Friday, February 4, 2011

Our Curricula Choices: 2011

"A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour!” (Lord Byron)

This year, I'm experimenting: instead of separate years, using Ambleside Online, I've decided to pile my kids together wherev I can.
I wish I had done this from the start.
Also this year, we're grabbing a few resources to make the best of my limited time for lesson planning.  As a single, I don't often have those sweet moments to escape into piles of book lists and websites to develop plans, find links, print pages and pages, etc.  Thankfully, there are a bevy of lovely Charlotte Masonites that have gone before me and well-documented their work.

ART & MUSIC STUDY: Altogether, we'll be studying the finer arts with Barb's materials from Harmony Fine Art's Art and Music Appreciation guide to the Middle Ages & Renaissance, which integrates composer study with art appreciation and artistic development, using the art curriculum of Artistic Pursuits.  We'll slow the pace a bit, since the resource was developed following a classical four-year history frame.  In the end, we'll linger with artists and composers as we're used, and I'll pay only half-price since we'll use it again next year!  Oh, and we've used many books in the Artistic Pursuits series, which is why I knew Harmony Fine Art's product would fit us like a beloved smock!

NATURE STUDY: Handbook of Nature Study 'cause dat's how we do.  To this I add living books to really bring everything to life.  For example, for our first term of twelve weeks, First Book of Bees for Ian; The Natural History Storybook for Fiona; School of the Woods for David; Lay of the Land for Olivia.  Also, the Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers are big hits with my kids for free reading.

GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY & LITERATURE: And here's what holds together our year of learning as a team: Heritage History: British Middle Ages, which organizes our history readings exactly the way my heart and mind work: with wonderfully rich, classic literature offered in three different formats (PDF, Kindle, and audio), the Kindle version being what we use most.  It incorporates those fantastically thorough vintage maps of the time eras studied in both color and outline and supplies nice summaries for mom, so that she can keep up with the kids' readings when she doesn't have time to read ahead.

LATIN: After reviewing Visual Latin for The Old Schoolhouse, my family happily jumped the Classical ship and dove head-first into Happy Land.  Although Liv completed Latina Christiana before the time of review and might transition directly into the online classes, she absolutely refused (respectfully) to ever return to her former studies, and I don't blame her.  All-in-all, it's the best product for my family and for my home-education vision.  Good times, man.

SCIENCE: I originally planned to lump the three youngest together with SCM's 106 Days of Creation Studies, coupled with Considering God's Creation, but I didn't find it a good fit for my clan: David wanted and needed more.  So, Olivia will be studying Chemistry III with Noeo Science, David The Sciences by Edward Singleton Holden as well as Noeo's Chemistry II, and Fiona and Ian will stick to Fabre's The Story Book of Science, enriched with some great books and videos from the library and online.

Now, as for everything else:

  • Adventures in Phonics by Christian Liberty Press (I've tried other programs, but this one is just super simple and effective, although imperfect)
  • Delightful Handwriting by Simply Charlotte Mason
  • Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Using
  • The First Book of Bees, Birds and Bugs by Albert Tibbetts
  • MEP Mathematics Programme
  • Ballet, soccer, basketball, and baseball
Finally, I'll lead Olivia and David through a study of three Lives of Plutarch (Pericles, Fabius, and Nicias) and three full works of Shakespeare, two of which are pertinent to this year: King Lear, As You Like It, and Henry V.  And we'll be hiking as much as possible through the hills and valleys of northern California and working new handicrafts as we're led.

Thanks for allowing me to share with you a glimpse of my madness.  This year is full of promises yet to be fulfilled and we cannot wait to get started!


  1. This looks great...I really want to get into nature study with my kids too!

  2. Thanks. Terribly helpful. Just getting started.


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