Homeschool Curriculum Choices – First Term: 2016-2017
We have completed six weeks of school and so far our choices for our new homeschool curriculum have been a great success. I can honestly say that I am more pleased with this school year than any in the past. Just as importantly, Farmer Boy and Eliza Jane are also delighting in their school work, and that is what I really want, kids who delight in what they are learning.
Yes, we are working hard. The work load is not easy, but it is definitely doable and interesting. We added some new products to our schooling, which have proven to add to the success. One of the most important products that we added are Notebooking Pages. We are loving this resource.
The kids write a lot of narrations using the Charlotte Mason approach and these add an element to their work that helps them to be proud of what they are creating. We could do our narrations just as easily with a spiral notebook or three hole paper and a binder, but the kids really like being able to customize their work with notebooking pages that relate to their topic of study.
Another product that we added is Barbara McCoy’s Handbook of Nature Study website. I have looked at this for many years and considered becoming a member. This year I decided to give it a try and it has added a great deal to our nature studies. I could have just used the Handbook of Nature Study on my own, but Barbara’s e-books make nature study so easy and interesting. She has wonderful links, notebooking pages, discussion points, and Charlotte Mason type of questions for older learners. It was a good purchase for us.
We also gave Amanda Bennett’s Tour of France Unit Study a try. We started learning how to speak French this year, using The Easy French for Homeschoolers program. Amanda’s Tour of France has enhanced our French studies immensely. The unit study has allowed us to really immerse ourselves into the French culture, while we work at learning the language. It covers geography, climate, famous landmarks, topography, food, currency, and so much more. We love it so much that I am adding her Thanksgiving study for the month of November. I love homeschooling moms who create curriculum.
Basically, everything we do in school has changed for us this year. We have changed to a Charlotte Mason approach of education from a strictly classical, but very workbook and text book approach. This year I used a combination of Mater Amabilis and Ambleside On-line. Most of what I chose came from Mater Amabilis, but Ambleside is such a great resource. I have spent many hours on their forum and perusing their website for ideas.
I also combined Farmer Boy and Eliza Jane for many of their subjects. I know this may be a sore spot for many, as each child is at a different level and many believe that we should keep our children at their own level and not try to combine. However, in order for us to cover everything that I want them to feast upon, I need to combine them. I expect more from Eliza Jane as she is in sixth grade and Farmer Boy is in fourth. Her dictation is longer. Her narrations need to be more detailed. She looks up more vocabulary words and she will have additional projects assigned to her; however, Farmer Boy is keeping up with the material splendidly and I have been happy with how well they are able to compliment each other. They are both on grade level with math and English grammar, but everything else has been combined.
For those who are interested, below is a list of books that we are using for the first term of this year.
Our Holy Faith 5 – Neumann Press (Catechism)
Acts of the Apostles (reading one chapter nightly)
The First Christians – Margaret Hunt
Holy Defender Flashcards
Treasure and Tradition – Lisa Bergman
St. Therese and the Roses – Vision Books
Memorizing Catholic Prayers in Latin: Sanctus, Agnus Dei, The Confiteor
Farmer Boy is also studying to be an altar server in the Latin Mass.
We are studying The Tempest using Lamb’s Tales of Shakespeare and Bruce Colville’s picture book. We listened to Archangel Recordings on Audible and recently attended a play. We are also reading Shakespeare: His Work and His World.
CNN Student News – Eliza Jane is keeping a calendar of current events.
From Sea to Shining Sea – Catholic Textbooks Project
Amanda Bennett’s Thanksgiving Unit Study
The World’s Story – Elizabeth O’Neil
Halliburton’s Book of Marvels
Book of Discovery – M. B. Synge
Maps: Getting from Here to There – Harvey Weiss
States and Capitals Maps – Farmer Boy
Country maps – Eliza Jane
Blood and Guts – Linda Allison
The Body Book – Donald Silver
The Children’s Homer
Gentle Ben (Farmer Boy)
The Story of the Von Trapps (Eliza Jane)
While these two stories were chosen with each child in mind, we are reading them together as a family and all have enjoyed them. Gentle Ben opened us up to study Alaska in a little more detail, which we added to our geography studies.
Dictation is taken from A Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist.
Copywork is taken from Handwriting with the Saints
Handwriting is Spencerian Handwriting.
Sacred Music Newsletter
I Sign the Mighty Power of God
Like a River Glorious
To God Be the Glory
My Country Tis of Thee
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Do Re Mi
Over the River and Through the Woods
America the Beautiful
Polly Wolly Doodle
Da Vinci – Pictures from Simply Charlotte Mason
We are reading The Young Leonardo da Vinci by E.M. Almedingen. I ran across this at a thrift store and it has proven to be a gem. As far as I know it is out of print, but you might be able to find a used copy.
We are using Squilt’s Baroque study. This is another awesome homeschooling mom sharing her talents.
Natural Partnership, A Story of Symbiosis
Handbook of Nature Study
Handbook of Nature Study Membership
Easy French for Homeschoolers
The Flag Goes By – Henry Holcomb Bennett
The Children’s Hour – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Village Blacksmith – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Eliza Jane is working on a keyboarding class using Keyboarding Skills by Diana Hanbury King.
Rod and Staff English
Rod and Staff Math
Life of Fred
It looks like a lot, but we are doing things in small doses. The kids are narrating verbally several times a day, but only one written narration a day. We are doing one nature walk a week on Friday, and so far we are all staying sane and enjoying this rich feast. Both Eliza Jane and Farmer Boy play the violin so they have to practice each day and Eliza Jane also plays in a local college youth orchestra. They stay busy, but still find time to play, read, craft, Lego, cook, do chores, and just hang out. This year is truly a delight for all of us.
I would love to hear what is working (or not) in your homeschool so far this year.