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    Grand Conversation: Discussion Questions for AO Y4 {Post 3}

    September 15, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    This is my third week of being deliberate with our post-narration “grand” conversation, and it keeps getting better and better. The first week, our conversations were all of two minutes long {including me asking and/or better explaining my question}. Sometimes, yes, I didn’t even need to ask a question because he had a question about the same thing. But on an average meeting, I asked him something, and he answered briefly.

    Emphasis on briefly.

    The second week, his answers grew a little more.

    This week, I’ve been particularly encouraged because it has begun getting closer to my target, which is real conversation. You know: the kind you’d have at a book club or something.

    Like all things, even conversation about a book is learned. And so we are learning.

    Here are my questions from this week:

    • Madam How and Lady Why {pp. 12-15}

      Do you think Madam How always does things slowly, over hundreds of years? Give an example of how she might effect change quickly.

    • Robinson Crusoe

      Did God cause the rice and barley to grow? Ought Robinson to be more thankful for them? How could one remember God without a Bible? Talk about only remembering God in the hard times. Who is the man in Robinson’s dream? What would repentance look like for Robinson now that he is stuck on an island?

    • This Country of Ours {ch. 33}

      Should the people have had the right to choose their own governors? How should a governor rule?

    • Story Book of Science {ch. 8-10}

      Do you think a tree’s rings are the same size every year? Can you tell a tree’s age by the size of its trunk? Should a man aspire to live long or to live well? Can a man live both long and well?

    • Poor Richard {pp. 57-69}

      Do you think Ben should have patented his stove invention? Do you think Latin and Greek are really “dead timber?” Do you agree with Franklin’s views on education? Should the Penn family have exempted their own lands from taxation? Do you think the English king should have cared more about what was happening in America? 

    I do not necessarily ask all of these questions. I simply prepare questions while I am doing my pre-reading. Sometimes, I open my notebook and read them, but most of the time the act of reading and asking questions is enough to prepare me to initiate a conversation with him. Sometimes he focuses on something unexpected in his narration, and so my questions need to go a different direction than expected. I’d say it has been a learning experience for both of us.

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  • Reply Meredith in Aus September 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks. I am playing a bit of catch up, which is hard with 8 children. You are doing the right thing getting ahead! It would be my advice to any young homeschooling mum to pick a ‘curriculum’ early on (eg. Tapestry of Grace, Ambleside) and begin educating *yourself* ahead of time, especially if you did not have a very good liberal arts education but desire to give one to your children. Things get so busy and complicated as your children get older! Also, try to stick with it (anything really), rather than swapping between many things, looking for the ‘best’.

    Anyway, nice to know that’s ‘all’ you spend. And again, well done!

    In Him


  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts September 22, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Hi Meredith!

    I probably spend two hours reading/studying/asking questions. I am not skimming. My goal has always been to become quite intimate with the texts so that as I have subsequent students coming up, I require little to no prep work for them, if that makes sense. I suppose I am hoping to coast on the wave of my first student! Some weeks take less, and occasionally some take more, depending on what is assigned. I have been trying to pick up reading from future years as my own personal “fun” reading so that I don’t have to increase this amount of time as the years gain in intensity and depth.

  • Reply Meredith in Aus September 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Brandy,

    How much time are you spending in your prep each week? Are you pre-reading the whole of each of the books or just skimming? (The fact that you have thought up questions makes me think that you are reading the whole thing). Or, are you reading the books aloud to E? How about I just give up second-guessing and let you tell me?

    In Him


  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts September 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Pam, I just wrote you a very lengthy reply, only to be told by Blogger that it was too long! I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll just move it to a post…It’ll only take a couple minutes and I’ll put it up. I’m glad you asked this question! It really helped me clarify why I’m doing what I’m doing.

  • Reply Pam... September 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Hmmm. I am not sold on this. I know it’s the new thing. Can you reference me to a source so I can research it for myself.

    I listen to narrations from all levels of ages, much of my day; and I don’t feel the children would like/or thrive in so much questioning. Now I do ask questions, mind you. And I check out the answers too (many of the older kids have read it–I can cheat.) But this would be irritating to them. Well, I wouldn’t like it myself.)

    I am open to differing viewpoints if the viewpoint is backed with original source information.

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