Sunday, July 3, 2011
Great Illustrated Classics
I have to admit, sometimes we homeschool moms don't feel comfortable veering too far from our "curriculums" and books that tell us exactly what to do and when to do it. One area where I struggled with this last year was Reading. I wanted to make sure Robert had the "skills" that go with reading. He was reading books that were listed on 5th and 6th grade reading lists, but I wanted the security of a book/curriculum/teacher's manual to tell me what he should be doing and when. However, this backfired on me. This Reading Curriculum we used was so remedial for where he was, it was more "busy work" and "review" for things he has been able to do for years.
I vowed to make a change to his Language Arts program this year to make it fun and challenging and still cover the skills he will need in these areas. I prayed about it and God led me to some changes that I wouldn't have necessarily chosen last year. I love it when He shows me ways He wants to mold me and change me and grow me. Clearly, He wants much more than just for me to educate my kiddos. He wants to teach me something too.
The first change I made was to his Spelling program. I'll save that for another post because I want to show it off. It ROCKS!
The second change I made was to give up on the "boxed" Reading program, trust my instincts and make something up that works for us. My sweet friend, Jewel told me about "Great Illustrated Classics". I love these books because they are shortened versions of the original classic books. I was thinking about how less daunting "The Call of the Wild" will seem in 9th grade, when a child read it in elementary school in a shortened, simplified version.
So far, I've hit a few used curriculum sales, some used bookstores and a few yard sales and I've found several of these great books. I've been able to add to our library for about $2 a book! We all know how much I love a bargain!
Our plan is to have him read the book, take a comprehension review test on Book Adventure (if one is available online, if not, I'll make one up), draw a picture from a scene in the book and write a brief summary about the book or his favorite part.
Robert is a child who LOVES to read. He ALWAYS has his nose in a book. Telling him we're going to the library or the used book store is like saying we're going to the park to Andrew. It's his idea of fun. I think this will be a much better fit for him and will continue his love for reading without burning him out on the "busy work" of labeling word families.
As we prepare for the upcoming school year, I hope this is encouragement to you homeschooling parents to trust your instincts. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box. It's easy to get caught up in the busy-work, the workbooks, etc., but YOU know your child. You know what he or she needs and is capable of doing. It's okay if they didn't complete a worksheet on it; if he knows it: he knows it. Be willing to think outside the box(ed curriculum) and enjoy a good book with your kiddos! Who knows, maybe you'll learn something too! :)
So far, I've found "Treasure Island", "Great Expectations", "The Jungle Book", "The Call of the Wild", "White Fang", "The Three Musketeers", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and "Around the World in 80 Days". I've saved the list in my iPhone, so when I'm out and I spot a book, I'll know if I have it already.