Each year we participate in a homeschool literature fair.
It is the single most important thing we participate in all year.
We suspend our regular curriculum for the entire week before the fair to work on these projects. The book is read a couple of months ahead of time, and sometimes the hands on project is started that early, too.
A local homeschooling friend of mine told me she just didn't have time for the fun "fluff" of the literature fair because they were too busy with formal schoolwork.
That just made me sad.
Reading a marvelous book, knowing it like the back of your hand, and making it your OWN through a project is a gift that will always be with my children. Choosing a project and seeing it through to fruition is such an accomlishment.
It is this type of accomplishment that fuels innovators.
I contend they learn so much more from this interest led activity than from any "mother imposed" curriculum.
This year she chose the book, The Quilt Walk.
The book takes place in the mid 1800s and chronicles a young girl's journey from Quincy, Illinois to Golden, Colorado. The book recounts her journey along a portion of the Oregon Trail and weaves quilting into the story.
After our trip to visit The Oregon Trail last October, Anna knew this book would be perfect! Her aunt had also gotten her started on a small quilt, so she knew she would have a great project for the fair.
As she worked her way through this project I knew had hit upon the IDEAL way to learn.
I learned so much - I just had to write about it all.
Choose an Interesting Subject
We started with an interest - pioneer life and The Oregon Trail.
Of course, our trip spurred this interest.
We read ad nauseum about The Oregon Trail. I wrote about the resources several months ago. A kind librarian/former teacher loaned us ALL of her Pioneer Days resources.
Find Resources to Supplement Learning
One of the biggest resources we used was family and friends who knew about quilting. Two of Anna's aunts started her on the quilt, and a dear friend of mine helped her finish. I know NOTHING about quilting (but I do now!).
I was so very proud of my Anna. This quilt took a long time.
She did a simple quilt with 40 squares - machine sewing and then hand stitching the binding.
Other resources we found:
- Hearts and Trees Prairie Kit
- Lapbook Pieces and Minibooks about quilt patterns and quilting vocabulary
- Every book about quilting we could check out from the library!
- We bought The Girl's Own Book - a book mentioned in The Quilt Walk. If you want a really interesting book for your girls, this is it!
Notice this quilted potholder from the Hearts and Trees Prairie Kit. This was hand sewn by Anna all on her own. She also took some of the pictures from the kit and colored them with watercolor pencils. These pictures lined her display board.
Planning the Display/Presentation
Anna wanted to back her board with the same fabric that was used for the binding of her quilt. It was lovely.
She included her minibooks, lapbook pieces, watercolor pictures, a map of the journey in the book, and the quilted potholder (along with the instructions for it).
The best thing (I thought) about her presentation was her Keynote Presentation which she made herself. (Keynote is the Mac equivalent of Powerpoint).
She used pictures from our trip out west and documented our journey. She chose music of Aaron Copland to be playing in the background.
It was just perfect.
The Written and Interview Component
The project included a book report which Anna wrote and typed all on her own.
A research report was also required, along with a bibliography.
She was evaluated by two judges who scored her project with a rubric.
Learning to present and talk about something that interests you is such a valuable skill.
Anna was duly rewarded for her hard work: a second place in her age group. What an accomplishment.
I know the organizers of our literature fair are working on putting together a formal document outlining the ins and outs of conducting a literature fair. Believe me: it is A LOT of work.
I'll keep you posted when that document comes out.
For now, you could have a literature evening in your home. Have a book party: Read a book, complete a project and invite family and friends over for dinner and let your child present their work to them.
How about hosting an evening of literature for your local homeschool group?
Oh, the possibilities!
Past Literature Fair Books My Children Have Selected:
Do you participate in any types of homeschool fairs like this?
I'd love to hear about it.