|Celebrating James Madison's birthday - March 16, 2011|
Over the past few weeks we have studied George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson as well as many of the signers of the constitution. Since it would be nearly impossible to study them all individually, the children at our KONOS co-op were assigned to study and report on one signer each.
My 8yo son and my 6yo daughter wrote reports on James Madison and William Paterson. They also prepared posters so that they would have visual aids when giving their oral presentations at co-op which I am very happy to have finished so that they can use them at our homeschool group's upcoming academic fair.
There are loads of biographies available for James Madison. DS used one of the generic ones from the library as a reference and he read completely Jean Fritz' The Great Little Madison as his main source. This was probably the longest book he has read as yet and at times I admit, he really felt overwhelmed by it. I had to push him quite a bit to get his reading done. At one point I told him that if he finished his chapter for the day by a certain time, then I would read the next chapter to him before bed. This worked as a pretty good incentive and when we snuggled up to read he was listening intently and even asked for another chapter. Now this could have been because it would have allowed him to stay up a bit later but I can't deny the interest he was truly and honestly showing as well as the retention he later showed.
As for William Paterson, we didn't have great luck finding any biographies in our library system so we opted for online bios. I chose 3 different bios of varying lengths, avoiding Wikipedia. I had my daughter read the mid-length one and the shortest one and I used the longest in-depth bio for myself as a teaching tool. It was quite a struggle for the 6yo to understand but I went ahead with it anyway for 2 reasons. 1. This is good stuff! She'll remember bits and pieces, terminology will become more familiar to her and over time she will have a better understanding of her country's history. 2. She insists on doing these reports! Even when I tell her that only her brother needs to do a report because after all she is just six, she just can't accept it. She likes giving reports. It cracks me up!