Saturday, May 22, 2010

Homeschooler's Book Club: Swiss Family Robinson

Our Book Club selected Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss for our first meeting. Each family chose their favorite version and was invited to read it aloud or independently. Since my boys and I were interested in getting lost in the adventure of the Robinson’s together, we read the book aloud. The Junior Library Illustrated version had beautiful pictures, but had some old style language, which made it a little difficult for my 8 year old to comprehend at times. For this reason, I usually tried to keep our readings to about 20 minutes in length, pausing whenever necessary to explain things that seemed to be over my boys’ heads.

In order to simplify things as much as possible, we plan to have the same general routine for each Book Club.  The 1 1/2 meeting begins with a short discussion time, followed by a a craft that relates back to the book.  We end our time together with a festive snack and some free time for the kids (and moms!).

When it was finally time for our first meeting, we gathered the children together for discussion time. Our group has children age 6 – 11, so the discussion was kept simple. Our goal is not to deeply analyze the story, but to develop a love for literature and interest in sharing and experiencing stories with one another.

After discussion time, we headed upstairs to make a tree-house craft. This was great fun! The base of the tree house was made with an empty soup can, wrapped with construction paper. We used tacky glue to hold the craft sticks together, which worked well because it dries more quickly than Elmer’s glue. After the tree house was glued to the base, we embellished it with silk leaves and a rope ladder. The kids had lots of fun personalizing their structures.

Finally, it was time for an island-themed snack: bear-paw cupcakes and island punch, complete with festive umbrellas. The kids enjoyed their goodies and then had some time to play outdoors. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with friends!

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