Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Homeschool Planning Chat...

I'm excited to announce that I'll be joining Mystie Winckler, among others in an upcoming Homeschool Planning Chat next Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific (3:00 p.m. Central, which is my time).  We will be discussing how to communicate your homeschool plan to your children as well as how to flex pre-made plans when the going gets tough.  Please join Mystie Winckler of Simply Convivial, Kortney Garrison, Dawn Garrett, Virginia Lee Rogers, and I for an afternoon of encouragement.

Click here to register.....and no worries, if you're unavailable at that time.  Once registered, you will be sent a replay link at the end of the webinar.  So join our free upcoming chat about homeschool planning, expectations, and living out those plans:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Weekly Reflection - Week Three...

At Home

Our third week of school brought the start of a few more extra-curricular activities.  RileyAnn started Fall Ball last Sunday.  Also, Riley and Ruben both kicked off the first semester of choir.  It was great to see friends and get back into the swing of things.

Academics went a bit smoother this week. The kids are starting to get into a routine.  Ruben was excited about starting choir and seeing friends so he worked extra hard to complete his studies.  Their student planners are helping them stay on task.

Wow, did we ever have rain this week!  Wednesday night local rainfall ranged from 5-11 inches in a few short hours.  Several roads, culverts, and bridges were washed out including a road running parallel to our property.  Thursday morning, we found ourselves in a traffic jam while enroute to choir.  A four-lane state highway was reduced to one lane with several inches of water running across.  We were delayed by twenty-five minutes waiting in the two mile back-up to get through.  Thankfully, the predicted rain since has held off giving the initial blast a chance to subside.

Around the Web

Early in the week, I listened to Homeschool Snapshots Podcast 34 with Pam Barnhill and Missy Andrews.  The first half gave much needed encouragement and inspiration.  The second half reinforced teaching from good literature.  It was a great pick-me-up and just the boost I needed to jump start Monday morning.

I actually don't think I've listened to a podcast all summer so I'm a bit behind, but it's OK because WI winters are really long!  Wednesday morning, I went back and listened to BiblioFiles Episode #2, The Great Conversation, in which the Andrews family discussed the meaning of the Great Conversation.  There was also a bit of a squabble as to whether or not modern movies and lit can or will become part of that conversation.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to leave a comment below after listening to the discussion.

I also read Assigned reading, free reading, and raising readers by Mystie Winckler and Old Enough to Bless Others by Brandy Vencel.  Last year, I assigned Riley and Ruben to read to Levi daily, which was great for all involved.  Riley and Ruben got practice reading aloud and Levi benefited from being read to.  It was a win/win!  Unfortunately, it ended with the academic year and I failed to schedule it this year.  I'm still thinking on this one, whether or not to schedule.  I'd like to see it become a habit, not a chore.  The Farmer and I are both readers so hopefully our modeling excites and ignites that fire for our children.

Teacher Training

Our CM study group met last night to discuss Chapter One of Consider This, Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass.  It was great to be back together!  The camaraderie was fabulous and we had some new moms, bringing our total to nine.  I do intend to blog through the book as I did with Charlotte Mason's A Philosophy of Education so stay tuned for future posts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Habit of Orderliness, Helping Students Stay Organized....

In an effort to help my kiddos stay organized, for the past few years, I've created student planners.  You may remember from Planning Your Homeschool Year that I am primarily a paper/pencil planner. I've tried digital planning unsuccessfully...mostly because our computer crashed that year.  I've since created my master plans in Word, but print hard copies to work off of throughout the year.  

RileyAnn has always been fascinated by my lesson plans. Back in 4th grade, she wanted a system to keep track of her own assignments.  She's very motivated and has been striving for independence in her academics for some time.  You may also remember the paper/pencil Term Checklists I posted back then.  Riley is my lover of box checking so she loves the checklist system.  
The habit of regularity is as attractive to older children as to the infant.  The days when the usual programme falls through are, we know, the days when the children are apt to be naughty.  Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 132
This year, I thought about doing away with the checklists because I wanted to try a new system as I felt Riley was ready for the entire lesson plan.  However, Riley begged for them and we compromised.  I gave her the desired check boxes as well as the lesson plans.  It was a win, win all the way around.  

Below you will see Riley's Term 1 Daily Checklists.  This year, I've scheduled all subjects in a four day week, leaving the fifth day open.  In the past, I've scheduled a lighter fifth day, but never left it completely open.  I wasn't sure it would work and was open to the idea of carry over if four days got to be too much.  However so far, it's been wonderful!  

This week we do start choir, which requires travel time and usually errands when we head to the city.  It's also typically a day to have lunch, shop, or play at the park with friends.  The kids now have the option to complete their school work on that day after arriving home or saving it for the fifth open day.  My goal was to create more time for leisure and contemplation.  Over the past couple of weeks on their fifth free day, the kids have done such things as helping me work our thrift sale, an art tour, baking, building, free reading, spending time out of doors, etc.  So far, it certainly hasn't been a wasted day.  Each of them now has built in time to cultivate other interests and hobbies.  

Following the Term Checklist is Riley's At-A-Glance Term Lesson Plan Chart.  I've modeled this after the Ambleside Online Printable Charts.  When it says Jungle Pilot on Day 1 of her Checklist, Riley can go to the Term Lesson Plan and see that she's supposed to read Ch 1-2 that day.  When it says Natural History on Day 4, she can cross reference to see that she is to read Ch 1 of Keeping a Nature Journal.  These two types of charts have not changed over the past couple of years.  Riley liked this system so we will continue.  I've decided if it's not broke, don't fix it!

The change I did make to Riley's student planner this year was due to her request for more independence.  I actually handed over the entire lesson plan to her.  For example, I made a copy of the AO Year 6 Old Testament Bible reading plan, the Beautiful Feet Ancient History pages with the lessons on them, a plan for mapping her geography, science lesson plan, and a sample of what her rhetoric assignment should look like in her notebook.  I then used my ProClick Binder to bind it all in one as you can see below.  You may want to check out Riley's 2016-2017, Homeschool Plan for 7th Grade for a better understanding of her schedule and assignments.  

Next there's Ruben, who hated the checklist system and was confused by all the boxes.  As an alternative, last year I created a table with a list of daily expectations.  I then printed it and placed it in a sheet protector which he added to his 3-ring binder.  Rather than ask me what he needed to do each day, he simply took out his list and was able to see for himself.  It looked like this....

Ruben Daily Schedule Year 5 2015-2016
Nature Study
Church History
Church History
Daniel Boone
Free Reading
BF History
BF Science
BF History
BF Science
BF History
Oliver Twist
Scrub Floor
Incredible Journey


Read to Levi
Read to Levi
Read to Levi
Read to Levi

Ruben liked this daily expectation chart, but because it was simply a printed table, it wasn't fluid to changing assignments.  It didn't allow me a written way to assign page numbers or chapters to be read.  This year I really wanted something with more detail to promote independence for him. Yet, it needed to be simple, straight forward, one page, with little on the page.  Last year, I also tried giving Ruben a Term Lesson Plan like Riley's shown above, but it was confusing for him.  I knew the checklists didn't work and I knew he would be overwhelmed by the entire lesson plan.  

Then I remembered reading How I'm Using Spiral Notebooks to Simplify Homeschooling by Sarah Mackenzie and wondered if a spiral notebook system would work for Ruben.  About the second day of school, I decided to try it.  I picked a plain old 19-cent spiral bound notebook...in his favorite color, of course. 

Because we chose Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ this year for Ruben, there was not a lot of lesson planning involved on my part.  Each day has a two-page spread in the teacher's manual showing that day's lessons. 

However, because I subbed out some books and chose our own language arts and math, the plan doesn't list those items.  This is where Ruben's student notebook comes in.  Every evening, I look over the next day's HOD plan.  From there, I make a total list of assignments in Ruben's spiral notebook.  Again, looking at Ruben's 2016-2017 Homeschool Plan for 6th Grade will give you a better understanding of his assignment schedule. 

In the morning, Ruben can work through the list and know what's expected of him. As Charlotte Mason said, children desire regularity. They thrive when adhering to a schedule or routine.  Ruben loves knowing what he has to do before starting his day and now that we're in our third week of school, I like that he can check his list each morning, pick out some independent assignments and begin working.  

There are a few books that he still prefers me to read aloud to him, but I do see him slowly gaining confidence, which is creating more independence in his studies.  For example, this morning I left the "school room" to put a beef roast in the crock pot for supper.  Upon my return, Ruben was lying on the couch reading his science text.  It was a beautiful sight! 

Overall, our new student planners are working great!  Riley and Ruben are both happy, as am I.  The new system is helping each of them to stay organized. We have found a routine and are building the habit of orderliness. 
Let all things be done decently and in order. - 1 Corinthians 14:40
Do you use student planners?  I'd love to hear about what works for your family.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Weekly Reflection - Week Two

I have this cute little boy who loves all things "school".  I also have a handsome big boy who despises all things "school".  The irony is the one who doesn't need formal lessons wants them and the one who needs, wants nothing to do with it.  This is the conundrum week two of our 2016-2017 school  year brought me.

Early on in the week The Farmer and I divided and conquered...well, sort of, divided yes, conquered, we're still working on that.  Monday, he worked with Ruben and I with Riley.  This gave him some perspective on the programs we're using and Ruben's progress.  From there, I made a few more modifications to Ruben's curricula and am in the process of re-thinking his plan.  After reading Back at the Beginning Again, I'm trying to decide what does Ruben need most and what is frosting for me...ahem.

Ruben and I finished Dinosaurs of Eden by Ken Ham, to both of our delight.  Some of the content was good, but overall, the book was preachy with too many bible verses shoved in between.  Not to mention, neither one of us is really interested in dinosaurs.  In its place, we started The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley.  I've decided to switch things up a bit and moved Ruben's read aloud to bedtime.  He really liked this and as long as he got to bed at a decent time, like before I was falling asleep and feeling the book hit my face, I enjoyed it as well.  Ruben is reading the DK Illustrated Family Bible on his own and listening to the audio CD What in the World? Ancient Civilizations and the World by Diana Waring independently.  This is going great!  As a result he's been able to narrate and have meaningful discussion.

RileyAnn started an online math class this week using Lial's Basic College Mathematics.  Since she's never done an online class, I sat with her for the first class and just may continue in the future so we can stay on the same page.  The class is weekly and you pay by the month, which I love for a couple of reasons.  One, the student is not tied to the computer daily.  Two, paying monthly is more financially feasible than a lump sum.  Also, you are free to cancel or stop anytime if it doesn't work.  But, I must say, so far, Mrs. Perkins is fabulous!  And, I really like having that extra support for middle school math.

Because our week was a little busier with appointments and because of some issues with Ruben, Levi didn't participate much this week.  He did do some coloring and I introduced the Play-Doh, which was a huge hit.  Something I'm disappointed in is the fact that I didn't read to him as much as I wanted to this week.  We literally have shelves of fabulous picture books, but I need to come up with a way to pull out a few and have them on hand in a pinch.  It's an organizational issue more than anything.  I added it to the list of things to do.

Lastly, the kids started back to youth group at church this week.  Levi has not traditionally participated as we felt he was too young.  However, we're trying it this year on a week by week basis.  He had a bit of a behavior issue so we've decided to take a week off and see how it goes.  Riley bumped up a level this year so her program lasts 30 minutes longer than the boys.  This creates a lag time with not much for them to do.  It lasts until 8:00 p.m., which pushes bedtime later.  This is a challenge in and of itself.

Around the Web

Today, I listened to Schole Sisters podcast #10, Which Comes First? The Principles or the Practical.  Pam Barnhill's narration example made sense and helped me to see the point.  I had been practicing Charlotte Mason's method haphazardly for years, but after finishing our study of A Philosophy of Education, I was convicted by her principles to carry on more wholeheartedly with the practices.

I also read Mystie's post on How to lesson plan so you're never behind.  It sounds wonderful in theory, but since I'm a paper/pencil planner, I wonder about organizing the lists.  I did link this post in my OneNote for future reference.

Schole Sisters Update and Charlotte Mason Book Club Announcement

After finishing Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, my Schole Sisters group decided to continue by reading The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck.  I am nearly two-thirds of the way through.  It was a book I read in high school as assigned reading for 10th or 11th grade English.  It's interesting to re-read through an adult lens.  I'll be sure to post in the future when I've finished.

After taking the summer off of academic/teacher-training reading, I can't wait to get back with my Charlotte Mason Study Group.  We have decided to read Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass.  We meet next Friday to discuss Chapter One and I'm really looking forward to it.  It looks like we will have a couple of new members.  We will all be about 3-5 weeks into the new academic year and I'm sure there will be much discussion on what's working and what's not.  I love having these like minded women to bounce ideas with.

If you haven't already, I highly encourage you to find your sisters.  Having homeschool support friends is a must!  ...and, if you're looking for great books, either for yourself or your student(s), be sure to check out our Updated Book Lists with Index!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Updated Book Sale Lists with Index....

I've been frantically updating book lists, adding new books and deleting sold books, hopefully, just in time for the new academic year. There's tons of great new living books available, including selections from Ambleside Online, Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, TruthQuest History, Veritas Press, and Visual American History Timeline of Books.   Below, I've created an index by subject of the most current lists of books we have for sale.  Please feel free to ask questions or send requests via the contact form on the right.  I accept PayPal and ship media mail within the U.S.

Thanks so much for your consideration,

Friday, September 9, 2016

Weekly Reflection - Week One...

We kicked off the 2016-2017 academic year this week.  Overall, things went well, but I have decided to make a few changes which I've noted below...

RileyAnn - Year 7

Rather than having Riley draw the same map four days in a row for two weeks, I am opting to have her draw one day, label the next, draw one day, label the next, so on and so forth.  Drawing and labeling every day was just too much.  Because we based our geography schedule off the Classical Conversations schedule, which is only a 30 week school year and ours is 36 weeks, I added an extra week to most continents.  In the end, this will give her more drawing and labeling time so I feel the every other day schedule is sufficient.

I've decided against Latin for Children and will be returning it to CAP.  We really didn't even try it so I can't give an adequate review.  Something in my gut just told me it wasn't right.  We will try something else for Latin, I'm just not quite sure what yet.

So far, Riley is loving her studies, particularly history and science.  Her online math class doesn't start until next week so I'm having her do some review from prior years and fact practice in the mean time.  The first day was a bit rough, but by the end of the week, she was actually smiling and said math got better as the week went on.  I just hope her experience and attitude continues to be positive throughout the year.

Ruben - Year 6

Ruben started strong, but did wear a bit thin by the third day.  He's just not big on academics regardless of what we use/do.  He likes most of the books we're reading, but the writing assignments are taxing him so I'm modifying them.  I allowed him to orally dictate his written narration to me while I typed it.  He then pasted it into his history notebook.  I'd like him to learn to type this year so he can type his own narrations since the physical act of writing is difficult for him.  I'm adding typing to our list of work.

Levi - Preschool

This little pumpkin was such a trooper.  The first day, he refused to leave the school area and really wanted to participate with everything the big kids did.  He loves his new books and supplies.  However, rather than wanting to read the Before Five in a Row story again each day, he opted for a different book each day, which was fine.  I want his academic experience to be very low key at this point and time.

We all loved having Friday off!  RileyAnn turned 13 years old today, which is so hard to believe. Another mother/friend, her daughter, Riley, and I had a girl day.  We went on a local art tour.  We made 14 stops and viewed the craft of over 30 artists, ranging from pottery, stained glass, mosaics, fiber art, metal art, drawing, painting, jewelry making, etc. It was fabulous!

Around the web, recently Mystie Winckler from Simply Convivial kicked off a new audio blog podcast series.  I did get a chance to listen to the first episode this week and it was wonderful.  It was very well timed for our first week of school. Quality over quantity is a principle I'm hoping to put into action this year.

Have you kicked off your 2016-2017 academic year?  If so, I'd love to hear how it's going.  Feel free to share in the comments below.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016-2017 Homeschool Plan, Preschool....

Our baby turned four years old this summer.  He will not be attending 4K.  I am not a huge fan of preschool.  I'm of the mind that young children need to romp and roam.  They need to be read great books.  They need time in the out of doors nurturing their imagination.
“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air”. - Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1, p. 43
These are the days I am so thankful for homeschooling.  I can allow our children "quiet growing time" as Charlotte says.  Only because Levi has been asking to "do school" like Riley and Ruben did I pick up a few things of an educational nature, particularly to fill time on those long cold Wisconsin winter days.

Before Five in a Row - I wish I would have used the Five in a Row program with Riley and Ruben.  Now, I finally get my chance.  I'm so excited about the books.  Levi loves to be read to and I believe FIAR offers some of the best children's literature.  I'm not sure how many of the activities we'll do, but we will definitely be snuggled up reading.

Levi loves to cut paper so I was very excited when Timberdoodle sent us Faber-Castell My First Scissors and Kumon More Let's Cut Paper in exchange for a blog review.  He's used to a regular scissors so I'll be curious to see how he does with the ergonomic design.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I also purchased We Live on a Farm coloring book and About Three, both from Rod & Staff.  Again, because these are activities Levi enjoys.  He's already asking to color in his new coloring book.

Lastly, I plan to create activity boxes so he has something to do while I'm working with Riley and Ruben.  I found two large Ziploc bags of Play-Doh toys at a thrift sale.  I plan to buy or make some new Play-Doh and put it with the toys in one activity box.  I also found a Lakeshore Learning caddy with child size crafting scissors, which I will pair with scrap paper and glue in another box.  I'd like to make four boxes total, one for each day of our school week.  Let me know if you have ideas for other quiet activity boxes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016-2017 Homeschool Plan, 6th Grade...

Since this is my third go around with 6th grade, one might think it would be easy, no decisions necessary, just follow what you've already done.  Ha, let me tell you, there is no one size fits all.  Not to mention, I'd be bored doing the same thing....yes, I create my own crazy ;-)

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying something totally new with Ruben this year.  He is going to use Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ, among other things. I will be modifying the program to meet our needs.   The following is Ruben's Year 6 complete plan...

Bible - The DK Illustrated Family Bible (HOD); Throughout the HOD plan, Ruben will also be studying the Book of Ruth, Jonah, and Esther directly from the bible.

Citizenship - I'm still thinking about Plutarch and will most likely add something later in the year.

History and Literature - I did omit a few of the HOD selections because we already read them or I plan to substitute something that we already own on our shelf.  I will play it by ear when the time comes as far as substituting and/or adding, but for now, the following are Ruben's intended history and lit picks...

The Story of the Ancient World by Christine Miller (HOD)
Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick (HOD, AO 6)
What in the World? Vol. 1: Ancient Civilizations and the Bible by Diana Waring (HOD)
Draw and Write Through  History: Greece and Rome by Carylee Gressman (HOD)
Dinosaurs of Eden by Ken Ham (HOD)
The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley (HOD)
Boy of the Pyramids, A Mystery of Ancient Egypt by Ruth Fosdick Jones (HOD, SCM)
Hittite Warrior by Joanne Williamson (HOD, Sonlight)
Jashub's Journal: An Old Testament Law Story by Simply Charlotte Mason (HOD, SCM)
Within the Palace Gates by Anna Pierpoint Siviter (HOD)
Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Greece by James Baikie (HOD)
God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah by Joanne Williamson (HOD)
Alexander the Great by John Gunther (HOD)
Cleopatra by Diane Stanley (HOD)
Famous Men of Rome by John H. Haaren & A.B. Poland (HOD, SCM)
City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay (HOD, Beautiful Feet)
Traveling the Way by Drusilla McGowen (HOD)
Twice Freed by Patricia St. John (HOD, My Father's World)

Book of Centuries - I plan to have Ruben begin a BOC this year. 

Geography - A Child's Geography II - Explore the Holy Land by Ann Voskamp and Tonia Peckover (HOD)

Math - I plan to use the Math on the Level approach with Ruben this year.  MOTL will allow me to teach math concepts in an order appropriate for Ruben's readiness rather than a contrived scope and sequence.   The program's "Concept Chart" helps me keep track of the concepts he's mastered as well as the concepts I have left to teach.  The program is very flexible and offers enough math instruction for pre-k through pre-algebra.


Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day (HOD)
Birds of the Air by Arabella Buckley (HOD, AO)
Plant Life in Field and Garden by Arabella Buckley (HOD, AO)
Exploring the History of Medicine by John Hudson Tiner (HOD, Sonlight)
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick (HOD, Beautiful Feet)
An Illustrated Adventure in Human Anatomy by Kate Sweeney (HOD)

Literature - Much of Ruben's literature is a part of his history study this year.  I'm still working out which books he'll read on his own and which will be read alouds for me.  I'm also in the process of planning another book club for Riley and Ruben this year, which will add to their literature.  I will post more about that in the future as it comes to fruition. 

Poetry - Ruben will study the poems of Robert Frost this year through HOD. 

Composition - Ruben will continue oral narration and begin written narration this year.  I also bought Writing & Rhetoric by Classical Academic Press to aid us in this transition.

Grammar - I plan to use a combination of Winston Grammar and Harvey's Grammar, which are both new programs for me as far as teaching.

Latin - I'm debating on Latin. I have English from the Roots Up and may use it in the beginning or I may have Ruben follow along with Riley in Latin for Children (Classical Academic Press). I hope to tie grammar and Latin together to make it more practical as Ruben is a no nonsense kind of guy.  I love the way Henle Latin does this, but I'm a little intimidated since I've never studied Latin personally.  This will be a learning experience for both of us.

Spelling - I'm going to have Ruben try IEW Phonetic Zoo along with Riley.  I'll also pull from How to Teach Spelling, which was a program his tutor referenced at the Children's Dyslexia Center.

Shakespeare - I'm hoping to lead a group of 6th through 8th graders in the study of Julius Caesar toward spring. Shakespeare will be a new adventure for me and Ruben as well.

Art - Ruben will participate in our local homeschool art class.

Music - Ruben will participate in our local homeschool choir.

I'm really looking forward to Ruben's academics this year.  Since learning to read, he has blossomed in his thinking.  I'm hopeful for a positive year of transition to help him gain more independence.  As mentioned above, I'll be modifying his curricula to meet his learning style.  I'm excited about the mix of great books, audio material, and hands on drawing opportunities that HOD has to offer. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2016-2017 Homeschool Plan, 7th Grade...

I can't believe RileyAnn will turn 13 years old soon!  She is officially entering middle school this year.  As mentioned in the past, Riley has asked for more independence so I'm splitting her and Ruben this year in pretty much every subject.  I'm sad for me and excited for her all at the same time. This is my second go around with 7th grade and it looks considerably different this time.  I've learned a great deal over the years in this homeschool venture. Overall, I think it's going to be a good year.  Without further ado, today, I am finally able to share her 7th grade plan...

Bible - Ambleside Online Year 6 Old Testament of "Through the Bible" plan.  Since we read New Testament and church history last year, I'm only going to assign her the Old Testament portion this year.  The plan is laid out as follows:

Term 1: Genesis; Psalm 1-20; Proverbs 1-6
Term 2: Job and Exodus 1-24; Psalm 21-37; Proverbs 7-11
Term 3: Exodus 25-40 and Leviticus; Psalm 38-55; Proverbs 12-16

In addition, Riley will copy the Psalms as she reads them into Do You Journible? Psalms 1-72, The 17:18 Series.  I actually bought this for myself, but after seeing it, decided it would work well for Riley.  I will be ordering another copy for myself so I can copy the book of Psalms along with her.

Missionary Study

Jungle Pilot: The Life and Witness of Nate Saint by Russell T. Hitt
God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
Teresa of Calcutta by D. Jeanene Watson

Citizenship - I'm still thinking about Plutarch and will most likely add something later in the year.

History - Beautiful Feet Ancient History; in addition, Riley will read the following books as part of her history study:

Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick (AO 6)
Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick
The Story of the Greeks by H.A. Guerber (AO 6)
The Story of the Romans by H.A. Guerber (AO 6)
The Boys' and Girls' Herodotus by John S. White

Book of Centuries - Riley will begin keeping a BOC this year.

Geography - Riley will be mapping the world this year based on a the Classical Conversations Challenge A Debate model. We saw it put into play last spring when we observed a CC Challenge A class.  She and I were both very intrigued by it.

Math - Lial's Basic College Mathematics, We are trying something totally different this year for math.  I began hearing rave reviews of Lial's math years ago on the Living Math Yahoo Group.  This spring, I happened across a copy at a used book sale.  After a bit of online networking, I found out about My Homeschool Math Class, where Mrs. Perkins teaches online classes using Lial's.  Riley is signed up for the online math class.  This will be our first experience with online courses.  I'm looking forward to trying something new.

Science - Apologia's Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology and Exploring the History of Medicine by John Hudson Tiner

Natural Science - Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie; Secrets of the Woods and School of the Woods by William J. Long (AO 3 & 6)

Nature Study - Riley will venture out on a weekly nature study.  A while back I bought Journaling a Year in Nature from Simply Charlotte Mason to guide her in her study.  I have been on again off again with nature study, but Riley has been fairly consistent.  I'm interested to see what she does with this journal.

Literature - I'm in the process of planning another book club for Riley and Ruben this year and will post more about that in the future as it comes to fruition.  The following literature will be assigned to Riley by term.  In addition, she has a "Free Reading" list to choose from, which is a conglomeration of AO Free Reads from various years.

The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum (Sonlight)
Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Ides of April by Mary Ray (Sonlight)

Poetry and Fairy Tales

Gilgamesh by David Ferry
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Composition - Riley will continue with oral and written narration.  I also purchased The Lost Tools of Writing from the CiRCE Institute, but am trying to figure out whether or not to incorporate it this year.  I'm going to see how it goes, I just may wait until next year.

Grammar - Jensen's Grammar by Frode Jensen (AO 7)

Latin - Latin for Children (Classical Academic Press)

Spelling - We are going to try IEW Phonetic Zoo this year for spelling.  Riley and I both love All About Spelling, however, if something was going to fall by the wayside, it was this.  At the end of last year, Riley asked if there was a spelling program she could work through independently...I guess she was sick of waiting on me :(  After a bit of research, I found IEW's program and we've decided to give it a try.  We always have AAS to fall back on.

Shakespeare - I'm hoping to lead a group in the study of Julius Caesar toward spring.  Shakespeare will be a new adventure for me.  Although Riley is familiar since reading Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare a couple of years ago.

Logic/Rhetoric - Riley's been working through Building Thinking Skills for the past couple of years and will finish it up this year.  She will also be reading It Couldn't Just Happen by Lawrence O. Richards, which is a Sonlight, Ambleside Online, and Classical Conversations recommendation, in addition to The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn (AO 7).

Handicrafts - Riley is interested in learning to crochet.  Since I have Handicrafts Made Simple by Simply Charlotte Mason, she will most likely use it to learn.  I'm also thinking about having her chose a couple projects from Nature Smart by Gwen Diehn.  Riley enjoys the outdoors and is very crafty so I think this will be a good fit for her.

Art - Riley will participate in our local homeschool art class.

Music - Riley will participate in our local homeschool choir.

Well, there you have it!  In looking back, Riley's plan looks a bit lofty.  However, when divided over three twelve week terms, I believe it's manageable.  Of course, I'll adjust accordingly and post reviews throughout. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Restful Teaching Seminar Notes...

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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 -
  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

     (Logos Incarnate)
       (art of truth perception)
Discuss an artifact or phrase
Contemplation of artifact or phrase
Reproduce (assessment)
Joy incarnate
Feedback on mastery of the given skill or art

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