Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Annual Reading List, 2008/2009: Joel

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (read by Mama)
Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy (finished in August)
Fairy Tales
, by the Brothers Grimm
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
Pearls of Letra, by Brian Jacques
Redwall, by Brian Jacques
Martyrs of the Catacombs, by anonymous
Martin the Warrior, by Brian Jacques
Salamandastron, by Brian Jacques

George Washington Carver, by Geoff Benge
Cameron Townsend, by Geoff Benge
Amy Carmichael, by Geoff Benge

Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Grade 3 (finished in August)
Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Grade 4
How the Weather Works, Reader's Digest Books

Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar

I know it's been forever since I've posted anything, but life's been settling down and I have a bit of time today.

We took last week off, and I've added in a few things this week.  It's only Tuesday, but we're off to a bang-up start.

We used to parse passages of literature together each day.  I stopped because it was taking so much time that we seemed to have time for little else (I was aiming for an entire passage each day - too much!).  However, a conversation with a friend got me thinking about reinstituting and expanding this idea.  Debra commented, when I told her that I thought I might need to abandon rhetoric for awhile while covering logic with the older kids, that the trivium used to be taught in an integrated manner, instead of separated out into different subjects.  This really got me thinking (the more lumping together I can do, the happier we all are).  She also mentioned that the trivium was taught in one-room schoolhouses and that the younger learned much from listening in on the olders' lessons.  We work for an hour each day and pick up the next day where we left off the day before - line upon line, precept upon precept.

So far this week, we've parsed and diagrammed the first four sentences of Portia's courtroom speech from The Merchant of Venice.  We've also learned about ellipsis (leaving out a repeated a word or phrase or clause in a sentence).  We've been dealing with subordinate clauses, predicate adjectives, direct objects, etc. - pretty advanced stuff.  I use the Shurley question and answer flow, but we then parse according to Ed Vavra's KISS Grammar, (Google it, it's available free online) and diagram with the help of Mary Daly's Big Book of Diagrams.  We've jumped into the deep end of the pool and none of us seem to be drowning, yet; although yesterday, I had to ask for a life preserver from ClassEd when I hit a sentence that I just didn't know what to do with.

Once we're done parsing and diagramming, we'll look at the flow of argument in the speech and we'll look for rhetorical figures, tropes, and schemes.  The kids have started notebooks with their parsed and diagrammed sentences, a page for each figure with the definition and examples, and vocabulary.  The little ones will add copywork, which I set up using Educational Fontware.

We're having a really good time and we'll all learning bunches.  We'll be alternating between Shakespeare and the KJV Bible (for the poetic language) for awhile, but I'd like to be able to look at some of Churchill's speeches, our founding documents, and modern political speeches, as well as literature from Antiquity (where we'll be in history next year).