Thursday, February 19, 2009

"What Curriculum Do You Use?"

A couple of friends recently asked what home school curriculum we use. I thought that I would take some time to answer that question.

When we started homeschooling in 2005 we read Teaching The Trivium and The Well-Trained Mind and we were convinced that we wanted to use the classical approach to educating our children. Thus we began the journey. We had a friend that used Veritas Press and we were sold since it was a classical approach to homeschooling. We used it for 3 years and loved it. Then we had our 5th child and life was suddenly busy! We needed to step back and re-evaluate or I would be spending way too much time in book study alone. I love books and teaching, but there needs to be a balance with the other responsibilities and with the little ones who are still not in school. When we had our first child, I spent hours and hours sitting on the floor reading to him. I love to read and I felt as if I was not even getting to read to my others because I was so busy teaching my older children. Thus we changed to a curriculum that was more home school friendly so that I could just sit and read to my other children at various times in the day. The difference it has made has been amazing and we still use the classical approach, just not as rigorous as before. It usually takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day to teach my children. You may be asking, "what do you use?"

Science- Moody Science Videos and books from the library about Space, Planets, and Stars. We have a four year plan to study Human body, Plants, Space, and Chemistry.
History- Veritas Press History cards and music. We buy the recommended resource books on the back of the cards. The kids love them. This takes a 5 year approach. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece/Rome, Middle Ages, Reformation Period, and 1865- Present.
Art- Calvert School Discoveries in Art 32 Lessons on DVD and How To Teach Art To Children by Evan-Moor Grades 1-6
Music- from 2nd grade on our children take Piano lessons and practice daily. Before then we use Calvert School Melody Lane 32 Lessons on DVD and we listen to Classical Kids. Plus, we memorize and sing one hymn a week during our family worship daily.
Spelling- Spelling Power
Grammar- First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington. So far she has written level 1,2, and 3. She is hopefully writing more now. If not, then we will re-evaluate when the time comes (which will be next year) and choose something else from 4th grade on.
Writing- Writing With Ease also by Jessie Wise (Peace Hill Publications). Love it!!!!! This is a program that takes about 15 minutes 4 times a week and teaches children how to write. It includes narration, copy work, and dictation. So far, we have level 1-4. When they are older we possibly plan on using Excellence in Writing.
Handwriting- A Reason for Handwriting
Phonics- The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Susan Bauer.
Latin- Latin For Children. Love it!!! Your don't have to know Latin to teach your children Latin.
Oral Reading- So far this year we have read Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.
Private Reading- At the beginning of the year I had a nice plan I was following of the books my children would be reading all year that would follow along with all the other learning that was taking place at the time, but we have not stuck with it. My children LOVE to read and they get finished early. The plan now is to just expose them to as much classical and living books as possible. I have found Veritas Press an excellent guide to helping me to choose books. We have also used Honey For a Child's Heart as a guide and Vision Forum as a guide.
Testing- My husband is a certified test administrator through Bob Jones. We use the IOWA standardized test through BJU Press. This is a test that we will be giving every year that meets the state requirements for home schooling in all states.
Field Trips- This year we went to the State Museum at Albany and The Saratoga Children's Museum. Last year we went to Niagra Falls and The Creation Museum.

Two More Pictures Taken Today

Pictures from Saratoga Children's Museum

Monday, February 16, 2009


A term we use in our family that applies to the area in which each family member is responsible for keeping clean is called a zone. Our 8 year old is responsible for the front room and the school room. He must do a general pick-up, vacuuming job, and emptying the trash in the 2 rooms. Our 6 year old is responsible for cleaning the bathrooms. She must clean the counters, sinks, and toilets. She must also sweep and mop both rooms and clean her room daily. Our 4 year old is responsible for emptying the trash cans around the house and mostly following us around as we diligently train him to one day have his own zone at age 6. Our 2 year old is responsible for cleaning his room with his 4 year old brother while being supervised and for following us around while being trained. Our 5 month old just hangs out in the front carrier while Mom cleans the kitchen. Moms job is cleaning the kitchen, cooking meals, laundry, and teaching school. Dads job is cleaning the dining room (sweeping and mopping after each meal).
When we get up in the morning we make sure our zones upstairs have been taken care of. In the evening before we go to bed we make sure our zones all over the house have been cleaned. Before releasing each child to a particular zone they work beside us for a long period of time. Next, they are assigned a particular zone and us parents clean for them while they watch. Then, they clean the zone while we watch them for a long period of time. When we see that they are doing a good job, we release them to do the job on their own. Life is so much easier when you take the time to teach your children how to clean and for them to be responsible for certain areas of the house. It enables your children to one day be responsible adults who are capable of keeping a clean house.

Friday, February 13, 2009

54 Years of Marriage

Last night we had a friend over for dinner who had recently lost the love of his life. He was married for 54 years! We asked him the key to the longevity. He said for the husband to CHERISH his wife and to love her as Christ loves the church. He also said for the wife to be the helpmate to the husband. This was truly lived out in this mans life. His wife got Alzheimer's Disease about 5 years ago and he NEVER gave up on her. Just last summer, I remember seeing them at the ice-cream stand holding hands and enjoying life to the best of their ability. In fact, she never even went to live in the nursing home until the last 3 months of her life when she became incontinent and very uncooperative. Even then he was there daily and stayed 24 hours a day the last week and talked with her and cried with her. He said that even though she did not understand she KNEW he was there. This is a picture of TRUE LOVE!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Joy In The Journey

Joy is:

1. Having a successful day in school.

2. Children racing down the stairs to greet Dad when he came home from Syracuse.

3. A clean house.

4. Laughter and lots of noise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5. Children just having fun.

6. A little girl being a helper by gratefully changing little brothers very dirty diaper with out complaint.

7. Dinner served to a very grateful family with lots of compliments.

8. Dad faithfully leading family worship.

9. Having a routine.

10. Being flexible and enjoying the joys of motherhood.