Implications of the Short Story is a delightful teaching tool for those who want to delve into the deeper world of literature. Many literature curricula choose a broad theme to study, but this course narrows the scope. Designed for high schoolers (and perfect for independent homeschoolers!), the text highlights fifteen short stories by well-known authors such as Jack London, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens, and Stephen Crane. Each story includes an author biography, background information, vocabulary, and comprehension questions and exercises, and it also gives the student the opportunity to truly grasp the meaning behind the story. As the introduction states, "Every story . . . conveys a significant theme that is yours to accept or reject." In this assortment of authors and stories, each one is presented with a distinct significance. It is up to the student to seek this significance. Specific questions are suggested to help apply the story ("How can it humanize us?" "How can it affect us?" "What can it reveal?", etc.). The material is presented in a unique way;.
Because the material encourages the expansion of the student's thought processes, the student must work to find answers. The assignments require more analysis and understanding than those in other literature series I've used and seen.
The program is geared toward a student who loves writing and analysis, and the questions and assignments are valuable for improving these skills. The program can be used in a couple of ways: (1) to teach writing and analysis or (2) to give already experienced students a way to practice these skills. In this way, the program can be tailored to many different learners.
Although by no means exclusive to homeschoolers, this set is perfect for them. Beyond grading papers, fairly little is required of a teacher. Student work consists merely of reading the story, background information, and biographies, and then completing the questions and composition assignments. There are no tests or quizzes included. The publisher does not provide suggested lesson plans, but I would recommend the curriculum as a one-semester course. It could also be easily tailored for a year-long study or even used as a supplement to another literature course.
There are many extras included in the materials. The student text has a very handy glossary of literary terms that is extremely useful when answering the questions. Assigned writing tasks include a variety of narratives, literary analysis, and essays. The teacher's guide comes with answers and helpful notes, but is not completely necessary (considering that it adds substantially to the cost). The student book is sufficient for a thorough literature study.
Altogether, Implications of the Short Story is an interesting way to approach the study of literature. It is not a typical literature course, as it does not cover the fundamentals of basic literature. Instead, it takes one tiny piece of the large literature genre and requires the student to study it deeply, thoughtfully, and thoroughly.