Martians and essays

We homeschool using one of Alaska’s many state correspondence programs. One of the district reading targets in one of the higher levels (usually done during traditional high school age) before graduation is to read a book and watch the movie version then compare them. That is what my son is working on now. Last Christmas my son got 3 copies of the book “The Martian” by Andy Weir. LOL! Yesterday, my husband bought the move version.

Just before watching the movie, I assigned him the essay. He was a bit reluctant then realized he gets to read one of his favorite books and watch the movie as schoolwork. The assignment is to write at least a 1.5 page essay comparing and contrasting the book with the movie. Today he read the first 75 pages and took several notes. This went much better than more grammar drill, research reports, and sentence diagrams.

Our school district is unconventional. Besides being one of the largest geographically yet smallest in population (with schools in just 3 small villages and 2 correspondence programs), we also do not have traditional K-12 grades. Instead, each subject is broken down separately into levels and targets within each level. As long as you meet all targets for all levels within 12 years, it doesn’t matter if you take more or less time on certain areas. So for example in “5th grade” a student can be on level 4 math, level 6 reading, level 4 writing, level 5 social studies, level 7 technology, etc. It’s a bit confusing when trying to describe what grade your children are in. However, it makes a more tailored education.

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