Challenge or Content?

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Cabin Faced WestOne of the frequent conversations I have with folks making curriculum choices is the "challenge or content" discussion. It goes something like this ... "my son is reading at a 6th grade level, but he's only 9 years old. So how do I choose curriculum for him? If I get him a 3rd or 4th grade curriculum package, surely he'll be bored because the reading material will be too 'easy' for him!"

There are a number of "negative" reasons for not choosing a 6th grade curriculum for a 9 year old, but one "positive" reason is this. Once your student knows how to read independently, Sonlight often chooses literature for its content, as opposed to focusing just on the challenge. While a student may find a book "easy" to read, it does not mean the value of the book is lost on him/her. While learning about George Washington in our Core D program (Intro to American History, Year 1 of 2), the historical fiction piece The Cabin Faced West rounds out Washington as an individual, and provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life in late 18th century America. Is it a "hard" book to read? Not at all ... but the story itself adds such flavor and interest to the study of American History, that there is no "shame" in having an advanced reader spend time with this title.

Having had three very different students in our homeschool, I do understand that some students thoroughly enjoy the challenge of a book written just above their level. And there is nothing wrong with feeding that desire. But don't discount titles that are written at your student's "age" level just because they seem to be an easy read. Learn to see beyond the grade level on the book, to the value of the content contained between the covers.

Still on the journey ...
~Judy Wnuk
Sonlight Customer Champion

PS: Speaking of reading ... if you're looking for some top-notch literature for your students for the summer months, check out Sonlight's Summer Reader packages!

 

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