Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Homeschooling with The Hobbit

In case you don't know, we are (by we I mean the Sun and I) huge fans of good fantasy fiction.  That's why I was so excited to see The Hobbit as one of the language arts offering from Memoria Press. As this is our first year homeschooling, I wanted to have some fun while giving him quality curriculum and I needed to see where he was academically on things such as writing.

With our love of all things Tolkien, this was a 
great starting point for the 7th grade year.  

 Now we are coming to an end and this week Noah has been working on a final project to present the study to us.  The project is primarily artistic in nature, though there is more to it such as copywork, as the academic portion of this work was completed within The Hobbit Student Guide.


As we worked through The Hobbit, I found some really fantastic resources through a Google search as well as on Pinterest.  It's funny, my bright 13-year old has enjoyed the study guide and the art and all that we have done with this book, but he still loves to color (don't we all?), so I have found some great coloring pages suitable for any age that we included in his book.

One of the things I love about the Memoria Press work is it is a full language arts study.  Comprehension questions, independent writing, vocabulary words, artistic instructions - you get the idea.  If you are not familiar with Memoria Press, I highly encourage you to take a look at it.  It is a classical Christian curriculum - for us the emphasis is on classical.   And, you can purchase Memoria Press in pieces.  You do not have to order an entire curriculum.  The student guide for The Hobbit is approximately $9 and the teacher guide is similar, though if you are a fairly well read homeschool parent, I don't know that you neccessarily need the teacher guide.  You can always order it later if needed.  If you are lean toward purchasing study materials that are not from curriculum companies, there are several available including:

  • A guide from 7 Sisters Homeschool (geared toward high schoolers, though I definitely think some middle schoolers could tackle it)
  • Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you have not been to this website, it's a great resource.  There are some free items and many from $1.99 to $5.00 which are worth that and more.  When we first began homeschooling, I thought I would make most of my own curriculum and found that while I am suited to teaching, there are many others who have created some great resources that I can take advantage of.
  • This unit study is from a teacher that has been so kind as to put his/her own study guide online.  It's really a true literature study that not only studies the work itself but discusses literary terms such as foreshadowing.  Very well-rounded!  (This unit is far too in-depth for elementary school.  It is suitable for middle to high schoolers with great comprehension and writing skills.)

In addition to a study guide, we added self-directed art and copywork to our endeavor.  Why copywork?  There are many reasons that copywork is used in curriculums that rely heavily on Charlotte Mason or Rudolf Steiner's teachings.  For us,

copywork reinforces spelling and improves handwriting.   

I have found that with my son, he tends to get sloppy when free-handing his independent work but reigns it all back in when doing copywork.  We found this great series of Hobbit copy pages from Walking by the Way and my son has really enjoyed reading through the quotes and copying them!

So, we have academics and copywork.  What about the art?  We have approached this several ways.  One is an art project for my son's room.  We found a map of Middle Earth that he loved, printed it and it is now adorning the wall in his Hobbit hole.  (It really is a room fit for a Hobbit!)  I do a lot of decoupaging and art myself, but stumbled across this at Milk and Cookies and knew he would love it as well. 

Finally is the book.  Ah....the book.  We have taken different art pieces that created while working with the Memoria Press Student Guide, the copywork, his coloring pages and a beautiful cover that he created and bound them together in this book as his final project.

Noah is a VERY well read child and has fantastic comprehension.  Working with The Hobbit was really more of an exercise of an academic study of a work of fiction.  By adding in the other components we created a well-rounded lesson that was also quite enjoyable for him.  And with that, I'll leave you with this:

"'Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.'"

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