In This Issue…
This month, I talk a bit about the role of preparation when it comes to living off-grid. In the bottom section, I talk a little about our grammar and composition program, English Lessons Through Literature.
As some of you know, we moved to Hawaii in January. And I’m bundled up as I write this–well, relatively bundled up. It’s cold here this morning–I’m writing this in February. And again, I need to use that word relatively because it’s in the low 60s here. In Texas, from where we just moved, it’s in the 20s.
Illinois taught me about the cold. We lived there for almost a decade, and the lesson I learned was a simple one–it’s all about preparation and using the right tools. I chased chickens through a blizzard once, and I stayed warm in my insulated gear. I went back into my warm house because I’d remembered to buy firewood and start a fire.
But I currently don’t have any pants that go all the way down to my ankles, and I need a better blanket. The rest of our clothes and household goods will catch up with us eventually, of course. So while my temperatures are mild, I’m unprepared for them, and that lack of preparation is where we suffer.
Here’s the reality: Much of living off-grid is about being prepared and living deliberately instead of on auto-pilot. The grid takes the place of personal planning to a large degree, which is why things get difficult when part of the grid goes down for a time. With off-grid living, I’m the one who has to remember to buy firewood, propane, and gas for the generator because there’s no switch to flip that brings electricity and natural gas flowing into the house. In Texas, we even had to monitor our water levels so we’d know to call and have water delivered if it didn’t rain. These are simple things–right up until that moment when need intersects with procrastination.
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English Lessons Through Literature
English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) came about when our second son was ready for an introduction to grammar. I’d read plenty about teaching various subjects through great literature, but ironically, I couldn’t find a program which actually taught language arts in that fashion–at least, not as a complete program. In the interest of brevity, I’ll only discuss this one aspect of ELTL.
On our website, you can see a book list that goes along with each level of ELTL. That’s because in ELTL, students read complete books and stories, not just passages from books, so it covers literature as well as grammar, composition, and spelling. All of the books used in ELTL are in the public domain so that it’s not necessary to purchase a lot of books to complete the reading assignments; you can simply download them from Gutenberg. In fact, you can usually even find free audio versions of the books on Librivox.
The sample sentences in the grammar lessons and exercises are taken from the text, so the sentences students see are from actual literature rather than created in order to demonstrate a grammatical concept. This makes the sentences more interesting as well as more relevant, and they don’t sound fake like the sentences in many grammar books can. And language arts becomes a more integrated subject with great literature serving as the backbone of its study.