Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ordinary Children: Quick Review

Norms and Nobility took me quite a while to read...and even to re-read.  There is no way to jump ahead quickly in that book; each sentence needs to be considered carefully before you move on to the next.

Marva Collins' "Ordinary" Children, Extraordinary Teachers, on the other hand, took me from last night until this afternoon, in spite of the fact that it's 250 pages long.  Especially if you've read Marva Collins' Way, it's a very fast read.  Most of the book is made up of talks that Mrs. Collins gave over the years; and, like most speakers, she has favourite images, illustrations, and phrases that she repeats every time.  For that reason, the book should have been edited much more carefully.  I'm also not a fan of the Teacher-please-hear-me style of inspirational poetry that makes up the last section of the book.  A tiny bit of that goes a long way.  (To get even more nitpicky, I was also surprised by her use of "alright," not to mention three or four "Judas Priests.")

Best reasons to read the book?  The detailed notes for several works of literature, from The Little Engine That Could to The Song of Roland.  While Mrs. Collins' deliberate emphasis on phonics and her teacher-questions-students-answer style are not identical to Charlotte Mason's methods (and/or may not be exactly how we work as homeschoolers), there is still much that we can draw on.  She does not write in the formal academic style of David Hicks, but she touches on many of the same points, such as the importance of asking normative questions.

If you liked Marva Collins' Way and want additional insight into her methods, this will add a bit more.  Not a lot more, but a interesting bit.

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