Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogging Break

As our school year gets under way along with the activities and commitments that brings with it, time for blogging is seriously lacking. So to all (three) of my faithful readers, please attempt to find something else as interesting, informative and entertaining as "Tending the Home Fires" to fill your blog-reading time until I'm back from my hiatus. I know that will be difficult, but try. :)

Before I go, here's some of what we'll be doing for school (4th grade) this year:

Our core is Middle Ages History (and hopefully getting to the Renaissance/Reformation) through Winter's Promise Publishing. It is a literature-based curriculum which follows the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy. In other words we reads LOTS of great books about the Middle Ages, do lots of hands-on activities like making an illuminated book and a coat of arms, use timelines extensively, learn a lot about geography, and tie it all together through Notebooking. Fun! And educational! So although it's "history", this also covers literature, geography, art & art history.

For Math we are using Math-U-See for the second year, after switching from Saxon. Nothing wrong with Saxon, per-se (in fact, I loved Saxon Math when I was being homeschooled), but it just didn't work for Grace. So we switched curriculum, which I love about homeschooling. If something isn't working, change it! Anyway, Math-U-See is outstanding, especially if you have a child who needs to see a concept (like place value) in order to grasp it. They have an outstanding free demo DVD, if you are interested in checking it out.

Our Language Arts program is called The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading. This curriculum is incredible, but it is beyond me to review it here and now. Here are two great reviews: The Old Schoolhouse and HomeSchoolReviews. If you are homeschooling or thinking about it, I would give this comprehensive program my highest endorsement.

The only part of The Phonics Road that we are deviating on is Handwriting. They use traditional manuscript handwriting and I am a big fan of teaching Italic Handwriting. I love the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting curriculum and I truly believe it is the easiest and prettiest way to write! For an example, go here and check out their comparison of 5 handwriting styles. It's really cool. Grace just had two people compliment her on her beautiful handwriting at church the other day, so I know it works. :)

We are switching things up with our Bible curriculum this year, so I'm not sure what that is going to look like yet.

Science, Art and Phy Ed are all being taught by "real" teachers at our homeschool co-op this year.

That's about it, besides tons of fun and educational field trips throughout the year. I'm looking forward to another year of learning at home with my kids.

Let me leave you with a few of my favorite homeschoolers and homeschool blogs:

Our Homeschool
by a mom I don't know personally but who has a great post on Schooling in Chaos to which I can seriously relate.

I love In The Heart of My Home. If you just take the time to read her sidebars it will be worth your while, to say nothing of reading her posts! She's great.

I use the Handbook of Nature Study blog to incorporate fun science learning into our days. Really fun, whether or not you're homeschooling! "Our family's online nature journal using Anna Comstock's book Handbook of Nature Study as our textbook and the great outdoors as our classroom. Home of the Outdoor Hour Challenges."

Home Schoolin' Mamas. Very good, especially for younger elementary learners or those just starting out.

Preschoolers and Peace. Need I say more?

I have lots more that I enjoy, I'm out of time. Leave me a comment if you have a favorite homeschooling site or blog! Have a blessed autumn!


Yvette said...

Thanks so much for posting all this wealth of information! I'm currently trying to research homeschooling as an option to figure out if we should follow that path with our son. Since my husband & I both come from the public school, we feel totally lost and confused as to how to go about it.

melissa said...

Yvette, I would recommend reading "The Well-Trained Mind" by by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. And also "Teaching the Trivium" by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn. These two books were responsible for Richard adn I deciding to homeschool. Or just check out the Bluedorn's website.


I'd love to answer any questions you might have! I'm not a seasoned pro yet, but have a bit of insight after 4 years. :)

steve, tiffany, jeneva, jude said...

wow, you did leave such a wealth of information! the well trained mind is an excellent resource. i've read through some of it this past year as we try and decide about education for jeneva. i taught through some core knowledge sequence material when i was teaching kindergarten. i will have to read some of the other things too that you mentioned. oh and i love reading your blog! i think it's funny how i don't think we have actually ever talked in person, but i feel like i've gotten a glimpse into your life and it's fun and encouraging to read! we'll have to go thrift store shopping sometime together. haha! :)

Anne Basso said...

Thanks for the mention. I've added you to my google reader. You seem as busy as I am, and have a similar parenting style.