Rather than "wasting" the first day collecting school supplies and passing out syllabi, parents and students meet for a half-day day the friday before school begins.
We just found out that the textbook for the Drama class will be Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richad Boleslavsky. I hadn't heard of it before, but it's apparently a classic book on drama. It was first published in 1933, so there's a million different versions.
Our junior will also be reading the Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is, of course, a classic work of literature. I slogged through the first sixty pages about the warehouse back in high school. I was very happy to discover the book got much better after that. I was not very happy to discover all my classmates just skipped over that part. (Why didn't I think of that? Doggone sequential learning style!) For some reason, the part about the warehouse has little to do with Heather Prynne.
Like many works in the public domain, The Scarlet Letter is available on the Kindle for free!
However, we didn't want him taking an electronic device to school, so we got it in paperback.
He will also read Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley,
which is another Free eBook on the Kindle. Boris Karloff fans beware! The monster in Shelley's book turns out to be quite articulate and verbose. I found myself wondering if he was actually talking his victims to death...
He will be reading through Les Miserables (Abridged), by Victor Hugo. I read an abridged version some years ago and found it fairly interesting. I expected more singing, though...
1984, by George Orwell is also on the reading list. I studied this in high school when 1984 was not very far away. The government invasion of privacy is an interesting thing to consider in 2011 -- but the same technologies that enable government monitoring also allow unbelievable freedom of expression. So, the real 1984 was more of a mixed bag.
Other classics on our Junior's plate include:
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen (Not the one with zombies...)
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (I think the wedding dress lady could have been a zombie -- but that's just my interpretation...)
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Favorite Father Brown Stories, G. K. Chesterton
The Chosen, Chaim Potok
Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Paton
We're homeschooling some of our younger kids and my wife picked up The Encyclopedia of World History by Ganeri. It's a really great reference for younger kiddos. It's the kind of book I can imagine I would have spent hours with when I was a kid. Of course we didn't have the Internet then...
My wife also added the following:
A note about the Encyclopedia of World History - it is not written from a creationist's point of view. We use it primarily as a reference book on selected topics. We talk openly with our kids about the differences in people's belief systems, and they know what we believe and why, so this doesn't stress me since I'm right there to talk with them about it. However, I know that different families make different choices regarding how they teach their children and how they talk about these kinds of issues, so I wanted to mention this in case it is a concern for other parents.