Friday, October 26

Highly Recommended

I must admit, when thinking about what I was going to blog about this morning, this topic did not come to mind. I will blog about what I was thinking about blogging about tomorrow. Does that make sense? Well, teaching the kids this morning went like most days do, and we got through it. Skaterboy is becoming a wonderful writer. He writes with such expression and is quite funny. I know he loves his writings, because he shows such amusement in his face when he reads his story to all of us. We are usually busting a gut afterward. This is such a wonderful accomplishment because just last spring I had emailed Karen Andreola for her insight regarding Skaterboy's narrations. They were very sketchy, and a few sentences at best. There was nothing creative about it. Skaterboy had explained to me, that they were never asked to do this sort of work in public school. They basically read books, and answered generic questions about the book to get a grade. Overall, no retention of the book or feelings were important to the teacher. A simple basic knowledge was all you needed to get a good grade. Now, I am not school bashing, but, and this is sad but true, Skaterboy's writing was abysmal. His penmanship was terrible. Now, I am all for modern technology, and the computer has become a popular spot in our home, but I think it is pathetic, that all written work at his old school, was to be turned in typed on a computer, notepad or power point. My son had not written hardly anything in the 2+ years he attended there. My son could tell me how many AR books he had read in the previous year, but couldn't even remember the names of most of them, or what was special about them. So when I brought him home, this is something that I hoped and prayed would develop over time. I wasn't positive that it would, but I hoped. Anyway, back to Karen Andreola. My friend Wendy had emailed me that she was currently reading Karen Andreola's, A Charlotte Mason Companion, and highly recommended it. So I bought the book, and read it cover to cover. Which I might add, I highly recommend any homeschool parent to read this book also. Even if you are using another program, this book will change your entire outlook on homeschooling. She gives wonderful advise on almost any topic. I especially love her nature notebook section. I am also using her ideas for beginning reading with my kindergartner, as well. So, at the end of the book, it stated that if anyone had any questions, that they should email her. So I did. I told her all about Skaterboy, and my frustrations. Well, she emailed me back the next day, from her kitchen, no less, and gave me some great advice on how to get him writing again. She said she had had the same problem with her son, and so she decided to write a book called Story Starters, to help him progress in his writing. So, I bought the book, and we have been using it ever since. What the book does is, it puts forth a story, from a living book. If you are familiar with Charlotte Mason's work, you will know what a living book is. However, the story stops in the middle. It is the student's job to figure out what happens next. In the beginning lessons, she will give ideas to the student, and offer the student suggestions on which way the story could turn. Ultimately, it is up to the student to figure out how they want the story to end. As the lessons progress, less of the story is provided for the student, and it is up to the student to write more of the story, with less suggestions given. It is a wonderful book. I highly recommend it. It can be used for any child from 3rd through 12th grade. Of course for the younger child, verbal narration is expected, not written. It can be used over and over again, year after year, as the child progresses. I am a big advocate of Charlotte Mason's teachings. I purchased her set of books last summer, and I must admit, although they are in written in the old style of English writing, they are very good. Since the writing is as such, it does take longer to read. I would advise anyone who is interested in Charlotte Mason to read The Charlotte Mason Companion first, or For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCaulley. I have not read For The Children's Sake yet, but I do own For The Family's Sake by her, and she does make quite a bit of reference to Charlotte Mason in there as well. It is also a wonderful companion book. There are others as, I have not mentioned, as well. Ambleside online, does have a website, and if you do a search on Ambleside or Charlotte Mason, it will come up. There is lots of helpful info on her there, and also teaching ideas as well.

The Canterville Ghost - This short story by Oscar Wilde was listed under our free movies On Demand. Today we watched this adaptation, and the children loved it. Skaterboy especially. He said it was probably one of the best movies he has ever seen. That's saying a lot for an 8th grader. So, if you don't have On Demand, your local library surely has this film. It is sure to enrich your soul. I highly recommend it.

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