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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Breaking Free from Twaddle!

As a relative newcomer to homeschooling and fledgling CMer, there is one big hurdle I've had to hop. Making the transition from a textbook mindset to a living book mindset. I know Miss Mason is right about this one. It takes alot more engagement and observation to pull facts out of literature as opposed to having it all laid out in small digestable sections. For example, I have been letting the kids listen to an audio recording of Thornton Burgess's Animal Book I downloaded from Librivox. If you have never checked out Librivox, it is one of my new favorite sites. I am a huge fan of all Burgess's works as well as those of Clara Dillingham Pierson. They are full of rich text, engaging and delightful stories (I love reading them long after the kids have run off to vent some energy) packed full of facts. Chapter Five was what we listened to yesterday and it's all about squirrels which was also the reading lesson Lillie was working on from the American Schoolhouse Reader I checked out from the library. I was listening and found myself overwhelmed! I quickly snapped out of it and realized that my textbook mentality had taken over. I worried that they wouldn't recognize the facts for being so engaged in the story! Sure, using a textbook description of the gray squirrel and it's behavior would have been easier on me. I realized that I, as the teacher, would have to play the role of textbook, by pointing out facts and expounding on them and doing other activities to reinforce what we had read and learned. Using living books takes courage, it takes organization, and it takes more effort. But, I promise you it is so worth it!

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