This year has included the most individual reading time so far.
At first, in August while planning, I was a bit nervous. Could they do it? Would they do it? We’ve always learned as a family – together.
My goal for Nate is for him to move forward this year with more of a schedule / responsibility routine. He is keeping a calendar with due dates. He knows what needs to be done in the week. So far, after two months, he is doing better than I expected.
There is more reading for him in Artists and Composers and History this year. We are in the Ancients, right now in Egypt. My desire is for him to be able to read a section and quickly narrate what was impressed on him during the reading. He has a new 5 topic notebook that he is keeping his reflections in. He has drawings, key words, paragraphs, dates and the like. It is interesting to browse his papers and see what has influenced him during the week. What is interesting to him, and what was left flat.
Jon has been doing the same type of work, in the same areas with different levels of books and resources. This year he has been writing all of his information on 5×8 index cards that I had on the table for my notes. Funny how they move towards different mediums.
For those of you that are new, we are using Harmony Art Mom’s Artists and Composers for Middle School and 9th Grade. Both are in the Ancients, and have detailed book lists. We were able to purchase a few and check out the rest at the library. I am trying to stay away from internet links as much as possible. Keeping our learning time separate from the internet helps us to not be online between 10 an 2. Keeps me focused and away from my ‘virtual friends’ on Facebook and Forums. All of our phones stay out of reach, and iPods are for music or calculators.
For Literature Reading – I’ve finally come to the conclusion that we are not cracked up to be classical education type students. We all prefer the older works in a different media than print. Books on tape, PBS movies, Discover/History Channel DVD’s. I do like that they will know the content of these great works, but I see the shortfall of not paying attention to the greater vocabulary of these works.
So – we have re-instituted McGuffy Readers into the day. We talked about it as a family – and I see the need for them to have at grade level reading or above each day to build their vocabulary and ability to read a bit harder to understand sentences than their casual reading or field guides.
I like the topics of the older readers – meant for high school. At the end of each reading are a few questions and a list of vocabulary words. They verbally narrate the story to me, and have so far answered the questions in their narration. Then we look at the words. They give me the definition verbally and we talk about the word in context to the story. The words they are unfamiliar with are looked up in the dictionary. All of the words are written out. The stories promote character, patriotism, a love of God, – and an over all desire to do what is right for man and country.
I have been surprised at how many of the the words in the 4th reader that Nathan is familiar with, understands, grasps their meaning. Jon is doing really well with the 3rd reader reader – and it is pretty simple for him right now, but the stories do build with complexity each lesson. For those of you unfamiliar – the book number is not a grade level. The 4th book is intended for 8th – graduation. the 3rd I for higher 5th and middle grades. They are not intended to be read through in a year.
I am still keeping an eye on our literature lists for each grade level and making sure that they are exposed to those great works. I have a few books on tape and DVD’s on the ready for when the storms come in length this winter.
How has your literature time been moving along?