Sigh, when your 8th and 12th grader are assigned the same book

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Sigh, when your 8th and 12th grader are assigned the same book
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Tue, 08-13-2013 - 3:01pm

DD 16 is on her 2nd day of senior year and already disappointed with English. She's been assigned "The Hobbit" which is required reading for 8th graders in our local district. Basically, she did this when she was 12. My current 12 year old read it this summer and will be doing a unit on it later in the year.

DD spent last night putting together a proposal for an alternative project on the same study but with different material and proposing it to her teacher today. She's hoping the teacher will accept it as a replacement but is willing to do the extra work as a supplement if her teacher is willing to at least give her input on her finished work. Just sort of a bummer way to start the year.

UPDATE: DD got a quick response. She is being allowed to do her own designed alternative in replacement. It's not ideal. It's frustrating. I feel for any other kids who have done "The Hobbit" before but at least DD won't have the repetition. 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004

I'm sorry Turtletime.  I don't know what to say.

Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011

Oh man, that really stinks! But I have to say that I am SUPER impressed with your DD putting together a proposal for an alternative project! I have a feeling that my DS would all-too-happily- accept the easier path of having the repeated material.

The whole "common core" standards is all I heard about last night at Open House. Sigh.

Lisa 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002

That's a bit of a kick in the teeth, I agree. Having read and re-read "The Hobbit" as an adult, I think there's a ton of stuff that you can get out of it at a mature level, but if she studied it four years ago, and if the level of inquiry that was the norm last year is likely to continue, I can understand why the assignment feels disappointing. 

Kudos to K. for putting together an alternative proposal, though! Fingers crossed that it'll be accepted as a replacement.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998

The teacher accepted her proposal without argument. DD is relieved. The other material is OK. She's read all the plays but she hasn't studied them in a class setting. She's excited about the other novel. Not so thrilled about all the non-fiction that is part of common core but it's not repetition at least. The teacher also promised there would be very little read-aloud... just portions of the plays. That was a big weight off DD. 

DD doesn't mind re-reading material. She does that a good deal. If they were planning on taking a different approach to the book, it might have been different. However, they were planning on taking the same approach and DD's 8th grade teacher would be hard to top.

It's not perfect but it'll be OK. I just need to relax a bit and let DD handle it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002

Yay! So glad to hear the alternative proposal was accepted. 

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

I'm not sure this is necessarily a bad thing, although I am glad she got a resolution (of sorts!) My son was assigned To Kill a Mockingbird twice but managed to see something different in it each reading. While I wouldn't want to have to write numerous essays on the same book, I certainly don't mind reading a good one multiple times, and The Hobbit is complex enough to remain interesting through a few readings. Although, as my daughter says, the best way to ruin a book is to study it in English rather than simply enjoying it! And she loves English class.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999

I'm glad to read that the teacher is allowing your dd to develop her own study.  That's a promising beginning!  Will she read The Hobbit and delve into it in a different way or read different texts?  

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
I think what ruined it most was knowing her 12-year-old brother would also be studying the same book in much the same approach her senior class is. Her current English teacher is enthusiastic and caring but her experience is largely with remedial students. She's still finding her footing in regards to honors English. She is still in the mind-set that picking books with movies attached is necessary for students to be interested. DD doesn't handle repetition too well... well, assigned repetition.
Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
She chose a different text that she's really excited about and blogging about it. She's having fun with it and so is her teacher actually.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

"She is still in the mind-set that picking books with movies attached is necessary for students to be interested."

Ugh, that IS a drag. I can't help but wonder why this woman was assigned the honors class. She doesn't seem to get that gifted/intellectual students need to be motivated in an entirely different way from the average teen.

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