Monday, December 31, 2018

Schole Sisters - Les Miserables...

You may remember this past summer I was planning to read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo with my Summer Schole Sisters. I've been waiting to post a review until now because I was going to attend the Broadway musical Les Miserables and I wanted to compare and contrast the two. This weekend, I had the privilege of seeing the musical, but first, let's back up to the book read last summer.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was originally published in 1862 in French. There are several good English translations, of which, you can compare here. I personally, ordered each translation from the library and read the same excerpt from each book before settling on the Norman Denny translation as my reading copy. I did so because I liked the readability of it, as well as the fact that Denny maintained much of Hugo's original work. He did move a couple lengthy passages to the back of the book, but they were still there if one chose to go read them.

I did also buy the Isabel Hapgood translation because it matches the Librivox audio and the C. E. Wilbour translation because it was the first English translation and was written only one year after Hugo's original publication. A couple of moms in our group chose the Julie Rose translation and loved the extensive end notes in that edition. I plan to go back and re-read Les Mis in a different translation at some point. Either way, I would encourage you to find an unabridged version regardless of translation.

Once I began reading Les Mis, I met with my Summer Schole Sisters five times from June through August to discuss it. We broke up assigned reading by volumes, meeting after each of the five volumes. There were six regular attenders in addition to myself, which made for great discussion. All of which were home educating moms, with the exception of one grandma. It was awesome to have that perspective in our group!

Les Miserables is set in the first half of 19th Century France after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Hugo's novel shows the social injustice of the people and the long term effects of the French Revolution on it's society. In Andrew Pudewa's talk on Fairy Tales and Moral Immagination, he judges stories in four categories. The second being "Healing Stories". I would qualify Les Mis as a healing story, in which good is good, bad is bad, good does not always win, but grace prevails. It is the story of redemption, love, loss, grace, and forgiveness.

Hugo's beautiful and unforgettable characters have incredible depth. It's hard for me to pick a favorite. Jean Valjean would most likely be at the top, as the evolution of his faith was paramount to the story. Fantine was a close second for me. As a mother, my heart ached for her and I felt like she was a child herself in such an unfortunate circumstance. She unselfishly gave everything she had to provide for her daughter, which cost her life. Then of course, the Bishop of Digne, Gavroche, and Cosette were right up there. I even fell for Eponine. I felt her character was redeemed when she handed Cosette's letter over to Marius upon her death.

There is a great deal of French history and politics in Les Mis, making it a wonderful high school read for that time period. One can also learn about the 200 year old sewer system of Paris, which is now open for tour in our modern day. In addition, the reader sees examples of good vs. evil character and romantic vs. familial love. The question of justice was a constant conversation in our book discussion. Can one ever overcome their criminal past? Les Mis has several subplots, which is part of what makes it so rich.

Regarding the musical Les Miserables, many of the subplots and depth of characters mentioned are missed on stage. I did enjoy the music immensely, but I was feeling sorry for those that had not read the novel because I don't think one can get the full understanding without that written knowledge. Also, the musical's vulgar language and sexual innuendos are not included in the book. It's unfortunate if the musical is your only experience with Les Mis because it diminishes Hugo's christian side of the story and the whole redemptive point of the book. On the other hand, the set and costuming in the Broadway Les Miserables were phenomenal. In addition, it was a bonus to me that almost every character looked as I envisioned.

Overall, I LOVED Les Miserables! I highly recommend everyone read it. As stated, the musical is good as well, but please read the book first. Or, if you've already seen the musical, do yourself a favor and go back and read Hugo's intended story. It is lengthy, but oh so worthy. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas from Drywood Creek.
May you be awestruck at the coming of the Christ child and have a peace filled New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Fall Term 2018-2019 Wrap-Up

Oh, the beauty of fall seems long ago as I look out the window and see the earth covered with snow. However, according to the calendar, it is technically still fall until the end of the week...and what a fall it has been!

We wrapped up a very busy Term One in mid November, allowing us a scheduled week off for Thanksgiving and WI deer hunting season. A week of what I hoped would be filled with much needed rest and relaxation after our crazy start to the school year. Unfortunately, it began with some unplanned appointments and ended with a near tragedy when Ruben was pinned between a wagon load of round bales and the tractor, after the brakes failed, causing the tractor to roll back on him. Thankfully, angels were watching over him that day. I have no doubt that God's strength gave The Farmer the ability to move that 8-10,000 pound tractor up hill, allowing Ruben to fall from it's grip. After numerous tests, scans, and x-rays in ER, the doctor proclaimed Ruben's life a miracle. He said any man would have been killed under that kind of pressure, but because of elasticity in growing bodies, Ruben was spared. We are ever so grateful!!

Even though there were no organs punctured or bones broken, Ruben's body was badly swollen and bruised from being squeezed so hard. He had tremendous pain and walked with a walker the first couple of weeks, requiring a great deal of care. We've been administering a variety of therapies to aid in his healing since. Ruben is making great progress and slowly recovering. Our lives are gaining some sense of regularity and there is rhythm in our days. Hence the reason I am able to come back and blog about our Fall Term.

First, here is a preview of the resources I had scheduled....

Year One
Year Eight
Year Nine
Morning Time

Next, let's break it down and see what we accomplished in real life because a plan is only good if you are able to implement it.

Big Picture

Overall, we're getting through most subjects in spite of the chaos. As usual, some subjects are more joyous than others. I've had to drop a few books this term in the essence of time and over scheduling, but for the most part, the kids are getting the work done, even though some of it is hard. I don't typically drop books due to whining. (Check out Brandy's post, Don't Drop the Book.) However, if time is truly the issue, I do drop an occasional book. This was the case this term.

Morning Time has been a greater challenge this year with my age gap. I've made a few adjustments and it seems to be going better. I also let Levi come and go, depending on the book we are reading. I think it's necessary to choose a variety of books for Morning Time. Some should be geared to the older kids and some to the younger. I usually start with easier books or books geared for the youngest child. Then I let little ones go or play quietly while I continue with books for the older kids. Of course, the younger kids learn by osmosis and if they are quiet, I encourage them to stay if at all possible.

One book I dropped from Morning Time was our Geography read, Longitude by Dava Sobel. It's an AO Year 9 book that none of us were enjoying, including mama. I had to cut something because our Day 3 reading was too long. Longitude got the ax. We are continuing everything else at this point.

Year 9 - RileyAnn

Riley's been holding her own. Because she had several heavy readings, I did drop From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun. We also haven't completed The Iliad by Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore  and The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore using The Epics by Roman Roads Media as scheduled. We watched the first couple of lectures of The Epics. Wes Callihan is phenomenal! I just didn't have time to sit with Riley and complete the classes. Of course, she's capable of completing it independently, but I really feel strongly that it would be beneficial to do in a group or with a buddy. Therefore, we have set it aside for now. I would love to come back to it at some point!

We are behind in Introductory Logic by Canon Press Series. Again, this is my fault for lack of time to sit with her and complete the course. However, we will definitely continue this for her Logic credit in the coming weeks.

Year 8 - Ruben

Ruben's plan is fitting best of all three kids. I feel like we've finally found balance and he's hit his groove. The only subject that proved to be a bad fit was Introductory Logic by Canon Press Series. I have dropped Logic from his schedule this year as I just don't think he was ready for it. We will pick up some sort of Logic in his high school years, but I'm not sure which book at this point.

Ruben also struggled through astronomy using The Planets by Dava Sobel along with the Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide. He did finish it, but I must confess, the book was terrible IMHO. I find it hard to believe there wasn't a better resource out there for middle school astronomy. There were several readings I omitted because I didn't feel the content was appropriate or necessary for a 13-year old boy. I ended up pulling from Album of Astronomy by Tom McGowen and The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner. Both of which proved to be excellent resources and complementary to most of the big picture of the Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide.

Year 1 - Levi

I was way too ambitious in planning Year One. We've been home educating since 2007 and this is my my third go around with 1st grade. You'd think by now I would have a better sense of time and ability. However, each child is uniquely created and there is no one size fits all. Therefore, the best laid plans sometimes don't work. Term One was a testament to that.

A Mind in the Light Year One - The Complete Guide by Lisa Kelly is a wonderful resource, particularly for a home educator who doesn't quite have her feet under her, but wants to educate classically using Charlotte Mason's methods. It is structured and laid out in an easy to follow format. Unfortunately, I just didn't have time to do all the things. Fortunately, having experience, I was able to cull and pull what worked for us. We have completed all the Literature and Poetry so far, most of the Science suggestions, and the Arts that I put in Morning Time. The most significant changes I made to the program were to History, opting to instead read the D'Aulaire books reprinted by Beautiful Feet Books and scheduled in their Early American History Primary guide. This is proving to be a better fit for Levi. 

I also switched up his math. We began with Charlotte Mason's Elementary Arithmetic 1 by Richele Baburina and Simply Charlotte Mason, but changed to RightStart Level B. I really did enjoy the Math Immersion Retreat I attended in October and Richele clearly has a heart for mathematics using Charlotte's methods. I simply didn't find time to research supplementary problems. When I did have time, my brain wasn't in a place to create math lessons. Instead, I opted to switch to a program that was scripted. I expect teacher intensity at this level so RS is not a problem in that regard. 

Lastly, we began using Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. I love All About Reading Level 1 by Marie Rippel. However, this particular child was not loving the letter tiles. He prefers a movable alphabet and was able to progress a bit more quickly than AAR was moving. I have not ditched AAR completely, but instead have been going between it and Alpha-Phonics. This seems to be a good combination. 

The changes noted above have allowed us to have smoother days. We are now beginning our fourth week of Term Two and things are going better. By shuffling a few books around, there has even been room for Christmas picture books, but that's for another post...

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Holiday Book Sale....

I thought it would be fun to list some Thanksgiving and Christmas themed books that I have for sale since it's nearing that time of year. Prices do not include shipping. I accept PayPal and ship media mail throughout the U.S. We are a smoke and pet free home.

This is just a sampling of the many great books we currently have available. I will be posting updated history and literature lists over the next couple of weeks for Christmas gift giving! Please feel free to send your questions or desired shopping lists via the contact form on the ride sidebar.



Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick (hardcover) $5 each (x2)

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick $4

The Pilgrims by R. Conrad Stein (hardcover, ex-library) TQ CoF $4

Down Ryton Water by E. R. Gaggin SL 7/H $4

N. C. Wyeth’s Pilgrims text by Robert San Souci TQ VT $3

Sarah Morton’s Day by Kate Waters VP TQ VT $4 each (x5)

Samuel Eaton’s Day by Kate Waters VP TQ VT $4 each (x6)

Eating the Plates, A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner VT TQ $5 each (x2)

Pilgrim Voices edited by Connie and Peter Roop (hardcover w/Mylar dust jacket ex-library) TQ VT $5 each (x2)

Thanksgiving Feast and Festival by Mildred Corell Luckhardt (hardcover ex-library) $5

Thanksgiving Unit Study by Amanda Bennett $3

The Story of Thanksgiving by Elaine Raphael and Don Bolognese $3

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Craighead George $3

Margaret Pumphrey’s Pilgrim Stories by Elvajean Hall TQ VT $3

Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret B. Pumphrey BF TQ VT $3


The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader $3

Pedro, The Angel of Olivera Street by Leo Politi (hardcover, ex-library w/Mylar jacket) $6

Nine Days to Christmas, A Story of Mexico by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida BF $4

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden $4

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies, illustrated by Tomie dePaola (hardcover w/Mylar, ex-library) $6

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Arthur Rackham (hardcover w/jacket) $20

The Nutcracker adapted and illustrated by Warren Chappell (hardcover) $5 (x2)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens AO 5 SL $3 each (x4)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson SL 7/H/W $3

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (hardcover) $4

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fall 2018 Mother Culture...

I've decided to start a new series of blogs about my personal reading and Mother Culture. This is not entirely new as I have posted my reading lists in fits and spurts in the past, but now, I would like to make it a regular part of this blog. If you're a recurrent reader, you may remember my Summer Mother Culture and Schole list back in June. I did finish Les Miserables and The Liberal Arts Tradition and will do a follow-up post on each book in the near future. Unfortunately, I did not finish Westward Ho!, but still hope to find time this winter. I will continue to read from Charlotte Mason's volumes as they are an ongoing project that I draw from on a regular basis.

The plan going forward is to share quarterly lists and progress, most likely aligning with the seasons. These posts are not meant to show off or make you feel less adequate if you are not reading. Instead, I aspire to inspire and demonstrate how this busy mom makes time to read. I feel mother's reading is as important to your child's education as mother reading directly to child. My hope is to give ideas and encourage you in your reading journey.

With that said, here are is my fall list....

CM Study Group

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass - 2 chapters per month for group discussion

High School Community

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - started in Aug for discussion in late Sept.

Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving - short stories, finished for Oct 26th discussion

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper - will attempt to read throughout Nov for end of the month discussion

Read Along

The History of the American People by Paul Johnson - very slow read over the course of three years alongside RileyAnn, approx. 4-6 pages a week

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni - 1-3 chapters weekly over 18 weeks (I am slightly behind my daughter, but not worried about catching up now that the weather has turned colder.)

You may notice that I like to read with people and read very little by myself. I do this for accountability. The books I read are for myself, but I like to have others to discuss and share ideas with. I believe this is part of schole. For this reason, I read books with groups. This may be as little as one other person, like the read alongs I do with my kids. However, there is still accountability.

What are you reading? I would love to see your lists in the comments below!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reflections on a Math Immersion Retreat

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a Charlotte Mason Soiree Mini Retreat - Math Immersion day, which was led by Richele Baburina, author of Mathematics, An Instrument for Living Teaching and The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Series, both of which are published by Simply Charlotte Mason. Richele has done an immense amount of research on the teaching of mathematics using Charlotte Mason's principles and methods. I have corresponded with her off and on over the years online, but this was my first chance to meet her in person. I love meeting online acquaintances in real life! Richele did not disappoint. She is a lovely person with a real heart for providing home educators with an understanding of Ms. Mason's means to teaching mathematics.

The math immersion day consisted of five sessions, each of which were broken down as follows:

Session 1 - Form I Mathematics
Session 2 - Form II Mathematics
Session 3 - Forms III & IV Mathematics
Session 4 - FAQ & Outdoor Geography
Session 5 - Algebra Crit Lesson

Richele began by explaining Ms. Mason's reference to mathematics as a mountainous land. She then took us through each of the Forms, explaining how the P.N.E.U. motto, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life." applies to mathematics. Richele made it clear that Charlotte Mason mathematics is not discovery based, nor child led. It is imperative that the child has guidance along the proper path. Let's take a brief look at what atmosphere, discipline, and life look like in mathematics.


1. Attitude of teacher/mother sets the tone of lesson
2. Short lessons
3. Developmentally appropriate
    a. Mainly oral in Form I, moving into written thereafter
    b. Use of manipulatives to introduce concepts allows concrete to abstract thinking


1. Must be consistent in frequency of lessons
2. Methods used and natural orderliness of mathematics breed habits, such as:
    a. Attention
    b. Accuracy and Neatness
    c. Reasoning and Thinking
    d. Ability to find truth
    e. Best effort
The chief value of arithmetic, like that of the higher mathematics lies in the training it affords to the reasoning powers, and in the habits of insight, readiness, accuracy, intellectual truthfulness it engenders. (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1, Home Education, p. 254)

1. Life giving ideas are gathered by allowing the child to draw natural conclusions and allowing them to reason through problems
2. Student builds relationships
3. Experience beauty and enjoyment

Throughout the day, Richele referenced a paper written by Irene Stephens in 1911, under the direction of Charlotte Mason, on the teaching of mathematics. I have skimmed through the beginning pages and it's clear Richele modeled her curricula after the ideas presented in this paper. I have been using Book 1 of The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Series with Levi and can see the similarities. Also, in Session 1 of the retreat, Richele gave us an example of how to teach multiplication tables, which can be found on pages 9 and 10 of Stephens' paper. Reading through Ms. Stephens' paper in it's entirety would be a valuable way to learn Charlotte's methods for teaching mathematics to young students.

One caveat I would like to stress is the importance of understanding Charlotte Mason's 20 principles before trying to tackle her methods of teaching. The reading of Charlotte Mason's Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education, was foundational to the paradigm shift I experienced in my thinking about education. Whether or not you aspire to be a Charlotte Mason educator, I believe Vol. 6 is super important to understanding the personhood of a child for anyone involved in education.

OK, off my soapbox and back to mathematics...ahem!

I found Richele's findings on Algebra and Geometry intriguing as they were closely aligned with the 'Quadrivium' chapters in The Liberal Arts Tradition by Keven Clark and Ravi Jain. I will not get into a debate as to whether or not Charlotte Mason was a classical educator. You will need to do the research and draw your own conclusion. However, I will say that Charlotte's way of introducing geometry first and then following with algebra concurrently is very much in line with classical educators of the past. Also, the fact that she used a proof based geometry after exposing students to practical geometry is a more traditional approach. Richele's proposed example of the method of teaching geometry and algebra via Charlotte Mason, was outlined as the proposed method of classical teaching in The Liberal Arts Tradition as well.

A few of my biggest takeaways from Richele's math immersion day were:

1. How to construct multiplication tables
2. The idea of not getting stuck in a rut in regard to math facts, but rather to keep moving on conceptually, while reviewing. This was a particularly helpful reminder for me in teaching my child, who has the gift of dyslexia. He does not and may never have rapid recall. I have made the mistake in the past of camping out on facts, only to rob his mind of exposure to other concepts.
3. Outdoor Geography and Sloyd were not part of the math lesson. They were separate subjects, taught at a different time.
4. Practical Geometry can begin in 5th grade, after the child has been exposed to fractions.
5. The child must have a strong foundation in fractions, decimals, and percents, as well as a firm understanding of fact tables before beginning algebra.

Overall, the math immersion day was great! I highly recommend it if you get the opportunity to attend. Richele is a humble teacher with an incredible intellect for Charlotte Mason's methods of teaching mathematics. I was reminded of the importance of my role as a teacher/mentor/model for my children. Consistency is a must and my attitude plays a huge part in my child's success.
Mathematics depend upon the teacher rather than upon the text-book and few subjects are worse taught; chiefly because teachers have seldom time to give the inspiring ideas, what Coleridge calls, the 'Captain ideas, which should quicken imagination. (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 6, A Philosophy of Education, p. 233)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018-2019 Grade 1 Curriculum Preview

It's been a few years since I've taught 1st grade in our to be exact! Truth be told, I was a little more anxious about it than beginning high school again this year. There's so much more to choose from now. It's almost overwhelming. I have pinched, pulled, and tweaked along the way, pouring over a variety of resources. It's going well so far, but we are still settling in.

Today, I'm going to share the resources we are using at this point for 1st grade. It does not include the Morning Time list, which you can see here. You can also check out our 8th grade and 9th grade plans to get an idea of the big picture happening in our home.

Bible and Character

The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos - See Morning Time plans
Polite Moments by Gary and Cathy Maldaner

A Mind in the Light Year One - The Complete Guide by Lisa Kelly - You will find the complete list of books used at her website. I will simply list the books I am personally using here. Some are suggested in her guide and some are books I've chosen.

History and Geography

A Child's History of the World by V. M. Hillyer - We started this book, but have since decided to hold off and will most likely be starting Beautiful Feet Book's Early American History Primary over the next couple of weeks, since it is the same time period as my older kids. I found that I don't like having everyone in a different period. For this reason, we will not be reading the other AMITL suggested history books this year, but will wait until we go back to Ancients.

Regarding the geography books listed below, I will use the ones I own or can easily find from the library. I also plan to begin using Beautiful Feet Book's Around the World With Picture Books as a substitute for our Morning Time Geography read. I will post more about that at another time.

The Nile River by Allan Fowler 

Science and Nature Study

Literature and Poetry

Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne - AO Year 1
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost  - Five in a Row
When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne - AO Year 1
The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen by Jane and Dennis Yolen
Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
The True Story of Peter Rabbit by Jane Johnson
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams - AO Year 1
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White - AO Year 1
Andersen's Fairy Tales by H. C. Andersen
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder- AO Year 1
Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends by Beatrix Potter - Five in a Row
Aesop for Children by Milo Winter - AO Year 1
Tales from the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater - AO Year 2
C. W. Anderson’s Billy and Blaze books:
     - Billy and Blaze
     - Blaze Shows the Way

The Arts - Will be done in Morning Time

Classics for Children - audio CD 
Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes
Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf illustrated by Peter Malone

All About Reading Level 1 by Marie Rippel



Charlotte Mason's Elementary Arithmetic 1 by Richele Baburina - Simply Charlotte Mason

This may look like a long list for 1st grade. However, many of the readings are broken up into small parts. Some of the literature reads, I do at bedtime. This allows for short lessons, as we are still grooming the habit of attention. It doesn't feel heavy in the day to day. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

2018-2019 Year 8 Curriculum Preview

Ruben's 2018-2019 academic year is off to a great start! He is in 8th grade this year. We are six weeks into the year and the majority of his resources are working very well for him. Below is a preview of the books I chose for him this year. The list does not include things like Bible, Geography, Economics/Government, Poetry, and Fine Arts because they are covered in our Morning Time, which you can learn more about here. This lists simply includes subjects Ruben works on independently.

Character & Citizenship

Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz


The Rainbow Book of American History by Earl Schenck Miers - This book was republished  in 2012 by Beautiful Feet Books as A Child's First Book of American History.

What in World?, Vol. 3 World Empires, World Missions, World Wars by Diana Waring - audio CD's

Language Arts

As with last year, Ruben's Language Arts ties in with his history. He is using IEW's U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, which has a suggested literature list to accompany the study. Ruben has previously read a couple of the books listed so I will sub books where appropriate. As of now, his tentative reading list looks like this....

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - He finished reading and loved!
Landmark The Explorations of Pere Marquette by Jim Kjelgaard - He is currently reading.
America's Paul Revere by Esther Forbes
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
(book on Lewis & Clark or Daniel Boone - still deciding)
Riders of the Pony Express by Ralph Moody
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson -OR- Little Britches by Ralph Moody
Journey to Topaz by Yoshida Uchida - AND/OR - Landmark Air Raid-Pearl Harbor! by Theodore Taylor

I may add other books on topics after WWII, depending on time. I would also like to add a spelling program at some point in the year. I'm trying to decide between How to Teach Spelling by Rudginsky and Haskell and IEW's Phonetic Zoo. The first was a resource used by Ruben's tutor at the Children's Dyslexia Center. The second option is one that has been used by RileyAnn successfully over the past couple of years.

Natural History

The Lay of the Land by Dallas Lore Sharp


Term 1 Astronomy - The Planets by Dava Sobel - along with Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide
Term 2 Physics - Secrets of the Universe by Paul Fleisher - along with Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide
Term 3 Weather - Look at the Sky by Eric Sloane - along with Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide


Ruben is finishing up his current RightStart Math level from last year and has only a week or two left. I'm not sure if we will begin the next level or switch to something different. I'm slightly modifying RS and focusing on concepts rather than a particular scope and sequence. I'm heading to a Math Immersion retreat by Richele Baburnia in a couple weeks and will make a more concrete decision after that time.


Introductory Logic - Canon Press Series - The original plan was to have Ruben work through this with Riley, but I have since scratched this from his list as it was not a good fit him.

Fine Arts

In addition to the Artist Study, Composer Study, Hymns, and Folk Songs in our Morning Time, Ruben will take a private art class in the spring taught by another local homeschool mom.

Ruben also works for several neighbors in the area. He has a regular three hours per week position on a horse hobby farm. In addition, he picks up extra hours periodically for other neighbors doing misc. handy man jobs. He is learning a great deal of hands on skills through these interactions and is developing a solid work ethic. His handicrafts involve mechanics, wood cutting, and farm maintenance. Ruben also enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time. I schedule our academic book work four days per week to give him free time to pursue these other endeavors. 

This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase you make through these links helps to support our homeschool and this blog. Thanks for your consideration.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

2018-2019 Year 9 Curriculum Preview....

As we begin our fifth week of the 2018-2019 academic year, I thought I'd share with you RileyAnn's Year 9 curricula and book choices. These are items Riley is working on either independently, in High School Community, or with me. They do not include our Morning Time reads, which I shared with you last week. Things like Geography, Economics/Government, and Fine Arts are covered there.

In regard to History, I'm trying something different this year in that Riley will study two streams of history throughout high school. In the past, I had my high schooler complete one full cycle of history chronologically over four years. However, since Riley just completed a cycle of Ancient History in 7th grade and a cycle of Medieval History in 8th grade, I didn't want to go back and begin again with Ancients, and neither did she. Instead, I have opted to spread a thread of Ancient History alongside a thread of American History over three years. The plan will look something like this....

9th grade - Ancient Greece & American 1500-1800
10th grade - Ancient Rome & American 1800's to Civil War
11th grade - Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation & American Post Civil War to Current

This plan will afford us time in 12th grade for possible dual enrollment, to focus on a particular history study of interest, to extend the Modern study or catch-up if need be. So far, it's going great! Riley is happy to be back in American History, as well as working toward her Ancient History credit. Overall, her books look as follow...

Bible, Character, Citizenship

Ambleside Online Year 8 Through the Bible Reading Plan
Continue copying Psalms in Do you Journible?


A History of the American People by Paul Johnson - AO Year 9
From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun - We decided to drop this book for now. I'm not sure if we will pick it back up in the future.
The World of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster - Beautiful Feet Books
George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster - Beautiful Feet Books
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford - select chapters
A variety of historical documents - AO Year 9
John Adams by David McCullough - AO Year 9
Abigail Adams by Natalie Bober - AO Year 4
Founding Fathers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis - AO Year 9
The Book of the Ancient Greeks by Dorothy Mills - along with Classical Lisa Kelly of A Mind in the Light

Natural History

Rural Hours by Susan Fenimore Cooper - AO Year 8

Science - many selections from AO Year 8

First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson - select chapters
Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom - select adventures
Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball - select chapters
The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking 
The Microbe Hunters by Paul De Kruif - select chapters
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan - select chapters
For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin - along with Sabbath Mood Homeschool Physics 1 study guide

English - Literature, Poetry, Composition, Penmanship, Spelling, Shakespeare, Recitation

The History of English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall - continued from last year
The Iliad by Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore - The Epics by Roman Roads Media
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore - The Epics by Roman Roads Media
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni - AO Year 8
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas- AO Year 9
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - AO Year 9
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - AO Year 9
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - AO Year 9

Riley's poetry will be in conjunction with our High School Community study, of which I'm using portions of Janice Campbell's Excellence in Literature American Literature for the base of the study. She will also study A Midsummer Night's Dream and one other Shakespeare play with her High School Community, as well as Recitation and Current Events. She will write various narrations throughout the year on a variety of readings and will write a handful of papers based on lit readings from the High School Community. For practice in penmanship, Riley will complete PreScripts Poetry from Classical Conversations. She will continue IEW's Phonetic Zoo for Spelling.


Introductory Algebra online through My Homeschool Math Class


Introductory Logic - Canon Press Series

Fine Arts

In addition to the Artist Study, Composer Study, Hymns, and Folk Songs in our Morning Time as well as Handicrafts, Riley is taking two private art classes this year. One is a two hour weekly study on drawing and painting and one is a one hour weekly study, in which she will learn the art of print making. Both are taught by local homeschool moms.

Overall, things are going well so far. To some, this may look like a lot of books. However, you must keep in mind that they are spread out with short, slow readings throughout the year. Also, many of the science books are a continuation from last year or will be continued into next year, so she is not reading the entire book at one time. On average, Riley spends approximately 4-5 hours per day on her studies with some days being a bit longer and some a bit shorter.

I try to build margin in my kid's lessons by scheduling book work only four days a week. This allows time for extra-curricular and outside activities, as well as added time for leisurely reading. Riley has many interests outside of academics and I believe it's important for her to have time to develop those interests.

This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase you make through these links helps to support our homeschool and this blog. Thanks for your consideration. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

2018-2019 - Morning Time Curricula Preview....

We are three weeks into the 2018-2019 school year and have worked out a few kinks so I'm fairly confident in sharing our curricula choices at this point. This year, I'm teaching Year 9, Year 8 and Year 1. Since I have a great span in ages, I have chosen a variety of resources for our collective Morning Time. Some geared for each particular child, as well as some that are great for everyone, age 1 to 101.

I currently schedule school four days per week and have for the past several years. This does not mean learning is not happening on the other three days. It's just that I formally schedule our "bookish studies" in those four days. Sometimes it takes 6-7 days to complete what is scheduled, which is fine, as long as we start fresh on Monday morning with the new week's work. I don't schedule my kid's every day because over the years, I have found some of the best learning happens when they have free time to pursue their hobbies and interests. Our Morning Time follows this same four day schedule.

This year, I chose to read aloud The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos in our Morning Time. This is a re-read for my older kids, but the first time around for my Year 1 student. It's such a beautiful children's bible. I think it's appropriate for all ages. I will read the Old Testament section this year and New Testament next year. My Year 9 student is also doing a separate bible study independently, but reviewing the timeless narratives in the Vos children's bible is good.

Along with our bible readings, I have chosen two devotional type readings. First we will finish In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, which we started last year. Then we will move into Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. These books were chosen with my older students in mind. Although, I have never read Lewis and am personally looking very forward to it.

Other resources we will use this year in our Morning Time, along with sources, are as follows:

Citizenship: Ourselves by Charlotte Mason - We started this book last year and will continue this year.
Economics/Government: Whatever Happened to Justice? by Richard Maybury - AO Year 8
Music Study: Classics for Children - audio CD, Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes, The Carnival of Animals, Peter and the Wolf, The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Nancy Willard, and The Nutcracker - A Mind in the Light Year 1
Folksong: She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain, America the Beautiful, Frere Jacques/Brother John - Term 1 - We will spend four weeks on each song. I will pick Terms 2 & 3 at a later time.
Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness and Come, Thou Fount - Term 1 - We will spend six weeks on each hymn. I will pick Terms 2 & 3 at a later time.
Art: The Story of Painting by H. W. Janson - AO - will continue from last year
Artist Study: Degas, Cassatt, Cezanne - A Mind in the Light Year 1
Recitations: Misc. passages for each student and review The Pledge of Allegiance

We don't do all of these subjects every day, but rather, 1-3 times per week, depending on the subject. So our daily schedule looks like this....

Day 1 – Bible, Poetry, Recitations, Citizenship, Natural History
Day 2 – Bible, Folk Song & Hymn, Artist/Music Study, Economics/Government
Day 3 – Bible, Recitations, Geography/Art, Literature
Day 4 – Devotional, Folk Song & Hymn, Tales 

As you can see, I tried to have a bible/devotional reading daily. From there, I attempted to stagger subjects according to difficulty. I wanted some form of daily student interaction, whether through singing or reciting, as well as me reading aloud. I also tried to break up subjects geared for Years 8 and 9 vs. Year 1, altering between light and heavy readings. In addition, I do ask for narration once per day from each child in Morning Time. My Year 1 student narrates the Vos story bible or the tales as these are resources I primarily chose for him. The older kids take turns narrating from the citizenship, natural history, econ/gov, literature, and devotional readings. So far, this has been working well. Our total Morning Time typically takes somewhere around 45 minutes, give or take.