Monday, August 15, 2016

Restful Teaching Seminar Notes...

Inline image

I had the opportunity to watch the Restful Teaching seminar by Andrew Kern and Matt Bianco with a friend via download replays and it was fabulous!  The seminar had five sessions, including:

  • Restful Teaching: Why restful teaching rises when teaching is oriented toward perceiving truth and Truth
  • Restful Planning: There are three modes of teaching/learning (the three columns) that enable us to plan restfully
  • The Restful Curriculum: The arts of truth-fishing
  • Restful Pedagogy: Teaching truth
  • Restful Assessment: Evaluating truth perception

Today, I thought I would share my notes in the hope of easing some anxiety you may have as we gear up to begin the 2016-2017 academic year.  I've highlighted some key points in pink that stuck out to me.  If you've watched or were able to attend the Restful Teaching seminar, I'd love to chat in the comments section below.

Restful Teaching

Restful teaching is not dumbing down
We should ask ourselves, "Is it philosophy if it can't be put into practice?"
Principles govern practices, practices are individual

Andrew Kern suggested 5 principles

  1. Principles set you free
  2. Practices not derived from principles enslave you - a person who is not thinking for himself is not a free person
  3. Bad caricatures lead to bad thinking, bad thinking leads to bad actions
  4. Therefore, we need to align our thinking and actions - thinking guides actions (this is wisdom)
  5. Everything begins with a caricature

Caricature -
noun
  1. a picture, description, etc., ludicrously exaggerating the peculiarities or defects of persons or things:
His caricature of the mayor in this morning's paper is the best he's ever drawn.
  1. the art or process of producing such pictures, descriptions, etc.
  2. any imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.


What we are is more important than what we do

Saying "yeah, but" is Socratic discussion

Restful Planning

Matt Bianco began with Where is the Lord? - we see this in the Gospel of John, chapter 1

The object of education is to train our children to perceive truth, so when truth is the Lord, they recognize Him. 

There are two truths - upper case "T" truth and lower case "t" truth

Truth is God. Everything else is truth.

We need restfulness in rigor and diligence

       Content
               Truth
     (Logos Incarnate)
                      Skills
       (art of truth perception)
Tell
Discuss an artifact or phrase
Model
Recall
Contemplation of artifact or phrase
Imitate
Reproduce (assessment)
Joy incarnate
Feedback on mastery of the given skill or art

incarnate
adj (usually immediately postpositive)
1. possessing bodily form, esp the human form: a devil incarnate.
2. personified or typified: stupidity incarnate.
3. (Botany) (esp of plant parts) flesh-coloured or pink
vb (tr)
4. to give a bodily or concrete form to
5. to be representative or typical of
[C14: from Late Latin incarnāre to make flesh, from Latin in-2 + carō flesh]


To incarnate means to become flesh. The incarnation of Jesus is when the human nature (Jesus the man) was added to the nature of God the second person of the Trinity. It is where God became a man (John 1:114Phil. 2:5-8). It was the voluntary act of Jesus to humble Himself so that He might die for our sins (1 Pet. 3:18). Thus, Jesus has two natures: Divine and human. This is known as the Hypostatic Union.


Every piece of information orders the soul towards Truth if you use it to do so

Curriculum makes you a slave

How to implement chart above:

Choose any subject (ex. History)
Make list of truths/principles regarding that subject
Make list of desired skills you want your child to attain while studying that subject
Make list of content to study about that subject - should be smallest and most insignificant list

"Succession is difficult." - Andrew Kern

It's totally OK to learn as we teach.

  1. Identify the goal or desired outcome of teaching each subject
  2. What column on the chart does that goal come from?
  3. Teach accordingly/appropriately
  4. Having taught based on the column, assess them, give specific feedback

Constantly reorient, repent, and take your time

Content is less important than Truth.  Truth exalts content to its honorable place as a servant, but when content raises itself to the position of master it renders everything meaningless.

Truth is way more important than skills.

Restful Curriculum

7 Liberal Arts - grammar, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, geometry, harmonics, astronomy

Mathematics is a place of rest.  It's orderly and ends with an answer.

Restful Pedagogy

Don't try to justify the reason for teaching - don't reduce to utilitarian (ex. You will need this math because some day your going to be a ….) - in line with Charlotte Mason

Restful Assessment

Goal is to point students toward Logos - orient towards Truth

We want to perceive and embody Truth.

Curriculum: learn to perceive Truth

Pedagogy: Incarnate the Logos when we teach so that the student having perceived the Truth has incarnated.

Students will learn what I embody, not what I intend to teach.  (modeling for imitation)

More than any other lesson, we must teach how to have faith in a world that doesn't have it!

Ephesians 5:1

We have to demonstrate faith in discord.

Assessment: Able to perceive and therefore incarnate Truth/Logos of the lesson


Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Findings: Liberal Arts and Servile Arts, Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms, Dysgraphia, and More....

This week, I happened across Liberal Arts and Servile Arts from 2009, written by Andrew Kern.  It put me in mind of Charlotte Mason's Principle 12, which is a great reminder as many of us are making preparations for the new school year.

I keep hearing and seeing words like "progymnasmata", "refutation"  and "chreia" in classical education circles, particularly when it comes to writing.  After clicking around online, I found this Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms quite helpful.  Also, I now understand how Classical Academic Press came up with their Writing & Rhetoric titles :)

In Trouble with Handwriting? It Could be Dysgraphia Marianne gives a great list to help identify a child struggling with dysgraphia.

Joshua Gibbs hit the nail on the head in The Teacher is the Chief of Sinners!  It'a a bit unsettling really.  How many times have I pointed out the sliver in someone else's eye before seeing the plank in my own?  The last line in summary was humbling in a goose bump sort of way.

Hot, sultry summer days with bare back and skinned knees reading The Snowy Day ;-)


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016-2017 Curricula Choice - Beautiful Feet Ancient History....


It occurred to me that I keep mentioning the fact that we'll be using Beautiful Feet this year, but I really haven't shared the plan so here goes.  RileyAnn will be using Beautiful Feet Ancient History as her primary curricula for 7th grade.  She's really excited about the great books she'll be reading and I'm very pleased with the intermediate level book choices as well.  Here's the list of suggested resources and literature used in the guide, as well as a little bit about our plan for each suggested resource:

BF Ancient History guide - We will be using the first half or intermediate section of the guide, which was written for 5th - 8th grade.  The guide is intended to be completed in one traditional school year.  There are 71 lessons total in the intermediate section so I am scheduling Riley to complete about two lessons per week.  She will work independently on the reading and notebook assignments.  I will listen to oral narrations and read written narrations weekly, with periodic checks on her notebook.  We will also have regular discussion prompted from the study guide questions.  There is an answer key in the guide for the discussion questions.  I will give Riley a copy of the lessons for her to use as her guide on which, I will mark and highlight the questions, writing prompts, mapwork, etc. that I wish her to complete. I will retain the actual guide for myself so we can stay on the same page.

Streams of Civilization text and test booklet -  I was a little up in the air about using this book as some have reported it to be very dry.  However, I think in the start we'll give it a try and play it by ear.  Upon skimming the pages, there looks to be a lot of good information there and I like the fact that it's biblically based.  I will not be administering the tests.

The Student Bible Atlas by Tim Dowley - Riley will complete the mapwork in the BF Ancient History guide using the Bible Atlas for guidance.  I did end up purchasing the new edition and I hope it matches up.  It really is a beautiful book.

Ancient History Timeline - We will not be using the BF Ancient History Timeline.  Instead, I hope to encourage Riley in using her Book of Centuries.  You may recall, I made the BOC last year, however, it didn't get used.  I failed to instruct and remind Riley about how to incorporate it into her study.  This year, I aim to walk her through the process for the first few weeks or however long it takes to become a habit.  I also hope to begin keeping my own BOC.

Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne
Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green
Pyramid by David Macaulay
The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Ancient Greece by Christine Hatt
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire
The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum
Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster (also used in AO Year 6)
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare
City by David Macaulay
The White Isle by Caroline Dale Snedecker

Doesn't that look like a great literature list!  We're both looking forward to it and as mentioned previously, a few of the books cross over with Ruben's HOD Creation to Christ study.  I will also be adding a couple of books from Ambleside Online Year 6 to Riley's Ancient History study, but will explain more about that in a 2016-2017 curriculum overview post.  I am really excited about the potential discussion within the family as we begin our journey through Ancient History this year.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Updated List of Language Arts, Bible/Character, Electives, and Other Misc. Books for Sale....

Below you will find our latest list of Language Arts, Bible/Character, Elective, and misc. teaching resources for sale.  Some of the books are ex-library and some are from a private collection.  Workbooks are clean, new, and unused unless noted.  There is a variety of curricula and study guides as well as living books.  The prices do not reflect shipping. I accept PayPal and ship media mail within the U.S.  Please use the contact form on the right side bar to send inquires and desired list.

Thanks so much for your consideration,
Melissa

Michael Clay Thompson (MCT) Voyage Level $160 set
    Complete set with all new unused student material as well as teacher book.  The Caesar's English II student books, part 1 and 2, are still in shrink wrap, pictured on the lower right corner.  This is a fabulous all inclusive language arts program! I will also include printed lesson plans/schedules.


Writing & Grammar Books

Daily Guided Teaching and Review for 2nd & 3rd Grades by Wanda C. Phillips $5

Language Lesson for the High School Student 2 by Sandi Queen – student book & key $10

Many Luscious Lollipops – A Book about Adjectives by Ruth Heller $4

Up, Up and Away – A Book about Adverbs by Ruth Heller $4

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Practice Master Student Workbook (cursive) grade 3 $3

Bowmar/Noble Handwriting Level F (cursive workbook) $3

Quad-Line Advanced 3/16” Ruling 100 sheet pack $1 each

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E. B. White (hardcover) SL AO 9 $4 each

Reading, Phonics, Vocabulary & Spelling Books

Claims to Fame – Fourteen Short Biographies – Book 3 $3 each

Claims to Fame – Fourteen Short Biographies – Book 2 w/key $5

Reading Response Forms by Classroom Complete Press grades 1-6 $5

Spelling Power 3rd edition (3-hole punched in a binder – includes 2 new Student Record Books) $15 set



Bob Books – Levels 1, 2, & 3 $4 each level

Wordly Wise – prices as marked
-       Word Wise, Expanding Vocabulary with Roots and Prefixes (student book w/answers) $4
-       Wordly Wise 3000 2 Teacher’s Key $1
-       Wordly Wise 3000 3 Teacher’s Key $1
-       Wordly Wise 3000 4 Teacher’s Key $1
-       Wordly Wise 3000 6 Test Booklet & Answer Key $3
-       Wordly Wise 3000 7 Test Booklet & Answer Key $3
-       Wordly Wise 3000 8 Test Booklet & Answer Key $3
-       Wordly Wise 3000 11 Answer Key $1

Vocabulary in Action by Loyola Press Level E (student workbook) $3

A Troll Question Book set of 10 books $2
-       Seeing
-       Thinking
-       Smelling
-       Hearing
-       Touching
-       Tasting
-       Who?
-       What?
-       Where?
-       Why?

The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Bishop Spalding $30 set
-       Starting a Spelling Notebook by Mari McAlister
-       5th edition Writing Road to Reading
-       McCall-Crabbs Standard Test Lessons in Reading
-       Spalding Word Builder Cards
-       Phonogram Cards
-       Misc. notes for using program


Study Guides

The Biggest Bear w/book $4

The Westing Game w/book SL $4

Misc. Study Guides $2 each
-       Oh, The Places He Went: A Story About Dr. Seuss
-       Ishi, Last of His Tribe
-       Arthur’s Honey Bear

Total Language Plus Guide - The Wheel on the School SL $10

Progeny Press Study Guide: The Bridge $4

Art, Music, Foreign Language, & Home Economics

Art & the Bible for Children by Barry Stebbing (NEW hardcover) $20

Feed My Sheep by Barry Stebbing – Student book with videos $30 set

Come Look With Me – American Indian Art by Stephanie Salomon (hardcover) $4

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists – Monet by Mike Venezia TQ $3

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists – Grant  Wood by Mike Venezia (hardcover) TQ $3

The Art of China by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) $5

The Art of the Woodland Indians by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) $5

The Art of the New American Nation by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) VT $6

The Art of Colonial America by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) VT $6

The Art of America in the Gilded Age by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) VT $6

The Art of India by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) $5

The Art of the Old West by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) $5

The Art of Egypt under the Pharaohs by Shirley Glubok (hardcover) $5

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards $4

Kids Colorpix My Favorite Masterpieces Assorted Cards & Envelopes $3

The Gift of Music, Great Composers and Their Influence by Jane Stuart Smith & Betty Carlson $5

Bible, Character, & Misc. Resource Books

Bible Quest: God’s People, God’s Land – Home School Teacher’s Edition $5

Treasury of Bible Stories (hardcover) $4

3 in 1 (A Picture of God) by Joanne Marxhausen $3

Little Visits with God by Allan Hart Jahsmann & Martin P. Simon $3

More Little Visits with God by Allan Hart Jahsmann & Martin P. Simon (hardcover) $3

Releasing Your Potential by Myles Munroe (book and workbook) $4 set

My Tall Book of Proverbs by Donna Huisjen (hardcover) $1

David by Beth Moore (hardcover) $4

Egermeier’s  Bible Story Book by Elsie Egermeier (hardcover) SL K $7

Egermeier’s  Bible Story Book by Elsie Egermeier SL K $5

Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible for Young and Old (original 1932/1947 hardcover) $15

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (hardcover w/jacket) $3

The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav $1

Nearing Home by Billy Graham $2

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo $2

The A Life of Faith Collection based on books by Martha Finley (Elsie, Millie, Violet, Laylie) $3

Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook (hardcover w/jacket) $4

What your Fifth Grader Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch (hardcover) $3

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease $3

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick grades 4-8 $4

Honey for the Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt $3

Sue Patrick’s Workbox System Starter Kit for 2 Children & A User Guide book $20

Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike $3

Saturday, August 6, 2016

When Your Ideal Meets Reality in an Unforeseen Way...

Love the utility sink and laundry room combo.  Look at all that storage space! Oh how I dream!:   

On the top you see a lovely looking utility room with stainless steel sink and counter top.  It is neat and tidy, freshly scrubbed and even appears to have an in tact faucet.  Now look below....Yup, that's my utility sink faucet.  It came right off in RileyAnn's hand this morning while she was making bottles for the calves.  If that wasn't bad enough, while taking the photo, I noticed all the dirt and grime surrounding the sink and faucet that I haven't cleaned. This, added to my homeschool planning failure, has caused me to see that my ideal sure is not meeting my reality.


Spring is always such a busy time here on the farm.  There's baby animals, ball, and book/thrift sales.  We're trying to finish up those last few lessons when the weather breaks after what feels like forever of snow, cold, and being cooped up.  Everyone wants to get outside!

This spring, I had a plan.  We finished up the bulk of our studies in mid May, everything except history.  Both kids were playing ball.  I was running around buying and selling books, as well as thrift saling to purchase our wardrobes for the coming year.  I was expecting chaos as usual, but planned that it would end with June. As a matter of fact, I didn't even make the pages of my calendar/planner for the second half of the year.  I purposely left them blank in the hopes of creating time off.  In July, we would have no outside commitments.  We were going to be home.  I was planning to pick our history study back up.  I was going to organize the school room and create fresh plans for fall.  In between, we would have beach days, cook outs, and leisurely reading.

I was also planning to try something new this fall.  We were going to start school in early August so we could have more breaks throughout the year, possibly testing a Sabbath school schedule.  I figured we'd all be refreshed and ready for a new start after our relaxing July.  This was my ideal.

Well, lo and behold, July came and reality set in.  The kids were offered a job.  The day after celebrating our independence, they were to begin pulling giant ragweed from organic corn fields.  The job would be short term and it was a chance for them to earn money.  It would be Ruben's first official employment outside the home.  It sounded like a great opportunity, however, the job was too far away to drop them so I would sit and wait at a friend's house while they worked.  I lost the first two weeks of July doing what felt like nothing.

Next, I was asked to volunteer for VBS again this summer.  I felt like I should since I had three kids participating.  It was Levi's first year attending and I was to lead the preschoolers.  Here went the third week of July away from home!

The worst part was the first day, Monday, when we arrived back home from VBS, shortly after noon to no water.  We have tannin and iron in our water and it had plugged the pump and the water lines.  We did not have water fully restored until Thursday!  Prior to the water stop, we made an impromptu play date with some acquaintances from the city who had never been to our home.  I debated on canceling since we had to use ice cream pails of borrowed water to flush the toilet, however, in the end, I decided the show must go on.  

At this point, I was down to one week left of July and you may have guessed that it did not go off without a hitch.  The Farmer received a call from a neighbor friend stating his elderly mother had fallen and refused medical treatment.  It was several days later and she was since unable to move from the chair.  He asked us to come over to help.  It took us three long visits over a four day period to convince her to allow us to take her to the hospital.  Needless to say, I am not the nurse type and was totally out of my comfort zone!

Now that we're heading into the second week in August, the reality is that I didn't even come close to reaching my ideal.  I have no lesson plans to show and no beach days, though we did sneak in two different water park trips.  The school room did not get organized.  Not only didn't we pick up and finish our history from last year, but I didn't get a single book read.  One might even say, my reality was dire compared to my ideal.

The funny thing is, I don't feel robbed or jaded.  I'm actually fairly calm, cool, and collected.  When I look back instead of seeing my ideal slip down the drain, in reality, I see God's ideal coming to fruition.  I watched my kids learn responsibility and gain employability skills.  I modeled service for them within our church family. We persevered through four days and near 100-degree temps with no running water, cultivating new friends along the way.  Lastly, I learned humility from our neighbor in the most humbling of times.  All the planning in the world, couldn't have prepared me for the last five weeks.

Today, was a new day.  We sorted clothing the kids have outgrown and cleaned the garage.  I updated book sale lists and answered neglected e-mails.  The Farmer cut hay.  Riley and Ruben helped with many odd chores.  We may be no where near my ideal as we begin this second week of August, but I see we're all the better for it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sunburn Hack...

I sunburned the top of my feet of all places!  Tuesday we went to the water park because you know Wisconsin holds the water park capital of the world...so we went to a small rural water park in Minnesota, ahem.  It was great!  No lines, pack your own lunch, park right next to the picnic area, lower cost, etc.  Of course, we all slathered in sunscreen and reapplied after a few hours, but I never thought to cover my feet.  Well, low and behold on the way home, they started to itch and burn.  By the time I got home and took my socks/shoes off, I saw they were fried!

After my initial panic, I applied coconut oil with little relief.  Next, I headed to my stash of Young Living Essential Oils because they are one of my new favorite things.  I became a distributor last year so I could get a good deal on oils for my family.  We've been experimenting with them since.  This time, I grabbed Lavender because I'm aware of its healing properties for skin related issues.  I applied a couple drops directly to my sunburned feet and immediately I felt relief.  Since, I've been putting a couple of drops on in the morning after my shower and a couple of drops at bedtime.  Today, socks are more tolerable and the irritation is much better.

I am not a doctor and by no means am I trying to give medical advice.  I just thought I'd share what worked for me.  Young Living Lavender Oil on sunburned feet brought fast relief.  It's a good thing!

Monday, July 25, 2016

2016-2017 Curricula Choice - Heart of Dakota: Creation to Christ....

The jury is in.  It's been decided.  I'll be using Heart of Dakota's Creation to Christ for Ruben's main educational program this year.  Riley and Ruben will both study Ancients, but use separate books/programs for the first time in their school career.  Riley asked to do her own thing and I think it's time.  I'll be posting her plans at a later date.

I chose Heart of Dakota for a variety of reasons.  I love the books used in Creation to Christ!  They are living books that were on our list to read anyway and we already owned most of them.  The two or three that we don't, I'll most likely sub out.  The program was written for students ages 9-11, but does come with an extension package for older students.  Ruben is 11 and on the older end so we will be adding a few of the extension books as well as a small number of others that I want him to read while studying this time period.  A couple of the books are used in Ambleside Online and Beautiful Feet, which will cross over with what Riley's reading.



I really like the science selections.  Creation to Christ covers biology and the area of life science through the study of plants, animals, birds and the human body.  In addition to the five books shown below, An Illustrated Adventure in Human Anatomy by Kate Sweeney is also used.


The more time I spend with Creation to Christ, the more I love the layout of the lesson plan.  Each day is a two page spread with ten boxes, each containing a different subject.  The left side focuses on History.  The right side focuses on other subjects including Language Arts, Math, Geography, Bible, and Science.  Each day's work is marked "I" = Independent; "T" = Teacher directed; or "S" = Semi-independent.  I think this will be helpful as I'm trying to guide Ruben into more independent studies now that he can read.  I also like that the schedule is four days per week for 35 weeks.  This allows us time for extra curriculars like choir, book club, and art.

I did create an at-a-glance chart to give me a quick view of the week's lessons.  I'm a big picture kind of girl and this gives me the information I need at my fingertips without having to page through the entire instructor guide.  It makes for easy prep so I can quickly see which books I need to pull out for the week.  Below is a sample of the first week with my book abbreviations to follow.  I do have an extra column for math on the original plan, but it's blank at this point so I deleted it here for aesthetic reasons.

Heart of Dakota Hearts for Him through Time: 
Creation to Christ Lesson Plan
Unit & Day
History Read
History Project
Independent History
Storytime
(Read Aloud)
Bible Quiet
Time
Bible Study
Geography
Poetry
Language Arts
Science Explore
1/1
SOTAW Ch I-II
Research
Create a flapbook
WITW, Disc 1, Tracks 1-2
Dinosaurs  Narrate
Gen
Ch 1-2
Ill 
22-25
Genesis: FOR
p.8-11
Discussion
Read & Copy
Grammar
Dictation
Notebook
1/2
SOTAW CH III-IV
Copywork
Flapbook
Notebook
Dinosaurs
Sketch
Gen
Ch 3-4
Ill 
26-29
ACG, Vol. 2
P. 5-8
Discussion
Read & Paint
Writing
L Animals p. 1-4
Narrate
1/3
SOTAW Ch V-VI
Timeline
Flapbook
WITW, Disc 1, Tracks 3
Copywork
Dinosaurs
Narrate
Gen
Ch 6-7
Ill 
30-31
Genesis: FOR
p. 11-12
Activity
Read & Paint
Writing
Dictation
L Animals p. 5-8
Questions
1/4
SOTAW Ch VII-VIII
Written Narration
WITW, Disc 1, Tracks 4
Research/Discuss
Dinosaurs
Activity
Gen
Ch 8-9
Ill
32-33
ACG, Vol. 2
P. 9-12
Discussion
Reading
Recitation
Grammar
Dictation
L Animals p. 8-11
Experiment

SOTAW – Story of the Ancient World by Guerber
WITW – What in the World? CD by Diana Waring
Genesis: FOR – Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Beechick
ACG – A Child’s Geography Vol. II by Voskamp
L Animals – Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day

As with any box curricula, there are cons such as being tied to a pre-made schedule.  However, I've been doing this long enough that I don't feel the need to complete every suggested assignment or reading.  As a matter of fact, some of the history projects feel a little hokey or geared toward younger students so we will omit them.  I will focus mostly on reading, narration, writing, and notebooking.  At this point in the game, I'm OK with letting the curricula guide me rather than making it my master.  The plans are written flexible enough to allow you to customize to your own liking.

Creation to Christ offers you the option of picking your own language arts and math programs.  There are suggested resources for those who need them, but I plan to chose my own.  I will spend time this year working with Ruben on beginning written narration, which is scheduled weekly on day four .  There are also built in oral narration and dictation exercises, which I will adjust accordingly.  The program suggests two days per week spent on writing and two days spent on grammar.  I'm still working on those details.  Click here for a complete list of Creation to Christ suggested resources.

In addition, Heart of Dakota offers pre-made notebooking pages to use with Creation to Christ.  However, Ruben will design his own instead.  They look beautiful, but I was concerned about whether or not the boxes would be big enough for Ruben to write in.  Furthermore, I believe it's better for the student to write what's meaningful to him, rather than fill in this box with "abc" and that box with "xyz".  I also will not be using HOD's Drawn Into the Heart of Reading program as I've used it in the past with Riley and we didn't care for it.  We will simply read great literature and discuss it rather than taking a workbook approach.

I don't normally go for box curriculum, but this year, I felt like it's just what I need for Ruben.  It will allow me time to focus on teaching specific skills rather than getting wrapped up in scheduling and lesson plans.  I'll still be planning Riley's year, as well as beginning odds and ends with Levi.  I also have a friend using Creation to Christ with her son, who's the same age as Ruben.  She has used HOD in the past and has been a great resource for bouncing ideas.  I love having that local support.  Overall, Ruben and I are excited to try this new venture.  We're looking forward to a great year.