Teacher’s Guide for
The Education of Patience Goodspeed
By Heather Vogel Frederick
Read the jacket of the book and then make predictions about what the major events in the story may be. Specifically, what will be the “danger that strikes” that sends Patience to boarding school?
Great readers keep themselves involved in the story while they’re reading by making predictions about what they think may happen next. They look for clues to help them make these guesses. Often though the author deliberately tries to surprise the reader (which is half the fun of reading, don’t you think?) with extra details that may not turn out to be critical. As you read The Education of Patience Goodspeed answer these questions AS YOU GO and don’t worry whether your answers are right or not. Also, create at least one prediction or question by the end of each chapter with one of these phrases, “I wonder whether…” “I think that Patience will probably…” “I think the next obstacle may be…”
- Will Fanny Starbuck try for Captain Goodspeed’s attentions?
- Will Fanny tell the captain about his children’s diminishing manners? What will the captain do?
- Will Fanny capture the captain’s attentions? Will Patience, as Chips suggests, be like Fanny in a couple of years?
- Will they run into danger on the Cannibal islands? What will it be?
- What will the natives do to them? What makes you thinks so?
- Will they be able to save everyone? How?
- Will John Macy survive? Will Patience be given the credit she deserves from her father?
- Will Patience hate the boarding school as much as she thinks she will? What will it be like?
- How will Patience mend her relationship with her father?
- Will the three months be cured or only endured by Patience? What could be the ray of hope for her?
- Will Thaddeus wish that Fanny will become his mother? What makes you think so or not?
- Will Thaddeus be allowed to keep Friday? What will his father say about him when he learns of the mistaken gift?
- Will Fanny forgive her? Will Patience forgive herself?
- Will Reverend Wiggins find out about the girl’s secret studies? What will he say if he does?
- Do you think Aunt Ann believes “Sabbath is not a day for idle amusement?” What will Ann take them to do?
- What will happen to La`ila`a, Charity, and Patience over the hula?
- Why hasn’t the Morning Star reappeared?
- Why did Fanny make this declaration?
- What will happen between Fanny and Patience? Patience and her father? Captain Goodspeed and Fanny?
- When will the Morning Star reappear? What has delayed them?
- What would Reverend Wiggins do about the stunt with Friday? What would Papa do?
1. Will Patience and Fanny remain friends? What will the wedding be like?
- Will the gift be able to be salvaged? How?
- What will happen to Charity, The Gospels, Patience and Thad?
- What would you say are the major events in the story? Why would you pick these over others?
- Compare Patience to Fanny. Are they alike in any way? How are they different?
3. Imagine what would have happened if the Morning Star had not reappeared within six months. What would Patience and Thaddeus have done?
4. Which scene was your favorite from the story? Why?
5. Explain what Reverend Wiggins is trying to do on the island.
- How is Patience unlike typical young women of her time? How is she still bound by many of their expectations? What, do you think, would her life be like had she been born in the year that you were?
- Reverend Wiggins is quite sure of himself and his goals to educate the natives from their “savagery.” Discuss his motives and methods through the lens of this century. How have our views changed? What has remained the same?
- How does Patience change from the beginning of the novel to the end? What did she learn? What more does she need to learn?
- The Goodspeeds’ have very close yet volatile relationships. What do people reveal about themselves to family that outsiders may never know or understand? Do you think their relationships will always contains times of discord? Why? Do all families?
- Patience says on p. 223, “I am so weary of decorum and refinement and respectability. Hardly anything I had done since arriving in this place had been fun.” What would you do under the severe circumstances Patience finds herself in? Have you ever felt this chained before?
- How would you describe Patience as a person? Would you like to be her friend? Why? What are her strengths? What are her weaknesses?
- How would you feel if you were left at a boarding school like Patience, Thaddeus and their Aunt? Would you object or be relieved to be out of harm’s way?
- On p. 232 Aunt Ann says, “Life is not a neat equation to be solved… It’s messy and wild and unpredictable. That’s the heartbreak of it, but that’s also the glory in it.” Discuss this quote and what it means to you.
- Patience smarts under the judgment of Reverend Wiggins and yet she continues to act similarly to Fanny. How are both minds changed? Do people always surprise you or are they likely to remain the person you first encountered? Defend your answer.
- What do you think will be Patience’s next adventure? What elements will it include (danger, romance, more expeditions)? What adventures would you like to have before Patience’s next appearance in bookstores?
Projects across the Curriculum:
Pretend you are getting ready to write the play version of The Education of Patience Goodspeed for the Broadway or Film adaptation. The first pages of these plays often describe the characters so the actor can get a good idea of how to portray them. Write descriptions of each of the main characters in the story- use physical characteristics as well as their personality.
Visit the following websites to research the history and tools of early navigation. Write a brief pamphlet about what you learned.
Create a Hawaiian inspired batik:
Batik is the art of reverse- using crayon (or wax) color the flowers of Hawaii (or a scene from the book) on pre-washed muslin. Then, dip the fabric into a dye bath of your choice, or use spray bottles filled with the dye to apply it for more control (and cleaner too!) Let the dye set and then wash.