Saturday, March 5, 2016

Our Reading Plans for the Next Year

I've never been an all-in-one boxed curriculum kind of gal.  The past two years, I've been semi-structured, by using a literature based unit study approach that was partially done for me.  It provided a variety of ideas, and I chose what suited our family.  It worked really well for us during the time that we needed that style, and honestly, I loved it.

However.  I can see the needs of our family changing.  Next year, I think we're heading in a different direction, for a multitude of reasons.  I believe I'll be using a history spine, but still relying on a living book approach.  For science, I'm looking for a balance of living books and quality demonstrations and experiments.  I have our math figured out of course, and I'm fairly certain I know what we're using for language arts.  That leaves me with literature.

Every literature program I've ever seen wants to break down a book piece by piece, looking for every analogy, dissecting the character's every move, comparing, contrasting, and stripping the book down until there's nothing left for the reader to enjoy.  My boys love science, and they're good at math.  When it comes to reading a book . . . they don't want study guides or to dwell on it forever analyzing and scrutinizing every word.  I'm seeing how that can suck the joy out of it for them.  They want to read, talk about their favorite parts, and move on.   Charlotte Mason.  I'm not sure how we really ventured away from this.

I think literary analysis has it's place, but sometimes we just want to read a book with no ulterior motive.  So we're moving that direction.  I want to keep it more Charlotte Mason in nature, more pure and natural.

I've decided that we're just going to keep it simple.


We might do the occasional "book report" or oral presentation, but it will not take precedence over reading for pleasure.  

I was going to craft a list myself, but instead of doing the research and planning,  I'm just going to keep it simple.  I chose two lists that, for the most part, should have good selections, at least the earlier choices.  I still plan to preview and choose at my discretion.

Caldecott Medal and Honor Books - These are given to the most distinguished American picture book.  This list will be perfect for my Preschooler and my 2nd grader, although I anticipate that some of the books should appeal to my 4th grader, just because of the subject matter and the more mature appearance of the books.

Newbery Medal and Honor Books  - This award is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  I'll be using this list primarily for my 4th grader, to narrow down some chapter book ideas when I don't have books to go with history, but I know that since it has picture books and we do most reading as a family, that the younger kids will enjoy them too.

I just like taking a list and marking through it, so I figured I'd start with the PDFs of their winners and see how long it takes us to get through them!

What do you use for your reading and literature curriculum?

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  1. Excellent. We are also going to read, narrate, notebook. Sounds simple, but it is so effective!!

  2. Sounds good! Enjoy!

  3. I have my kids do reading books and book reports. Right now we're in the midst of reviewing a book review type of product, but it goes beyond that. We'll see how it goes!

  4. Great plan! We occasionally use literature guides but for the most part our literature studies are relaxed. I make a list for each child before the start of the schoolyear. Then I look online for some activities or short quizzes to go along with the book. We do lots of discussion as they read so I know they are comprehending without overanalyzing. I want them to enjoy reading too!