Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott....


A couple months ago, I wrote about how I read along with my middle and high school students, as well as reading aloud. Ivanhoe is one such book that I read along with RileyAnn. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott is part of the Waverley Novels. It was originally published in 1819 and is an Ambleside Online Year 7 Literature pick. I have heard it said that Charlotte Mason had a Waverley Novel going at all times. This intrigued me. Ivanhoe was my first Waverley Novel.


Ivanhoe is a historic novel set in Northern England near the end of Richard I's reign. It takes place in Sheffield and Doncaster on the border of the Sherwood Forest sometime after 1066 AD and the Battle of Hastings, in which the Normans conquered the Saxons. Ivanhoe is the son of Cedric the Saxon and has left his roots to follow King Richard in the Crusades, causing him to become disinherited. Throughout the story, there are tensions between Cedric and his son, between the Normans and Saxons, and between the English people and the Jews. There is love and war, as well as good conquering evil. Robin Hood even makes an appearance.

As you might imagine based on the description above, Ivanhoe is entertaining with its high adventure. Though it is situated historically in the Middle Ages, many scholars have criticized its historical accuracy. Ivanhoe is considered more of a romance novel strictly for entertainment and not historic value. However, there were enough historical mentions to prompt me to do a bit more research into that time period. I think it's the perfect book to read when studying the Middle Ages! Riley and I both greatly enjoyed Ivanhoe so much more than expected and highly recommend it. It's a book I would consider reading again and would definitely encourage you to read along with your student.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Today is Prime Day...


I have been blogging here since 2011. When I began using this space to document our day to day, I had no idea what would happen. I couldn't have imagined nearly half a million hits and the overwhelmingly positive responses I would receive from you. I love the online fellowship that blogging has afforded me. I have even been blessed enough to meet some of you in person. 

When creating this space, I knew from the beginning I didn't want ads to plague my readers. Instead, I hoped it would be a quiet space of respite from this harried life we live. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about home educating and parenting. My heart desires to continue to give freely. Your comments and private messages have given me incentive to continue. 

With that said, after much thought and gnashing of teeth, I have decided to become an Amazon affiliate. I will still give freely as I can, but my links will be attached to a referral code so if you click and make a purchase, my family will receive bounties. 

Today is Amazon Prime Day! I humbly request that you please consider clicking through the linked image above when shopping through Amazon. Any purchases you make, even a free trial, could benefit our family. Any revenue generated from the affiliate links will help to continue content. There is no additional cost to you for using the affiliate links. It simply gives us a little stipend from Amazon. I still vow not to pepper this site with ads in the hope that you will find a quiet place here, in which to grow. 

Thanks so much for your consideration, 
Melissa 


Friday, June 29, 2018

How We Make Our Own Notebooks...


I often get questions about my kid's notebooks. Many people want to know how and where I have them bound. Today, I did an Instagram live on our notebooks and the tools I use to create them. Since those videos are only available for 24 hours, I thought I'd make a more permanent record here.

First off, a little history. We've been notebooking almost since the beginning of our homeschool. I found this approach early on after reading several blogs, but the one that I tried to emulate with Riley in 1st grade was Charlotte Mason Help by LindaFay. I think The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise may have also tipped me off on this method.

Very early on, I was hooked! I loved the creative outlet it afforded my kids. And, I loved the record that was left at the end of the year. I found notebooking to be a much better approach to workbooks, especially in subjects like history and science, because it encouraged long term retention unlike workbooks. They were able to keep their narrations, illustrations, diagrams, and mapwork all in one place.

We've tried many methods of notebooking over the years, including hole punching pages for a 3-ring binder, but sometimes the pages would rip out with excessive handling. We've used lined sewn composition books. We've also used blank drawing journals. One problem with a pre-made notebook is page count. I never know how many pages my kids will need each year for their notebooks and I have a guilt complex about not using up all the pages...OCD, I know! We have also tried picking up the notebook where we left off the previous year to finish out the pages, but my kids and I both prefer to keep each year separate so we can see the progression. One other problem is sometimes the kids want lines and sometimes they prefer a blank page. Pre-made notebooks offer one or the other, rarely both. This is where my current method comes in.

I keep a file folder full of misc. notebooking pages on my desk. Some of them I've printed from notebookingpages.com. Others, I've found randomly online. When I can't find exactly what I'm looking for, I create my own. I have a few templates saved in Word that I print when needed. After the kids finish their assigned reading, they pick a notebook page from the file and work through it. The kids know how to use the printer to make copies. They are required to refill the file with a half dozen more copies if they take the last page of that sort.

Throughout the year, they collect their completed pages in a folder. At the end of the year, I bind them. I used to take them to an office supply store for binding, but that added up financially. After doing some research, I found it was cheaper to invest in a binding machine and do it myself.

I purchased a ProClick Binder P-50 from Amazon. It's been a very good investment! I use it to bind the kid's notebooking pages, as well as lesson planners, book lists, PDF downloads, notes from seminars, and whatever else ails me. I also purchase poly covers for the pages I'm binding and of course, the spines. I use the 45 page and 85 page Easy Edit Spines. There were a few times I could have used the 110 page capacity, but I can only find them in a 100-count pack and didn't want to make that kind of investment. I like the Easy Edit Spines because they open easily so you can add or subtract pages if needed. You can buy comb-binding machines, but I would advise against them. From my experience, comb-bindings become brittle and break. I have never had any problems of this sort with the Pro-Click Binder spines.


One last note I'd like to make about our notebooks is in addition to the poly covers, I usually add a title page. On the kid's notebooks that I bind at the end of the year for record keeping, I use regular paper, often photocopying the cover of the resources they used/read throughout the year to create their pages. However, if it's a workbook or some other resource that will have frequent handling throughout the year, I use heavier cardstock for the cover page. This makes it more durable through continued wear and tear.

Overall, I have been very satisfied with my ProClick Binder and am glad I made the purchase. It's been a handy homeschool tool! If you are interested in purchasing, please consider clicking on my affiliate links below. Thanks!

 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer Mother Culture and Schole....


I realized I've been diligently working through reading my summer Mother Culture/Schole list of books, but haven't shared it with you. So, without further adieu, here you have it...

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - We have tickets to the Broadway Musical in December! I have never attended the musical, or watched the movie for that matter, so I thought it would be fun to read the book before attending. Earlier this spring, I re-assembled my Summer Schole Sisters reading group from two years ago and Les Mis it is. Being five volumes, it's a huge book! We plan to meet every couple of weeks to discuss one volume. We already met to discuss Vol. 1, Fantine, which was incredible! Next week, we will meet to discuss Vol. 2, Cosette. I can't wait! It's so delightful to have a group of friends to read and discuss with. I really do recommend finding your sister(s)!

The Liberal Arts Tradition by Clark and Jain - You may remember this book being on my Mother Culture list a couple of years ago. Sadly, I never made it through. However, my CM Study Group decided to pick it up this spring and now we are already nearing the end, with only one section left. I do plan to post a series of blogs, sharing my notes later this summer on The Liberal Arts Tradition. We've had great discussion!

Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley - This is a book I had scheduled for Riley in her third term. We both started, but didn't get through it so we vowed to finish this summer.

Vol. 1, Home Education & Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason - My CM Study group also read and discussed both of these volumes in the past. However, I will be returning to them this summer as I look ahead to our 2018-2019 academic year planning. Oh, and I still need to finish blogging through Vol. 1....ahem!

What books are you reading this summer to re-fill your mama cup? Feel free to share in the comments below...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Spring 2017-2018 Term Three Wrap-Up and Year End Reflections....


I've been reflecting on particular subjects from our 2017-2018 school year over the past few weeks as I prep for the 2018-2019 year. I love to look back at the end of our academic year. It's always shocking and reaffirming to see what we really did accomplish, as it's not always apparent in the day to day. I also like to do my next year's plan shortly after finishing our current year, while things are still fresh in my mind. I have learned that if I wait, our challenges and struggles become rose colored. This prompts me to plan unrealistically, which ultimately leads to failure. If for some reason I can't plan immediately, I make notes and do Mystie's Homeschool Audit at a minimum. That way, when I do plan, I can be more realistic which leads to future accountability and success.

Today, I'm completing a Term 3 wrap-up post, along with our year end reflections. I will post books read and resources used in Term 3 first. Then I will include some overall reflections of the total year at the end, including our hits and misses. You can see our Term 1 here and Term 2 here.

Year 8

You can find RileyAnn's Year 8 initial Curriculum Preview here. The list below is from Term 3.

Bible

Riley finished the AO Year 7 Bible Reading Plan and continued to copy Psalms in Do You Journible?

History

The New World by Winston Churchill (Chapters 1-10)

Riley also finished the Beautiful Feet Books Medieval History Study. I wrote a post specifically about her third term here...Beautiful Feet Books Medieval History It includes sample notebooking pages.

Literature

English Literature for Boys & Girls by H. E. Marshall (Chapters 1-49)
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Poetry

Riley studied the life and poetry of John Keats in Term 3 as suggested in AO Year 7.  She also finished the Prescripts Poetry book for practice with penmanship.

Grammar

Riley finished Easy Grammar 8, which I had on the shelf. I started using it with Angel, our older homeschool graduate, when she was in 8th grade, but it wasn't a good fit. Riley pulled it off the shelf after discontinuing Jensen's Grammar. She preferred Easy Grammar and did well completing it.

Spelling

Spelling had been a challenge for Riley throughout her younger years. However, last year, I started her on IEW's Phonetic Zoo and she showed great growth. This year, she finished Level A and began Level B.

Math

Riley completed Pre-Algebra using Margaret Lial's text through an online class.This was her second year of study under Mrs. Perkins and she has grown to love math. At this point, we plan to continue math online with My Homeschool Math Class through high school.

Science/Natural History

Riley finished the AO Year 7 Science readings, of which you can read more about here.


Year 7

You will find Ruben's 2017-2018 Year 7 Overall Curriculum Preview here.

Bible

Ruben completed the AO Year 6 Bible Reading Plan.

History

We read from Famous Men of the Renaissance & Reformation and finished the following historic literature books this term....

Morning Star of the Reformation by Andy Thomson
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI
Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
Michelangelo by Diane Stanley
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley

What in the World? Vol 2 Middle Ages: Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries by Diana Waring (audio)

You can read more about Ruben's Year 7 History here and see sample notebooking pages.

Literature

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Penmanship

Ruben completed Let's Write and Spell by Mary and Warren Johnson. He also copied assigned verses from Proverbs.

Grammar

See Morning Time below.

Composition

Ruben completed a good part of IEW's Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, of which you can read more about here.

Math

Ruben and I have been working through RightStart Level C. We have approx. 20 lessons left that we hope to finish this summer.

Science/Natural History

See Morning Time below.


Year 0 (Kindergarten)

I did not do formal kindergarten with Levi. Yet, he some how learned his letters with sounds, how to write his name, and some number skills. We read misc. books. He completed notebooking pages along side Ruben and often participated in our Morning Time. Overall, it was a great year. I was surprised by how much he picked up. You can read much more about his informal year here in Term 1 and Term 2. Levi showed much growth and many readiness skills for Year 1.


Morning Time

In our third term Morning Time, we read from and/or finished the following books...

In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (through page 102)
Simply Charlotte Mason's Picture Study Portfolio - da Vinci
How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger - We read the first few chapters of this book, but then stopped. The chapters were too long for a one sitting MT read. We may or may not pick it back up in the future.
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker
The Elements by Theodore Gray
Macbeth by Shakespeare
Man for All Seasons - we watched the movie version
The Story of Painting by Janson (through page 101)
Grammar-Land by M. L. Nesbitt

I wrote several posts about our Morning Time over the year. You can find them here....

2017-2018 Curriculum Preview - Morning Time
2017-2018 Morning Time Reflections - Six Weeks
Middle School Chemistry in Morning Time
Middle School Introductory Chemistry Wrap-Up


Misc. Fine Arts

Riley, Ruben, and Levi also participated in art classes through a local homeschool co-op during part of Term 2 and Term 3. In addition, we attended the Charlotte's Web musical, performed by our local children's theater.


Overall Reflections

Upon reflection of our year as a whole, each child showed tremendous growth. Riley stated math and spelling are both getting easier for her. Ruben picked up several assigned books and read them on his own. Levi was eager and voluntarily participating. He is very excited about beginning Year 1 in the fall. There is a sense of accomplishment as I look back.

Books we didn't get to or decided not to:

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges (Morning Time)
The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation by H. A. Guerber (Riley's History)
Lost Tools of Writing (Riley's Composition) 
Secrets of the Woods by Willliam Long (Ruben's Natural History)
School of the Woods by William Long (Ruben's Natural History)
The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder

My Hits

I loved reading along with Riley and Ruben! I found book discussions more enjoyable when we read independently and then came together to discuss, rather than me reading everything aloud. It was like having our own book club, which was very much something to look forward to.

Both Riley and Ruben made great progress in math this year!

Vol. 4, Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (Morning Time)
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin (Morning Time)
Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo (read aloud to Ruben)
Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli (family read aloud)
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (read alongside Riley)
Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden (family read aloud)
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (read aloud to Ruben)

My Misses

I didn't find time to work with Riley on composition. She continued to do independent written narrations, which certainly wasn't all bad. However, as she enters high school, I would like her composition focus to narrow on a few particular types of writing in addition to narration.

Ruben's natural history and science was a little weak. We spent a great amount of time on history, which we both love, as well as writing. However, that didn't leave enough time for some of the science books I had scheduled. Fortunately, Ruben's an avid outdoors man and he loves to tinker. So he does get a broad range of nature study and hands on learning aside from books.

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Morning Time)
Daughter in Time by Josephine Tey (read alongside Riley)
How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger (Morning Time) - didn't finish
Idylls of the King by Tennyson (Morning Time) - didn't finish
Macbeth by Shakespeare (Morning Time)

Riley's Hits

Beautiful Feet Medieval History
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
AO Year 7 Science

Riley's Misses

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Morning Time)
The Once and Future King by T. H. White - didn't finish
Daughter in Time by Josephine Tey
Classical Conversations Prescripts 

Ruben's Hits

The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin (Morning Time)
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury (Morning Time)
Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli (family read aloud)
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly

Ruben's Misses

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Morning Time)

After reflecting, I have set some goals for our 2018-2019 year which includes me working more closely with Riley on her writing. Also, I will continue to guide Ruben in gaining further independence with his studies. I may lighten his history load in order to add a little more science. Ruben also needs some work in spelling. Levi will begin formal reading lessons. I will also gently begin formal math with him, but the greater focus will be in the area of language arts. Now that I've wrapped up our 2017-2018 academic year, I am ready to focus on the 2018-2019 year! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Reflections on Ruben's History, Year 7....


Last week, I reflected on RileyAnn's Year 8 History and Science. This week, I'd like to take some time to focus on Ruben's Year 7 History study. At the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, I had a bit of trouble figuring out which books I wanted to use for Ruben's history. However, by the end of Term 1, I had settled on a plan, which I posted about here.

I did continue to use Famous Men of the Middle Ages and Famous Men of the Renaissance & Reformation, both by Robert G. Shearer of Greenleaf Press throughout the year. Initially, I wasn't sure how Ruben would handle these short biographical sketches of so many men from history. But in time, he actually grew to love the Famous Men series! I would typically read one sketch every other day. I also added a variety of living books, some of which were a part of Ruben's IEW Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, some were suggested in the Famous Men series, and some were books RileyAnn was reading in her Beautiful Feet Books Intermediate Medieval History study. I chose books based on overlap between these three programs and also from years of studying living book lists. The books we read included:

Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green
Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
Cathedral by David Macaulay
Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden
Magna Carta by C. W. Hodges
Adam of the Road by Janet Elizabeth Gray
Castle by David Macaulay
Marco Polo by Demi
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Apple and the Arrow by Conrad Buff
Morning Star of the Reformation by Andy Thomson
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI
Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
Michelangelo by Diane Stanley
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley

Some of the books I read aloud and some Ruben read independently. After each reading, I requested an oral narration or often times a written narration in the form of a notebooking page. The notebooking pages included a conglomeration of map work, hand drawn illustrations, writing, and coloring pages. We've used the notebooking approach for years and it seems to work and be favorable with each of my kids. Below are some samples of Ruben's pages throughout the year....


















Overall, we had a great year in history! I highly recommend each of the books we read. I'm very pleased with the variety of notebooking pages Ruben created. As you can see, I don't correct notebooking pages, but rather work with my students on the side to discover repeated errors in grammar and punctuation. In general, Ruben showed growth in his written narrations over the year, which was one of the goals set for him. We will continue with a similar approach to history in the fall as we move into American History.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Reflections on IEW Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons...



Late last summer, I did a curriculum preview, in which I shared that I would be using IEW's Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons by Lori Verstegen with Ruben. Today, I want to follow-up on that post with an end of year reflection.

First, a little about IEW...

There are nine structural models of writing taught in the IEW writing programs, which will take you from the early primary grades through high school writing. These include:

Note Making and Outlines
Writing from Notes
Retelling Narrative Stories
Summarizing a Reference
Writing from Pictures
Summarizing Multiple References
Inventive Writing
Formal Essay Models
Formal Critique and Response to Literature

Within these structural models, IEW has created lessons to guide the student in practice of different types of writing. The main essence of IEW is their Levels A, B, and C with continuation courses. As mentioned in the past, we dabbled in IEW Level B the year before and I was ready to branch out and try the History-Based Writing program. Each lesson in the History-Based Writing course is designed to take one to two weeks of study.

In addition to the nine structural models, IEW gradually introduces a variety of stylistic techniques to help the student develop more sophisticated writing. These include things like: dress-ups, sentence openers, and decorations. If you are not familiar with IEW, this most likely doesn't mean much to you. In order to teach IEW, you really should watch and participate in their Teaching Writing: Structure & Style course. As I mentioned in my former post, I did this many years ago, when I first began home educating.

I was on the fence about using IEW when I first learned about it, particularly with the girls. Angel learned to narrate as an older student, but did fine with it and the transition to writing. Riley's been narrating from day one and was an excellent oral narrator. She has also done fine with the transition to writing. I didn't want their writing to become formulaic by worrying about structure and style rather than their thought process. Ruben, on the other hand, has struggled with narration from day one. And, I'm not sure why. Sometimes, he does great with oral narration, but then sometimes not so much. There's no consistency. When we tried to transition to paper, there were major meltdowns and it just wasn't happening. This is what led me back to IEW. I felt he needed some structure to compose his thoughts. After testing with Level B, I knew we were on to something.

Next, a little about our experience...

Last fall, Ruben started really strong with key word outlining and retelling or summarizing narrative stories in the Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons. IEW offered a model of writing and then a way to break it down into manageable parts, which can then be reconstructed into a whole. This seemed to be the piece that Ruben needed. He worked the early lessons with ease and even starting improving in his oral narrations, which we continued along the way.

I also used the IEW suggested book list, tying together his history and literature study. This worked beautifully as most of the passages he was studying in his writing lessons were reinforced by story in the literature. The suggested books were as follows....

Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
1001 Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green
The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden
Marco Polo by Demi
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI

We did not read The King's Shadow as I didn't own it and wanted to substitute something else, but we did read all the others. Many of which became new favorites. A couple of the books Ruben even picked up and read on his own!

We did run into a snag toward the end of our journey around structural model six, Summarizing Multiple References, which does take a higher level of skill. We continued into structural model seven, Inventive Writing, until it really became a fight. Somewhere around lesson 23, we decided to call it quits. I then had Ruben focus on simple written narrations for the rest of the year. 

Overall, I feel our experience with IEW's Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons was successful. I thought the IEW models and literature were excellent and gave Ruben a great spring board for his writing. I do plan to continue with IEW's U.S History-Based Writing Lessons in the fall, as this will again match our time period of history. This will allow Ruben the opportunity for more practice with the early structural models of writing and should provide some review and repetition, which is needed for mastery. I will also have him continue with oral and some written narration as well. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Reflections on Ambleside Year 7 Science and Nature Study...


RileyAnn completed AO's Year 7 Science and Nature Study list of books this year. Yes, she was in 8th grade, but I don't fret over assigning certain books in certain grades. I look more for content and interest. Are the books I'm choosing going to meet my end goal? In this particular case, I was aiming for scientific literacy. Some of you may remember this post I did last summer on Scientific Literacy, in which I explained what it is and why it is important. With that said, the AO Year 7 suggested books held the variety of content I was looking for in order to foster scientific literacy at the middle school level. I want my students to have the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes that allows them freedom in personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. I want them to be able to ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. I want them to stand in wonder and awe of God's creation. I believe Riley's experience this year in AO science has given her that freedom.

The AO Year 7 Science books are living, making science come to life and allowing the student to make relations or connections within their own mind. I would even be inclined to read several of them as an adult, so I was certainly not worried about assigning them to my 14 year old.

After studying the way Charlotte Mason taught science in her school, as well as the way science is studied in other countries around the world, I was anxious to combine the various branches of science in one year. It was kind of an experiment to see how RileyAnn liked and learned from studying multiple streams of science at one time as we are in the decision making process for high school.

The books Riley read from and studied this year were....

Eric Sloane's Weather Book by Eric Sloane
The Social Life of Insects by Jean Henri Fabre
Secrets of the Universe: Discovering the Universal Laws of Science by Paul Fleisher
The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre
First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan
Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball (Intro, Ptolomy, Copernicus, and Brahe)
Lay of the Land by Dallas Lore Sharp

One thing about doing science by use of living books that I like is the fact that there's no workbooks. There is no comprehension, true/false, multiple choice questions. No preconceived notions, no one right answer. It's simply the student's mind dancing with the penned ideas of the author. In order to further develop these ideas and nurture relations, I do require my student to notebook as they read. Here's what that looked like for Riley...

At the beginning of the year, I gave her a schedule of the readings, which was roughly from two books per day since we schedule our school on a 4-day week. I then requested she complete one notebooking page per day based on her reading. That was it! Riley was free to choose which book she notebooked on and the topic of her notebooking page. To me, this was one written narration per day based on her science reading. Riley could write, draw, illustrate, copy a passage, or whatever else struck her that day. At the end of the year, I bound her pages into a book and I found the results quite amazing! Here is just a sample....



















 








This may seem like a lot of pages, but it's only about 6 out of 36 weeks worth of work. What strikes me about these pages is the diversity. Riley covered many streams of science including: biology, botany, animals and their habitat, astronomy, weather, physics, and chemistry. She didn't do a single stream per term, but rather, intermingled throughout the year. I'm really pleased with her level of competence. Riley's notebook pages far exceeded my expectations and I really believe she enjoyed the creativity she was afforded. We are still in the planning stages of high school, but I'm sure we will continue some measure of living books and notebooking throughout.