Olivia’s Language Arts Update

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This year, Olivia is enrolled in a live video-based essay-writing class with a PHENOMENALLY qualified teacher. The course level is for 7th and 8th graders, but Olivia’s easily holding her own. (She has submitted 4 assignments so far and has a 99.8 average in the class.) I love that that class reviews grammar (sentence diagramming), vocabulary (Latin stems), and of course they’re writing essays, plus they’re discussing some quality literature. Olivia just finished reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and is currently reading The Story of My Life (Helen Keller’s autobiography) and working on her first essay for the class. I’m most excited that this semester she’ll also be reading Much Ado About Nothing, a Shakespeare play that I love!

Speaking of Shakespeare, the girls and I have been tackling Macbeth for the past two weeks. We’ve gone through 3 books with different versions of the play written as prose  / short stories, and of course we had to pull down Ray’s Yale Shakespeare book that includes the full text of all of Shakespeare’s plays with wonderful footnotes. We assigned parts and read through various parts of Macbeth, particularly the beginning, ending, and some of the more critical moments in the plot. Farrah has asked me to find a stage showing of Macbeth, and I’ve very inclined to do so! I’m sure I’ll be hard pressed to find a family-friendly version, but we’ll see. I didn’t read Macbeth as a child (or even as a young adult), and I’m digging this play very much! Side note: Both Olivia and Farrah were able to beautifully narrate the story line to me. Farrah did exceptionally well composing her thoughts and relating all the pertinent details of the story without having to pause. (Narration is simply when they tell back the story – in part or whole – in their own words.) Narration with literature is key for us! It helps my students to quickly organize their thoughts plus improve their memory and speaking skills, but moreover it helps me to gauge their reading comprehension.


Olivia is also doing Learning Language Arts Through Literature (encompasses literature, spelling,  grammar, and dictation) and Wordly Wise vocabulary for grade 7. She just aced her spelling test on these words with a perfect score!


For memory work, Olivia is memorizing The Old Shower Stall, a pretty lengthy spoken word piece introduced to us by my friend, Karen B. It’s a humorous piece by Garrison Keillor, and Olivia has already committed to memory more than half of it.  We’ll record it after she has mastered it in its entirety.


2 Replies to “Olivia’s Language Arts Update”

  1. Olivia, I am so proud of your accomplishments. I am eager to hear your recitation of the poem.. I know you will do a great job because you always go after what ever job you have to take on with energy and enthusiasm. You have a great mom who also works alone with you to encourage and help wherever needed. Keep up the good work. You are simply Marvelous! Love you! 😘

  2. Olivia, I am so proud of you. I appreciate your dedication to such a well-thought out series of classes and lessons. I did enjoy MacBeth when I read it in high school. I look forward to discussing it with you. As Ma’ Dear has said, I am eager to hear your recitation of The Old Shower Stall by Garrison Keillor. It is a neat coincidence that I have listened to Garrison’s A Prairie Home Companion on NPR for some years!



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