – Sept 29)  12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup (excerpt from the book)

Week 6 – Oct 13)  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (excerpt from the book);  “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass (excerpt from speech); “An Account of an Experience With Discrimination” by Sojourner Truth (first-person account)

Week 7 – Oct 20)  The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (novel); Civil War diaries/journals as primary sources

Week 8 – Oct 27)  Glory (film); “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key (song lyrics)

Week 9 – Nov 3)  Dances With Wolves (film); Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown (excerpt from the book); “I Will Fight No More Forever” by Chief Joseph (speech)

Week 10 – Nov 17)  Roughing It by Mark Twain (excerpt from the book)

Week 11 – Dec 1)  My Antonia by Willa Cather (novel); “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates (song)


Week 1 – Feb 2)  Ragtime  (audio from the musical); “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus (poem)

Week 2 – Feb 9)  “Douglass” and “We Wear the Masks” by Paul Laurence Dunbar (poems); “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (short story); “A Jury of Her Peers”—Susan Glaspell (short story)

Week 3 – Feb 23)  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (novel)

Week 4 – Mar 2)  Places in the Heart (film); “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol (poem), sung by Billie Holiday; “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty (short story)

Week 5 – Mar 16)  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (novel)

Week 6 – Mar 23)  Race (film); The Chosen—Chaim Potok(novel)

Week 7 – Mar 30)  A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (play/film); “Harlem” and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes (poems); “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks (poem); “Frederick Douglass” by Robert Hayden (poem)

Week 8 – Apr 13)  Driving Miss Daisy (film); select speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Week 9 – Apr 20)  “Power” by Adrienne Rich (poems); “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou; “Spelling” by Margaret Atwood; “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker (short story)

Week 10 – Apr 27) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (novel)

Week 11 – May 4) Stand and Deliver (film); Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez (excerpt from the book); “That’s Just the Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby the Range (songs); “Changes” by Tupak Shakur

Instructor: Lisa Craddock holds BAs in Literature and Theatre, and a Master of Humanities in Film Studies with a concentration in Rhetoric, or “the art of speaking and writing effectively.” Lisa has taught classes in literature, composition, and film for the University of Colorado. Her scholarship, essays, poetry, and plays have appeared in a variety of literary and academic venues.  She considers it a privilege to homeschool her own four children, avid fans of LitWits since its beginning. Lisa has led educational events for the homeschool community for several years, helping young readers understand themselves and the world through “living books.”

Hours:  10am – 12pm every Friday EXCEPT:  Fall –  October 6, November 10, and November 24; Spring – February 16, March 9, and April 6.

Ages:  Recommended for kids 16+, but younger mature children are welcome at parental discretion.

Cost: The cost of each semester-length course is $375, with a sibling discount of $25 per student. LitWits Workshops is an approved vendor for Ocean Grove Charter School and Inspire Charter Schools. OG/IC parents, please register first to save a seat, then request a purchase order or enrichment certificate right away, or as soon as semester funds become available.

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel before August 1st (fall) or January 2nd (spring), you’ll have the choice of a refund or makeup. Makeups may be applied to any LitWits events.(Use promo code MAKEUP to re-register, and please remind us, in the Notes field, which event you missed.) If you cancel within 30 days of the course, you’ll have a makeup coming.

There are no refunds for no-shows, as we’ve hired our instructor based on expected enrollment. We hope that makes sense and seems fair!