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Office Hours: Balance and Finding Rest in the Middle of Summer School Prep

July 17, 2017

Summer is here! And while you are hauling out the pool toys and planning your family's next great adventure, somewhere in the back of your mind you know that fall will be here sooner than you would like. You're exhausted and ready to burn the homeschooling books, but you're also a little afraid of entering the upcoming academic year unprepared. How can we both get the rest we need and ready ourselves for the next go around? Are you allowed to take a little "me" time, or is there no rest for the weary?

Office Hours: What is Education?

June 7, 2017

You know you need one. That's why you set out to give it to your students in the first place. But the goal of "education" can be vague and daunting if you don't quite know what it is you're after and you only have 12 years to figure it out.  What is the purpose of an education and why should we seek after it? Is it training for real life? Is it mastery? Is it for virtue? And once you know what it is, what tools do you need for the journey? It's a big, juicy topic, and we think the great Western literary heritage has some good perspective to offer. We're excited to talk about this one with you June 1 at 1:00PST/ 4:00 EST. 

Office Hours: Historical Fiction

April 27, 2017

As busy parents and teachers, any opportunity we can find to combine subjects and "kill two birds with one stone" is a boone and a blessing. And it isn't a stretch to say that literature and history are a natural pairing. History is itself a narrative of the past, and literature in the same way is a product of its historical context. But what are the differences between these two studies? And what do we do when we encounter the marriage of these studies in a work of historical fiction? How do we receive from historical fiction without doing violence to either the art of literature or the art of history? You've been asking for this one, and we just happen to have a history Ph.D. candidate on staff to help us think through these issues!

Office Hours: Vocab and Grammar in Literature Study

March 23, 2017

Here at CenterForLit, we are historically known for not being huge fans of the worksheet. We want to listen quietly to what the author has to say instead of using their work in a way they did not intend. However it is true that our students need to develop their vocabulary and grammar skills, and like it or not this is usually one of the main goals of a literature workbook. What, then, are we to do?? There's no denying that the arts of vocabulary and grammar are strongly related, and even necessary predecessors, to the art of literature. So how do we make sure all of these areas get covered without sacrificing our literary philosophy? After all, as much as we'd like to, we can't add more hours to the day. 


Office Hours: Shouldn't There Be Homework? A Discussion Concerning Worksheets and Book Reports

February 16, 2017

Worksheets and book reports. Ah, you remember them well. In fact, they may be the reason your love of reading burned out as a child. Here at CenterForLit, we are sworn enemies of the comprehension question. And yet, you may wonder how else you are to know whether or not your student completed their reading-- not to mention whether or not they understood it! How do we as teachers cultivate a love of reading while also tracking our students' progress? And what is the proper balance between assignments and free reading? This is the topic for our February edition of Office Hours on the 16th at 1:00 Pacific Time/ 4:00 Eastern Time. Your homework? Just be there!

Office Hours: Tips on Writing from Literature

January 19, 2017

We all know that literature and writing belong together like peanut butter and jelly, but what exactly should that look like? What is a literary analysis paper, and why do we write them? Does it harm our experience of a book by making us miserable, or can it be a helpful tool for enhancing our understanding?

There are some important tricks of the trade when it comes to crafting and defending a written argument about a work of literature, and some key factors to keep in mind as the teacher assigning such a project to your students. In the first Office Hours of the new year, we will be tackling this subject together. We know it sounds intimidating, but we promise that it doesn't have to be! With just a few essential pieces of information, your student can be worlds ahead when it's time for him to turn in his first college paper. So join us at 1:00 pm Pacific/ 4:00 Easter on January 19th, and we'll share a few secrets that we use behind the scenes in our own Online Academy!

Office Hours: Can Socratic Discussion Help Prepare for the SAT?

December 8, 2016

Sitting around talking about good books sounds like a great idea in theory. Nourishing the souls of our students and helping them become more fully human might just be the most important part of education. However, as much as you may want to avoid it, colleges look for some other hard and fast details when they look over student applications. Is there any way that having Socratic discussions now can have a practical effect? Will it help improve their test scores in the moment so that they can go to college and keep working on becoming more fully human?

Gee, wouldn't it be great if Socratic discussion could help both now and later? Next Office Hours we're gathering around to talk SAT/ ACT exams, and to see if the entire foundation of the CenterForLit approach can be practical as well as philosophically pleasing. 

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