Friday, 8 December 2017

December Inspiration

London feels chilly today. My children are hoping for snow! The photo is from a Park Run a couple of weeks ago when the frost was thick and my feet were cold.

It isn't always easy to get up when outside is dark. This article is a very practical list of 102 ways to start your homeschool morning out right.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology has a guide to making STEM toys using cheap and cheerful items. I know that one of my children is going to love these ideas.

Hedgehogs are becoming rare. For anyone who lives in a London borough and who has access to a garden, Wildlife London will provide hedgehog detective kits on a first come, first served basis. An ideal opportunity to be involved in some worthwhile research.

This year, I have been working on the 2017 Christian Reading Challenge. I don't think that I will complete every category but it has been a stimulating challenge which has expanded my reading. My progress is here-the list of books read is first followed by the categories in the Reading Challenge. This week, the list for the 2018 Challenge has come out.

Annie Kate has published a review of a book called The Fundamentals of Literature. I haven't read the book but she follows it with a summary of concepts in English literature from a Christian world view. If you want the name of an eight verse stanza or the difference between blank verse and free verse, this is your opportunity.

Do let me know about articles that you find useful. 


If you enjoyed this post you may like to follow Delivering Grace by Google Friend Connect, G+,Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or e-mail.




Friday, 1 December 2017

Tweens Book Club

My tweens book club has now been running for over two years. This is a quick overview which hopefully, may be helpful for anyone else thinking of running a book group.

The book club meets fortnightly at our local home education group. Group sessions last about half an hour. Currently, the group ranges from 10 to 13. Members of the group include a wide range of reading ability.

The aims of the group are to
  • encourage the group to read wholesome literature.
  • to read critically.
  • to introduce a wider range of books that the child might choose to read.
How the group works

The tweenagers meet separately for their book club. The group reads two books per term.
Criteria for the books are
  • well written 
  • acceptable from a Christian worldview
  • available in some format for less than £5.
  • not another in a series from which we have already read a book
I always pre-read the books and think this is vital. Roughly, 50% of the books that I preread are not suitable. Reasons for not choosing a book have included
  • racism
  • just didn't pull me into the story
  • too expensive or would take too long to arrive
The whole of the book club isn't devoted to the current book. We also have a time when the children recommend books to their friends and loan out books. When another child reads a recommended book, they and the child recommending both have a point. At the end of term, there are small rewards. Last term, these were bendy pencils. 

In terms of discussing the current book, I have found reading Deconstructing Penguins invaluable. Some books have lent themselves to more discussion than others. I try to keep a list of open ended questions:
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • How would you rewrite the ending?
  • What do you think is the point of this book?
  • What do you think of x character?
  • How has y changed?
The book club does not include asking the children to read aloud. In theory, I meant to start a new book by reading the first chapter aloud but so far this hasn't happened. Maybe, for the next book!

In addition, from time to time, I add an extra. These have included

  • each child taking turns to have three book recommendations from me. I used a form to ascertain the type of books that they had enjoyed/not enjoyed. If anyone wants to do this, please be warned that this involves a lot of prereading. I spent one summer reading children's books to recommend. This idea was stolen from A Modern Mrs Darcy although I did modify it a little.
  • being a judging panel for the Royal Society Young People's Science Prize.
  • a quick presentation about the background of a book.
  • a session of poetry. 

Books that we have read have included
  • Gentle Ben
  • Journey to the River Sea
  • Jungle Doctor to the Rescue
  • The boy who biked the World
  • Number the Stars
  • The Long Winter
  • One Great Purpose: Jim Elliot
  • My side of the Mountain
Useful sources for book club ideas 
  • Veritas booklists
  • Readaloud Revival
  • Sonlight booklists
  • Ambleside online free reading suggestions
  • Friends and family
I would love to know how other book clubs run and any book recommendations for my group. Thank you!

If you enjoyed this post you may like to follow Delivering Grace by Google Friend Connect, G+,Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or e-mail.