Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter Seven

Here's a link to the free SparkNotes: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section7.rhtml


Chapter Seven- The Man with Red Eyes

Vocab/Spelling:

bilious proposition obliquely chortling gallivanting
opaque inefficient preliminaries belligerent


  1. What is the man in the suit really reporting about the children?
  2. When we first met the man with the red eyes, did you get the impression that he was IT or have we not met IT yet?
  3. The man talks to the children about allowing him to make all the decisions for them, of having a life like the others on Camazotz. What is so wrong with the sameness of this planet?
  4. Why does Charles Wallace taste sand for dinner while Meg and Calvin are having roasted turkey?
  5. How do you see Meg's imperfections helping the children throughout this chapter? Give me some examples.

    Noteworthy Notes from SparkNotes:

    -Camazotz is all about uniformity.  This is different from the togetherness that the children must maintain in order to "win."
    -Their togetherness is symbolized by their hand-holding.
    -Things on Camazotz are not as they seem, which the children really realize with the man.
    -Camazotz is an extreme example of uniformity and conformity.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter Six

I'm back! And we're moving on to chapter six. Again, these are the SparkNotes available for free that go alongside my own literary guide questions: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section6.rhtml


 Chapter Six- The Happy Medium

Vocab/Spelling:

seethe           writhe          anticlimax           faltered          chiding          propitious
wheedled      unkempt      myopic               eon                precipitously



  1. Talk to me about what the happy medium showed the children in regards to the Dark Thing and the stars. What happened?
  2. Describe the differences between Calvin's house and Meg's house when the Happy Medium tuned into their homes. Which was more loving? More calm? More angry? More overwhelmed?
  3. “Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs. Whatsit whispered. Why does she want her to stay angry? Is there such a thing as “justifiable anger” and do you think it is present here? If not, what do you think about that phrase from Mrs. Whatsit?
  4. What is your impression of Camazotz? Do you have any idea how they are doing everything in exactly the same rhythm? Do you see any foreshadowing here and what is it?
  5. Think back on Meg's faults (we discussed them back in chapter 1, remember?), do you see any places where they may be helping her in this chapter? Remember, Mrs. Whatsit said she would need her faults here.
  6. What do you think an aberration is in Camazotz? Think about all the woman says and all they've seen so far. With that in mind, why are they afraid? What's your guess?

    Some noteworthy notes from SparkNotes:

    - Meg is continually learning in this chapter that "people are far more complex and complicated than they initially appear."
    - Camazotz shows us the dangers of a world that has no creativity or individuality within it.
    - Camazotz represents Meg's desire for conformity and shows her what it would be like if she had her wish and there were no "oddballs."
    -Camazotz is named for a malignant Mexican deity worshipped as a dark and evil vampire."
    - Both Camazotz and Meg's hometown are devoid of love, however, Meg doesn't see the parallels between the two places yet.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter Five Study

Moving on, we'll take a look at chapter five which really tells the children what they are up against and what they'll be doing.  Here is the link to this section on SparkNotes, which I will of course continue to reference: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section5.rhtml 


My notes:



Chapter Five-The Tesseract

Vocabulary/Spelling:

impractical indignant protoplasm corporeal plaintively
sonorous raptly reverberated



  1. Think back to Meg's description of two dimensional. “A flat square would be in the second dimension.” Why can't they stop on the two-dimensional planet? Had you ever considered the idea that there was a whole planet devoted to the idea of two-dimensional objects?
  2. Google the term “orion's belt stars.” Take a look at the children's first stop after leaving Uriel. Do you think it would be interesting to be able to travel about space like they are doing now? If you could do it, which constellation would you visit first?
  3. Mrs. Whatsit said they took a time tesser as well as the space tesser we already knew about. Do you suppose that Mrs. Murry will believe anything that Meg and Charles Wallace try to tell her when they get back?
  4. What do you suppose Mrs. Whatsit meant when she said, “And if something goes terribly wrong it won't matter whether we ever get back at all.”
  5. If you'll recall, “happy medium” was referenced several chapters back when Mrs. Murry was speaking with Meg. In this chapter, we see the phrase “happy medium” put into a three-dimensional being. Describe her here.
  6. “There will no longer be so many pleasant things to look at if responsible people do not do something about the unpleasant ones.” What do you think this means to the story? What could it mean to our world here and now?

    Some interesting notes from SparkNotes:

    -This chapter clearly shows L-Engle's understanding of time and space, of science.
    -We see more of Meg's character here and her desire to understand everything.
    -Calvin and Charles Wallace list great religious leaders and artists while Meg lists only mathematicians and scientists.  This points to the idea that Meg is still unable to grasp any concept that is beyond our realm of logical thinking or understanding.
    -Meeting the "happy medium" reminds Meg of her mother's advice from chapter one.
    -Meg's impatience rears its head here again toward the end of the chapter when she longs to see her father.

    **FYI, I'll be taking the week off of blogging next week! Chapter 6 will be posted on or around 7/30!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter Four

Here's what I have for chapter four:


Chapter Four- The Black Thing

Vocabulary/Spelling:

authoritative      corporeal      elliptic      inexorable     indignantly
centaur       monoliths      incomprehensible       corona



  1. Meg says in this chapter that Mrs. Which is “someone in whom she could put complete trust.” Why do you think she feels this way? Do you agree with her? If not, which of the three would you trust most? Why?
  2. On a related note, in your opinion, why do all three of these characters-Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin-seem so willing to accept Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which?
  3. What do you think of Uriel? Do you really understand how they got there? Where do you suppose it is? Another time, another place, both?
  4. Describe, in your own words, what happened when the black thing appeared before them.
  5. What do you suppose the black thing is? Is it comparable to anything in your own life?


Summarize chapter four using as many sentences as necessary:

And, as before, I am also going to post some interesting quotes from SparkNotes as found here: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section4.rhtml

-On the planet Uriel, the children encounter both the good and the evil at battle with one another.
-Uriel is named for a a guardian angel, which is just one of many religious references in this chapter.
-Biblical verses are used to translate the beings of Uriel.
-The references to music point back to the author's own love of music.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter Three

Good morning!

We're moving right along to chapter three. Here's the free SparkNotes information for this chapter: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section3.rhtml

Here's the questions and vocab/spelling I've come up with for use with this chapter:


Chapter Three-Mrs. Which

Vocabulary/Spelling:

gamboled retort judiciously indignant dubiously
morass




  1. When Calvin was talking about his family, what was he trying to say about the way things were at home? Does his family really ignore him, do you think, or does he just feel that way? Do you think his life at home has anything to do with why he was in the woods?

  1. In this chapter, it's revealed that Meg is very talented in one particular area. What is it? And why don't her teachers know about it? Do you have a secret talent like that? What is it?

  1. Calvin uses the word “moron” quite often. Why do you suppose he does it?

  1. Where do you think they'll be going now that Charles Wallace has said “it's time?” And how do you think they'll get there?

  1. What do think of Mrs. Which? What did she mean by “materialize?” Did this scene give you more insight into the future of the story? What is this forcing Meg to understand?




Summarize chapter three using as many sentences as necessary:

Interesting Information from SparkNotes:

- Meg is, yet again, forced to face the fact that "reality is not always as it seems" when Mrs. Which is obviously "there" but not really "there" for her to fully see.
- It's important that many of the characters wear glasses (Meg, Mr. Murry, Mrs. Who).  This reinforces the idea that "things are not always as they seem" and that Meg needs to learn "to see things more clearly."
- Calvin is surprised to learn that Meg is very gifted in the area of math.
-Calvin's question about mass and energy points to the fact that L'Engle based the idea for this book on her reading of Albert Einstein's and Panck's latest works.
- Chapter three is full of examples of love, which is the theme of the entire story.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter Two

Welcome back to chapter two!  Again, I'll be using the free SparkNotes guide to go along with my own stuff from here: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section2.rhtml

My questions and vocab/spelling:


Chapter Two- Mrs. Who

Vocabulary/Spelling:

unceremoniously      avid        ferocious        belligerent         tractable
bacteriology            antagonistic          peremptory        inadvertently         indignation


  1. At school, the teachers say Meg has an “attitude.” Describe it and tell me two ways she could improve it.

  1. Pushing up her glasses is described as meg's “characteristic gesture.” What would be yours if you were in a book?

  1. Knowing Mr. Wallace is a physicist, what do you think happened to him? Why has it “been so long since the last letter?”

  1. What do you think causes Calvin's “compulsions?” Have you ever experienced anything like that?

  1. At the end of this chapter, Mrs. Who said Mr. Murry needed their help. What's your prediction?



Summarize chapter two using as many sentences as necessary:

Some interesting items from SparkNotes:

-"Critics have compared Meg's frustration with the useless information she learns in school to L'Engle's personal frustration with the narrowness of certain Christian doctrines. Just as L'Engle understands her novels as part of a constant quest to find a meaningful theology from among thickets of empty doctrine and repressive dogma, Meg insists on trying to find meaning and purpose in a tedious and seemingly pointless pedagogical exercise."
- Considering the large number of things that Meg can't seem to understand-memorization in school, the conversation between Charles Wallace, Calvin, and Mrs. Who, for example- Mrs. Murry's comment makes all of this make much more sense: "You don't need to understand things for them to be."
-At various points in the story, each of the three main characters here (Meg, Charles, and Calvin) express an inability to understand some part of their life.  For example, Charles can "read" Meg and his mother but he doesn't know how.
-Meg admits to knowing one thing for certain in this chapter: that Charles Wallace loves her.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter One

This literary guide is free with questions written by me.  I have also read through the book and added possible vocabulary and/or spelling words that were suitable from the text for my 12 year old son.  Feel free to add, subtract, or replace as you see fit.

Some other ideas here would be to do some dictation work and see which words your son or daughter are misspelling or to even have them write down any words they don't know from the text as they encounter them.  This way they are actively creating their own vocabulary and/or spelling lists.

The questions I have written below are designed to get my son thinking about the book he's reading and predicting what will happen in the future.  I have also purposely made them open-ended so that he is forced to write out a good, solid thought (an area he struggles) rather than simply writing a yes/no answer.

You can purchase some great study guides here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=a+wrinkle+in+time+study+guide&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aa+wrinkle+in+time+study+guide

There are also plenty of other great sites should you choose to go that route.  I am using a free copy of the SparkNotes guide to go along with my own.  You can see that here: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wrinkle/section1.rhtml


The questions and vocab/spelling I'll be using for this chapter:


Chapter One- Mrs. Whatsit

Vocabulary/spelling words:

frenzied          crevices         intoned        scudded         liverwurst
frivoling          wraithlike       luxuriously   exclusive        prodigious


  1. Describe Margaret “Meg” Murry's character, both physically and mentally/emotionally. How does she see herself? How does her family seem to see her? Who do you think is right? What seems to be her main "issue" at this point?
  1. What do you think is going on with Charles Wallace?

  1. Why do you think Mrs. Whatsit is wearing so much when we meet her?

  1. “If you have some liniment I'll put it on my dignity.” What does this mean?

    5. Why do you think Mrs. Murry was so upset about the tesseract comment from Mrs. Whatsit?

    6.Do you see any examples of possible foreshadowing (predictions of what is to come in the future of the book) in this chapter?


Please summarize chapter one using as many sentences as necessary:


Some interesting thoughts from SparkNotes:

-In this first chapter, Meg "desperately wants to fit in and feel more comfortable in her identity."  
-Her family is notoriously known in their town: Charles Wallace didn't speak until he was four, her father and mother are brilliant scientists, her father has disappeared. 
-While Meg is very typical, Charles Wallace is very obviously extraordinary.  He teaches himself new vocabulary, carries on conversations with older ladies with ease, and seems to be able to read his mother and sister's minds.
-Mrs. Whatsit has magical abilities which sets the stage for the story being one of science fiction and fantasy.
-There are several instances of "foreshadowing" present in this chapter: "happy medium" is mentioned, "plow through more time" is referenced, for example.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Homeschooling Decision

I recently made the bold decision to homeschool ALL of my children.  Prior to this year, I homeschooled all of them for preschool-teaching letters, numbers, counting, shapes, patterns, etc-but promptly quit and sent them on to public school for kindergarten.  That all changed a couple of years ago.

After being left behind for a few school years, Shaun and I decided it was time for our oldest to stay home.  We felt he would thrive at home with one on one attention and do much better.  And guess what? He did!  His grades improved and he was a different kid.  That was fifth grade.

Fast forward to this coming school year and all of the kids are home.  Andrew will be in seventh grade, Lukas in fourth, Lily in first, and Ian in preschool.  I've surfed the internet, googled, asked around on message boards, and done all that I could to find the free stuff, the inexpensive stuff, the stuff that will work for our family.

These are some of my favorite sites that have free stuff:

www.education.com/
www.literactive.com/
www.starfall.com
www.lessonpathways.com/
www.tlsbooks.com/
www.easyfunschool.com/
www.homeschoolshare.com
www.amblesideonline.org

There are definitely more and I'll share them as time goes on.  But there is something lacking from the majority of these sites.  And that something is an aim at anyone older than fifth or sixth grade, at the most.  And this is a problem.  Sure, there are a few bloggers and some lesser known sites to find the middle school and high school stuff, but not nearly enough.  What begins as a somewhat simple adventure-homeschooling your child on a tiny budget-quickly grows to this difficult task as they get older!  It's discouraging.

This is a picture of the majority of our curriculum for this year for all four kids.  Some things are missing, some things need some help to become something noteworthy...we have "Swiss Family Robinson" and "Treasure Island" there, for example, but need a list of questions and vocabulary to go along with them.



So now that I've seen the problem, I intend to do something about it.  With a little legwork on my part, I can and do plan to create my own literary study guides for books that both Andrew and I will enjoy.  The first one will begin with chapter one tomorrow.  It's "A Wrinkle in Time."

I'll see you tomorrow! :)