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RaineyJ

Canadian "Core 100" questions

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RaineyJ

Hi,

My son is going to be in Grade 9 next year and will be studying Canadian history, so I'm considering piecing my own Canadian "Core 100" together. I recently ordered the Sonlight Core 100 IG, just to get an idea of what Sonlight does at this level and it raised several questions for me.

History: Sonlight uses a main history spine along with additional historical books/biographies, but also includes, in the appendix, other documents to be read, such as famous speeches and political papers. Has anyone given any thought to what historical documents a well educated Canadian should be familiar with? I'd like to include something like this in my own version of Core 100, but to be honest, I'm clueless.

Literature: I have a lot of great ideas for books to read (I just printed out Heather's "homegrown" Canadian core book list and it looks fabulous), but I am not sure what to do beyond simply reading the books. Sonlight starts teaching literary analysis in Core 100 and since my son will be in Grade 9 I would like to do this too. I could use "Teaching the Classics" along with the novels we choose to use, but I've tried using it before and I've just found it requires too much from me. Using TTC I would have to read all the books, select all the questions I want my son to answer, and then answer them myself first. Sorry, but I am not confident with literary analysis myself, so I really need to have the literary elements defined for me before I try discussing them with my son. I guess the other option would be to find some pre-written literature guides for some of the books I choose, but I wouldn't imagine there are very many available for Canadian historical fiction books. How have you handled this?

Creative Expression: Sonlight builds their Creative Expression assignments around their Literature selections. I could easily use another writing resource for Creative Expression, but I am curious if and how any of you have tied in Creative Expression with the Canadian Literature you used.

Any suggestions or comments will be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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Avalon

We're still doing Core 3 here, but if I were looking at higher-level stuff, I would start by visiting the local university bookstore, if you have one handy. Any university that offers an introductory Canadian History course should have several "spines" in the bookstore. Those books would have bibliographies at the back, and that might be a good starting place.

Also, I suggest using the librarians. They are truly amazing people. Our library lets me request book lists on any topic, with a variety of parameters (fiction, non-fiction, format, age range) I've done it before and turned up wonderful stuff that I wouldn't have found on my own.

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RaineyJ

Thanks for the replies so far. I'm not sure if I've made myself clear on what I am asking for though. I am looking for suggestions on important Canadian historical documents. Some I have come up with so far are:

-The 1867 British North America Act

-The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

-The 1982 Canadian Constitution Act

I am looking for any famous or important speeches as well. If anyone has any other ideas I would appreciate it.

Thanks again.

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hrathech

RaineyJ, just a quick suggestion regarding literary analysis. Susan Wise Bauer wrote a book called "The Well Educated Mind" which lists classic books, breaks them down into genres, and gives a step by step process of how to analyse each genre. There's also "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler; I haven't read this one myself, but I hear it's very good. These may give you some ideas to guide your son through some analysis.

When I read the novels on my list with dd, we stopped and discussed quite a bit, but it was fairly informal. I did have her do a few book reports, and she had to do a comparative study on the Parr-Trail and Moody books. In the creation of a Canadian Core 100, the list of books I have is a good start, but there's still tons of work to be done to make it into a really complete core.

One of the references I used was a book put out by Heritage Canada, called "Symbols of Canada." It may contain some information about speeches/documents. Here is Heritage Canada's website as well, if you want to go and troll there, see if there's anything you can use.

http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1266037002102/1265993639778

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Avalon

I bet there are some important documents or speeches regarding The Famous Five and the Persons case (women's rights issues). Nellie McClung and Emily Murphy must have done some writing.

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Northern Breeze

RaineyJ... just wondering how your year went? Did you ever find ideas for literary analysis and a straightforward way of teaching it? Just curious as my son will be in 9th grade next year and it will be a Canadian History focus year for us.

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RaineyJ

Well, it ended up looking very different than I had originally wanted, but I think we still had a good year. Here is what we did:

History: We used ACE Paces for Canadian history, along with "The Story of Canada" and a few other non-fiction books, and the CBC People's History of Canada DVD's. The ACE Paces are basically a series of twelve workbooks with a reading section and lots of fill in the blanks. I know...I know...totally opposite from Sonlight's literature approach! I chose to do this because my son doesn't do very well with literature based history where he reads and then we discuss because he's ADHD and not interested in history or literature at all. The Paces forced him to slow down his reading and look for details so that he could answer the questions. In combination with some additional non-fiction books, and the DVD visual componant, I was hoping something would sink in! LOL! Also, the Paces are written from a Christian perspective, which I wanted. And there are very few upper level Canadian history programs available, so there just wasn't much else to choose from. He did okay with it, but the Paces got tiring for him after a few months. In the end I don't think the repetitious nature helped him much either. He's just not interested in history. This year we are doing Core 200 history, but I am reading all of the books out loud to him, and then orally discussing everything. This seems to be working better for him. It would have been good to do that with Canadian history, but alas...there is no such pre-written program out there. I guess I could have found a Canadian history spine and read it out loud and had off-the-cuff discussions, or oral narrations, but I couldn't find a spine I liked that was meaty enough, but not too meaty for him. Anyway, as imperfect as it was, I think he did okay. My daughter will be doing this level next year, but I will probably do it differently with her because she loves history and does well with literature based learning.

Literature: My son isn't a literature lover either, and he struggles with reading comprehension, but he did pretty well with the literature this year. Unfortunately, I had to make up our literature program by myself. There just wasnt' any way around that. So, to start with I read a lot of Canadian historical fiction novels!! Then I chose one Canadian historical fiction novel that matched the time period for for every Pace he did. To help his interest level I tried to choose exciting, boyish novels that weren't too difficult. For literary analysis I wanted to do something similar to Core 100, so I bought the Core 100 IG and studied it. We started the year by reading the Core 100 "Literary Analysis Overview". Then, before reading each novel we briefly discussed the Setting, Characters, Point of View, Conflict and Theme, similarly to the Core 100 lit guides. I had to come up with this stuff on my own, so I'm not sure how well we did, but if you look at the Core 100 pre-reading questions they were pretty basic and could easily be applied to any novel. It really wasn't as difficult as I had originally imagined. Then my son read the novel over a couple weeks and informally narrate it to me along the way. We did this so that I could make sure he was understanding what he was reading, and because we didn't have any comprehension questions like there are in the Sonlight lit guides. When he finished reading the novel we briefly reviewed the literary analysis concepts again and answered any questions that I had asked him to think about from the pre-reading discussion. I had to come up with this all on my own because I couldn't find any pre-written lit guides to the novels I chose (except Call of the Wild). So, I used the Sonlight Core 100 lit guides as a template. This wasn't as difficult to do as I had originally thought. Here are some examples of the types of questions: who was the antagonist, who was the protagonist, what was the main conflict, what do you think the theme was, what was the setting and how did it affect the outcome of the story...what was the point of view and do you think the story would have been better from a different point of view, etc. Now, I'm not claiming that we had super, in-depth literary discussions, but I felt that they were adequate for my son's age and interest level.

The books we chose were:

The Dream Carvers (Clark)

The Man from St. Malo (Ferguson)

The King’s Daughter (Martel) Not boyish enough! :)

Calico Captive (Speare)

Escape (Fryer)

Bully Boys (Walters)

A Question of Loyalty (Greenwood)

I Am Canada: Blood and Iron (Yee)

The Legends of Lake on the Mountain (Benns)

The Call of the Wild (London)

Wilfred Grenfell: Fisher of Men (Benge)

I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn (Wilson)

Lost in the Barrens (Mowat

Creative Expression: We did an IEW program, but I had him write one literary response paper. I used the questions and the creative writing assignment from the Core 100 lit guide for "The Call of the Wild".

So, I hope that some of this information will be helpful to you. It's pretty frustrating that there is so little pre-written curriculum to choose from for a Jr./Sr. high school level Canadian history program, and even more frustrating that there are no choices for a literature based one. If this is the route you want to go I'm afraid you will have to design a program yourself. Let me know if you have any questions.

Edited by RaineyJ

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RaineyJ

Rainey, thanks for posting this. I will probably take you up on your offer and ask some questions later ;) I'm just pulling together some ideas & resources right now. I'm so grateful that you came back and posted :D

ETA - did you know that there is now a 20th Century Canadian History that has been put together? It's on the Donna Ward site...although I'm not overly impressed with what she calls "Living" books :rolleyes: Still, it's something to look into. I'm thinking it may mesh well with Core 300 which is 20th Century World.

Glad I could be of help Annie!

And, yes I knew that Donna Ward was going to be coming out with a high school curriculum, so I was eagerly waiting for it. I've only looked at it briefly, but so far it looks nice, and you're right, it would mesh very nicely with Core 300. I must admit I was disappointed that she chose a Pearson textbook for her spine. I'm generally not fond of those typical provincial textbooks. They just have a certain flavour....

Have fun pulling your resources together. :)

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