Sunday, July 15, 2012

Literature List for 6th Grade

For Violet this year, I'm trying to slowly increase the complexity and depth of her reading to move from basic narration to more discussion, but I've also included a few easier books that I believe she will enjoy as well to provide balance and keep her from hating literature.  Here's what I've come up with for 6th grade:
  • The Reluctant Dragon by Grahame
  • From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs.Basil E.Frankweiler by Konigsburg
  • Lassie Come Home by Knight
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Irving
  • Rip Van Winkle by Irving
  • My Friend Flicka by O'Hara
  • A Christmas Carol by Dickens
  • Tuck Everlasting by Babbitt
  • Rascal by North
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Juster
  • National Velvet by Bagnold
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Twain
  • Big Red by Kjelgaard
  • The Hobbit by Tolkien

Friday, July 13, 2012

Literature list for 8th Grade

This is my preliminary list for Jessie's upcoming year.  Most of the books on the list I have read but it's been awhile, so I'm planning to read through as many this summer as I can.  As I read, I expect to move a few books between lists and I'll probably need to add more books to the lower list simply because Jessie reads so quickly.  If you have any other suggestion, please leave a comment.

Books for deeper analysis and discussion.
  • Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan
  • Pride and Prejudice by Austen
  • Oliver Twist by Dickens
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens
  • Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Stevenson
  • The Time Machine by Wells
  • The War of the Worlds by Wells
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Twain
  • The Call of the Wild by London
  • White Fang by London
  • The Yearling by Rawlings
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Rawls

Books to discuss after reading independently
  • Rob Roy by Scott
  • Ivanhoe by Scott
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas
  • Children of the New Forest by Marryat
  • The Coral Island by Ballantyne
  • Captains Courageous by Kipling
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Doyle
  • Cheaper by the Dozen by Gilbreth
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Bradberry
  • Old Yeller by Gipson
  • A Watership Down by Adams
  • The Never Ending Story by Ende

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Goals for the Next Year Part 3 - 3rd Grade

Goals for Benny's 3rd Grade

Memorize addition/subtraction factsDaily math drill with a combination of Flashmaster, flashcards, and other methods.
Improve basic computation skillsComplete Singapore level 3 and CWP series
Work on multiplication and division factsComplete Singapore level 3 and supplement with math drill
Learn basic bar diagrams for solving word problems.Complete Singapore level 3 CWP

Language Arts - Reading/Literature
Improve reading and comprehension skillsContinue read alouds, sometimes with narration.  Daily assigned reading aloud or independent reading with oral narration.  Scheduled 30 minutes of free reading.
Improve confidence and increase reading enjoyment.Schedule 30 minutes of free reading with variety of books for boys.

Language Arts - Writing
Master cursiveDaily copywork exercises
Eliminate extra capital letters in printingCorrect across curriculum as occurs.  Work on dictation exercises.
Begin working on written narration skills.CW Aesop and dictation.
Increase complexity of copywork and dictation.Copywork and dictation exercises and CW Aesop.

Language Arts - Grammar & Spelling
Learn and memorize definitions for 8 parts of speechComplete R&S 3 and add grammar cards to memory box.
Practice identifying basic parts of speech and learn basic sentence diagramming skillsComplete Rod & Staff 3 and grammar exercises in Aesop.
Continue to improve on spelling skillsComplete SWO C and D

Cover American historical events through modern timesRead resources recommended in TruthQuest AHYS 2 and 3.

Exposure to the basics of chemistry and ecologyComplete God's Design for Chemistry and Ecology series.
Increase enjoyment of science.Complete as many hands on activities as possible. 

Continue working on critical thinking and reasoning skills.Complete Building Thinking Skills 1 and DooRiddles books.  Introduce sudoku puzzles and play logic games.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Indian in the Cupboard - Book 20 of 52 in 52

 I've been trying to find some new book ideas for my 8yo boy to read.  He's currently slogging away through the 5th Harry Potter book, so I've been trying to find some shorter lighter reads for him.  The Indian in the Cupboard by Banks is a delightful tale of a nine year old boy name Omri who receives for his birthday a plastic Indian from his best friend and an old discarded medicine cupboard from one of brothers.  His mother just happens to have a key that works the lock, so he decides to place the Indian in the cupboard for the night.  The cupboard door has not been closed long when he begins to hear noises coming from  the inside and opens the door to find his plastic Indian is now very much alive.  Little Bear is an Iroquois Indian from the time of the early settlement of North America by the French and English.  Omri does his best to provide the Indian with the things he needs:  a seed tray of dirt on which to build a longhouse, supplies for the longhouse, a horse to ride, food to eat, and even a bow and arrow.  At the same time, he is trying his best to keep his secret from his family because he is afraid that Little Bear will be taken away somewhere to be studied if he is found.  Keeping the secret becomes more complicated after he shares it with his friend Patrick, who demands his cowboy be brought to life.  Now Omri has two men and two horses to care for and keep peace between while at the same time trying to make Patrick understand that the men may be small but that they are real people not simple toys that can be ordered about.  Things promise to become even more complicated when Little Bear demands a wife. 

I found the story to be well written with an interesting premise.  Who hasn't wished at one point or another that a certain special toy or stuffed animal could actually be real?  At the same time, I think the book does an excellent job of bringing out the complexities of such an occurrence.  A toy that is alive is really no longer a toy.  Omri wrestles to balance between not ordering the Indian around and respecting him while at the same time not allowing the Indian to order him around either.  He also shows great maturity in realizing that the men are real human being that deserve care and respect.  I would recommend it for ages 7 and up.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Time Machine - Book 19 of 52 in 52

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells is one of several science fiction works written by the author in the late 19th century.  The novella begins in the Time Traveller's home in England with a discussion of time being the fourth dimension and the possibility of being able to move through time just as easily as people move through three dimensional space.  The Time Traveller demonstrates his ideas with a small working model and announces to his friends his intention to travel in his full scale machine as soon as it is finished.  The following week, he turns up late for his own dinner party, walking with a limp with a completely disheveled appearance and an amazing tale of his travels. 

The Time Traveller used his machine to travel to London, England in the year 802701 A.D.  He encounters a small weak and childish group of people called the Eloi who live in a the remains of what once was a great civilization based on the remains of the buildings.  Seeing no sign of disease or weeds or pests, the Traveller surmises that science must have completely conquered nature and these remaining beings having no outside force of nature with which to contend had lost their physical and mental strength over time from lack of use.  Then when his time machine mysteriously vanishes, the Traveller become more interested in the wells in the ground that appear to be ventilation shafts.  Climbing down inside a shaft, he discovers a second group of what were once people, the Morlocks.  The Morlocks lurk in the darkness and are afraid of light, but seeing the remains of one of their meals on a table the traveller realizes that they must come to the surface under the cover of darkness to capture Eloi for the food source.  After 8 days, he finally manages to find his time machine and just barely elude the Morlocks and continues to travel farther into the future.  All signs of human life disappear and the sun becomes gradually larger and redder in the sky.  At last he reverses course and returns to his own time bringing with him only two wilted flowers as proof of his trip.

The book ends with the narrator awaiting the return of the traveller from a second trip for which he has been gone three years.

I actually picked this up in preparation for the upcoming school year because I thought it would make an easy book to start teaching worldview analysis to my rising 8th grader.  There is plenty of commentary of the problems of communism and capitalism juxtaposed with a huge dose of Darwinism to discuss, but I have to say I was actually pleasantly surprised to find the story very readable and interesting as well.  It will never make one of my all time favorites because of its pessimistic outlook, but I'd say it's definitely worth reading at least once.  I'd recommend it for 8th grade and up.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Richard III - Book 18 of 52 in 52

Richard III is the second of Shakespeare's historical series of plays that DD and I read this spring.  Richard III is set in England during the rise and brief reign of King Richard III in the 1480s.  In his villainous rise to power, Richard works to divide the court of his brother King Edward IV of England by blaming the death of his brother Clarence (which he orchestrated) on the queen and her relations.  Along the way he manages to seduce Lady Anne despite the fact that he killed her father and her husband and defame and murder Edward's two rightful sons.  Although he is able to stop an initial rebellion by Buckingham, he is finally defeated by the forces of Henry Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth Field, which ended the War of the Roses.

I would recommend this book for ages 13 and up.