Somewhere in the last month I read an article about a 40 books reading challenge. A teacher had challenged her class to read 40 books for the school year. The theory is that this will foster a love of reading. It sounded like a good idea. I did a quick search so I could let you know where I first read about it and I discovered that this challenge has been around a long time.
Yak has reading assignments for school, but he does not really enjoy them, and he gets through them as quickly and minimally as possible.
There is much discussion and many variations on the 40 book challenge, but I kept ours simple. My goals are to get the boy reading for pleasure again, and expand his teenage mind beyond video games. With this in mind, we set some ground rules:
Yak will read:
Books must be:
at least 200 pages (not including index, etc.)
over 300 pages = 2 books
must not be objectionable to mom
prize book not to exceed $20 unless mom okays it.
There will be a bigger prize at the 1/2 way mark (20 books read). This is not decided yet, but may involve pizza, a special dinner out, a trip to a trampoline park, or some other excursion.
There will be a grand prize when the goal of 40 books read is reached. Disneyland is a possibility, or maybe a water park. Not for sure there yet, either.
A journal must be kept, documenting:
name of book
how well he liked it
main points he noticed
So far he is on track with a book a week, and well on the way to his first prize. I am enjoying our book discussions (I try to read what he is reading) and they also help me to determine whether he is actually reading!
We have been planning for high school for several months, now. Yak, currently taking a fun break, will spend a couple more months in “8th grade”, then start “9th grade” in or around September. According to conventional standards, he should be in 8th grade in September. The beauty of homeschool is not having to bow to conventional standards. Some may ask how I determine his grade level. I pretty much go by the math book, as his abilities are all over the board. To take a standardized test would just defeat the purpose.
To place him in high school now, is to give him a challenge that he is ready for. More targeted studies. Preparing to decide if he will continue to study in college/university or learn a trade. Or start a business. To give him the responsibility to choose a direction and explore it in detail.
He will continue with Algebra and higher math, but also complete a consumer math course. He will continue with daily essays and reading. He will start to look at different career paths and explore courses and activities related to them. He will start practicing for the SATs. We are using High School of your Dreams, by Nancy Nicholson, available through Catholic Heritage Curriculum as a rough guideline. It provides general information on credit hours required for each subject, to qualify for “graduation”. We will use that guideline and Yak’s SAT scores to determine when he is ready to “graduate” high school.
There are many tools available online to put together transcripts. We have also been keeping records, a portfolio of Yak’s work, and lots of pictures and videos of his projects. We will continue this record keeping, so that he will have a detailed portfolio and transcripts when and if he applies to colleges.
Right now, though, we’re enjoying a couple weeks of summer break before hitting the books again.
Towards a Simple, Sustainable Life