We all have something that we love and when someone messes with it, it bothers us. Literature is this way for our family. We love literature. Reading is as necessary as air and water for us, it seems. (OK – a tad bit of exaggeration but you get the idea.)
When we began homeschooling, we did literature the way “schools” did it – read the book chapter by chapter and answer questions on vocabulary and themes, characters, setting, etc. Very quickly, we began to see the joy fading out of stories. So we changed.
We allowed the girls to pick from themes at the library and we did a lot of read alouds. This broadened their reading tastes, even if they didn’t like it, and we got a bundle of good discussions out of the family readings. We still do the read alouds (getting back to them after a busy summer!) but the girls have free range in the youth section at the library. We visit once a week and come home with lots and lots of stories.
Once in a while, we had a review product or I did some reading that suggested that perhaps they really needed to work with literature guides. So, we’d try that again. Writting answers to questions = frustrations and lack of joy in the story = lack of learning vocabulary and themes. This resulted in us stopping the use of literature guides.
**Side note: I like lit guides and I think they have their place. I am not saying we won’t be pulling them out again at some point, as I am sure we will for one reason or another. However, it is not going to be our main curriculum for literature anymore.**
Which brings me to our current plan – Story Spiels. We are still working out details but here is the gist of the plan:
- Each girl will pick a book from a predetermined listing, provided by At Home Dad and me.
- We will divide the book up into four sections. One section will be read each week. At Home Dad and I will be doing the reading, as well, if we have not recently read the book. (There are some books that may go longer than 4 weeks due to difficulty level, length, or interruptions.)
- On the given day each week, the girls will present their Story Spiels to the family. They will be expected to present main characters, settings, and important details (conflicts, resolutions, themes, struggles, etc.). Once in a while, we will also be requiring a creative product related to the story in some way.
- At Home Dad and I will have prepared a list of thoughts that we want to have a discussion about relating to that week’s reading. These will be done with all three girls present so that the younger can learn from the older and so that the older can contribute to the discussion with the younger when they have read the stories.
We are going to start this next week, so I am off to get the lists finalized. I will definitely be sharing those with you all, hopefully next Monday. I am excited about the Story Spiel idea. Our hope is that it will do all the things that a literature guide does but with more discussion and family interactions. Here’s to the ideas!