Sunday, September 11, 2016

First Month Wrap-up!

Preedy Academy kicked off for weeks ago and we've had a great four weeks!  So far, all the long hours of thinking and planning put in over the summer are paying off, and the choices I made for us are working.  Praise God for His guidance and wisdom!

Coming back from overseas, our first year we just hunkered down and did the hard work of recovery and healing.  The second year, I felt more able to take on some things like Community Bible Study, beginning a small co-op with some friends.  This year, I feel even more recovered and capable, but need to still be careful not to get over-committed.

Here's some pictures from our first few weeks! The kids' schedules are pretty laid back still, but my daily schedule is pretty crazy, I'm always moving, always working with one of them, or preparing food and cleaning up.  By 3:00, I'm so ready for them to put on their yoga or other PE video and fro me to get to workout with no one talking to me! :)





Playing math games together!

Levi is loving his first year Latin, especially getting to play Latin games on the computer!

Making Byzantine mosaics!

Luke opted for stained glass coloring.

Kiryn chose paper crafts of damsels hats and swords.

Karen's finished product!

Can you tell what we've been reading this month??


Levi is really into King Arthur!

Luke picked up an old projector at a bargain sale and wanted to take it apart... until he realized it actually worked. :) 

This spider built a web in our backyard and caught a cicada (I think!) in it, and it was amazing to see!

Nature walks with friends!

 
Byzantine stained glass project. This is the example I made to show the class. 

They took it really seriously and al did a great job!

Their finished projects displayed in the door!

Luke's Lego rendition of a scene from King Arthur.

This is Levi practicing addition and subtraction by building 20-step staircase and having his Luke Skywalker Lego figure hop up and down the stairs. Whatever works! :) 



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Music of the Hemispheres

In my search for a delightful, rigorous grammar program, over the last two years, I kept coming back to look at Michael Clay Thompson's language arts.  This year, I finally spent the time to figure out how the program worked, and decided to give it a try. I didn't want to buy the whole program, first because it's expensive as a whole program. Secondly, I'm very happy with our writing and Latin programs, and didn't want to switch over. But I did feel that his grammar and poetics books could work for us, even apart from the whole program.

So I bought Grammar Town and Music of the Hemispheres, the poetics book. I did not know what to expect, but thought, it can't hurt to give it a try.

We've been reading it aloud together for a week and a half now, and can I tell you, I have learned so much about poetry!  I had no idea that poets were such artists not just with the meanings of words, but with the sounds an using sounds to evoke feeling.  In the first third of this book, we have really come to understand end rhyme, internal rhyme, eye rhyme, and alliteration and more.

Today, at the end of the reading, the book issued a challenge: write a short poem using words and sounds that make you think of a specific sound or place.  We have NEVER attempted to write poetry before, I had no idea where to start or what to do. But this seemed like something we could do.  So here was what we all came up with. I share mine hesitantly, only to show that I am trying to learn alongside the kids and set an example of trying my best.  But it's terrible, really. :)  I am no poet, ha!

Mine:

The sharp knife swished through the produce
Crunched as it chopped it to bits
Hoping to create a crispy, delicious dish
That could strengthen the body and give tastebuds fits!

Luke's:

The Forest
Who is that rustling the bushes
Who is that chirping in the trees;
Listen to the silent swinging in the canopy
Oh, how I would love to go to the forest, you see.

Kiryn's:

Horses
As I walk through stables of horses I stare
At beasts wild and mighty
They are furry, shaggy and covered with hair
But the creatures are rather friendly

For first attempts at poems, I think these are so delightful! :) I'm really pleased with what we're learning from Music of the Hemispheres!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Astronomy: awakening our wonder

Last year we began working our way through the Memoria Press nature study series.  We had spent a lot of time on mammals already, so we jumped into insects last year. We chose to dive into astronomy this year, because we are studying the middle ages, and historically they correlate well.

I love the Memoria Press guides, they provide a great backbone of factual scientific knowledge to learn. But I also want to awaken a sense of wonder in the kids, so I always look for other resources to pull in to do that.  In researching resources for astronomy, I found a book from long ago called Storyland of the Stars, free for download.

We began reading it this week, and today, we read about the "music of the spheres," a theory by Pythagoras that was correct, but that he could not prove.  (Not coincidentally, we began reading "The Music of the Hemispheres" by Michael Clay Thompson to learn about sounds in words and poetry this week too!)

As we read how he thought the stars and planets actually made sounds in the universe, it reminded me of a video I had seen of Louie Giglio years ago.  So I googled it and pulled it up.  We spent twenty minutes listening to the actual sounds planets make, stars make, and Louie's mashup of stars and whales singing together! Here's the links:

Louie's mashup
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zWKm-LZWm4

The Music of the Spheres: sounds of the planets:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obgeTFvdVqI

Talk about awakening wonder!  All the kids now want to go to outer space and to listen to the stars all day.  This was a great way to start off our study: by realizing that all the stars we will learn about this year actually make noises of praise to their Creator, he set them in place, and enjoys their worship twenty-four-seven.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Memory Work Tips

Okay, really just one tip. :)

This.



I randomly happened upon this book on Rainbow Resource earlier this summer. I'd never heard of it, but was intrigued by the title. I did a little googling and looking at Amazon to see if I could see inside or read any reviews.  There was very little out there. And even though it was $32.95, I decided to take a chance on this, not knowing much about it, because it looked so interesting. 


This is a total hidden treasure!  This book lays out suggestions for memory work in the above categories: Latin, Greek, Math, Grammar & Composition, Literature, Religion, Geography, World History, United States & Civics, Natural Sciences, as well as a guide to how and why to memorize things. 

Last year, I spent hours scrolling through blogs and suggested memory, wondering what was worth memorizing and what wasn't, how to choose. I was never taught to memorize anything besides a few Bible verses, so this is all totally new to me. It took me weeks to sift through all the suggestions and decide last summer. 

This book did it all for me this year!  I decided what categories we wanted to focus on, flipped through the chapter, chose how many selections I needed, and then typed them into my formate to print straight out of the book.  It's not just a list. Campbell provides the actual text of each poem, hymn, literature selection recommended.  I only spent one morning while my kids were at VBS planning out and printing our memory work for the entire year!

In addition to being just about anything and everything you might ever want to memorize, it's also a GREAT reference book.  It has lists of historical info, like the Roman emperors in order with dates, all Latin declensions in charts, traditional prayers and creeds from church history, mathematics tables an charts full of formulas, and so much more.  

So, get this book! :) 


Here's some other pictures from inside: (I have tried about fourteen times and cannot get the pictures to rotate to the right direction...)






Saturday, July 30, 2016

2016-17 Preedy Academy Curriculum Picks!

Better late than never?

I've had a lot of mental gymnastics to figure out how this year is going to work. I've got FOUR students this year for the first time.  Yep, Meryn is beginning Kindergarten!!! AAAAA!!! :)

So, after much contemplation, here's my plan.  We're going to have five blocks to our day:
-Morning Time
-Math
-Language
-Science
-Humanities

We'll stat each day with Morning Time, and move on to Math.  Everyone will be doing math for a set amount of time.  Same for the other blocks: all doing their own assignments within that subject, mom starting with youngest for instruction and moving up by age.  The older kids will have some independent work to do while they wait on me for any teaching we have for that day.

There are three possible outcomes for each block:

-You work diligently, and complete your work.  In this case, there is a box of games to play until the next block starts, or books to read, or things to draw, etc.)
-You work diligently and don't finish your work. In this case, we put it away until tomorrow and pick up where we left off.
-You don't work diligently, and don't finish your work.  In this case, you will get your work back out after "school time", and complete it.

I have high hopes this will work to keep everyone busy and on task.  I have invested a good bit in educational games for math, history, astronomy, and language that are ONLY for school time.

So, here is what we'll be tackling in each of our blocks this year:

MORNING TIME: (everyone will listen, but most of this is expected from the Upper Grammar kids only)
-Westminster Shorter Catechism, last 36 questions, with devotions from Training Hearts, Teaching Minds
-Reading Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew
-Twelfth Night from Shakespeare
-Music of the Hemispheres by Michael Clay Thompson
-Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Study Portfolios (Botticelli, Rembrandt)
-SQUILT for music appreciation and composer study
-Memory Binders: Shakespeare monologues, Psalm 139 and a couple other passages, three hymns, traditional prayers and liturgical readings, and poetry selections
(I have another post coming on how I chose Memory Work this year!)

LANGUAGE:
Upper Grammar:
-Latin for Children Primer B
-Writing & Rhetoric Books 4-5
-Reasoning & Reading book 1 (only half, we'll spread this out over two years)
-All About Spelling Level 6 (only half, also will spread this out over two years)
-Grammar Town and Grammar Voyage (MCT Language Arts)
-New American Cursive Book 3
(NOTE!: We will not be doing all of this everyday. We will have 3 elements of LA everyday: Latin, Writing, and the others on a loop or by term)

1st grader:
-All About Spelling Level 1
-Copy work for handwriting
-Veritas Press Readers
-Christian Liberty Nature readers
-Narration practice
-Song School Latin 1
-Ambleside Online read aloud selections
(Again, not all of this everyday)

KG:
-All About Reading Level 1 (phonics)
-Handwriting Without Tears Book 1
-Read Alouds from AO Year 0

MATH:
-MUS (Zeta, Epsilon, Beta, Primer/Alpha)
-Select MEP Pages for puzzle and play with math from Year 4/Year 1

SCIENCE:
Upper Grammar:
-Berean Builders for Historical Science Science in the Ancient World/Science in the Age of Reason, one lesson per week
-Memoria Press Book of Astronomy: supplemented with Storyland of the Stars, Find the Constellations as read alouds and lots of star gazing.
-Elementary Geography as a read aloud
-Memoria Press Geography II
(AGAIN: Not doing all of this everyday. Rotating in and out.)

Lower grammar:
-Exploration Earth Animal supplement (copywork, animal study and classification)
-Burgess Animal Book of Nature Lore
-Working on continents

HUMANITIES:
-Tapestry of Grace Year 2: Upper Grammar level for older two kids, Lower Grammar read aloud only for little kids
-AO Year 4 independent reads for Upper Grammar kids
-L: He will begin cello in the public school orchestra, and piano lessons
-K: She will continue with violin at home and piano lessons

We're not changing much from last year.  Last year, as I said in my review posts, was the first year I finished the year feeling filled up, rather than totally drained. So we're going to just keep walking the path we did last year, extending the view a bit further out this year. The kids also really excelled last year.  They progressed a lot in their knowledge and skills, and we weren't strapped to school all the time to do it. And we greatly increased our reading aloud last year, which they all LOVE!

The one major change I'm making is to try yet one more grammar program. :) I think, if I remember correctly, we've used:
-First Language Lessons/Writing With Ease
-Shurley Grammar
-Harvey's Grammar
-Memoria Press Grammar

I may be a stickler, but I really just want every area of knowledge we are learning to be delightful.  Grammar just never is. :)  But, Michael Clay Thompson's grammar program looks really interesting, engaging, and possibly even delightful! :)  I love the layout of the books that we will read together. And we are going to try out first ever school subject on the iPad with his Practice Books for Grammar Town and Grammar Voyage in iBooks.  I mean, if labeling the four level analysis of sentences *could* be fun, it would be dragging and dropping labels on the iPad, right? :)  We're gonna give it a go... and hope it works and sticks. Then I won't have to think about anything but science and Morning Time next year.

I'm praying for a year of great growth in all my kids, for a deepening in the knowledge of God, of Man, of the Universe, and their role in it and relationship to each of these!

(PS: Sorry I did not link this all up to the programs I mentioned. I am pressed for time. I trust you all can google them for yourselves.) :) Blessings!





Monday, May 2, 2016

Curriculum Reviews: 2015-16

It's that time of year again! We have just four short weeks of school left and all thoughts are turned toward next year, what's worked, what hasn't, what to change, what to keep.

From my post last year, this is what my plan was.  I'll go through it line by line: 

Language:
Writing and Rhetoric: Book 2, Narrative and Book 3, Narrative II.  Yes.  This.  These books are excellent.  I have been teaching Book 3 in a class setting, and its so much fun to see what each student comes up with for sentence play, rewrites, and just in talking about the stories.  These books are based on the progymnasmata method of writing instruction, and so they introduce students to great writing and stories to fill their minds with good examples to draw on.  Books 1-2 were very gentle introductions, and Book 3 ramps up the challenge quite a bit.  It focuses mostly on stories from the Roman Republic and Roman Empire, and the kids have learned a lot about story parts, outlining, using interesting words and more. I'm confidently sticking with this series next year. 


-Latin for Children Primer A: This was super challenging for us this year, and wonderful all around. Now that we are finished with our first full year of Latin, I see so many benefits to this being a star of our language arts.  It is so easy to see and understand grammar in action in Latin, and the kids are learning to guess what a word means, because they know the Latin root parts of the word.  Like "exclamatory." Because of Latin for Children, we know that ex- is a preposition meaning out, and "clamat" means he/she/it shouts.  Exclamatory=to shout out. Exclamatory sentences express sudden or strong emotion.  This was just a connection we made while studying grammar, not something outlined in Latin, and I love Latin because of this. There were countless connections the kids made across other subjects (science, history, Shakespeare and more). Latin for Children also makes it challenging and fun.  The video series is great, and having headventureland.com to practice vocabulary games online  is another huge perk.  It's a really delightful, alive program, in keeping with all Classical Academic Press products.  Again, confidently moving on to Latin Primer B next year!


-All About Spelling Level 5: We finished this, and still love All About Spelling. I toyed around with just not doing level 6 and dropping spelling from our rotation, but I really want good spellers, and Level 6 deals with lots of exceptions to rules, so we're going to work through it. 


-New American Cursive 2 & 3: I love these books. They are self-teaching (I don't do anything but require 2-4 pages a week).  This makes it easy on me, and gives the kids easy practice with their cursive while writing quotes of the founding fathers, poetry, Bible verses, and more. 


-English Grammar Recitations:  So I've tried lots of different grammar programs.  Lots.  Hmm... let's see.  First Language Lessons, Shurley Grammar, Classical Writing's Grammar, Harvey's Grammar, taken a peek at Rod & Staff, and now English Grammar Recitations from Memoria Press.  This is by far my favorite.  It is to the point and gets the job done. I'm impressed with what the kids have been able to learn and retain this year, including the definitions of concrete and abstract nouns, physical and mental action verbs, helping verbs,  and lots more.  The trouble is, they've just memorized those things, and practice applying them on about ten sentences.  I'm not sure they really understand the ideas. I'm also not sure they really enjoy and delight in this part of their learning.  And I want them to delight in language, how it works, its rules, and how to use it effectively themselves.  I would stick with this program through its four books if I wasn't convinced that I want EVERY subject we study to be filled with delight and deep understanding.  I have one more program I want to try next year, and if it doesn't maintain the rigor while also being delightful, we'll come back to this series. 

Logic:
-Math-U-See Epsilon & Delta: Both kids did really well with math this year.  MUS is really clicking with them and we are going to continue with it.  Luke will be in Zeta next year, their last book before pre-algebra. Um, what??  Yep.  Levi LOVES Mr. Steve and math, so no complaints here.  We did mid-year decide to finally try the Life of Fred books. I got the first four elementary books, and realized I had the Fractions and Decimals as hand me downs that I'd just stuck on a shelf.  I pulled out Fractions for Luke, because Epsilon is fractions, and he's been working through it slowly and will get through the rest this summer. Levi loves to read Fred and we made it through Apples and some of Butterflies.  I think these books are fun and engaging, delightful ways to play with math. But personally, for me, I don't think they are complete on their own. I do think Life of Fred and Math-U-See work beautifully together. :)  So I plan to get a few more of them and use them in summers and as  read alouds.  


-Piano Lessons from Grammy: Levi started piano this year too and all the kids are loving it and doing a wonderful job!  Kiryn also got a violin for her birthday in January and has been practicing her technique with the first Suzuki book. 

Knowledge:
-Bible: We'll be doing Community Bible Study this year, and so using their materials at home through the week.  We'll also continue with the Westminster Catechism Songs, and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds
We really enjoyed our time with CBS this year.  I think we all grew a lot, and it was great for the kids to be in a full-morning program with kids their own ages and teaches.  We plan to attend CBS again next year!  We ended up not continuing to learn the catechism just for lack of time, but I hope to pick it up back up this coming year. 

-Science: Science in the Ancient World, with Memoria Press Insect Nature Study:  This year is the first year I feel like our scientific studies mattered.  In the past when we were doing topical science, and while the topics might have created a momentary wonder, there was no depth of knowledge or real sticking of the information that I felt at the end of the year had grown the kids in any way.  They hadn't truly learned anything, known anything, grown to love anything through science. So it was basically a waste of our time.  This is why I decided to finally give nature study a try.  We have LOVED the Memoria Press insect study.  We worked on this about three days a week, memorizing the facts of the orders of insects, their characteristics, what their names mean, reading about their metamorphosis and habitats and diets, answering some comprehension questions, and spending time studying their physical appearances and sketching them.  What I found with this was that the kids really grew to know these insects.  They knew where to look for them when outside, they knew what stage of metamorphosis they were in when they found them, they knew what to call them, they knew how to describe them, and they wondered at God's handiwork as a result.  Very quickly this year I realized, this is knowledge they will keep with them always: intimate knowledge of one small element of God's creation, that will lead them to be curious about other elements.  I'm sold on nature study.  : ) We will continue next year with a reptile study that we are putting together on our own (based on the ideas and pattern we learned in the Memoria Press study this year, only because Memoria does not have a reptile study!) and we will be learning the constellations with an in-depth study of astronomy with Memoria Press materials.  As for Science in the Ancient World, I also LOVE this!  We did a short lesson once a week, usually on Fridays, exploring different scientists who lived in history.  We got to know who they were, where they lived, what questions they asked and why. We studied what they got right, what they got wrong, performed experiments like they did, and saw how one person's findings led to another, how they built on each other.  We made it from Thales to Archimedes this year, and will continue with this series until we make it to modern times. I think this is really valuable for them to study scientific figures and know their thoughts and writings. I'm learning a TON! :) 


-Geography I: We enjoyed this study. It gave us some more structure to our geography studies.  I like that they learn the flags of each country, and a very basic history of each place, by continent and region, while they're also learning landforms, rivers, and capital cities of each country.  We will continue with Geography II next year. This is pretty much self-taught, just pace it out over the weeks to complete the book. It could be easily amplified to produce a richer study, but my main goal with this is for the kids to know where things 
are in the world and be able to know context when reading about different places in the world through history and literature. 

-Tapestry of Grace Year 1: Blend of Upper Grammar and Lower Grammar work, studying the Ancient World: We are just four weeks away from wrapping up our study of the Ancient World for the second time!  I can't tell you how much we've enjoyed this year, mainly because we've had a co-op of families working through Tapestry and growing together. We have met every other week all year to tackle fun projects and keep the story of history going.  One thing I changed this year in how we do TOG is that I opted to have a narrative history spine that we read aloud from everyday all year long.  I love the TOG books, but almost every year at some point, I loose the thread of the story.  The topic based learning is good, I love diving into details about ancient Egypt, how pyramids were built, the movement of the Israelites, Greek scientists and mythology, and daily life in the Roman Empire.  But somewhere in all that, I usually end up loosing the story of how one things connects to and leads to another. This is the time I want my kids to be internalizing the story of history, so that when we come back to this in early high school, we'll have the story down, and we can spend more time digging into the details. I don't want to miss the forest for the trees.  So I chose the following spine to read aloud from daily for this year: 

-A Child's Story Bible (Bible and history of Israel)
-Peeps at Many Lands (Egypt)
-Our Young Folks Josephus (Israel and inter-testamental period, relating to Greeks and Persians.  Fascinating stories in Josephus that I wish I'd read long ago.)
-The Story of the Greeks
-D'Aulaire's Greek Myths (we spent about 8 weeks with this book)
-The Story of the Romans

Most of these are available free on iBooks, Kindle or mainlesson.com.  This worked wonderfully for us.  We still had the TOG books on hand each week, and used them to dive into topics of interest to each child. But it was there more for interests' sake, not as the main dish.  One other thing we did was practice reciting the story in our own words once a week up to the point we'd gotten to in history.  I decided early on this year that if at the end of this year, my kids can tell me the story of the ancient world including some specific places, names of major figures, and a handful of dates, in their own words, I will be so pleased with this year. I'm not talking about reciting memorized sentences or paragraphs. I'm talking about telling a story based on what they've put into their minds and hearts.  And so far, we're doing well, but have a ways to go in the next four weeks. :) I definitely plan to do this again next year, probably with more of the H.A. Guerber "The Story of..." series.

Additional Enrichment:
-Ambleside Online Literature selections for Read-Alouds from Years 4 and 5: I ended up going back to the beginning of the AO literature recommendations instead of jumping into Year 4.  So this year we made it through The Blue Fairy Book, Elementary Geography, The Princess and the Goblin, Just So Stories, Farmer Boy, and Little House on the Prairie, in addition to some historical read aloud with Tapestry. I'm pleased with what we accomplished in reading aloud this year!  


-Ambleside Online Free Reading selections for both kids. They are expected to always be reading a book for fun, but it has to be quality. :) I can't possibly begin to give an exhaustive list of what each of the kids read this year, but I know it includes Pinnochio, Heidi, Peter Pan, the entire Narnia series, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Five Children and It, The Book of Three (first Chronicles of Prydain), and more.  :) This type of book was the standard, and Kiryn has earned three ice creams, which means she's read 18 books (she did read at least five Nancy Drew books, too), and Luke is at about 16, I think. :) 


-Draw and Write through History: Creation through Jonah, and Greece and Rome: This was a good thing to give the kids one or two days a week to keep their hands busy while reading aloud history lessons.  And we produced some beautiful drawings from it!  I already have the next books historically in my cart at Rainbow for next year. :)


-Ken Ludwig's How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, along with some Ambleside Online Shakespeare titles: I cannot praise this book enough.  It has helped me so so much in introducing my kids to Shakespeare this year.  Without it, I would have been reading plays aloud and we'd have all been lost.  Ludwig offers context and background for vocabulary, understanding cultural references, and points out the beauty and cleverness in certain turns of phrases, alliteration and more that would have been lost on me otherwise.  He also walks through one play slowly and suggests specific things to teach the kids and passages to memorize.  So this year, we spent the first semester on A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the second on Twelfth Night.  We began by reading the sections in Ludwig on the play, and reading several story versions of the play, to get the flow of the story and plot.  Meanwhile, we were memorizing 3-4 passages from the play.  Once I felt like we had the story down, we watched a dramatization, usually something short and animated online, like this one.  Then, I read the play aloud over several weeks.  We'd wrap up the study with watching a live action dramatization on film, if we could find one appropriate. :) The kids blew me away with their ability to appreciate humor and sarcasm in Shakespeare once they weren't trying hard to understand the plot.  And I found that I love Shakespeare, much to my surprise.  I never enjoyed it in high school, and now I think I know why. I was struggling too much to keep up with the plot to appreciate the language, and the unfamiliarity with the language made the plot hard to hold on to.  I'm thankful that my kids will learn to love Shakespeare from a young age and will be exposed to his writing for years and be familiar with him all their lives. :) (And me too, now!) There's also a lot of great ideas and resources on this post at Simple Homeschool, many of which we've done as well just for fun!

For my KG/1st Grader:
-All About Reading Level 1
-Math-U-See Alpha
-Handwriting Without Tears, second book
-Tapestry of Grace Year 1: basic Lower Grammar history books for fun, and The Big Story Game and Primer Activity Book

So Levi's KG/1st grade year.  He's kind of all over the place.  He would have gone to KG this year by his age.  He's completed 1st grade phonics (All About Reading 1), and is already showing a mastery of the phonics rules learning in Level 2, so we're just not going to bother with ongoing phonics next year and move right into spelling. (This is what I did with the older two kids as well and it's been totally fine! Spelling is the flip side of the phonics coin, so there's no gaps in doing this.)  He's two-thirds of the way through his first grade math book, and almost done with a first grade handwriting book.  We've read all of Aesop's Fables (Milo Winter version), The Real Mother Goose, three Burgess Animal books, Life of Fred Apples and Butterflies, and more. Levi has also read to me half of the Veritas Press readers and a few history readers (Pompeii!), the Little Bear series, and lots of Dr. Seuss. He loves reading! I was a lot more laid back with Levi in his first formal year of school than I was with the older two.  There were weeks where he didn't want to have anything to do with handwriting, and all he wanted to do was math. And he'd blow through a lot of math in those weeks and love it.  But suddenly, he wouldn't want to do any more math, and all he'd want was to write.  Copywork, write sentences from dictation, write the family members' names, anything and everything.  And his handwriting would grow by leaps and bounds in those weeks. I came to see them as learning growth spurts.  I didn't force him to do something he didn't want to do, as long as he was learning and practicing a skill and loving it.  And that has worked wonderfully for him this year. :)  I'm really pleased with where he's at.  


So there you have it! Another year in the books. I feel like this year, with the possible exception of grammar, we have found a delightful way to accomplish our learning and educational goals and are on a path that everyone is thriving in.  I'm growing as a teacher, learning so much myself, being excited and inspired by what I'm reading and talking about with other moms. I'm thankful for this year, thankful that we're not ending it spent, but feeling filled up with wonder and beauty, and eager to begin again in the fall.  To God be the Glory!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Favorite Resources on Classical Education

Recently I was blessed to talk to a group of homeschool moms about classical education. It was a huge undertaking for me to condense the last few years of study into a short time.  There have been so so many wonderful blogs, books, lectures that have poured into my heart, and I felt like it would be really helpful for myself and maybe others to make a list of resources that I want to return to again and again to continue shaping me as a homeschooling mother, and even as a person and disciple of Christ. If you've heard me talk about classical education, and you start reading and listening to these resources, you'll realize I'm just repeating these great thinkers and writers. :)

So here goes! :)

Books:
The Liberal Arts Tradition
For the Children's Sake
Trivium Mastery
Start Here by Brandy Vencel
Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Around the internet:
Perrin's Eight Essential Principles of Classical Pedagogy (Video lecture)
Kern's A Contemplation of Nature (Audio lecture)

A Guide to Teaching Classically by Jennifer Dow (Blog series/ebook)
Why are Classical Education Principles Important? (Simply Convivial)
CiRCE Audio Library (Every one in here is worth listening to more than once)
Afterthoughts Series on The Liberal Arts Tradition (If you want to read The Liberal Arts Tradition, read this along with it, or first)


On Latin:
Memoria Press's Top 10 Reasons to Study Latin

On Language Arts:
Mystie Winckler's post on Writing
Afterthoughts writing posts
Classical Writing Aesop and Homer for teacher training on fable and narrative

Blogs:
Afterthoughts
Amongst Lovely Things
Simply Convivial
Ed Snapshots
Expanding Wisdom
Read Aloud Revival
Perrin's Blog
Ten Thousand Places: Jenny Rallens

Curriculum Companies:
Classical Academic Press
Memoria Press
Tapestry of Grace
Ambleside Online

Podcasts:
Read Aloud Revival
CiRCE's The Mason Jar

Books I want to read:
Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass
Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Education
Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education
The Abolition of Man
Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation