Monday, May 21, 2018

Beautiful Feet Medieval History - 2017-2018 Third Term Review and Wrap-Up

Riley Ann completed her third and final 12-week term using Beautiful Feet Book's Intermediate Medieval History guide. You can read more about her first term here and second term here.

In the third term of her study, Riley covered Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Joan of Arc, Johann Gutenberg, 15th Century Poland and Christopher Columbus, among others using the following books:

Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, adapted by Barbara Cohen
Joan of Arc, Warrior Saint by Jay Williams
Fine Print, A Story about Johann Gutenberg by Joann Birch
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster

Riley is a fan of Genevieve Foster's work. She appreciates the fact that Foster can take one person from history and weave the story of what's happening around the world at the time of their life. Riley said she enjoyed each of the books she read this year, but her three favorites were The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Kite Rider, and The Trumpeter of Krakow.

Beautiful Feet Books sells a World Map to accompany their Ancient, Medieval, and Modern US & World history studies. Although, we didn't buy one. Instead Riley created her own map by drawing the world freehand on a piece of tag board....

Riley commented at the end of the year how much congestion there was in Europe on her Medieval map. She also asked if she could add Columbus' journeys and of course, I agreed!

Throughout the year, Riley created a series of notebooking pages. Most included research essays and biographical sketches of the people, places, and events she read about. She did not complete any of the hands on projects suggested in the BF guide. Here are samples of her third term notebooking pages...

Overall, Riley had a great year studying Medieval History using Beautiful Feet Books! We wholeheartedly recommend studying history with their literature guides. However, Riley will not continue with BF next year in 9th grade, as she has already read most of the books used in the BF Early American and World study. On the bright side, I will be using the BF Early American Primary set with Levi. It will be my second time around with that guide and I'm sure I'll be blogging about it throughout the year as I'm looking very forward to it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Middle School Introductory Chemistry Wrap-Up...

I remember all too well the struggle Angel had in Chemistry her 11th grade year. We were using Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry. A combination of understanding the Periodic Table, math equations, vocabulary, atomic and molecular structure proved to be too much information all at one time. As a result, I vowed to do things differently with my younger students. My aim was to introduce these ideas at an elementary level in order to build a base for upper level Chemistry.

In looking at a variety of resources, I knew I wanted to stick with living books. Ambleside Online offered some suggestions in their Year 6 and Year 7 Science selections, one of which I actually ended up using with Angel once we scrapped the Apologia text. She enjoyed it so I thought it would be a suitable book for our middle school introductory year, where we focused on the elements of the Periodic Table. This week, we wrapped up our Middle School Introductory Chemistry and I'd like to share a few things we used and what I learned.

First off, a confession, I never had Chemistry....ever! I managed to escape it in high school and it wasn't required in college so I didn't volunteer, ahem! One of the many advantages of home educating is the recovery of my own education. There's no better way to develop understanding, compassion, and a love of subject than to study it yourself. For this reason, I decided to include a Chemistry study in our Morning Time (MT). This allowed me the ability to participate and learn with the kids rather than try to find extra time to pre-read or study the subject independently.

For our Morning Time Introductory Chemistry study, I chose The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin D. Wiker and The Elements by Theodore Gray. Wiker's book gave a wonderful introduction to the Periodic Table and how it was discovered. We learned about many alchemists and scientists of the past. Gray's book gives an absolutely stunning look at each individual element. There's a two page spread for every element with photographs of the actual element as well as items made from the element. It's a beautiful book! (Side note - while reading The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly for history, I was making all kinds of connections and gaining ideas from reading The Mystery of the Periodic Table. Although it wasn't planned, the two books complimented each other.)

The Mystery of the Periodic Table has 18 chapters so I read aloud a different chapter every other week throughout our 36-week academic year. On the off week, we studied 1-3 elements from Gray's book, using a schedule I found through Ambleside Online. I then had the kids notebook a page about each element we studied. They also charted each element on a blank Periodic Table. I personally charted and notebooked on each element along side them, as well as taking a few notes on each chapter or Wiker's book.

Overall, we had a great study! I know I personally learned a good deal about the Periodic Table. My one regret is that we didn't read about and complete a notebooking page on each element, or, at least all the naturally occurring elements. Not to say that we couldn't go back and finish it at some point, but we most likely won't. When it's time for Levi to work through an Introductory Chemistry study, I will have him spend more time on each element. As noted above, Gray's book is extremely visually appealing. It's well laid out and notebooking through the elements was one of our favorite parts of the study. Riley agreed that we should have covered all of them. Here are some samples....

I gave a little preview of our MT study in a blog post back in October, of which you can find more sample notebooking pages. In addition, Riley also read The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre independently. She's decided she's not crazy about Fabre, but she was able to add to the MT conversation, making wonderful connections along the way.

Monday, May 14, 2018

How I Read Along With My Upper Level Students...

As Riley and Ruben get older, I have stopped reading all their books aloud to them for obvious reasons. This has been bittersweet. Some days, it's a relief not to have to strain my voice for hours. On the other hand, I greatly miss those times of snuggling up and the discussions of our reading. This year, I found a solution, which has afforded me the best of both worlds. I scheduled Riley and Ruben to read some of the same books. Then I adapted their list as my own personal reading. Given time constraints, I'm still not able to read everything they read. But, overall, our new system went well. I was able to encourage independence in their studies while still engaging in their education. I call it read along instead of read aloud.

We use a multitude of media in order to make our reading possible. Given Ruben's dyslexia, he reads some books traditionally and listens to some on audio. Our library system offers certain titles on a gadget called a Playaway. Playaways are small MP3 devices containing an individual audiobook. There is no download or WI-FI necessary. We simply add a battery and our headphones. Because of their size, smaller than a deck of cards, they are very portable. And, since they are pretty much foolproof, Levi (age 5) has enjoyed several books on Playaway as well. We have also used books on CD, Audible, and Librovox to aid in our reading since not every book is available on a Playaway. These various types of media have allowed me hands free reading while I'm cooking and doing laundry. I also use audio versions in the early morning or late evening, when it's dark and my eyes are tired.

This year, the three of us finished reading several of the same books independently through use of above mentioned mixed media, including:

Watership Down by Richard Adams
- Riley read a hard copy
- Ruben listened to CD
- I used a mix of Playaway and hard copy

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
- Riley and Ruben read a hardcopy
- I listened on Librovox

English Literature for Boys and Girls by H.E. Marshall
- Riley and I read a hardcopy

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
- Riley and I read using a mix of hardcopy and Audible

The Daughter in Time by Josephine Tey
- Riley and I read hardcopy

In addition to our mixed media, I did still read aloud certain titles. In our second term, I threw in a couple of bedtime read alouds as winters are cold, dark, and long here in Wisconsin. There's no better time to gather round a great book than December through February. These titles included Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli and Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle.

I also slipped a few read alouds into our Morning Time that I wanted everyone to be exposed to at one time. These were:

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
Citizenship by Charlotte Mason - select readings
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury
Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin
The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker
The Elements by Theodore Gray - select readings
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler - select readings
Macbeth by Shakespeare
The Story of Painting by Janson
Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbitt

Lastly, Ruben and I read many of the same books Riley read for her Beautiful Feet Intermediate History study, albeit on our own time schedule. Some of which, I read aloud to him, often times, reading alternate chapters individually, particularly toward the end of the year as Ruben became stronger in his reading ability and started gaining a desire for independence. It got to be a game where he would sneak the book and read ahead of me. I wholeheartedly played along, stifling my excitement in his inclination toward self-sufficiency.These books included:

Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green
Robin Hood - Ruben and I read a different edition than Riley, but we were still able to compare and discuss
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
Morning Star of the Reformation by Andy Thomson
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by AVI
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly

When I look back at the list, it seems like a tremendous amount of books, but we weren't reading them all at one time. I find much can be accomplished with a chapter a day over a 12-36 week period. Also, reading living books is our primary means of education. We don't use much in the way of textbooks for things like history, literature, and science.

Using mixed media to read along with my upper level students has allowed me to continue to participate in their education, while fostering their independence. At the same time, I'm thankful for a chance to recover my own education with the use of so many great books! I will definitely continue the read along method throughout their high school years. Reading together as a family is super important to me, whether it be by read aloud or read along. It has opened a wealth of wonderful conversations within our family and has provided for intimate wit in a variety of social settings. I believe a family that reads together, stays together.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Trumpeter of Krakow....

Ruben and I finished reading The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly this week. Riley also read it a couple of weeks ago through her Beautiful Feet Medieval Intermediate History study. Kelly's 1928 historical fiction novel won the Newbery Award in 1929 and I can see why.

The Trumpeter of Krakow is a dramatic adventure set in the city of Krakow in Medieval Poland. It is also a coming of age story of young Joseph, a 15-year old boy, learning how to protect his father's 200 year old family secret. Kelly's tale left me longing for so much more information. Was there really a Great Tarnov Crystal? Was the Heynal a real song and is it still played today? Was the Church of Our Lady Mary a real place and is it still standing today? As it turns out, the answer to all of these questions is yes!

The legendary Tarnov Crystal, was more commonly known as the "philosopher's stone" as far back as about 300 AD in Greek history. It was an alchemist's substance, which could supposedly be used to turn base metals into gold or silver. For many years, it was the most sought after substance. The Crystal is also known as the "elixir of life", as it's believed to be useful in achieving eternal life. Some say, the stone dates back to Adam in the bible, who received knowledge of it directly from God. That knowledge was then passed down through the biblical patriarchs and was the reason for their long years of living. Either way, the stone's history intrigued me and I think The Trumpeter of Krakow would also be a wonderful living book to read for science/chemistry purposes.

It turns out the Heynal is a real song and is still played today with the broken note, out of all four windows, every hour, just as described in the story. It is a five note Polish anthem. The song is still played with the broken note that stemmed from a Mongol invasion in 1241. Legend has it that the trumpeter in the sentry tower was playing the anthem to sound the alarm of invaders, but the Mongols entered the city before the gates were closed and shot the trumpeter in the throat, causing the abrupt ending of the Heynal. His inability to complete the Heynal resulted in the broken note. The broken note is still observed today as a way to commemorate that 13th Century trumpeter.

I really enjoyed reading Professor Carol Reynold's piece on The Trumpeter of Krakow and watching the YouTube video she linked, showing the modern day Heynal player. For those that don't know, Professor Carol leads European tours for the Smithsonian Institute. She is a retired university professor of music history, who has also written/produced home education courses on music history, and culture. She's a wonderful speaker!

Lastly, the Church of Our Lady Mary is in fact, a real place. It is better known as St. Mary's Basilica, Krakow. The main part of the church as it stands today was completed in the 14th Century. Although, the foundation was laid in the 13th Century. The original church on that foundation was destroyed in the Mongol invasion. It is a Brick Gothic church situated next to Marian Square, the main square of Krakow. The interior images are absolutely stunning! On every hour, the trumpet signal (Heynal) is played from the top of the taller two towers of St. Mary's. I would love to travel there someday and see it.

For me, The Trumpeter of Krakow was definitely an example of a living book as the story caused me to want to dig deeper. I was sad to see it end and yet, I loved the ending, although, Riley and Ruben disagreed on the conclusion of The Tarnov Crystal. The story's end allowed for lively discussion. The characters were rich. The setting was of interest. The history was very intriguing and there doesn't seem to be many books written about medieval Poland for students. Overall, I highly recommend reading The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly as part of your middle or high school medieval history study!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Importance of Poetry...

Over on Instagram @charlottemasonirl, they're talking poetry this week. So, today I thought I'd share here some things we've used for poetry study over the past few years as a supplement to my IG post. I'll try to answer some of the questions they posed.

What is the purpose of poetry?

Poetry teaches us to speak beautiful words in a beautiful way. It originated as a way to pass on history and stories from one generation to the next through tales and epics. It was a means of enabling remembrance. In Vol. 5, Formation of Character, Charlotte Mason says....
Poetry takes first rank as a means of intellectual culture. (p. 224)
There are many benefits to studying poetry. Poetry is rhythmic. There are patterns of sound in it's iambs and meters. Even very young children who may not always understand the meaning of the words in a poem, can feel the rhythm and beat of a well-read poem. I read somewhere that poetry is the most kinesthetic of all literature. I believe that's why nursery rhymes are such a wonder to children. And, rhyming is actually an important early reading skill. Poetry also builds vocabulary. It encourages thinking. As students get older, analyzing poetry to find the author's intent can be very rewarding. Poetry can help us to understand the abstract. It puts words to feelings through imagery and personification. Sir Philip Sidney, an Elizabethan poet, said, "The purpose of poetry, is to instruct and delight."

How do we learn it?

In Charlotte's schools, poetry was read aloud and enjoyed frequently. The students narrated occasionally, but not after every reading as in other subjects. A variety of poets were studied, perhaps one, for a period of time - "at least a year". The children memorized and recited poetry each term. Poetry was used for copy work and dictation. Charlotte believed the students could deepen their character from studying heroic and noble poems. Charlotte also qualified Shakespeare as part of her student's poetry study. We have studied poetry through a variety of ways in our homeschool, including a simple reading, recitation, narration, illustration and re-writing. 

What resources do you use?

In the preschool years, I love to read aloud nursery rhymes. In early elementary, books like A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and A.A. Milne's When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six were favorites. Once Riley was old enough to read poetry for herself, we started following Ambleside Online's poetry rotation, studying a different poet through each 12-week term. For this, she used the Poetry for Young People... series. Riley also completed one year of Micheal Clay Thompason Language Arts by Royal Fireworks Press in which she completed a more formal Poetics Program, learning about the elements of poems and such things as patterns of sound, meter, stanza, figures of speech, poetic techniques, and meaning. This year, in 8th grade, Riley used the The Oxford Book of English Verse ed. by Arthur Quiller-Couch, reading approximately three poems per week. She then chose one of those poems to re-write in modern English. 

I have used some of the same resources listed above with Ruben in the early years. However, last year, he studied Robert Frost for the entire year. Each week, he read and illustrated a different poem. He then copied a verse to go with his illustration. 

Somewhere around 5th grade, Riley read Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb. Last year, I studied an actual Shakespeare play with Riley and Ruben, reading Julius Caesar. First we read it using the Oxford School Shakespeare edition. Then we watched the movie with Marlon Brando. This year we are studying Macbeth, much in the same way. First, I read aloud Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare story. Now, we are reading the play from the Oxford School Shakespeare, taking turns reading the parts. When we are finished, I will most likely find a movie edition to watch. We typically spend one 12-week term on the play. We do not cover Shakespeare every term, but rather, one play per year. I like the exposure and flexibility this schedule affords us. 

One other source of verse we have used in our homeschool is poetry as history and biography. Marilyn Nelson's biography of George Washington Carver is written in a series of lyrical poems. We read it as part of our Beautiful Feet Modern American and World study. Also, in 8th grade, my older homeschool graduate read Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, as part of Sonlight's Core 100. Out of the Dust is a story that takes place during the Dust Bowl. It is written from the 14-year old protagonist's point of view as a series of "free-floating" verses, much like the Oklahoma dust. I remember my daughter really loving the story. We have also read retellings of The Iliad, The Odyssey and Beowulf. These retellings are the original source of poetry that I mentioned above used as a means of remembering history. They are the key to understanding cultures of the past. 

Memorization and Recitation

I have coached my children in recitation throughout the years in fits and spurts. Angel and Riley have both participated in public speaking events where they recited poetry. At one point, we gathered with another home educating family and the kids took turns performing their recitations. It has since fallen by the wayside, but I aim to pick back up and do more of this in the future. 

My Favorite Poet

Lastly, one of my favorite poets for children is Eugene Field. I remember Wynken, Blynken and Nod being read aloud to me before bed as a little girl. It's probably my all time favorite poem because of the memory it sparks. I can still recite verses from it even though I was never asked, nor required to. It is a poem, my older daughter memorized and recited in a 4-H competition many years ago. Ruben and I studied the poetry of Eugene Field a couple years back. I personally love poems that rhyme and/or poems that tell a story. 

When I think back, we have already studied more poetry and Shakespeare than I set out to or ever seemed possible. Be encouraged as these are not things we do all at one time, but rather, a little at a time. They have provided a slow progression in building a love of poetry for my children. I believe spreading the feast over the years makes for a beautiful well-rounded education. Slow and steady wins the race!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Reflecting on the Great Homeschool Convention (GHC) 2018...

For the past couple of weeks, I've been thinking about my trip to Cincinnati, OH for the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention (GHC). This was my third year attending and I wasn't disappointed. The vendor hall was grand as usual and the speakers were amazing! I thought I'd take a bit of time today to review my notes and record some thoughts for those of you thinking about attending an upcoming GHC.

After over nine hours, we arrived in Cincinnati Wednesday evening. I rode with a friend from our CM Study Group and her husband, but didn't have a roommate this year, which was highly unusual. RileyAnn has traveled with me to nearly every homeschool conference I attended for the past seven years. I was bummed when she didn't want to go this year, but I totally understood. However, Wednesday evening was really lonely! Thankfully, it didn't last long, as I woke to an action packed Thursday.

First off Thursday, I worked at helping set up the Beautiful Feet Books booth. Then I finally met in person and had lunch with Brandy Vencel from Afterthoughts blog and Mystie Winckler from Simply Convivial. What a treat to meet online friends in real life! Thursday evening was spent in seminars, as well as much of Friday and Saturday. I will highlight each session below. But, first, I want to share a list of the purchases I made in the vendor hall...

Excellence in Literature by Janice Campbell
- Introduction to Literature
- Literature and Composition
- American Literature

Old Western Culture: The Greeks - The Epics by Wesley Callihan, sold by Roman Roads Media

Jack's Insects Narration & Nature Study Notebook by Karen Smith at Simply Charlotte Mason

Beautiful Feet Books
- Around the World with Picture Books, Part 1 guide by Rea Berg
- Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski
- Anno's China by Mitsumasa Anno

A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today's World John Stonestreet

My purchases were much less than in the past because I tried to be very intentional in my choices. Really, the only unplanned purchase was the Excellence in Literature. I was just so impressed after hearing Janice Campbell speak that I took the plunge and bought a few of her high school literature courses. I have a couple of different ideas for their use, of which I will write more about in future posts.

There were so many great speakers and seminars to attend at the Midwest GHC. It was really difficult to choose. Usually, I had checked anywhere from 3 - 5 sessions every hour on my workshop schedule. Obviously, this is not possible, so I had to narrow it down. Thursday was a bit of a bust simply because both sessions I chose turned out to be more of a 101 on familiar topics. Friday and Saturday held more depth.

Like I mentioned above, I was very intrigued by Janice Campbell since she spoke on many of the topics of which I've spoke in the past and are relevant to my homeschool situation. She felt like a kindred spirit. I ended up attending three of her talks. Martin Cothran from Memoria Press is another of my all time favorite speakers. He appears extremely well-read and intelligent, and yet, he can bring it down to a highly understandable level. I have great respect for him. The Classical Education panel is always entertaining. However, given time constraints and the fact that I've seen them several times in the past, I only attended one of their panel discussions this time. Speaking of panels, the Schole Sisters panel was fun. I loved their book sharing ideas and was pleased that I owned and/or have read all but two on their list.

Here's a brief rundown of my notes and/or a description of each session I attended...

Thursday Workshops

Living Books: The Ultimate Box-Set Curriculum by Adam Andrews - This turned out to be an introduction to Teaching the Classics by Adam and Missy Andrews, which is a program I'm familiar with and have used with our Middle School Book Club. Adam read aloud The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward and then showed us how to talk through it by using the Socratic method of asking questions. One of my biggest take-aways from this session was a comment Adam made at the very beginning, when he said something like in order to teach your children, all you need is love. He was making a point that you don't need fancy degrees because you are already vested in your child and that love will help you provide the best for them. One thing I'm still questioning/pondering about Adam's talk is when he said, "A living book doesn't come alive until you understand what the author is saying." I'm not sure Charlotte Mason would agree with this statement....hmmm?!

The Child as a Person by Lisa Cadora

Ms. Cadora was representing the Charlotte Mason Institute and I was excited to see and learn more about their organization. I love Charlotte's Principle 1, Children are born persons, so I was interested to hear her expound on this. Unfortunately, there wasn't much new information so I only stuck around for the first half hour. Cadora primarily reviewed Charlotte's twenty principles, which I've studied in depth with our CM Study Group. It didn't really give me more insight on Principle 1. I left early and popped into the following session...

Faith & Thinking: Is There Room for Both in the Homeschool? by Andrew Kern

Andrew Kern always provides food for thought, though sometimes too much. He speaks very philosophically so jumping in at the mid point of his talk, was extremely difficult! He was talking about the differences/similarities between faith and thinking. Something that stuck with me is, "Faith is not the same as thought - faith allows for thinking." He also talked about the Prodigal Son vs. the older brother. He said the following in regard to love and harmony at random points throughout the latter part of his talk...

"We can't love without Truth."
"Harmony is in the Holy Trinity."
"When we find harmony we overcome discord in ourselves."

I finished up Thursday evening helping out in the Beautiful Feet Books booth. It was family night and the last hour was quite busy in the vendor hall.

Friday Workshops

What is Classical Education? by Martin Cothran

I assumed this workshop may not provide a ton of new information, but again, I really enjoy listening to Mr. Cothran speak. I was not disappointed. Throughout the talk, Cothran explained the history of classical education. He began by briefly discussing The Lost Tools of Writing by Dororthy Sayers. He then went on to explain two educational movements in America:

1. John Dewey - Progressive
2. Pragmatism

Cothran talked about the progression of modern public education as a result of the two movements. I am familiar with some of the initiatives he mentioned as they were in effect while I was on my local public school board.

After this, Cothran went back to describe classical education in ancient times, comparing and contrasting it with today. He talked about his son that practiced law. Then left that career to start a very successful software engineering company. His story was reassuring.

Cothran closed with three cultures to study if you're interested in classical education: culture of Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem (Hebrew). He stated classical education is a culmination of the Great Books, the Liberal Arts, and the study of those three cultures. Down in the vendor hall, I also picked up a brochure written by Cothran, published by Memoria Press, titled, What is Classical Education?. It's a wonderful overview of his talk in an extremely understandable format. I highly recommend getting a copy if you're interested in learning more about what classical ed is.

An Introduction to Effective Socratic Discussion: Why Do We Do It and How to Do It Well by Dr. Christopher Perrin

Mr. Perrin began with a similar sentiment to Adam Andews when he said, you don't need a degree to teach your students. Perrin went on to discuss the Socratic Tradition, of course, dating back to Socrates, and the four styles of Socratic discussion. A few thoughts that resonated with me from Dr. Perrin's talk were:

1. Socratic discussion takes 5-10 years to master. It's a skill or an art.
2. There's no substitute for a well trained mind.
3. There is no substitute for reading the books and talking about them.

Charlotte Mason's Secret to Successfully Leading Your Homeschool by Brandy Vencel

This was my first chance to hear Brandy speak and I really enjoyed it! Her talk focused on "masterly activity", a concept taken from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 3, School Education, which is a volume I have not yet read. Brandy highlighted nine characteristics of masterly inactivity and some tools for helping us to attain it. I'm really looking forward to reading Vol. 3, particularly after hearing Brandy's talk.

Schole Sisters Panel: Carpe Librum: What to Read as a Classical, Charlotte Mason Mom by Brandy Vencel, Pam Barnhill, and Mystie Winckler

It was great to see the Schole Sisters in person! Mystie moderated the panel, beginning with an explanation of "schole". Then each of them took turns sharing a recommended book to further knowledge on a Classical Charlotte Mason Education. There were five categories of books including: 101, 201, 301, non-fiction, and fiction. Not only did they share their love of books, but they also gave away copies of most of the books they recommended. It was fun to see each of their personalities come out in their book recommendations.

How to Teach with Living Books by Janice Campbell

This is a subject very near and dear to my heart so I couldn't miss this talk! I was thrilled to find out that Janice Campbell was a veteran home educator, who had homeschooled her four boys throughout. I find it very difficult to find veteran moms that have stuck with home educating through high school and are willing to share their wisdom. Ms. Campbell is a gem! Again, this talk was not new information, but I loved hearing about her experience and the fruit of her labor, as well as, seeing her recommended book lists. Campbell also talked about the importance of narration, copywork, and commonplacing.

Classical Education Unhinged! - panel discussion with Dr. Christopher Perrin, Andrew Pudewa, Dr. Carol Reynolds, Andrew Kern, Leigh Bortins, and Martin Cothran

As usual, this panel discussion was lively and entertaining. It was a great way to end a long day of brain drain and thought.

Saturday Workshops

How to Homeschool High School by Janice Campbell

Campbell's main message in this workshop was "Education is not a rat race!" She focused on continuing to spread the feast in high school as a means to educating a child for any career/job. I could see definite Charlotte Mason love throughout each of her talks. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing home education stories about her boys and how they have succeeded in life beyond home education. Again, I found this talk very reassuring.

Spreading the Feast: How to Teach Great Literature to Teens by Janice Campbell

This was the third Janice Campbell workshop I went to and it really tied together the first two I attended. Once more, Janice suggested spreading a feast for your high schooler. She talked about beginning with the end in mind. She advised on the importance of laying the groundwork when children are young so you can read and discuss higher level classics in high school. She explained what a classic book is and how not to kill your child's love of reading them. Campbell further shared how to build reading time as a routine. She closed with information on how to present and teach classics to a high school student. Ms. Campbell has written a series of five college prep English courses with an optional honors track. I mentioned above purchasing the first three and after studying them more in depth, I'm considering buying the final two. If you are interested in home educating through high school and or using living books, I highly recommend Janice Campbell's workshops!

Well, there you have it! My thoughts on the 2018 Midwest Great Homeschool Convention. I attended many more workshops than usual this year and attempted to give a brief run down of each here. However, my experience has sparked many ideas and connections that I look forward to expounding on in future posts.

If you're interested in reading more about my adventures at the 2017 GHC, here are some thoughts I shared from last year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Reflecting on the Past Few Months - A Life Update....

It's been some time since I've done any serious blogging here on Drywood Creek. Our days have been full. I have had many words, but not time to pen them. I have words on the final chapters of Charlotte Mason's Vol. 1, Home Education. I have words on our new CM Study Group read, The Liberal Arts Tradition by Clark and Jain. I have words on Classical Education in general as I poke and ponder a variety of sources.

Winter has been extremely long here on Drywood Creek. April has been one of the coldest on record. There have been times of mourning over the long cold winter as we lost many loved ones, including The Farmer's beloved mother, his aunt, two of my great-aunts, cousins, and friends. Just this week, the sun finally began to show it's warmth. It feels like we're turning a corner.

There have also been times of joy over the past few months. Our dear son, Ruben, celebrated his 13th birthday at the beginning of April. All of the kids are growing at rapid speed. It is bittersweet. I am so thankful for their health and wellness. It's a gift to watch them mature. On the other hand, I know these days are fleeting fast and I'm working very hard on being present. I don't want to miss a thing.

We also have about thirty new calves here on Drywood Creek, of course, many of them were born in the bitter cold. It takes time and a great deal of nurturing to winter babies. Many life lessons have been learned.

Speaking of lessons, we have continued our academic studies. The kids are down to three weeks left of the 2017-2018 school year. I will be blogging soon about our third term, the hits and misses. I've also been planning a bit for next year. I will once again have three students as Levi enters Year 1. RileyAnn will enter 9th grade and Ruben 8th. Where or where do those years go?!!

Lastly, I was privileged to attend the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH for the third year in a row. I attended many speaker workshops and am working on a post to report what I learned. So stay tuned! I intend to begin blogging again soon!

In the meantime, please check out our updated book sale lists. There is much goodness there that I'd love to get in the hands of other home educators.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

April 2018 Book Sale Index by Subject....

I've been working through book sale list updates over the past couple of weeks. There have been many new treasures added to most lists, including history, literature, Five in a Row titles, poetry, science, and more. There are many fabulous titles from Ambleside Online, Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, Truthquest History, and A Visual American History Timeline of Books, as well as many other great picture and chapter books.

Below is an index by subject for easy access. I would love to add photos of each book, but the sheer volume of books listed here paired with my time constraints have not allowed me to to do that. However, if you have questions about a particular title or condition, please do ask. I'm also happy to give recommendations or send you photos when possible. Please send book lists, comments, and inquiries via the contact form on the right side bar. I accept PayPal and ship media mail anywhere in the U.S.

Thanks for your consideration,

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Math, Logic, and Science Books for Sale...

Below you will find our latest list of math, logic, and science resources for sale. I have many new wonderful science and nature lore titles available. There are sets of science books by topic toward the bottom. These are wonderful for unit studies or as aids to nature study. There are several beautiful out of print books in the sets.

The Houghton Mifflin and Scott Foresman math texts are great older hard cover math books. They are pre-common core and are a wonderful resource for teaching math concepts in a living, organic way, or giving extra practice problems. I do have some flashcards and math manipulatives as well that are not listed so let me know if you're looking for them.

The prices do not reflect shipping. I accept PayPal and ship media mail within the U.S. We are a smoke and pet free home. Please use the contact form on the right side bar to send inquires and desired list.

Thanks so much for your consideration,

Natural Science & Nature Study

Nature Portfolio throughout the Year by Barbara Shukin $10

Hands-On Physical Science Activities for Grades K-8 $4

Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space by Stephanie L. Redmond $10

Natural Science through The Seasons by James A. Partridge $15

Simple Machines Made Simple y Ralph St. Andre $3

Great Science Adventures – The Wonder of Light and Sound by Dinah Zike and Susan Simpson $3

Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike $3

Dinah Zike’s Cross – Curricular Themes $5 set
-       Insects, Butterflies, Spiders, Bees
-       Plants & Animals Raised for Food, Gardening, Health
-       Space, Universe, Solar System, Earth as a Planet
-       Colors, Numbers, Shapes, Letters
-       Air, Atmosphere, Weather

Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation by Dennis Petersen (hardcover) $4

202 Oozing, Bubbling, Dripping, & Bouncing Experiments by Janice VanCleave $2

See For Yourself More Than 100 Experiments for Science Fairs & Projects by Vicki Cobb $2

Rocks & Minerals by Janice VanCleave $2

A+ Projects in Biology by Janice VanCleave $2

The Story of Science, Einstein Adds a New Dimension by Joy Hakim (hardcover/w jacket, ex-library) $12

Science in the Creation Week by Unfred – grades 2-5 $5

The Brown Paper School Series - This Book is about Time by Marilyn Burns $2  

Making Things Float and Sink with Easy-to-make Scientific Projects $2

Usborne Internet-linked First Encyclopedia of Science SL MFW $3

Usborne Science with Magnets $3

Explorabook, A Kids’ Science Museum in a Book by John Cassidy BF $3

Adventures with Atoms and Molecules, Chemistry Experiments for Young People by Robert C. Mebane and Thomas R. Rybolt $3

Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits by Bob Bennett $6

Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel AO 8 $4 each( x2)

North with the Spring by Edwin Way Teale (hardcover) $10

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson $3

Deep Woods Adventure series by P.M. Malone $5 set
-       Book 1 Out of the Nest
-       Book 3 To Find a Way Home

Simple Chemistry Experiments with Everyday Materials by Louis V. Loeschnig $3

Simple Earth Science Experiments with Everyday Materials by Louis V. Loeschnig $3

The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets by Jean Craighead George WP $3 each (x2)

Volcanoes and Earthquakes by Mary Elting $4 each (x2)

White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt $3 each (x2)

Rain Drop Splash by Alvin Tresselt $3

The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow (ex-library, hardcover) $8

Deer at the Brook by Jim Arnosky (ex-library) $2

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Walking in the Wild Places by Jim Arnosky $8

Flute’s Journey, the Life of a Wood Thrush by Lynne Cherry $4

Polar Bears by Gail Gibbons $4

Sea Otter Rescue, The Aftermath of an Oil Spill by Roland Smith $4 each (x2)

Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson SCM $4

Water’s Way by Lisa Westberg Peters $4 each (x6)

The Sun, the Wind and the Rain by Lisa Westberg Peters $4 each (x4)

City Storm by Mary Jessie Parker $2

Wind by Ron Bacon $2 each (x2)

How Superhighways are Made by David. C. Cooke (hardcover, ex-library) $3

Where Did The Butterfly Get Its Name? by Melvin and Gilda Berger $5

Do Stars Have Points? by Melvin and Gilda Berger $4

Let’s Read and Find Out About Science:
-       Plants in Winter by Joanna Cole (hardcover) $4
-       Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home by Judy Hawes (hardcover) $4

Dolphin Adventure, A True Story by Wayne Grover SL $3 each (x4)

Shark Lady, True Adventures of Eugenie Clark by Ann McGovern SCM $3

Ladybird Leaders series $10 set
-       The Stream
-       Castles
-       Leaves
-       Bread
-       The Tree and Its World

A Golden Guide: Spiders by Herbert Levi $3

Scholastic Banners: Teaching with Themes (grades 4-5) $40 set includes:

Ø  Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Storms
-       Student Text
-       Teacher’s Theme Guide
-       Volcanoes and Earthquakes by Mary Elting
-       If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake by Ellen Levine
-       Day of the Blizzard by Marietta Moskin
-       Hurricane! by Marian Rumsey
-       The Finches’ Fabulous Furnace by Roger Drury
Ø  Save the Earth
-       Student Text
-       Teacher’s Theme Guide
-       Sea Otter Rescue, The Aftermath of an Oil Spill by Roland Smith
-       Nobody Listens to Me by Leslie Davis Guccione
-       Trouble at Marsh Harbor by Susan Sharpe
-       On the Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Ø  Oceans of Air (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)
-       Student Text
-       Teacher Resource Masters
-       Teacher’s Anthology (unit poetry)
-       Weather by Howard E. Smith
-       2 cassettes

Scholastic Science Place Kit (grades 1-5) $20 includes:
-       Air, Sun, and Water – teacher and student books
-       What Will the Weather be like Today? By Paul Rogers
-       Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons
-       Water Way by Lisa Westberg Peters
-       Video field trip
-       Using Water - teacher and student books
-       Experiments with Water by Bryan Murphy
-       Three Days in a Red Canoe by Bera B. Williams
-       Energy – student books
-       Simple Science Take One Mirror by Melvin Berger
-       Sound, Heat and Light, Energy at Work by Melvin Berger
-       Science Journal software
-       Light – teacher and student books
-       Rocks and Soil – teacher book
-       The Magic Schoolbus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole

Math & Logic
Scott Foresman – Addison Wesley Daily Cumulative Review Masters – Math Student Workbook grade 1 $2

Scott Foresman Exploring Mathematics 4th grade set $50
-       Teacher’s edition
-       Student text
-       Enrichment blackline masters
-       Enrichment blackline masters key

Houghton Mifflin Mathematics Text – grade 3 (hardcover) $5

Houghton Mifflin Mathematics Text – grade 4 (hardcover) & Teacher’s Edition (spiral bound) $12

Houghton Mifflin Mathematics Text – grade 5 (hardcover) $5

Houghton Mifflin Mathematics Text – grade 7 (hardcover) & Teacher’s Edition (hardcover) $10

Every Day Counts Practice Counts student workbook & annotated teacher’s edition grade 4 $5 set

Time, Money & Fractions Grades 1-2 (School Zone) $2

Evan-Moor Daily Math Practice Grade 4 $5

Evan-Moor Daily Math Practice Grade 2 $5

Creative Math Experiences for the Young Child by Imogene Forte & Joy MacKenzie $3

Decimals: Multiplication & Division grades 4-6 $2

Teacher Created Resources Measurement grades 1&2 $2

Grocery Cart Math by Jaye Hansen $2

The Handy Math Answer Book by Patricia Barnes-Svarney & Thomas Svarney $4

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, A Math Adventure by Cindy Neuschwander $4

Cuisenaire Rods - $4 complete set (x2)

Magnetic Days of the Week (Today is….) (Tomorrow is….) $3 set

Summer Math Success kits – covers grades K-6 $40 set

Science Sets for Sale

Animal/Mammals/Habitats $15 set

The Magic School Bus Adventures in the Food Chain Coloring and Activity Book
Animals of the Bible by Dorothy P. Lathrop
The Racers: Speed in the Animal World by Hilda Simon
DK Eyewitness Amazing Wolves Dogs & Foxes
Nature’s Children – Hippopotamus by Sally Banks
Wallabies and Their Babies by Marianne Johnston
Who Lives Here? By Dot and Sy Barlowe
Animals Keeping Safe by Jane Burton
Animals in Their Homes by Anita Ganeri
A First Look at Animals with Horns by Millicent E. Selsam and Joyce Hunt
What is a Mammal? By Jenifer Day
An Animal Information Book – 14 book set
-       Lions & Tigers
-       Puppies & Dogs
-       Kittens & Cats
-       Zoo Animals
-       Horses & Ponies
-       Farm Animals
-       Baby Animals
-       Bears
-       Birds
-       Wild Animals
-       Monkeys & Apes
-       Sea Animals
-       Reptiles & Amphibians
-       Big & Little Animal
Misc. activities to accompany study

Plants & Trees $ 15 set

Growth and Change in Plants – The Solski Group
Plants by Linda Schwartz
Plants – From Your Friends at Mailbox
Teacher Created Material Thematic Unit Our Environment
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Starting With Nature: Trees by Pamela Hickman
Seeing Science through Art Sky Tree by Thomas Locker
Corn Belt Harvest by Raymond Bial
Sugar by Sheryl Peterson
Growing Apples and Pumpkins by Amy and Richard Hutchins
Trees of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada by William M. Harlow (field guide)
Misc. activities to accompany study

Earth Science & Biomes $10 set

Our Earth, a skill-builder activity book
Science in Special Places by Lucia Kemp Henry
Teacher Created Material Thematic Unit Rocks & Soil
A Walk in the Deciduous Forest by Rebecca L. Johnson
Rivers by E. Joseph Dreany
Planet Earth Animals of Africa by Lisa L. Ryan-Herndon
The Taiga Biome by Carol Talley
Misc. activities to accompany study

Human Body & Nutrition $15 set

Food, Fact, Fun & Fiction by The Solski Group
The Human Body by The Solski Group
Your Body by Linda Schwartz
Science Pocket – Human Senses & Body Parts by Dinah Zike
Drugs & Your Body – Creative Teaching Press
The Air I Breathe by Bobbie Kalman & Janine Schaub
Looking Into My Body by Nigel Nelson
Your Lungs by Anne Ylvisaker
Your Stomach by Anne Ylvisaker
A Book About Your Skeleton by Ruth Belov Gross
Misc. activities to accompany study

Physics, Magnets, & Electricity $10 set

Delta Science – Properties of Matter
My First Batteries & Magnets Book by Jack Challoner
A True Book – Experiments with Magnets by Salvatore Tocci
Science Secrets: Magnets by Jason Cooper
Electricity Unit Study Adventures by Amanda Bennett
All About Electricity by Melvin Berger
Misc. activities to accompany study