Tag Archives: activities

Literature Class

a-booksAlthough we weren’t involved in a co-op this past year, my children were part of a literature class put together by a couple of homeschool moms. Yesterday was our class for April.

Our literature class meets the fourth Thursday of the month from 10:00 – 11:30 at the centrally-located home of one of the families. Students divide up into four groups: grades K-3rd,4th-5th, 6th-8th, and 9th-12th.

Every month, students in each group are assigned a book to read – one that can be easily found at our local library. Some of the books they’ve read this year include Misty; The Whipping Boy; Shiloh; Sarah Plain and Tall; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe;, The Cricket in Times Square; Carry On, Mr. Bowditch; A Wrinkle in Time; Call It Courage; and The Bronze Bow. Then, when we meet together, students break up into their groups in different rooms of the house to discuss the book they’ve read, with one of the moms leading the discussion.

The K-3rd group is the largest group, so they usually meet in the living room. This younger group reads one or two picture books and then work on a corresponding activity, such as making a craft. This past week they read a story about a dog and made “dog” biscuits that were actually baked treats for the kids. Of course, not all of them were shaped like dog biscuits – the children shaped them into stars, squares, and even a rock.

The class has lent itself to other activities as well. When the middle school class was reading The Hiding Place, a special guest was brought in who was a girl in Holland during the Holocaust. When the older elementary students were reading Tall Tales, they created their own tall tales and shared them with each other.

With only one class to go for this school year, literature class has been a great way to get together while reading good books!

Photo by Faeyran

Sylvan Dell Publishing

One of my late night hobbies is writing and illustrating for children. I enjoy writing articles, poems, and stories, and I’d like to illustrate my own picture books some day. Writers will tell you that to have a book published, you have to study the market and know who publishes the type of story you’ve written. As I’ve researched the different publishing houses, I’ve discovered Sylvan Dell, a small publishing company established by homeschoolers with education in mind.

Sylvan Dell publishes picture books about science and math — subjects such as the planets, sea turtles, rivers, and odd and even numbers are presented in a fun and enjoyable way. What makes these books different from other picture books, however, is that they are purposely created to be used in the home or school classroom. To reinforce the educational component, the company also adds three to five pages of extra activities and information in the back of every story. Now, though, they’ve added even more – their website also offers free online reading and math quizzes, teaching activities, and crafts.

And that’s not all.¬† For the past two years, the company also sponsored a writing contest for homeschooled high schoolers. Students followed the guidelines to create their own picture books, and winners received cash prizes and possible publication. I haven’t found information about a contest this year, but I hope they continue – what a great opportunity for students interested in writing.

I’ve found a number of Sylvan Dell books in our local library, and my children have really enjoyed them. It’s easy to take one of their books and create a unit study around it, especially for younger elementary students. So if you’re looking for a science lesson for your little one, check them out! Their titles can be found on their website at www.sylvandellpublishing.com.

By the way, I’ve only sent one picture book manuscript to them to consider for publication, and it was rejected. Ah, well! ¬†They still publish great books!