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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hard Decisions

There are times when it is hard to decide what would be purposeful for our children and what would be challenging or just a plain waste of time. I have this dilemma now with history this week. I'm awaiting the arrival of a book that would serve as a spine for this week and I've explored the other two options I have.

In TOG there is a multitude of ways to use it and implement their book selections to fit your child. Camille is teetering between lower grammar (1-3) and upper grammar (4-6) and it is hard for me to know what is appropriate and right for her all the time, each week. I recently discovered that I have already read 2-3 books aloud to her that have been deemed for Dialectic stage (7-9th) and looking back I just don't know why. When I see Upper Grammar and Dialectic- I see students that can read on their own and possibly the books contain more mature themes.

It wasn't my intention to pick books that were harder, the books I chose in the past seemed to be the right book then. I'm not fretting about this but I do consider my mistake now as I'm trying to determine the correct course of action for our week ahead.

If I were to read SOTW as it is outlined in TOG, we'd read chapters 23-27 covering The First Russians, The Ottoman Empire, The Hundred Years' War and the War of the Roses. Those topics would take all the time I'm willing to use for history.

If I were to read The Story of the Middle Ages by Harding, we'd cover Medieval Europe in more detail, much more than what Camille has been given but key points would be addressed and the reading would not be long.

The problem is both of the above options while doable are deemed upper grammar and this is the first time in two years, I don't want to read The Story of the World. The objectives in TOG for this week for lower grammar is to learn about Joan of Arc, learn about the plague, guilds and craftsmen and the impact they made on Medieval Europe. With Camille in mind, taking the lower grammar route seems best.

I can tie our study of the Mongols to the plague and then from there we can read about Joan of Arc with the coloring book by Guiteras or I could read Diane Stanley's book. We can read about the guilds and craftsmen as well as the medicine practices during the plague in The Middle Ages by Mary Quigley. Since I don't have the Medieval World spine I'm waiting for I can use our Usborne World History Encyclopedia and then we'll be able to read Medieval Feast by Aliki and The Squire and the Scroll by Jennie Bishop.

I know the right answer, it just feels weird deviating from The Story of the World after reading it all year. I have no problem dismissing The Story of the Middle Ages and even Famous Men of the Middle Ages because we have not been reading them all year. If we had, we would read them now- they are just hard to 'jump' into.

I knew that switching to TOG would mean some changes both in my approach but also in our lesson structure. I'm grateful that I have a path to follow to keep it on Camille's level even though I don't regret what we've done so far either. Although justified, I feel a little weird about this week but I know that this will give me plenty of opportunity to focus on narrations both oral and written. It's going to be an easy-going week for us in history.



Chris said...

One of the nicest things about the classical method is the 4 year cycle--you don't have to worry about covering every topic, or even about covering the topics you choose in great detail, because you will be cycling thru at a deeper level 2 more times.
One thing that's helped me is knowing I don't have to do everything in chronological order--I mean, I do in the main lessons, but sometimes we pick up interesting books or stories that go back a bit or ahead a bit. So, if you wanted to read those parts of SOTW that you skipped, you can, later--it's really ok. Also, if you ALWAYS link things together, dc will have to "unlink" later to make new connections, instead of making her own links in the first place--so it's also ok to do things that seem unrelated, just because they are interesting. It provides review, too, to come back to topics or go in a different directions with new topics. The web of connections is very closely knit and very, very large--I just say this to encourage you--you are doing fine, and I think your plan will work out for your Camille.
Have a great day!

LisaWA said...

I was going to mention what Chris did, but say the beauty of TOG is Camille will go through year 2... 2 more times?? Same curriculum....

You might already realize this, but by looking at what grammar level cover and the Dailect, you can reserve something that overlaps for the next rotation.

This is normally where people freak, because they want to make sure they are covering it all... but by doing that burn out.

You are not doing this... You clearly stated that... just ecpressing where others have had a hurdle... me included at one point...

This was one of my favortie weeks! The Stanley books are great! I have many of hers still!

I look forard to your weekly report! *Ü* It will be a good week.


LisaWA said...

Oh for goodness sake! Can I get a spell check!? Sorry about all that..