However, neither book has an age or grade designation. Instead of the repetitious workbook pages found in many English language textbooks, there is a mixture of oral composition or narration , memorization, written composition, and language exercises.
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Interesting old pictures—likely retained from the original books--are used as prompts for discussion, narration, and writing in some of the lessons. Charlotte Mason's philosophy is obvious in the methodology I have described. It's also clear as you read through each book and see the emphasis on thinking skills.
Charlotte Mason believed that young children should develop powers of observation and analysis. Some lessons tie in with nature, science, geography—enough so that you will probably need to use the recommended reference book or websites from time to time for your child to be able to answer the questions, especially with the second volume. There is plenty of room and encouragement to adapt either volume to suit your own needs.
For example, you might find that you end up sidetracking into some of the nature lessons further than originally intended, but that's the beauty of this type of learning. Volume One covers basic grammar skills necessary for beginning writing—complete sentences, types of sentences, capitalization, and punctuation.
Children are actually writing compositions by the end of the book. Literary excerpts used throughout the book are from fables, mythology, and poetry. Volume Two reviews sentences and moves on to paragraph writing. It also teaches nouns and their usage—common, proper, plural, and possessive; contractions; use of quotation marks; synonyms; homonyms; and letter writing.
This does not reflect the typical list of state standards that would at least include more coverage on different parts of speech.
In some ways e. English for the Thoughtful Child will work best for those who truly want to implement Charlotte Mason's ideas and are not worried about what everyone else might be covering at the same time. It is a different, yet very effective approach to language arts.
Classical educators might be divided over this book. Use entries in the Almanac to spur further discussion and research, whether in the classroom or library or on the Internet.
You may not know the answers, but perhaps you can find them together. In such cases, the journey is as important as the destination. Take every opportunity to turn your discussions or research into a tangible product. Write a poem, story, or original song.
Make bulletin board displays or a refrigerator gallery. You'll find specific suggestions for these in this guide.
The newest edition of Almanac for Kids is out!