I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4


Friday, September 23, 2016

McGuffey Readers (1836), What We Do...

Mc Guffey's readers are classics and not your typical modern currilum.  They don't come with worksheets, step-by-step teacher directions, lesson plans, or tests.  There is no grade level breakdown offered either.  The most helpful guide would be to read a book about the Charlotte Mason education method.  Some have broken down the books into age groups or grades, but the two determining factors I have used have been reading level and maturity.  This is based on the content of the books.  The fourth book definitely being a high school level book.
McGuffey, oil painting by an unknown artist; in the collection of Ohio University, Athens
William H. McGuffey

Each reader can span two or three years, reading one lesson a week.  I go through the vocabulary list at the end of each reading, asking for spelling and meaning.  From this list, I will pick words to do an etymology on - a study on the meaning of the word, its origin, spelling, and a couple of sentences using it in meaningful context, as you would find in a good dictionary.  Each word is done on a separate index card.  I use a variety of ways to review the words - puzzles, crosswords, hangman, and oral quizzes.

I use the readers to reinforce spelling, vocabulary work, reading ageless stories, biblical moral values, literature, and practicing diction by reading out loud.

It was McGuffey’s view that the proper education of young people required their introduction to a wide variety of topics and practical matters. 

I rarely use a typical spelling curriculum.  Reading is the key to spelling and reading out loud is very important, too.

Links with guidelines:
Why the 1836 edition is best?
"The 1836 edition was the only one which was actually compiled by McGuffey. His brother Alexander compiled the Fifth and Sixth Readers. Through successive editions, the essentially fundamentalist values that the McGuffeys put in the Readers were diluted by Unitarian influences. Although there were plenty of references to God, there were few to Christ. After the publication of the Readers, McGuffey’s influence as an educator grew, particularly in the West."
Read more in this essay.

"McGuffey was remembered as a theological and conservative teacher. He understood the goals of public schooling in terms of moral and spiritual education, and attempted to give schools a curriculum that would instill Presbyterian Calvinist beliefs and manners in their students. These goals were suitable for early 19th century America, but not for the nations’ later need for unified pluralism. The content of the readers changed drastically between McGuffey’s 1836- 1837 editions and the 1879 edition. The revised Readers were compiled to meet the needs of national unity and the dream of an American “melting pot” for the worlds’ oppressed masses. The Calvinist values of salvation, righteousness and piety, so prominent in the early Readers, were entirely missing in the later versions."
Read entire article here. 

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