Appearances Can Be Deceiving

At Living Outside the Lines reading classical literature is fun. We make it fun in a number of ways: themed meals, interesting and engaging projects and lots of social time. Some of the homeschooling families use Living Outside the Lines as their high school English curriculum. In light of that need, I set up the club like a smorgasbord of tools so that each family can decide what they want to use. At the club we eat, discuss great books, present projects and hang out for a long time.

Other tools available to the families are vocabulary lists of 80 to 100 words per book and writing assignment ideas. Here is a short list taken from the writing assignment sheet for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Help yourself if you think these will help your child. If you aren’t sure how to grade your child’s writing I have General Grading Guidelines for Essays and anEssay Rubric that you are welcome to use if you like.

High School Essays 

THEME: Man and the Natural World

The hunting scenes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight show man’s attempt to dominate the natural world. Write an essay demonstrating your understanding of the Biblical mandate for man to subdue the earth and connect that to what you see in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Compare his motives and desires to the Bibles idea of what should be our motivations.

THEME: Principles

Define the rules of courtoisie in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Write a comparative essay showing how they are represented in Gawain juxtaposed to the modern beliefs about courtesy? Do you see agreement with God in either system?

THEME: Respect and Reputation

Sometimes Gawain’s identity seems to be based on what others think about him. Does this make him an easy target, weak some how? Does Gawain attempt to avoid this vulnerability. Write a comparative essay in which you look at the idea of reputation as presented in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and God’s perspective about reputation. Use examples from the story to make your points clear. Also included the effects reputation has on the response others have to us.

Embracing our identity in Christ is paramount to living honestly before others so that we are considered trustworthy messengers. Using the first chapter of Ephesians, make a list of who God says you are: love, saved, acceptable, ……. Then write an essay explaining how this is different from the identity the world, the flesh and devil ask you to embrace.

Essays for Kids

THEME: Man and the Natural World

How does Sir Gawain and the Green Knight describe the wilderness outside of the dwellings of Arthur and Bertilak? Do you think there is a metaphor implied here? Write a descriptive paragraph or essay about the wilderness.

THEME: Principles

Write an informative paragraph or essay about the rules of courtoisie (courtesy).

Write an explanatory paragraph or essay about the principles of good knightly behavior, and conclude with the ways Gawain attempt to follow them?

Write an informative paragraph or essay showing the ways that the Green Knight and Lady Bertilak use people’s reputations to force them to do their will?

Write an informative paragraph or essay about reputation from a Biblical perspective.

What about you? Where do you get your ideas for writing assignments?

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.


  1. Ali, this is such a great help for the high school students and their families. I will definitely recommend your website to my babysitters. I’m sure they will find it helpful.

  2. I hope so Angela. I wish you could attend just one meeting. The love that’s passed around and the amazing insight these teens have would blow you away. They inspire me.

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