Monday, September 17, 2007

Truthquest - Making a schedule

Step 1: Check out books from the library one section at a time and preread them

I have enjoyed almost every book that I have read so far on the TQ list. Michelle does an excellent job of commenting on which books are must reads and warning when an author in a particular book has a bias in a certain direction. So why do I continue to preread the books? (It's certainly not that I have an abundance of free time on my hands!! LOL) There are three reasons really. First, I am not a history buff. I am a math person. What I remember about history is a person or event and maybe a sentence about the event (ie. Balboa - first to see the Pacific). I can't just look at the table of contents and decide what topics are important and what can be skipped. Prereading helps me prioritize which topics are more important and which can be skimmed over or skipped. Second, I'm not good at off the cuff discussions. I need to read the book and have time to think it over. I have to take the time to decide ahead of time what points I want to discuss (character's motives, choices, or character for example); otherwise, the discussion just won't happen here. Finally, I know that some people enjoy meandering through TQ and spread the guides out over more than 1 year. While I want to take time to enjoy and discuss, I also want to keep us moving along. Prereading allows me to gauge more accurately how long it will take us to read through a particular book to make sure we keep moving along.

Step 2: Sort books into categories

Once I've read the book, I put it in one of the following categories: read aloud(noting how many days), assign to girl(s), or skip.

Step 3: Set up the weeks

Once I had gotten through the first dozen sections or so in the guide, I set up a table in Word. The first column tells what week it is, what topic, and lists what to read aloud. The next two column are for Jessie and Violet for listing books to assign. The final column is for activities. In it I jot down what to add to our timeline, what to summarize and make into booklets for our lapbook, and when to do maps.

Step 4: Add in projects

Projects are something we're trying to include more of this year. After I had some weeks set up, I went back through the guide and checked out the activity books. My goal is to do an additional project at least every other week. I usually pick the project, assign it, and then copy the instructions so that I will have them on hand.

I wish I could say that I got all of this done over the summer. Alas, I am only halfway through the guide, but my goal is to have it finished before Christmas so I can start thinking about the next school year. I can't post the list of books, but I will put up the schedule of weeks and topics noting which ones we only used spines to cover when I finally finish.

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