My Surprise Treasure

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This is the surprise treasure I found at the conference this past weekend. It is a basic novel study guide put together by Sheila Wray Gregoire. (If you click though, beware the Pink!)

I have often lamented the fact that novel studies cost $10 - $25 and can only be used once if the kids write in them. My most recent forays into novel study with the kids have ended in disaster. I'll spare you the messy details.

I was so excited when Sheila mentioned her new resource during her seminar at the conference. Mr. A is convinced that it was a barely disguised sales tactic (always the skeptic!), but I still say it was a timely answer to a question from the audience.

Before the end of the day, I popped back into Sheila's seminar room and bought a copy for myself. I'm excited to have a guide to help us through a novel study but I'm also excited that I have a flexible resource aimed at older homeschooling kids.

At first glance, the 'Any Novel' Novel Study guide looks simple, straightforward and easy to use. It's laid out neatly without a lot of fluff and filler.

The section for students takes off from the starting line. The reader is to map out the work into a manageable schedule. There are even check boxes for those who like such thing.

The Guide then flows through the major components of any good study guide: understanding character, plot, theme and setting.

There are different kinds of projects and exercises for the student to choose from throughout. There are vocabulary exercises, writing prompts, art projects and craft suggestions. Lots of choice allowing the Guide to be used over and over again.

The parent guide is written to keep you in the loop. It lets you know what your student is working on thereby reducing the over-the-shoulder-itis that we parents sometimes succumb to.
When I use this novel study, I am going to remove the parent guide and give the rest of it to the kids. They are at an age where I can expect more independent work from them but they still need some guidance to stay on track. I think this resource has just enough coaching to get the job done.

We're not big on marking and grades. However, as the kids are noticing their friends getting marked and graded on everything, the conversation does come up. We probably won't mark a novel study, but the marking scheme is there. I know the Girl Child will go over it and quietly consider her her work against the marking scheme. The Boy, if he finds the chart, will pester me until I assign him a mark.

And there you have it: a straightforward novel study master. Just plug in your own novel. I bought my hard copy for $20. A download purchase costs $14.95 ($15.65 CAD). The link is here. Just for the record, that's quite a page of advertisement. The link to buy is down at the bottom. I'll be sure to chronicle our first foray into novel study land. Messy details and all.

Mrs. A

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