When I first saw the tweet about the Diversity Blog Hop from TheSisterLisa, I jumped on over there and took a look – wanted to participate – then panicked because I’m not sure that I even know myself well enough to introduce you to me. That’s why I don’t have an About Me page yet – Isn’t that sad? But, then I thought – what better time to try to work it out?!? So, fasten your seatbelts and away we gooooooo……
O.K. Let’s start with the parameters of the Hop “We’re inviting you to blog about your education style, your favorite field trip places, and ideas you’ll use this year.” hmmm, maybe I can do this after all – I know the answer to these things after all – what was I so worried about….. Hey, that’s something about me! I get easily overwhelmed if there is too much information – and, yet – I am also a ridiculous overdoer/overresearcher/overplanner. I’ll emphasize the major points in case you, like I, get overwhelmed by too many words.
Our Education Style has been developed over the past 7 years, and truthfully, it’s always evolving and growing. We have basically picked our favorites from several different styles and then rolled them all up into a semi-unschooling shell. We use narration (Charlotte Mason) as the typical way of finding out what they remember from a reading. We tried using Notebooking and Lapbooking but it really didn’t work for us – mostly because I overscheduled and we didn’t have time to complete the projects. We study both History and Bible using the chronological method (Classical Education and Christian Classical) because I love studying these subjects in order (but, they are not necessarily both in the same time period at the same time because you would run out of Bible study long before you ran out of History.) When choosing books for further study in History, we use Charlotte Mason guidelines and choose (mostly) Living Books that are free of twaddle. We use the books recommended in the History program as well as a book Through the Ages which is a great resource for Biographies, Literature, etc… (although our best books are typically the ones that are listed in both resources.) Other than History and Bible, pretty much everything else falls under the Unschooler umbrella (maybe with a touch of Thomas Jefferson Education) – and History kind of qualifies because we use Diana Waring’s History Revealed which allows the children to choose which subject they want to research further during each unit and offers different (and unique) ways of demonstrating what has been learned. (We LOVE this program, btw – it is a perfect fit for our family because it uses an audio program as well as reading and a variety of activities targeted to different learning styles. Note: this is very much a Christian program – as in His Story Revealed) This is the central component of our school around which the other subjects are integrated as much as possible.
My biggest advice to New Homeschoolers: Try out different styles that appeal to you (there are A LOT) but if it doesn’t work for you, then scrap it and find something that does. Or, even better, keep the things you like and get rid of what you don’t. In this way you can develop your own personal style. This article give some great tips and ideas as you start on your journey (and reminders for the rest of us): Considering Methods & Styles of Homeschooling
Whew, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Right – next topic!
Hmmm our Favorite Field Trip Places is a tricky one. If you read my post onA Field Trip to McDonalds,you already know that field trips are posing a certain amount of difficulty for us right now In the past, we have loved going to the Zoo, Forts (there are alot of these withing driving distance), and to a nearby college campus to see their bird rescue department and planetarium (which didn’t pan out, but that’s another story…) and neighboring libraries. Our favorite is probably a Colonial Fort where we also participate in their Re-enacting Program (a GREAT way to get the kids interested in history, btw!) I’m also planning on using some of the ideas posted in the comments of that post for this year’s trips – which brings us to the last topic. We are just sailing along here, aren’t we?
New Ideas this year – we are always trying something new so let’s get started!
The biggest new idea is that this is the first year that we are planning a guideline for the entire year (scary, I know! but, it is just a guideline) – all kept in a Notebook for each child that will contain all of their work and also holds the printouts/papers they will need for each week. You can read more about our system and download forms on the page for Another Year, Another Plan.
Bible – we are trying out a new program called Foundations by Anne Elliott – Previously, the kids were doing Devotionals but we weren’t really doing anything together (outside of what was included in history.) We are also coupling this with learning Hymns. We’re only in week 2, but so far I love it! They are learning the books of the Bible and doing Sword Drills (remember those?) But, my favorite activity so far has been to diagram out the timeline from Adam to Noah. I’ll be posting pics soon.
We are doing Speed Math in order to learn tips and trips to help the kids complete their math work quicker. They get the concepts but the little things have been a stumbling block for us so we’re using this Favorite Math Resource for the first 6 to 12 weeks 9 (depending on how long it takes – trying not to rush…)
In the same vein, we’re using Speed Reading to learn how to quickly scan for the information that you need and/or to be able to read an entire book quickly. So far, they can read 150 page books in about 5 minutes so this is definitely an awesome skill to have. It’s easiest for children 12 and under to learn this skill, and they say that if they learn early enough, many children can develop photographic memories. The monkey (DD) is almost 13, so we figured we’d better get going on this as soon as possible. (It’s been in the “To do later” file for many years now.)
For science, we have previously used Apologia’s Elementary Science by Jeannie Fulbright but alas, we’ve finished all of the books and so this year, in true unschooler fashion, I decided to ask the kids what they wanted to study. So, I’ve got more plans to put together in this respect, but for the first 12 wks both are doing Chemistry using Flash! Bang! Pop! Fizz! and Fizz! Bubble! and Flash! I will go into more depth on these two sources on a later post.
I’m using Character Qualities to develop the copywork assignments (but we don’t do much copywork – it’s really just a way to get them to do their absolute neatest for about one sentence and learn an interesting quote in the process.)
We’re adding in Typing because Rex (age 10) has difficulties with handwriting.Still trying to figure out the program to use – am interested in any ideas you may have. Comparing Mavis Beacon and Rapid Typing Tutor for now.
We’re doing 2 week studies for Geography on different counties using travel guides as well as the Operation World website. I call it Geography for Jesus.
I think that’s about it – oh, wait – NO, it’s not – Rex will be learning the “Art of Cooking” for his art studies. We’re using Cooking for Dummies and just going through it one exercise at a time.
Wow that’s a lot of new stuff, isn’t it? But, in all fairness, most of these are really replacing something else – or, they are a way to increase skill levels before going back to what we were doing before.
My favorite online resources that I use over and over again?
Ambleside Online: Charlotte Mason style – free curricula using Free Online Books.
KISS Grammar: Free online Grammar program – developed by a College Professor
Answers in Genesis: For articles and book ideas on a Young Earth
Sonlight: Book Ideas and they have awesome reviews and samples of almost every program out there for Math.
ChristanBook.com: They have an amazing collection of books and almost all of them have samples.
Booklists: I use several different lists, but I think my favorite two are 1000 Great Books (from the Christian Classical Support Loop) and the various lists on Walls of Books (the lists are on the left side of the screen.)
Rainbow Resource: They have every kind of curricula (almost) that you could possibly want.
R.O.C.K Solid: Similar to Rainbow but with less inventory – but, they may have better shipping if you’re just buying a little.
And, finally, of course, I use Amazon for all kinds of research and book purchases, etc…
I wrote this post especially for the Diversity Blog Hop hosted by Sister Lisa at The HomeSpun Life and Tiffany at Sweet Phenomena. I love the idea of celebrating our homeschooling diversity (especially since we need to work together to make sure that we always have the right to teach our children at home)! There are so many different ways to school your children and in the end – only YOU know what’s right for you and your children. And, what may be right this year may not be a good fit next year.
How do you homeschool? What is your educational style? Won’t you join me in the Diversity Blog Hop – Just link up below!