Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reading the Classics

We've been having the kids, and particularly E12, read classic literature this year. Up until now, the kids have read various titles based on interest alone, but this year we upped the ante on our 7th grader and he's had to read them even if the didn't find them exciting. Enter the novels of Jules Verne.

The first one E12 read was Journey to the Center of the Earth. Oh my goodness. You'd have thought we'd asked him to read the most awful thing in the known universe! He did a lot of reading and thinking on this book. We tried to incorporate some thought provoking questions or at least let him research a bit more on some topics at his request. I had found a nice set of questions which I have now misplaced the link to! I'll come back and add it when I find it. If I find it! He'd read 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, but he read this one again and enjoyed it. I8 has read the full version of Leagues too and thoroughly enjoys it each time.

For Christmas he received a new game- Around the World in 80 Days by Rio Grande Games. This game maker produces a lot of games we enjoy, so we hope this one will be enjoyable. However, I wouldn't let him play it until he'd read the story. A few years ago I started to write a unit for this book, but with opium dens, sacrificing women on funeral pyres, riding a train which runs over Native Americans, and the entire journey being the result of a bet...well we decided to put it on hold for a bit!

The motivation worked. E12 read the book and guess what. He actually found a Jules Verne book he enjoys and he admitted the first one he'd read wasn't so bad! Around the World in 80 Days came so highly recommended that R10 read it in short order as well.

Looks like a fun game play- we plan to try it out this week.

In addition to these classics, E12 has been participating in a Book Club for 7-9th graders this year. They gather having read the book and they watch the movie based on the book- usually the classic movie version. So far this year they've read Treasure Island, A Christmas Carol, and The Hobbit. Next on the list is To Kill a Mockingbird- this one is a bit mature, but we may go for it.

E12 isn't the only one reading classics...R10 just finished plowing through The Wind in the Willows. I8 has read a few as well, but it's hard for me to keep up these days!


Anonymous said...

I know this is a comment a bit off topic from this post, but I wanted to thank you for your blog posts on B4FIAR and FIAR. They have been very encouraging and helpful in my journey.

Debbie said...

My kids are younger, so they're not reading classics yet. However, I decided this year to use classics to read aloud to my 9-year-old son. I'm hoping it will give him enough of an appreciation to read them himself when he's older. So far this year, we've read Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates (which is a very long book), A Christmas Carol (which he listened to online), and The Hobbit (he loved that one). We're currently reading Swiss Family Robinson, which he's also enjoying. My list of future reads includes Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Just-So Stories, and Heidi.

Julie said...

I love reading your honesty on your blog. As parents, many times we are afraid to ask our kids to do something we know they will not like but it is actually nourishing their souls. I appreciate your approach to homeschooling and learn much from you!

On a side note: I asked our local librarian where the children's classical lit section was....he said there is no longer a classical category and books don't have such classifications. HUH???? I had to giggle...I truly know there are classics and that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)

God bless!

Heather said...

Thank you Ms. Homemaker! I'm glad the FIAR posts have been helpful to you!


Heather said...

Debbie- we have done read alouds on classics as well. When the kids were younger did that and they often would read on their own the book again. We also let them read the easier versions which peaked their interest enough that they would read the full version.

Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Smith Family Robinson just to name a few. Right now I'm reading Little Women to my daughter which she thoroughly enjoys!


Heather said...

Thank you Julie-

Jim Trelease talks a lot about doing what parents need to do in terms of reading. He cuts us no slack! If you've never read The Read Aloud Handbook it is a GREAT read!

And yeah...there are still classics! They are just alphabetical by author mixed in with the rif raf! haha


Anonymous said...

Heather, I just wanted to let you know how much I love reading your blog. I read it regularly, but never leave a comment. I feel as if I have a kindred spirit in you and in many of the HS materials that you recommend. I have 3 children in which two have learning disabilities. So many of my days are really challenging. Many of the ideas you share are encouraging. Maybe you feel like sometimes you are blogging to hardly no one....but "we're" out here and I just wanted to encourage you and say "thanks!!" Blessings, Hope

Heather said...

Aw Hope thanks so much! I don't get many comments so each one is very special to me!

Thanks for reading and I'm thankful it is an encouragement to you.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!