How to Use This Course
Literature Kits help your student study literature from the context of many different subjects. Each book can be read to the student by the parent, or it could be read to the family by the older students, if the book is being discussed together. This class is directed to elementary students and younger middle school students, as a way of discovering the joys of literature, discussing each book that is read from the point of view of history, geography, the Bible, etc. Fun activities help students retain the information. The book studies can be done in any order, covering each book as it fits your student’s schedule. The studies of the books are different lengths, depending upon the length of the book, but average 3-4 weeks each.
Welcome to Literature Kits! There is a place for worksheets, but I don’t believe literature resides there. It should be experienced. Talked about. Read out loud. Written about (okay, maybe begrudgingly at times). Tasted (nothing helps you experience a book like indulging in the treats your character is relishing) and explored. With that in mind, I will emphasize oral interaction and hands-on experiences versus completing multiple worksheets.
Living books breathe life into lessons. A unit study or literature kit shouldn’t suffocate it.
For example, the year I taught California History to my children, I didn’t use a textbook for my history curriculum. Instead I bought and borrowed mounds of books about that time period—both fiction and non-fiction—and we read together. A lot. Some of my children’s favorite memories from that year involved reading By the Great Horn Spoon and Treasures in the Stream aloud. When Praiseworthy and Jack rounded Cape Horn, my children grabbed the huge map of the world from our map stash, unrolled it on the floor, and proceeded to lie on their bellies, discussing the length of the journey in a ship compared to a car or plane trip in our time period. We talked about how far our city is from the gold mining areas (not far), as well as a myriad of other map-related subjects, and my husband shared a story about his trip to Panama while he was in the Navy. Later we visited the train museum in Old Town Sacramento which had loads of information about the Gold Rush, as well as touring Sutter’s Fort. My son’s 8th birthday party concluded our study of that era. We chose a ’49ers theme, and all of our food, games, and activities centered on the Gold Rush. All of the children enjoyed themselves, and it was a great way to finish our history lesson. They remember far more about that time period than the times we used a textbook and little else.
My hope is that these Literature Kits will help ignite your homeschooling and that you and your children will enjoy special moments together as you read these books. In addition, my desire is to provide tools to assist you in developing in your children a love of good literature; teaching them critical thinking skills; expanding their knowledge of the Bible, history, geography, and other subjects; developing their writing abilities; “traveling” as a family to fascinating times and places; creating fun art projects; and experiencing different foods and flavors.
As you look over the ideas in these Lit Kits, remember they are there to inspire and energize you, not to overwhelm you. If a suggestion makes you feel like you would rather be toting heavy boulders around the backyard, move on; choose the next thing on the list. We want to help our children grow in their knowledge and understanding of multiple subjects, and the more excited and motivated we are, the more that will pour out of us and affect our offspring.
I will continue the original format of focusing on a different piece of literature each month, providing new discussion questions and activities each week. Depending on the length of the book, we may cover one chapter and sometimes more. Each of the suggested activities will be categorized by subject (i.e., language arts). Many of these suggestions can be applied to other chapters and books.
So go! Print out the week’s suggestions, fix a pot of tea, gather your children around the table or allow them to fling themselves around the living room, and read to them. Don’t be afraid of the occasional interruption for questions or discussions. Sometimes stopping mid-chapter to look up things that pique their interest is a good thing. Gauge your children. If they are fidgety and seem bored, grab a suggested activity you think will interest them (i.e., getting the map and finding out where the story takes place, etc.), but don’t overwhelm them or have them begging you to stop. Leave them wanting more and your times together will be memorable and sweet.
Literature kits post every two months and focus on a different book with each unit; explore language arts, hands-on activities, recipes, history and geography, Bible, science, and more.
- Call It Courage
- All-of-A-Kind Family
- The Horse and His Boy
- The Quiltmaker’s Gift
- The Year of Miss Agnes
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- Where the Red Fern Grows
- Charlotte’s Web
- The Silver Chair
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- The Magician’s Nephew
- Prince Caspian
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