If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo...

Wow, choosing a focal point for The Girl's history and lit studies next year is HARD! She doesn't really have any historical interests that have come to light, so I'm just throwing some options together.

Current thoughts... I have two three four main ideas at the moment as to what she could do. Maybe some reader feedback could help a bit?

image courtesy of deviantart.com
Option A... The Fairytale Project:
A comparative study of major fairy tale forms (Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella,etc.), using the The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition, along with various versions of each fairy tale, including movies. Poetry, and even some Shakespeare (Midsummer Night's Dream) would be easy to work into this. I can see working in some world cultures too, as there are variations on the fairy tales throughout the world. This would also allow for bringing in more modern novels/fairy tales, such as The Sisters Grimm series, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

I know this isn't "history", but rather more strictly a literature study, but then she is only going into the seventh grade, has studied a fair amount of history already, and will be tackling it again in high school.

The Pioneer, by Robert T. Barrett
Option B... Pioneer Times:
I'd use books like the Little House books, Abraham Lincoln's World, Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie, Caddie Woodlawn, and some Native American resources as well (Birchbark House?). She could do hands-on projects -- making butter, quilting, and so forth. And there are plenty of movies and documentaries that could flesh this out. I'm kind of taking notes from The Prairie Primer, but that resource on the whole is too religious for me, thus the piecing it together myself.

I could see her going one of two ways with this... either really enjoying it, or really being bored by it by the end. And I don't know which is more likely, though if she enjoyed it, something fun to follow it up might be a homemade study based on Where the Brook and the River Meet (which features the Anne of Green Gables series, but again is too religious).

From Matilda, by Roald Dahl
Option C... Picture Perfect:
We would use selections from A Picture Perfect Childhood, which contains fantastic monthly lists of [picture] books related to famous people, historical events, the arts, Shakespeare, and more. Before you say "picture books are too young", consider this passage from the book:

There were times when I was dealing with my own teenagers that I found a picture book could better simplify things that were mournfully drawn-out and completely over a child's head in a dry text book. Sometimes a picture book made them care about a subject or a historical person whom they had not cared about before. Many times, a picture book condensed into a nutshell what I had spent the last hour trying to tell them. In history, a world and time zones that reach far and wide, I have found that a picture book can prove to be a capsule-size time machine which can be swallowed more easily than trying to climb and ride the whole elephant. 

And, Jim Trealease writes, in The Read Aloud Handbook: "A good story is a good story. Beautiful and stirring pictures can move fifteen-year-olds as well as five-year-olds. A picture(s) book should be someplace on the reading list of every class at every level."

image courtesy of kidlitfrenzy.com
And Option 4... Science with More:
My other thought was to pair up the Scientists in the Field series with either biographies or works of literature, depending on the exact book. For example, perhaps Digging for Bird Dinosaurs with The Dragon in the Cliff; Wild Horse Scientists with Misty of Chincoteague; Gorilla Doctors with either something on Diane Fosse, or My Life with the Chimpanzees; and perhaps The Frog Scientist with The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

I'm sure I will figure this out, or The Girl will help me figure it out, before September... I hope.

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