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    #16
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    I will mention that our teachers spread out the readings. For instance if the weekly assignment is pages 21-30, they may read half the pages one day, half the next, then all of them for the second (and third) time. The final reading can be silent if the student is fluent.

    Blessings,
    Michelle T

    Comment


      #17
      Re: The case for Literature Guides?

      Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
      I feel the same way as the OP, no matter how many threads I’ve read or participated in about the guides! I just sense that having to go through it formally does take away some of the joy of reading, especially for little ones. I realize this isn’t how everyone experiences it! And the reading it three times sounds so unappealing. I’m just not convinced that the academic value gained in three readings or even two is worth leaving them not enjoying the reading experience as much. Maybe I’ll change my mind!
      One thing I've grown to adore about MP is the fact that everything is balanced. It's *just enough*. I like that we are only dissecting a select number of books each year. I think it's very good that we use other books as read-alouds and still countless others (on Martin's famous book list) are left for pleasure reading. That balance between read-aloud, literature and pleasure reading selections does bear fruit in the form of well-rounded readers when children are a bit older. In order for a child to become proficient in anything, he must practice. Try thinking of literature as similar to a mastery-based subject, just like math. We don't worry that hammering in the multiplication tables will prevent our children from someday loving algebra; quite the contrary. The child who knows his basic facts and can recite them quickly is the child who will someday do well in higher level math classes (or, at least, not make elementary mistakes). Likewise, the child who has a good command of language, who has developed fluency in reading aloud and the ability to read silently without merely skimming is the child who will do well with reading-related tasks throughout his education. It is easier to teach discipline early on (literature guides + repetition). Pleasurable pursuits (read-alouds, free-reading) will follow.

      Now that my older kids are, well, older *weary laugh*, I am so very glad I stayed the course with regard to formal literature lessons - and that I didn't add more (I fall on the other side of that fence). When a child engages in the systematic study of a few well-chosen books, s/he learns the usual things we want him/her to learn: fluency, good sentence structure, comprehension and so on. But as time goes on, that child will automatically begin to apply the same things he's learned in formal study to his pleasure reading. It's much the same as training a muscle - training a child by introducing the formal study of literature is unconsciously training his tastes, allowing him to recognize a well- written story (well-developed theme/plot/characters/so on) and ask himself thoughtful questions as he reads through a book purely for fun. He'll be able to succinctly articulate why he likes or dislikes a particular book or writing style instead of just repeating the oft-used and incredibly nebulous, "It's boring" or "It's stupid"...or worse, engage in a half an hour rambling critique based on faulty logic and sound bytes that leaves the instructor scratching his head. *laughs, cringes*
      Last edited by Mary; 03-27-2018, 01:17 PM. Reason: Cleaned up some messy sentences!
      Mary

      DD15 - 9th core + CLRC Ancient Greek I & Latin IV + VideoText math
      DS12 - 7th core + Novare Earth Science + CLRC HS Latin I + VideoText math
      DD8 - SC level 2

      Comment


        #18
        Re: The case for Literature Guides?

        Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
        I feel the same way as the OP, no matter how many threads I’ve read or participated in about the guides! I just sense that having to go through it formally does take away some of the joy of reading, especially for little ones. I realize this isn’t how everyone experiences it! And the reading it three times sounds so unappealing. I’m just not convinced that the academic value gained in three readings or even two is worth leaving them not enjoying the reading experience as much. Maybe I’ll change my mind!
        In 5th or 6th grade, I had heard or read some references to To Kill a Mockingbird. Being a young literature lover, I naturally rode my bike to the library, used the card catalog to locate a copy and checked out the book. (Oh to be a child of the 80’s 😊.) I read the book, thought it was a good story but wondered why it was mentioned as a must read or among great American novels.

        Four years later or so , I reread To Kill a Mockingbird when I had a marvelous high school English teacher assign it to us. I completed study guides, wrote essays, compared, contrasted and took tests on the book. To this day, it remains one of my favorite books. I’ve reread it again (maybe a couple of times?!?) but without a teacher slowing me down and showing me how to examine the literary and cultural nuances of a book, the deeper and more complex parts of the book would have been lost on me.

        I am passionate about literature and children and have had the same concerns you are expressing. Yet when I have tried to speed things up or cut things out, something is lost. Now to be clear, we don’t check every box or answer every comprehension question but we do slowly and intentionally examine a good piece of literature. It has not killed the joy of reading, but enhanced it. The books we’ve studied in school have become a part of our family culture. They are books that we’ve read, reread, discussed and interacted with. They are the books the kids reference in imaginary play or as explanations to other things.
        Heidi

        2018-19
        dd- 3m
        ds- SC 1
        dd- SC B

        Comment


          #19
          Re: The case for Literature Guides?

          Heidi,

          Your comparison is a good one. I was trying to think of a way to make clear that the point of MP's Literature *is* to use selected works to dig deep beyond the simple plot line. MOST young students will be reading the book through the first time to understand the plot only. Susan Wise Bauer of the Well Trained Mind calls the first read of any book, the grammar stage reading. She makes the case that every reader, 3-99yrs, reads the book through the first time to understand the plot. The second reading is the "slow down" (logic stage) where the reader begins to ask the important questions. The third time through is the rhetoric level, where the reader mentally interacts with the author.

          One piece that might be getting lost in this discussion is that MP's Lit guides ramp up in expectation. The lowest levels (K-2) might seem much like any other competitor's "comprehension guides", which only ask questions to see if the student was paying attention. In my 15 years of homeschooling, I have seen many types of comprehension guides, but one thing they all have in common is that they ask questions that check to see if the student caught the plot details. MP's guides are different, but you might not know this or see this unless you stick with them into 3rd grade or higher. The type of questions in MP guides begin to move from plot-based to composition based. In order to even answer some of the questions, the student must have at least the logic level of reading and understanding to do so, paired with the fact that the student is using "pre composition skills" to write out a complete, well written sentence for each of those answers. In Heidi, 5th grade Lit, my son is asked a high level thinking question at least every other chapter. I have been able to see that he *needs* help to think past the plot details because for years, that is all that has been asked of him. The MP guides, sequenced through the grades, take the student from "mere" plot and comprehension questions to higher level thinking. Not every student will need to read a chapter 3 times to get it, though. That is where the homeschooling teacher can make her own adjustments for the student.


          Jen
          DS, 27 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

          DS, 25 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

          DD, 22 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

          DS, 12 yrs, 8th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

          All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

          Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....

          Comment


            #20
            Re: The case for Literature Guides?

            Heidi, Mary, Jen—
            You are convincing me to keep on with the guides. I do have my son write out a complete sentence answer for each section. We do not reread the sections, though. I understand the value of rereads, but they seem better when more time is taken between reading the entire book. (Picture books are not a problem, since they are so short!) I think some of my feelings on this may not apply when studying at an older age. MP has chosen great literature, and I just really don’t want my kids’ memories of Little House in the Big Woods, for example, to be tarnished by the school part of it and then they have no interest in rereading on their own in a couple of years.....That sounds dramatic, but I don’t know how to put it better!
            Jen’s ending comment about it depending on the child could be part of this, too. My second grader remembers the details quite well so far, but it will very likely be a different experience with my next child.
            Thanks for the input!
            2019-20
            DS--9, 3M/4M
            DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
            DD--5, MP K
            DS--3
            DS--1

            Comment


              #21
              Re: The case for Literature Guides?

              Emily, not sure if this matters or not: I have my son read most of the literature selections *before* the Lit guide work. That allows the first time through to be "delight filled", snuggling under the covers at bedtime, and then when the book reappears for school, there is a sense of happiness ("Yay! I liked that book!"). Thus far, this strategy has worked well for us.

              One exception I made was for Heidi. I worried that it was a Girl Book and that my son would balk, so I didn't have him read it first. He is taking the final test today. He loved it (of course). The story is timeless... and Peter was a great hit around here, since he added the Boy Element to the story.




              Jen
              DS, 27 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

              DS, 25 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

              DD, 22 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

              DS, 12 yrs, 8th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

              All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

              Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....

              Comment


                #22
                Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                We also read or listen to most the books before we get to them as school books. My eldest has been eagerly anticipating the Beatrix Potter books that are at the end of 2nd grade.

                Jen, I like SWB’s descriptions of the different levels of reading. It made me think of how often we can reread Scripture and continually glean new applications and perspectives.
                Heidi

                2018-19
                dd- 3m
                ds- SC 1
                dd- SC B

                Comment


                  #23
                  Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                  Jen and Heidi,

                  Yes, I may consider having him listen to or read more of the selections before studying them for school. This has happened naturally with some books already, but I don't know why I thought I "should" be saving them for school. Thank you!

                  Emily
                  2019-20
                  DS--9, 3M/4M
                  DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
                  DD--5, MP K
                  DS--3
                  DS--1

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                    I know that this is a somewhat old thread. However, I am trying to go through the threads for middle school ages since my oldest daughter will be doing mostly full-time MP next year and I am trying to figure out what subjects to teach.

                    I have always had issues with the younger literature guides. They do not ask enough for a child who reads very well and can do basic reasoning at a young age. Stella did a Tapestry of Grace Dialectic literature co-op in 5th grade, and was the 2nd best student in the class (the top one was in 8th grade). She read the books once, but she followed the questions that TOG had and digested and understood them. While her written answers were not written with the degree of precision of an 8th grader, her oral statements during class, and her spur of the moment thought process when pressed on a question, were spot on. I do not think that she needed to read the books twice. I do understand that for older level books (maybe 7th/8th grade and beyond), the questions may require a re-reading for some students. I never did that for literature, and I did really well in school, college, and law school. I guess I am still not convinced.

                    Oh, I do think that the re-readings and younger literature guides, particularly with Cheryl Swope's tilt on them for special needs, will be a huge benefit to Clara. Clara has some diagnosed learning disabilities.
                    JeJe Greer
                    Mom to:
                    Stella (8M with 9th grade literature, writing, and Henle Latin)
                    Clara (Combination of SC 5/6 and 4th New User)

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                      Originally posted by jejegreer View Post
                      I know that this is a somewhat old thread. However, I am trying to go through the threads for middle school ages since my oldest daughter will be doing mostly full-time MP next year and I am trying to figure out what subjects to teach.

                      I have always had issues with the younger literature guides. They do not ask enough for a child who reads very well and can do basic reasoning at a young age. Stella did a Tapestry of Grace Dialectic literature co-op in 5th grade, and was the 2nd best student in the class (the top one was in 8th grade). She read the books once, but she followed the questions that TOG had and digested and understood them. While her written answers were not written with the degree of precision of an 8th grader, her oral statements during class, and her spur of the moment thought process when pressed on a question, were spot on. I do not think that she needed to read the books twice. I do understand that for older level books (maybe 7th/8th grade and beyond), the questions may require a re-reading for some students. I never did that for literature, and I did really well in school, college, and law school. I guess I am still not convinced.
                      Jeje,

                      My oldest daughter came to Memoria press full cores about the same age as your daughter. She also is gifted, particularly in language. We had tried MP earlier, but she HATED the literature guides for the younger grades. I think you will find the upper level guides (particularly 8+) challenging. As for rereading, she and my other kids have read many of the books before. I think the point to take away from some recent comments is that having read a book before isn't necessarily a reason to skip reading that same book for school even at the younger levels. Mine were never required to read the book again, but many times they did of their own free will. You need to know in your head what your goals are for your academic year and how each piece works toward that goal. My gifted daughter at that age needed to be forced to slow down her reading a bit...she is much more of a power reader, but rereads books she loves many, many times. She has shown she can and at the moment filling out literature guides is not her academic focus. I did let my daughter skip the Anne of green Gables guide to free up some time in her schedule because she could quote entire scenes from memory with different voices for the characters. She owned that book. I have occasionally let my kids swap out a guide if they really didn't like a book. I know most people advocate for following the curriculum guides exactly (a neat and tidy setup if it works) but with your daughters talents you may find that individual lesson plans will allow you to better place her in individual subjects.
                      Dorinda

                      For 2020-2021
                      DD 17-12th with MPOA(Classical Studies 3), CLRC (Latin 6, Greek 5), Thinkwell (Calculus and Chemistry), Vita Beata (Divine Comedy), American History
                      DS 15-9th with Lukeion(Latin 1 and Greek 1), Vita Beata (9th Literature)
                      DS 12-7th with Right Start Level H online class, Vita Beata (6th Literature)
                      DS 6 - 2nd blazing our own trail with Right Start D and a mix of MP materials

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                        Originally posted by Mom2mthj View Post
                        Jeje,

                        My oldest daughter came to Memoria press full cores about the same age as your daughter. She also is gifted, particularly in language. We had tried MP earlier, but she HATED the literature guides for the younger grades. I think you will find the upper level guides (particularly 8+) challenging. As for rereading, she and my other kids have read many of the books before. I think the point to take away from some recent comments is that having read a book before isn't necessarily a reason to skip reading that same book for school even at the younger levels. Mine were never required to read the book again, but many times they did of their own free will. You need to know in your head what your goals are for your academic year and how each piece works toward that goal. My gifted daughter at that age needed to be forced to slow down her reading a bit...she is much more of a power reader, but rereads books she loves many, many times. She has shown she can and at the moment filling out literature guides is not her academic focus. I did let my daughter skip the Anne of green Gables guide to free up some time in her schedule because she could quote entire scenes from memory with different voices for the characters. She owned that book. I have occasionally let my kids swap out a guide if they really didn't like a book. I know most people advocate for following the curriculum guides exactly (a neat and tidy setup if it works) but with your daughters talents you may find that individual lesson plans will allow you to better place her in individual subjects.

                        My 7yo reads at a 3rd-4th grade level so I don't require multiple readings from her. I do require her to read aloud to me for school as she is like Dorinda's daughter: a power reader who tends to skip conjunctions/transitions. These can totally change the meaning of a sentence so we've been working on pacing while reading. Next year, in 2nd grade, I will let her read to herself with occasional read-aloud "check ins". But because of where her reading abilities are, I don't make her do those second and third readings and will continue with one reading only.

                        I think the strongest support for the literature guides is the ability to put those amazing thoughts she has into writing. It's a different skill set than speaking. That doesn't mean she has to do every question though. They don't even do that at HLS. The guides also have some amazing, thought-provoking enrichment/discussion questions in them!
                        Last edited by jen1134; 05-04-2018, 09:43 AM.
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
                        DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
                        DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
                        DS11: SC 4
                        DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
                        DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
                        DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                          Originally posted by jen1134 View Post

                          I think the strongest support for the literature guides is the ability to put those amazing thoughts she has into writing. It's a different skill set than speaking. That doesn't mean she has to do every question though. They don't even do that at HLS. The guides also have some amazing, thought-provoking enrichment/discussion questions in them!
                          I had come here to post this very thing. My oldest, especially, is gifted at talking her way through some very thoughtful answers; however, her ability to put these into writing is seriously lacking. She, too, has read most of the selections that come with her cores each year but doing a close read and having to organize her thoughts into a written answer has been very good for her.
                          Mary

                          DD15 - 9th core + CLRC Ancient Greek I & Latin IV + VideoText math
                          DS12 - 7th core + Novare Earth Science + CLRC HS Latin I + VideoText math
                          DD8 - SC level 2

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                            What about the fact that there are so few literature guides a year? I certainly expect my daughter entering 6A, who reads about 2 books a week, to read more than 4 books a year. I would like to assign half of these other books so that they are literature, and not about Warrior Cats (please tell me someone else has a child obsessed with these books, who spends massive amounts of time reading them, and then acting them out with friends!). Coming from a much more Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool for the last 4 years, I am remiss to tell Stella that she only needs to read 4 decent books a year. I have a large list of books she should read, and when she should read them based upon her study of history. I guess I have to throw all that out since literature and history do not seem to correlate in MP. I am still not sure that I like this lack of correlation, and I am having second thoughts about using the whole MP curriculum because of this issue and because of a topic totally unrelated to the OP's post.
                            JeJe Greer
                            Mom to:
                            Stella (8M with 9th grade literature, writing, and Henle Latin)
                            Clara (Combination of SC 5/6 and 4th New User)

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                              Originally posted by jejegreer View Post
                              What about the fact that there are so few literature guides a year?

                              JeJe,

                              Coming from 10 years of Sonlighting, I really, really understand your concerns. My kids would read 25 readers a year, I'd read aloud another 12-15 books, and that didn't even count free reading at nights, plus the fact that my kids would *still* read about 2 books per week.


                              I have two thoughts to share with you on the Lit guides.



                              1. The MP Lit guides are much, much deeper than a "read through". They are meant to slow the student down to really analyze the book to a high academic level, hence one chapter every other day (depending on the lesson plan). The student will be asked to analyze the characters' motives, write essays on character development, and more. These guides are not about "knowing the plot" or even about enjoyment in reading these memorable book choices. Most of the books are highly valued Literature, as in books-an-educated-person-will-have-read. The Lit guides take the analysis of the book to a profound level, and the only way to do this is to analyze roughly one book per quarter. In 7th grade, those books will be analyzed to a level commensurate to what we might have done in high school when we were in school. The level of thinking will be high.



                              2. I still Sonlight. OK, Book Shark (a secular division of SL, 4 day a week only). I replace MP's grade level American readers and their read aloud packages with a single Book Shark package I choose. [Note, we also do the entire MP Core plans as written, replacing only those readers and read alouds.] That still gives my homeschool the "history arc" I like, gives my voracious reader assigned reading, and gives me something to read aloud. Doing both types of reading, I have made an amazing discovery: my son keeps the Book Shark reading in his short term memory *only* and can glibly discuss the plot while he is reading the book, but when I try to reach back to ask him about a previously read book, he can remember only the sketchy edges. The SL/BS method of "drinking from the fire hose" gives us a wide tapestry of historical content, but because it does not slow, dwell, nor require mastery, it often remains a blur to the student at the end of the year.

                              This was also my experience with my three older kids: I was flabbergasted to discover that they remembered nearly nothing (names, dates, facts) about our SL cores even one year later. In my Old Age, I have become a fan of Mastery Based learning, something in which MP excels.



                              But, back to the Lit guides. I like to think of them as "Literature vitamins". The student takes one dose per day, reading these high quality books with corresponding literature guide analysis, which frees up time for some potato chip reading in other forms. If your homeschool can support it (mine definitely can), then simply add a different set of "reading" for your child. Please understand though that reading and analyzing are specifically different sets of skills.


                              More thoughts? I'd be happy to keep this convo going!



                              Jen
                              DS, 27 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

                              DS, 25 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                              DD, 22 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

                              DS, 12 yrs, 8th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

                              All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

                              Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Re: The case for Literature Guides?

                                Originally posted by jejegreer View Post
                                What about the fact that there are so few literature guides a year? I certainly expect my daughter entering 6A, who reads about 2 books a week, to read more than 4 books a year. I would like to assign half of these other books so that they are literature, and not about Warrior Cats (please tell me someone else has a child obsessed with these books, who spends massive amounts of time reading them, and then acting them out with friends!). Coming from a much more Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool for the last 4 years, I am remiss to tell Stella that she only needs to read 4 decent books a year. I have a large list of books she should read, and when she should read them based upon her study of history. I guess I have to throw all that out since literature and history do not seem to correlate in MP. I am still not sure that I like this lack of correlation, and I am having second thoughts about using the whole MP curriculum because of this issue and because of a topic totally unrelated to the OP's post.
                                That may be the case for your daughter next year with 6A, but 7A has lots of reading! Besides the novels, there are the short stories and poems that actually constitute quite a bit of material. But, she'll also be reading the Iliad and Odyssey in their entirety, which, although under the subject of classical studies, certainly classify as literature in my book. When you put all of that together, there is A LOT of reading in 7A.
                                I get your point about wanting literature and history to line up, but that can be very limiting. Obviously The Trojan War will line up with FMOG, but the other literature choices are just excellent books that are so worthy of studying in depth, regardless of the time period in which they were written. MP's approach with this is actually what drew me away from a more lit/history-centric form of homeschooling. I love that kids do both Classical Studies and Modern Studies each year, and study quality literature that is just right for their age.
                                2018/2019
                                Dd 12: MP 7A and First Form Greek
                                Ds 10: MP 5M
                                Ds 5: MP K

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