Better Learning Happens in Homeschooling and Other Settings by Avoiding Lecture-Style Teaching

This is so good! Please read it if you ever teach anything to anyone! Please especially read it if you are a homeschool mom!

Don’t Lecture Me! Is a brand new blog post essay by Alfie Kohn. It addresses high school, college and university lecture style teaching. It could very much be applied to teaching in church classes, teaching in Family Home Evening, teaching homeschool at all levels, including and especially homeschooling high school. It could even include homeschooling university or college if that is what you want to do. 
Lecture style teaching is what much of my elementary, junior high, high school and university education consisted of, but it was not what worked best for me. I remembe well the lessons of the teachers and professors when they used other means, such as hands on learning, forcing us to discover answers to difficult questions via our own investgations, group preparation for presentations, and class dicussions.

I do think it is funny that he says that using a power point presentation proves the uselessness of the lecturer. I remember going to listen to speeches or going to classes wherein the lecturer said not to worry about copying the slides because a handout would be given to us with all the slides of the power point included. That makes me just want them to write a book I can read in my pajamas late at night or early in the morning, or in the afternoon when I am trying to catch my breath again after a stressful few hours. Really, more of these people should be writing books. Why are people afraid of writing books 📚 but not afraid of creating a power point presentation? I would rather write a book. I do not know how to make a power point presentation. I guess each person has a preference.

Parenting, Homeschooling and Lectures

When I lecture my kids, whether about socializing, the gospel, housework, gardening, getting along with each other, math, history, art, grammar, science or behavior,  I see them not caring.

Sometimes I get after them like it is their fault they are bored 😷 sick. I say something similar to, “Should I stop ✋🏼 then? I feel like you are not listening.” Their replies are programmed and in unison because of past lectures they have heard from me. They say something like, “No, Don’t stop! We are listening!”
Sadly, I go on, as if I think their reply means that they will learn now because they will now listen to my lecture with renewed enthusiasm. It is so silly. I am so glad Alfie Kohn wrote this. It really makes me think about the way I parent and teach homeschool to my unfortunate child-students. I feel like he wrote it just for the benefit of my poor children so that they can have better lessons taught by their homeschool mom and by their mom!

Here’s to a goal and to hope for more future effort on my part, given to being a more effective (non-lecturing teacher so that my kids can learn better! Go, me! I can lead discussions! I can ask questions which make the kids figure things out on their own! I can teach hands-on lessons!

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college classes, smaller classroom sizes in college, lecture style university teaching, university lectures, discussion, power point presentations, constructivism, housework, homeschooling, grammar, history, math, gospel, gardening, writing a book, children, listening, goal, hope, better homeschool mom

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How Can a Homeschooled Person Get a Utah High School Diploma: Guide to the T.A.B.E. and the G.E.D. Test


I started investigating this about 3 years ago and I am still learning about it. After conversing with a friend about it, she told me I should share what I have learned with other moms who homeschool their kids. My friend told me more institutions are now requiring an official Utah High School Diploma. I have also heard that employers require it of some, even after a Bachelors Degree is achieved. It seems ridiculous but I think it is true. Some employers, colleges and Universities just want that silly piece of paper that many homeschool moms laugh about. This is not news to me, which is why I have been researching it for 3 years. It is my hope that sharing this helps many homeschool moms and homeschooled kids to get an official Utah High School Diploma.

The Passing of the G.E.D. Test Battery Can Get A Person an Official Utah High School Diploma!*

I hope the abbreviation, “G.E.D.” does not strike fear into your hearts or make you run screaming into the next room, covering your head from desire to avoid it. It may. It may be that you do not believe in tests, or that you have read my previous post about the Fascist, Socialist and Communitarian indoctrination in the G.E.D. test. If the test causes you to feel great worry and fear, I hope that after finishing the reading and printing off onto multiple pages for reference, this post, you will feel much more at ease because of how well you know you have prepared your child-student for all of this. I hope you will feel confident that your child will be able to fake it and pretend he or she has been fully indoctrinated, much like a spy (covert operative) would, knowing the truth and armed with it. I know that if you have been a good homeschool mom and have taught your child-student the truth about things first, then your child-student will not be indoctrinated by the G.E.D. test. This post will help you to know a bit about the test so that you may warn and prepare your child-student for this test and to not become indoctrinated. He or she will indeed have to fake having been indoctrinated—- I can promise you that! I hope you will print out this blog post and use it as a guide in helping you get an official Utah High School Diploma for yourself or your child-student after he or she turns 16!

Here are the basic things your child will need or will need to do in order to take the G.E.D. test at your local school district’s Adult Basic Education (A.B.E.) Office. The G.E.D. test is an online test, but a person cannot take the official test from home. The only place that officiates this test in my area is the district’s A.B.E. Office.

Note: I am going to assume that you are homeschooling legally because you filled out the affadavit. If you are not, this process will be different. Check with your school district offices and ask them what to do.

What You Need:*

  1. An official Utah photo I.D. card showing that he or she is 16 years of age (a driver’s license if he or she has one).
  2. An official letter filled out by a professional at your local school district office called, “Adult Education Program and/or GED Testing Application for 16-18 Year-Old Non-Graduates,” which my district has nicknamed “the drop form.”**
  3. The taking of two other tests at the Adult abasic Education Office of your local school district, in order to qualify to take the G.E.D. test in your district. These are: a. The TABE Online Locator test for the Test of Adult Basic Education (T.A.B.E.); b. The passing of a T.A.B.E. 10 Complete Battery (meaning your child-student has achieved at least a 10th grade level education. If your child-student does not qualify for the TABE 10, but only a lower TABE, they will give your child the option of taking a $40 class with the district that will teach your child what he or she needs to know to be able to achieve readiness for the TABE 10 Battery. Your child can still take the TABE 9 Battery.
  4. Completion of the “Utah Futures” Packet, available at the same district Adult Basic Education Office.
  5. For the days of each of the G.E.D. Battery Tests: Photo I.D., approved G.E.D. electronic scientific calculator and (recommended) a healthy snack and water bottle.
  6. Cost of G.E.D. test. 


*Sources: Weber Adult Education Phone Conversation 801-476-3920 and conversation at my school district office.


Here are some things I have learned about the tests from the YouTube videos of official G.E.D. 🎓 High School graduates, from the McGraw Hill T.A.B.E. guide and from the two G.E.D. test guides I have been reading.

The T.A.B.E.’s Online Locator (30 questions in 37 min.):

The TABE Online Locator test will be a summary (shorter) test, quizzing the student on some of the same knowledge that is on the T.A.B.E. 10 Complete Battery. It will determine whether the student knows things that a 10th grade graduate should know. If the student passes the locator test to show they are at the level expected of a student in an accredited school at the beginning of 11th grade, they will then take the T.A.B.E. 10 Complete Battery. When they pass that, they are qualified by the district to take the G.E.D. test.

  • Reading: The student must 10 out of 12 questions correct to take the TABE 10.
  • Math: General Math (8 questions) & Applied Math (8 questions). The student must get 10 out of 16 correct to take the TABE 10.
  • Language: The student must get 10 out of 12 correct to take the TABE 10.

If the student does not get the scores required above, he or she will be given the option of taking a class to prepare him or her for the TABE 10. They can take the test again at the the end of the class. Another option is to continue to teach the child, yourself, from home, then take them back in for the test again later.

T.A.B.E. 10 Complete Battery (3 hrs.):

The student must bring his or her own pencil. (Source: Weber Adult Education)

  • Reading: 50 Reading Comprehension Questions in 50 minutes
  • Math: 2 Math Sections. Math Comprehension: 40 questions in 25 minutes; Math Application: 50 questions in 50 minutes. 
  • Language: 3 Sections. Language Mechanics: 20 questions in 14 minutes; Vocabulary: 20 questions in 15 minutes; Spelling: 20 questions in 14 minutes

Source: Trivium Test Prep T.A.B.E. Book (link below)

TABE Online Workshops

Free Online Tests by Mometrix

Free online T.A.B.E. Study Guide


T.A.B.E. Test Prep including Online Flash Cards

T.A.B.E. 3 Book Test Prep by McGraw Hill including Workbooks and Multiple Practice Tests

T.A.B.E. Test Prep Secrets Book Including Strategies and Practice Tests by Mometrix

T.A.B.E. Practice Test and Strategies by Trivium Test Prep

T.A.B.E. Levels

  • L= Literacy, grades 1-1.9
  • E= Easy, grades 2-3.9
  • M= Medium, Grades 4-5.9
  • D= Difficult, grades 6-8.9
  • A= Advanced, grades 9-12.9

The G.E.D. Complete Battery:

The G.E.D. Complete Battery (taken on a computer) does not need to be taken all at one time, or even on the same day. One could study for and take one test at a time. The Tests are:

G.E.D. Reasoning Through the Language Arts Test (3 sections):

Section 1 (35 min.) and Section 3 (60 min.):

Grammar and Reading Comprehension

75% of these are from non-fiction sources: 

This 75% includes these or pieces similar to these: I.R.S. forms, voter registration forms, job applications, newspapers, magazine articles, workplace memos, workplace instructions, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, other historical documents, opinion pieces about contemporary or historical civic, socio-economic or socio-political issues (a chance for them to indoctrinate the person), technical manual instructions (such as how to set up, build or use a product), history or science or social studies textbook sections

25% of these are from literature sources:

This 25% may be intermixed with the above, and asks questions about pieces taken from (mainly public domain) novels, plays, poetry, short stories and so forth.

Section 2, Extended Response Essay (45 min.):

In this section, not only does the student prove ability to write an essay correctly, spell correctly and use correct grammar, but the student must also be like the judge in a Speech & Debate Tournament. I have been one of these many times and through it, I have learned how to decide not which student in Lincoln-Douglass Debate is most correct or aligned with my opinions and world-view, but which student has main points that back up his or her assigned position, which best backs up his or her points best during the debate, and which has the best sources, data and facts. This is what the student must do. They must note for which side the best evidence, data and sources is given by the test writers. They must write an essay showing why this point of view is correct. They must do this regardless of their own world-view, knowledge or opinions. They cannot use outside sources, even if memorized. This is the part wherein your student must see himself or herself as a covert operative or spy. He or she must go along with this horrible way of writing an essay which excludes opinion, world-view, research and knowledge in favor of allowing the test-writers to tell them what is truth and what is not from their world-view and opinions.

This test is written to make sure people have been taught social studies concepts which are aligned with Agenda 21. If the student understands the evils of Agenda 21 (which I have blogged about in my Political posts), then the student will know just exactly what they are looking for. They are looking to see that the student has been properly indoctrinated. Whether or not the student believes the Agenda 21 wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing DECEPTION, the student must pretend he or she does for the duration of this essay. I highly recommend first educating your child about how this doctrine is deceptive. Only then will yo feel safe allowing your child to covertly operate on this test in order to deceive the essay readers trained by those serving the evil elite.

Sources: “Cracking the G.E.D. Test 2017 Edition,” by the Princeton Review, 2017, “GED Test for Dummies, 4th Edition,” by Murray Shukyn with Jane Burstein, Learning Made Easy, 2017, My own knowledge of Agenda 21 and the like (see my blog posts on the topic).

What to expect on the G.E.D. Language Test:

  • To do a whole lot of reading
  • To be expected to type a great amount for the 2 essays. (Make sure your child-student is good at keyboarding).
  • To have a great deal of vocabulary understanding and ability to read fast and still have a great reading comprehension level.

Extended response essay covers a controversial civics or political social studies topic. In the essay portion, the student will have to argue for the side that has the most or the best evidence in the test, even if you disagree with it. The student must state in the essay that the other side does not have enough solid facts or only has opinions.

Source: This Youtube video made by a girl who took the test and vlogged about it.


G.E.D. Mathematical Reasoning Test (2 Sections, 115 min.):

Part 1, General Math, no calculator allowed (5 questions)

Part 2, Problems Common in many Workplaces, calculator allowed (41 questions)

Many questions will be word problems with multiple choice answers, but they will be in multiple other formats as well, including fill in the blank, drag and drop (it is on computer), hot spot and drop-down menu. About 1/2 of the questions will be based upon data, diagrams or charts presented on the test. Education 2030 Incheon (Korea) Declaration (2015) and Goals includes a demand for researchers to go find data which will back up Agenda 21 goals. For the data to have the desired affect on people, people must rely on the data put before them to determine what is true. The G.E.D. and Common Core in the schools must be assured that High School Graduates do not to question data, diagrams or charts, but accept them as truth. Please, before you prepare your beloved offspring for this type of test-taking, teach them how to question EVERYTHING, spot deception, do their own research and ask GOD for wisdom about what is TRUTH. After you have done this, teach them about the deceptions on the test. Teach them that accepting data, diagrams and charts as truth is not wise because of the evil people in the world who wish to deceive all people.

Sources: “Cracking the G.E.D. Test 2017 Edition,” by the Princeton Review, 2017, “GED Test for Dummies, 4th Edition,” by Murray Shukyn with Jane Burstein, Learning Made Easy, 2017, My own knowledge of Agenda 21 and the like (see my blog posts on the topic)

Details about what will be included in the G.E.D. Math Test:

  • general math: addition, subtraction, number sense, figuring percentages, decimals, multiplication, division, fractions, order of operations and so forth (very small part of the test)
  • Pre-Algebra
  • linear slopes with x and y
  • plotting x and y on graph
  • linear equations with x and y
  • linear fractions with x and y
  • graph 6 different points on a coordinate plane. x is always first. (x,y). Left or right first, up or down 2nd.
  • perimeter of a complex shape (divide it into a number of basic shapes, like a series of separate rectangles. Figure it out that way)
  • area rectangle, cyllindar, circle, etc.
  • A= (Pi) times (Radius squared) and opposite (Here is the area. What is it in the Pi R squared formula?
  • Story Problems. Do not get hung up on what is possible or not. Do not try to figure out how it is logiclaly possible. Just do the mathe they want you to do.
  • Problems making the student figure out interest in a bank account or on a debt with amount deposited each time and the interest rate, given. I= PRT, Interest equals principle tmes rate times time. Turn rate given (3.5%) into a decimal (0.035) before multiplying. End answer is in years. If you are given months, figure out how much time it would be in years.
  • Problems like: $68.50 was original price. You paid $18. How much of a discount did you get on the item when you bought it? You need to know how much of a percentage $18 of $68.50 is. Formula is “No over O,” N-0/0, N is New Price. O is Original Price. 
  • -.41 would mean you got 41% off.
  • Slope intercept form y=mx+b. m is the slope. b is the y-intercept. m= rise over run (rose/run)

Source: MathTalk YouTube Videos about the G.E.D. Math Test, starting with this one (part 1)

G.E.D. Social Studies Test (about 35 questions in 70 min.):

Again the questions will be multiple-choice, hot-spot, drag and drop and fill-in the blank. These are approximate break-downs:

  • Government and Civics (truths mixed with lies), 50%. (They will refer to our United States of America as a DEMOCRACY, guaranteed. Our government was set up by our founding fathers as a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC. Make sure your child knows the truth and is aware that the constant use of the word “democracy” by the writers of the test is done in order to deceive.
  • U.S. History (from the perspective of Fascists, Communitarianists and Communists who hate our country, Liberty and the U.S. Contitution), 20%
  • Economics (from the perspective of those who love the idea of a fascist, communitarian and communist world government), 15%
  • World Geography (from the perpective of those who hate sovereignty and the idea of American greatness, who love Agenda 21 and the idea of a world government), 15%

Sources: “Cracking the G.E.D. Test 2017 Edition,” by the Princeton Review, 2017, “GED Test for Dummies, 4th Edition,” by Murray Shukyn with Jane Burstein, Learning Made Easy, 2017, My own knowledge of Agenda 21 and the like (see my blog posts on the topic).

What to expect on the G.E.D. Social Studies Test:

  • Example from the Economics section of an actual test: Answer questions from a graph about Importing & Exporting through Canada
  • Requires reading of large amounts of text to find the information needed to answer a series of questions about its content
  • Requires the reading and interpretation of really strange types of graphs which the student may never have seen before
  • Questions are worded in a tricky way to confuse and trick the student
  • Essay topics on an actual test: Chart showing that men get paid more than women, freedom of speech issues with the flag burning, when blacks got their rights for the first time
  • no extended response essay (there used to be)

Source: This Youtube video made by a girl who took the test and vlogged about it.

G.E.D. Science Test (about 34 questions in 90 min.):

The test will include short passages and graphs and charts. Tricky wording such as “Which one of these is not false?” (meaning ‘which one is true?’) is employed on this science test, so prepare your child-student for this. The type of questions will again be multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, drop-down choices, drag-and-drop, hot-spot (labeling) and 2 short answer essays. Please know your science vocabulary words. Although almost all of the questions haveThe main themes are Human Health and Living Systems, and Energy and realated systems. 3 topics included are:

  • Physical Science & Chemistry, 40%: conservation, transformation, flow of energy, work, sound, light, heat, motion, forces, chemical properties and reactions in living systems. 
  • Life Science, 40%: human biology and health, animal and plant biology, ecosystems, organisms, molecular biology, DNA, and evolution. Examples: label the parts of a flower 🌺, interpret a graph about DNA mutation (for evolution indoctrination).
  • Earth and Space Science, 20%: basic eath and space science, astronomy, environmentalism (global warming and climate change science to indoctrination). Example: Answer questions about the affect of ants 🐜 on rainforests based on data presented.

Sources: “Cracking the G.E.D. Test 2017 Edition,” by the Princeton Review, 2017, “GED Test for Dummies, 4th Edition,” by Murray Shukyn with Jane Burstein, Learning Made Easy, 2017, My own knowledge of Agenda 21 and the like (see my blog posts on the topic),  and This Youtube video made by a girl who took the test and vlogged about it.

G.E.D. Test Guides for Homeschool moms to use in preparing their child-students for the GED test

G.E.D. Test Guides for Homeschool moms to use in preparing their child-students for the GED test

Related Posts:

Socialist Indoctrination in G.E.D. Test Prep Book by the Princeton Review

Get Up to 10 College Credits for Scoring High on the Post-2016 G.E.D. Test!


How at Weber State University, via CLEP and DSST tests, Homeschoolers Can Do the Equivalent of Early College/ Concurrent Enrollment


Agenda 21 and ICLEI: A Crash Course

Education 2030 Incheon Declaration

“Homeschool Dailies”

Some days we are just like Unschoolers and we have unschool days, where some kid work on art and some learn science. They learn, but they learn what they want to learn. Some days, I teach a formal lesson to all of the family at once. Some days, we watch DVD lessons taught by amazing teachers so I can rest and let someone else teach.

A great many of the days, the kids ask me what they should do for homeschool, and I give each individual a list, which is generally the same for that child, every time we do this kind of a day. 

“Homeschool Dailies”


It is such a tradition and has lasted so long (most things don’t) that today I decided to make it official. This morning I made a list for each child called “Homeschool Dailies,” which is this list of things that I generally assign them every time we have a day when I want them to just do those repeated things I usually list for them. These are things which I think they are used to doing, don’t generally give me any complaints about (because they most generally have agreed that they like them and are o.k. with doing them for learning). These are also things I ask them to do because I have decided for them to do them based on:

  • What their interests are
  • What their weeknesses are for a well-rounded general education
  • The level at which they are understanding and learning
  • The areas which I think their focus needs to be on, or is naturally on at this time
  • Curricula or methods which work best for that child.
  • Curricula or methods I like because they are awesome (the montessori method, for example)
  • Which subjects our family needs the most focus and improvement on

I posted these lists in the homeschool room and will explain them to the kids one at a time to make sure each child understands. It is really a routine that works for us but which is now more official because it is written down and even has a large caption.

I must make it very clear that they will only be doing the “Homeschool Dailies” on days when say, “Today, I want you to do your Homeschool Dailies.” That will not be every day.

For the older and middle kids, “HomeSchool Dailies” are a list of things they can do for homeschool on their own in their textbooks, workbooks and with computer software we have. The list for the oldest will take about 3 hours. The list for the middle children will take about 2 hours.


For the younger kids, “Homeschool Dailies” are a list of things I generally have to do with them because they need a guide and someone who can teach, right by their side. It is an eclectic mix with the majority being Montessori reading and writing. It will take me 1.5 to 2 hours to do that with each child, totalling 3 to 4 hours for me.

Relax, Homeschool Lesson-Planning-Obsessed SuperMom!

     Last night I was so upset and worried because our “REA GUIDE to CLEP Western Civilizations I” book was missing. I have been using it to plan how and what to teach my daughter for Homeschooling Early College in Homeschool High School (9th grade). I told my husband last night, “I am so messed up!” He asked why and I replied, “The Western Civilizations I is missing, and it is my latest obsession to work on that for homeschool. I do not know what to do with myself!” This was at 8 p.m. He said, “Find a new obsession, then.” 

     Honestly, I cannot relax even at 8 p.m.? I resolve to relax after 7:30 p.m. every night. If nothing else, it will help me re-charge for the next day and be forced to enjoy my children instead of worrying about homeschool.

     I found the book in the van this morning. Whew. I had said many prayers. I know Heavenly Father was probably trying to tell me to relax, but it was not happening. I have a hard time relaxing. I am obsessed with lesson planning. I am always lesson planning. 

     I found this article in my E-mail box this morning. It was great. A Post About Relaxing Your Supermom Obsessions

Weber State University Credit by Exam

I hope these links help you to give your local Utah homeschooling kids an edge on life. You will be homeschooling college! That is just as normal as putting your public schooled high schooler in a concurrent enrollment or early college class at their high school. It is not weird. They do it. Why shouldn’t homeschoolers also do it? Here are some links you will need about Credits by Exam (for anyone, but especially for Homeschoolers) from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah:

General Requirements at Weber State University (requirements for every degree)

Questions about Generals at Weber State University

General Questions about Degrees at Weber State University

CLEP Tests Accepted by Weber State University (and what each gives credit for)

DSST (Dantes) Exams Weber State Gives Credit For (and which credits you will get for them)

DSST Testing Center Guidelines

CLEP Testing Center Guidelines WSU

WSU Testing Centers (click tabs to get to each testing center)

GED testing center guidelines WSU  — (In case you want to do that, too)

Video: Weber State University: How Our Testing Centers Operate

CLEP Official Study Guide at Amazon.com

DSST Principles of Public Speaking Exam Wise Owl Study Guide, Amazon.com

WSU Public Speaking HU 1020 book I bought

Info. on WSU Bookstore, where you could also get study books for the exams

CLEP Western Civilizations I Exam Study Guide by REA at Amazon.com

“The Great Courses: Foundations of Western Civilization I” (Search at Amazon.com)

I bought Parts 1-3 for $30 used. I am using this to teach my kids and help them prepare for the CLEP Western Civilizations I Exam.

The Great Courses: The Foundations of Western Civilization This is the same DVD from the creators’ website.

You can find study guides for any CLEP or DSST test at Amazon.com or wherever you buy books. (I buy them at Amazon.com).

Weber State University Credit by Exam

Homeschool Early College / Concurrent Enrollment at Weber State University

G.E.D.: 10 College Credits? Really!? That’s Great!

00195-037-2017-CLEP-Official-Study-Guide-Cvr.indd

DSST image

 

Ready to Read!

My son is ready to learn to read because he sees me teaching his big brother to read. This is exciting but it makes me nervous. I have been on pinterest pinning things about teaching letter sounds with lowercase letters. I am enthused about going to the file cabinet to find the Montessori letter sounds activities. I need to soon find little 3-d objects so he can do 3-d Montessori letter sounds activities. 

This makes me feel overwhelmed a little, too. I homeschool many kids and here is a new one ready to learn to read. Now I will have many things to tach yet another homeschooler. It is not that I have not already been helping him learn. It is just that learning to read is a big, important growth step in learning.

At the same time, I am nervous that my eldest child will be a high-school aged kid this coming fall. The more homeschoolers, the merrier, and seeing her become an adult is beautiful. Nevertheless, it makes me nervous. How have ai done? Have ai taught her well? Is she ready for the big world of adult life? What shall I make sure she is taught before she is an adult?

Homeschool Book Report Questions

    

Homeschool Fiction Book Report

What is the title of the book?

Who wrote this book?

Who illustrated the book?

What is the 1st copyright date on the book?

What company published the book?

How many pages are in the book?

How many chapters are in the book?

What is the book about?

What inspiration or thoughts came to you while reading or thinking about the book?

Name something mentioned in the book that may be symbolic:

What mentioned in the book is similar to some part of your life now?

Write 4 lines from a poem, or something that could be made into a poem, which is the book.

What is a political, moral or social lesson the author may be sending to readers?

Put down a favorite quote from the book:

Describe the main character.

Describe the goals of the main character at the beginning.

What was the main character’s biggest challenge and how was it overcome?

Who or what did the main character have to go up against?

Who or what were on the side of the main character from the beginning?

How did the main character change, from the beginning to the end of the book?