Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Classical Christian Homeschooling: A Reminder to Self

So convinced am I, that the public school system is not where my children belong, that I am willing to educated them at work in the midst of chaos much of the time. What I sometimes forget is why I prefer classical education over the traditional form set firmly in my mind by my own public school experience. However, it doesn't take much to remind myself. Lately, I have been doing just that. Rereading some books, reading new ones and discovering fresh information. I have decided I need compile a list. So here it is, my list of information on why I have decided to pursue a classical education for my own children. If you are interested in classical homeschooling or even if you are not, or if you just need to be reminded, I would encourage you to look into these resources.

Books (Read and To Read)

Essays and other Short Reads

What is Classical Education? by Susan Wise Bower
An Introduction to Classical Education by Christopher A. Perrin
The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers

This is a video I recently viewed. It is five hours plus! However, it is full of information and a definite defense of homeschooling, but they also encourage trivium learning.


The Well Trained Mind-Getting Started

I am sure I have merely skimmed the surface of available resources and I feel as though I must be missing something that I have seen or read in the past, but I do know that just a few of these resources was enough to convince my husband that following a classical style of homeschooling would be the best choice for us. I will probably add to this post in the future mainly to have everything in one place for easy reference. If you have additional information that you would like to share, please do...I would love to hear from you!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Color Wheels

I know that this has been done over and over, but for some reason (probably because I didn't try hard enough), I couldn't find a color wheel template that I really liked. So...I made my own. This was an effort to find something to keep my children busy while I got to go to my gymnastics class. It did not work as well as I would have liked, but it has begun a fun color study. Here is the color wheel template that I created just to color or paint. I chose color to lessen the mess while I was gone. However, it may have been more entertaining (i.e. lasted longer), had I allowed paint. Another reason I chose to make my own color wheel is because, believe it or not, all I we have is a black and white printer! Yes, a print shop, where we print pictures and all we have is a bland and white laser printer! Unthinkable! but I think we shall survive! So here is my Color Wheel Template.

And, since my son was begging to do something with food coloring, and, since I saw this while searching for a template yesterday...

And, though it would have been much easier to use Mama Jenn's free download, alas the black and white printer would render them useless. So, once again another Color Wheel...in black and white. A bit of an oxymoron, though it is, it worked beautifully.

Here's how you do it.

1. Print off the Color Wheel Sheet (link below)
2. Laminate it, put it in a sleeve protector, or use packaging tape (like I did).
3. Put your Red, Yellow, and Blue food coloring in separate containers and add a little water to dilute.
4. Using an eyedropper or a straw (we couldn't find an eyedropper), drop one drop per letter indicator. For example for each R in one circle you would drop that many drops of red. Three R's, three drops of red.

5. Mix colors within each circle together with a toothpick or stir straw if you are in a coffeeshop .

6. Finally, using a paper towel or coffee filter (which I think I may like even better), carefully set it on top of the colors to soak 'em up! Here is what ours looked like.

And finally here is the Color Wheel Printable. In case you don't have a color printer as well! You may want to check out Mama Jenn for more instructions in case mine were too confusing. I won't be offended!

Thanks for reading! Until next time friends.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bugs, Bouncy Balls, and Bubble Snakes

I should be home cleaning my house. I am letting my kids spend too much time watching "The Magic School Bus" episodes on YouTube. And here I am being the "good example" still on the computer! My excuse, it is pretty poor, but I haven't updated this for a while and even though I have a pretty good excuse for that, I hear it is not a good blogger thing to do! ;) My excuse for not posting forever is this: my hard drive DIED! Totally gone! And what is worse, the backup stopped backing up some time last September!

This is pretty deflating for a graphic designer! I had oodles of tools that I used to make my life much easier. Many of the best ones are gone. There is an upside however...I have a great excuse to search for newer, funner ones! On the homeschooling side: Completely derailed!

Yup! Just like that. Not only am I now completely unorganized (because I had gone through and organized everything sometime around December), but public school got out around the same time my computer crashed. For most homeschoolers this would not be an issue, in the coffee shop its a pretty big issue especially if you plan on schooling on any level throughout the summer. I have to tell kids that they cannot play until we are done with school (i.e. kick them out the door...not always good for business). I think I may just have to start homeschooling the neighbors kids as well. I think God is working on my patience!

On the up side, a break from the computer is refreshing from time to time and makes me realize how much I need to regulate it. Mainly for myself, but also for my children. And yesterday, I did just that. After a rough morning, I decided we NEEDED to go for a nature walk. Earlier in the morning, my son decided he wanted to make an "bug" book and put pictures of bugs in it. So off he took with my D70 trying to focus on tiny little bugs. After being rather unsuccessful (either because he couldn't find any bugs, or because he could not really handle the big camera), he gave up. So on our nature walk, I took my husband's camera, the D300 (much better), and captured a few creepy crawlies.


shiny bug...


Now if we can manage to get the hubby to print them, and put a little (or a lot) of effort into figuring out what they actually are (I did not excel in entomology!), we will be in business!

Here are some other interesting sights we saw...

After the nature walk we made one of these:

and after the friends came back we all tried to make some of these homemade bouncy balls...

which turned out more like this...

We may have to try this one next time. Bonus: This one has the explanation as to what is actually happening to make the bouncy ball. I haven't looked very hard, but I have not found a good explanation for the borax version. If anyone knows, I'd love to heard it!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teaching the Trivium...?

I Enjoyed this poem and also enjoy this website!

This site is a wonderful resource for Classical Homeschooling. Lots of Latin and Greek resources as well as logic. Something in which I could definitely stand some lessons!

I am very interested in Classical Homeschooling...I think at the moment I am struggling with how it should look. In some ways it doesn't seem much different mainly because of the age of my children. It IS different in that we are learning Latin, but beyond that, we still work on writing, handwriting, phonics and basic math although, I am not sure that he is really ready for math beyond addition and subtraction at the moment. Fact memorization may be as far as we go with that...still looking into this area. The Bluedorns talk a little about this in their book, Teaching the Trivium, regarding teaching younger children higher math concepts. It was very freeing to me to read that younger minds may not be able to grasp mathematical concepts as well as an older one might. I felt like I was beating my head against the wall every day trying to teach him a new math concept. Most of the time, he understood the concept, but teaching him the symbols that represent the concept just did not stick. We decided to take a breather and I am thankful for it! This book is a good read (though, I have yet to finish it...lots of information to process), I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some thoughts about Layers of Learning

A few post ago I talked about sharing Layers of Learning, a curriculum that I would compare to Tapestry of Grace in it's layout. I was looking over Unit 1.3 (the unit we decided to review) this morning and noted some things that I really appreciated and wanted to share. I plan on starting this unit later this week or beginning next week. And will share a full review afterward. This is the intro to the Unit...


This is part of a series of units in the Layers of Learning program for a well rounded education. We cover the subjects of history, geography, science, and the arts in a systematic and logical manner. We don't cover absolutely every bit of the knowledge out there, but we hit on the most important things and give a scope and sequence.

The units are intended to be used in order as the basis of a complete curriculum (once you add in a systematic math, reading, and writing program). Alternatively, you can use the units as activity ideas to supplement another curriculum. Each unit has material to cover about two weeks of learning, but units can be stretched or shrunk to fit your interests and schedule. Ultimately there will be twenty units in each of four years.

Beginning in 1st grade you work through the units, then once you hit fifth grade work through them again, this time doing different or more difficult assignments and reading more extensively. In ninth grade you begin the sequence again. At each level you should expect increasing amounts of outside reading and writing. High schoolers in particular should be reading extensively and if possible participating in discussion groups."

If you have used Tapestries or even just tried the free first three weeks that they offer, you know that they have a booklist that they follow, loosely in some cases, in others not so much depending on worksheets that are provided. For us, it really isn't an option to buy a whole gaggle of books. Grant it, you can buy them discounted from others who have used them and are finished, but it still adds to the cost. So when we went through the first three weeks of Tapestry, we went through our local, small town, library. I think we found two...maybe just one. All the rest we had to ILL (inter-library loan) which still cost less than buying the whole bundle of books, so I was okay with that. However, in order to do this on a regular basis, I really have to be on top of my game, organized and well planned. This doesn't usually happen...I wish it did. I know it would make my life easier. To the point. When I was looking at Layers of Learning I saw that before the list of books, they have this:
Search for: ancient Europe, ancient Britons, megalithic Europe, Europe-history, Stonehenge. A hard to find subject, check encyclopedias for information.

So, if I don't find the books required for the unit, I can search my library for these titles. Nice.

I also noticed this movie on the list...

The Wonders of God's Creation: Planet Earth movie from Moody video: Often sold as part of a three volume set, tells the Christian/Creationist view of the earth.

I was glad to see this; 1. because I do take the creationist standpoint and 2. because I had been trying to figure out if there was a Biblical approach to this curriculum or not. This of course, does not mean that there is a Biblical approach, but it does weave in opportunities. It may just mean that they are presenting differing viewpoints which, in my opinion, is good also.

Layers of Learning button

I am going to try link this up with Trivium Tuesdays on Living and Learning. We'll see how that works...I am learning as I'm going along with this blog!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Quick update!

I realized last night, as I was crawling into bed, that I credited the wrong blog in my last post. While 3 dinosaurs is equally wonderful, I remembered that it was this post, at Royal Baloo, that has the arctic animals unit which couldn't have come at a better time. Whoops! I also noticed today that she has some new free Star Wars kindergarten packs, which I am sure my son will be more than exited about. (He has been planning a Star Wars play with his friends for a couple months now ;-) ) So, I have corrected my error, but I do not want to take away from 3 dinosaurs. She has also shared some wonderful gifts as well. So check her out too!

and here is a link to Royal Baloo. Royal Baloo

I highly recommend that you check out her entire site. She has graciously shared so much. She has printables for tots all the way to first grade.

On a side note...have you heard this? I absolutely love this collaboration!

Enjoy this day that He has made!

Until next time friends...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

More Blessings

Royal Baloo This is a blog that God completely blessed me with when I was wondering how in the world I would be able to homeschool and work at the same time. Last August, when school officially began, my son decided he wanted to study the arctic and the antarctic. It might seem like a strange time to study a cold, icy, snowy place, but why not? So we went to the library and found a few books. I wish I could remember what they were, but it has been a while. I know that mistakenly found one in the non-fiction about flying reindeer! I remember praying. A lot. I turned my computer on and found this in my e-mail. A gift! Not only did I praise God for his goodness, but I was also able to show my son how God answers prayer! Double gift!