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Analyzing the Themes from Amos Fortune
I have a young man who would be perfectly content if he never had to read or write another day in his homeschooling life. Much to his dismay, he still has to read and write quite often. Occasionally, to dull the horrendous pain he apparently suffers, I allow him to express his knowledge in creative ways. (You can read more about how I utilized project-based learning here and here.)
After reading Amos Fortune: Free Man, I wanted to explore the concepts of themes in literature with Caleb. While I could have simply assigned a book report on the topic of the themes from the book – and I do sometimes – I love giving him unique and creative projects that accomplish the same purpose.
A. What are themes in literature? Research this topic and be ready to discuss the topic with Mom.
B. Make a list of all the possible themes you saw in Amos Fortune. Discuss each of them with Mom.
C. Use oil pastels to create an illustration portraying at least two of the majors themes from the book.
D. Use your illustration to help the rest of your family understand why the author, Elizabeth Yates, likely wrote this book.
Note two things…
- The project was done in oil pastels. They are a rather hard medium to work with in creating lovely artwork. At least for our family!
- I didn’t ask him in the assignment to create an “artist quality” illustration. Ahem, in project-based learning, some kiddos need every single expectation spelled out. If you don’t spell it out – well…
While the illustration isn’t artist quality and was a tad rushed, the comprehension of the major themes of the harshness of slavery and working as if for the Lord are beautifully depicted – and even more so in his follow-up discussions.
This project to examine literature themes could be used with many different age levels. Call it project-based learning; call it a creative book report; call it a simple assignment. It doesn’t really matter, but a unique approach to reading comprehension will motivate your children!