PDA

View Full Version : Can I Build a Language Arts Curriculum on The Chronicles of Narnia?



mindfulhomeschooler
01-22-2013, 10:48 PM
So, I've been using Learning Language through Literature this year, and I hate it, and my son hates it, and it just seems kind of remedial compared to what we did with McRuffy last year. Well, I'm done. We started reading The Chronicles of Narnia together. He reads a paragraph, I read a paragraph (for two or three pages), and then I read the rest of the chapter aloud (while he, ideally, follows along with the words). I ask him questions about the characters and goings on - he's certainly comprehending it. We're not categorizing all the "short e" words, and I'm not pointing out adjectives or stuff like that. It almost feels like cheating. He retells (verbally) what we read in his own words. I feel like maybe I could incorporate a something where he draws a picture and a couple sentences about the chapter we read (to get some writing practice). Is that enough?

I am continuing to do Spectrum Spelling with him, so he does have a regular spelling gig.

We're both just so tired of the silly stories and games and what feels like busy work with a regular Language Arts curriculum. He's getting exposure to literature, a variety of words. We do a chapter or two a day. I don't want to cheat him on what he should know at this age (as the plan is for him to return to a public school at some point ... maybe). We've discussed parts of a sentence (verb, noun, pronoun, adjective), so he knows that stuff, but I don't see how this current approach will do much to reinforce that ... but it seems like, so long as he's reads well, that he could pretty easily pick up on that stuff in a classroom setting. Opinions?

dbmamaz
01-22-2013, 10:53 PM
i wish i could do that with my kids! i'm not good enough with lit to do that and i dont have much patience. but it sounds great to me!

farrarwilliams
01-22-2013, 10:57 PM
I think there already *is* one, but it's Christian. It's like Literary Lessons from LOTR but younger and Christiany... unless I'm misremembering.

This isn't so different from some of the Bravewriter things. I would add copywork or dictation if he can stand it. Otherwise, sounds awesome to me.

mindfulhomeschooler
01-22-2013, 11:11 PM
I have a Literature Unit for The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe from Teacher Created Materials. I think we'll just read the first book and maybe I'll add the picture/writing idea, then we'll do the "unit" stuff for the second book (LWW) - by then, maybe we'll have something worked out for the others.

I always cringe over how the Christian religion has laid claim on C.S. Lewis and these stories. The author wasn't void of Christianity, sure, but that doesn't make every word he wrote a dedication to Christ or a recruitment tool for the religion to young people. I remembering enjoying the books when I was young, and my son likes fantasy-type stuff, and the entire book set was $4 at the used book store :) I don't remember anything about them, but so far, I don't see much difference between this and Harry Potter and am pretty unclear why legalistic Christians would want to claim these stories ...

Great read: How “Christian” was C.S. Lewis… and Why is He an Evangelical Hero? (http://mikeduran.com/2007/08/how-%E2%80%9Cchristian%E2%80%9D-was-cs-lewis-and-why-is-he-an-evangelical-hero/)

On a different note, when I told a woman that I only used secular curriculum for my son, she asked me, "So, what do you have to look forward to? Like, what? You think you just die and that is it?" Of course, I was polite ... and once I got home, I thought of a dozen witty/snarky things to say. Ugh. Anyway.

mindfulhomeschooler
01-22-2013, 11:15 PM
"Christiany" ... LOL. I like that word.

farrarwilliams
01-22-2013, 11:43 PM
It makes sense to me why Christians "claim" them. And they are really, really Christian, IMO - the first and last ones especially, though Lewis's religion is pretty evident throughout - including some blatant anti-Muslim racism (boo, Telmarines) and some odd opinions about progressive education (poor Eustace and Jill at their ersatz-Summerhill). None of that undermines the overall quality of the books for me personally though. And as a child, I didn't see the Christian metaphors as clearly as I do now. In fact, I remember having a sudden realization of them when I re-read the books at age 13 or so and being very surprised.

Batgirl
01-23-2013, 12:05 AM
Yeah, C.S. Lewis was a passionate Christian. If you look for Christian allegory in the series, you'll find it in spades.

I have no idea why the Evangelical folks would like him that much or why they would try to "claim" him. As the essay you linked to points out, he was a staunch Anglican, not a Conservative Protestant.

Btw Farrah, weren't the Calormenes (?) the Muslims? I thought the Telmarines were descendants of shipwrecked sailors who got into Narnia by accident.

crazyme
01-31-2013, 04:01 PM
I'm not doing formal language arts until next year (5th grade), but we do have Latin and English from the Roots Up. When it applies, I print out worksheets from education.com to go with our lessons. (To review adverbs when they were introduced in Latin; etc.)

hockeymom
01-31-2013, 06:12 PM
It makes sense to me why Christians "claim" them. And they are really, really Christian, IMO - the first and last ones especially, though Lewis's religion is pretty evident throughout - including some blatant anti-Muslim racism (boo, Telmarines) and some odd opinions about progressive education (poor Eustace and Jill at their ersatz-Summerhill). None of that undermines the overall quality of the books for me personally though. And as a child, I didn't see the Christian metaphors as clearly as I do now. In fact, I remember having a sudden realization of them when I re-read the books at age 13 or so and being very surprised.

Well, it seems he didn't do a terribly good job in indoctrinating the innocent youth! I loved those books as a kid but had no idea about any religious-speak. I'd probably still be blissfully ignorant. :)

Tanuki
02-28-2013, 01:09 PM
Our 9 year old daughter has just started the Narnia series. Susan Bauer's "Writing with Ease" is used as a rough guide. At this young age (7-9), children don't need to write essays! After her reading a passage, I read a passage, followed by: summarizing what just happened, discussing the characters, and (briefly) identifying one or several parts of speech. Sometimes there will be a dictation.
This is such a wonderful part of the day! Right now, Veronica is admiring the Beaver family, wondering what motivates them to be good. "It's dangerous for them, why are they being nice to strangers?"

MrsLOLcat
02-28-2013, 01:14 PM
Ohhhh the places I could go. YES! Have him retell and write down his narrations for him, then let him see what you wrote (a la Writing With Ease). Once he gets good, he can do his own. Dictate passages or have him copy some to work on spelling, punctuation, etc., and work on one idea at a time. Pull out spelling/vocab words from the chapter. Learn dictionary and thesaurus skills (antonyms are particularly fun). There are a million ways you can use it, most of which you seem to already know, and it's definitely NOT cheating! :)

mindfulhomeschooler
03-06-2013, 08:40 PM
Ohhhh the places I could go. YES! Have him retell and write down his narrations for him, then let him see what you wrote (a la Writing With Ease). Once he gets good, he can do his own. Dictate passages or have him copy some to work on spelling, punctuation, etc., and work on one idea at a time. Pull out spelling/vocab words from the chapter. Learn dictionary and thesaurus skills (antonyms are particularly fun). There are a million ways you can use it, most of which you seem to already know, and it's definitely NOT cheating! :)

I like this idea. I've honestly gotten a little lazy about reading. The cold/flu stuff is still cycling through my house - spelling, piano, and math are the priority! I finally opened up Where in the World earlier this week, so I'm going to count some geography too :)