|Posted on November 18, 2013 at 2:25 AM||comments (0)|
In preparation for some consulting work I have been lists upon lists of what really worked in our homeschooling; esp. now that one of my kids is officially a homeschool graduate. In making these lists I have realized that I do actually have favorite series that I like using as the core of our US history learning.
I wish I could say that these are "CM Approved" resources but they are not. Several of them actually fly in the face of Ms. Mason's recommendation but these are the resources that I have found worked with my kids AND with the wide variety of learners that I teach in my co-op style classes. While we did use many books that fall into that catergory they were not the books that captured my kids' attention. I ended up using the CM style books more as supplements or for my own inspiration. We did read a TON of biographies at each of the three stages.
In a nutshell our history studies always include plenty of reading, narrating, video watching (a picture is worth a thousand words and supports all the reading), cooking and handicrafts along with plenty of games and discussion.
During this stage I like to introduce the kids to series like If You Lived in the Time Of..., American Girl and Magic Tree House series. We did this within an interest based format and often followed topics up with relevant videos and hands-on projects. I consider this the "history exploration stage" since we were more focused on World History via Story of the World during the grammar stage years. We did use the supporting materials for the American Girl series pretty extensively. We also watched many of those recreation PBS series like Colonial House, Frontier House, Victorian Farm and so on to supplement all 3 of these book series.
Once kids are ready for something with some meat to it I like to use the Dear America and We Are America series as this age is particularly keen on the journal format. I like that this series doesn't shy away from the nitty-grittiness of history and includes a nonfiction section at the end of each book. A factor that favors this series is that it matches up really well with my kids' heritage which allows me to add family history into our discussions. There is a skimpy teachers guide for it that I use for discussion ideas as well as the summaries provided for teachers on the Scholastic website. I take my hands-on project ideas directly from the books and we use the books for copywork, dictation and narration. I do feel that this series can be adapted for grades 2 through 8th which is part of why I consider it one of my core teaching resources. I have recently discovered that there is a similar series for both Canda and Mexico (the latter is in Spanish only) and I would definitely add those in for "North American history" if I could get my hands on English versions of both series.
Once learners finish the Dear America series I like moving on to Joy Hakim's A History of US, as long as the format of this series works for the learner. We also watch the video and use those materials to supplement the readings. The teacher's guides for this series (at least the brand I found) were dry as dust and geared totally to a traditional classroom. Use narration and Socratic questioning instead!
Note: When using the Dear America series it is VITAL that you get the kids to realize these are FICTIONAL accounts, sometimes based on real people.
Once learners have finished the History of US series I like to move into resources that really show how biased history resources are since by this point the kids should be pretty savvy about recognizing biases (it comes up often in the Dear America series during the Logic Stage).
At this level we do not use a series as our core. Instead we do it more traditionally CM with books by Howard Zinn, Paul Johnson, Lies My Teacher Told Me, Stephen Ambrose, Tony Horwitz, biographies by David McCullough, etc. We supplemented with videos from Ken Burns and the US history video series at Learner.org.
|Posted on December 31, 2010 at 11:52 PM||comments (1)|
I came across this reading list and thought it would make a good list for either personal or group reading. Unlike many great book lists this one seems manageable. Since it matches up fairly well with my kids' history/literature cycle I think I'm going to try to do Year 1 this coming year. Story of Art and Gilgamesh were already on our list for this year so that's two down. One of the girls has been wanting to do Lewis Carroll as an author study so that's three. Piece of cake, right?
|Posted on September 17, 2010 at 11:58 AM||comments (0)|
I just bought a Kindle and it should be here tomorrow! I am excited to try it. I am intrigued by Kindle but also somewhat reluctant because I can be a Luddite when it comes to gadgets.
Amy at Fisher International Academy did this great post with helpful LINKS for homeschooling with a Kindle, including a link to a compliation of AO books for years 1 through 8. WOW Several other helpful links too. I clicked on her Amazon store so she will get the credit. I am so glad to have these links, including Kindle links for Charlotte Mason's Home Education series.
Now I just hope the Kindle is easy to use. I will likely post about it after I get it and test drive for a while.
and this one is worth linking by itself. I noticed some history links too.
|Posted on May 30, 2010 at 6:41 PM||comments (0)|
If you scroll all the way to the bottom there is a section called "By Kids For Kids" that looks interesting for those of us with writers. The section on "Creating and Reviewing Online Books" also looks pretty interesting.
If you are stuck at a family gathering or in a motel room during summer vacations this site could keep the kids occupied for hours.
|Posted on May 5, 2010 at 12:26 PM||comments (1)|
Here is my personal bias on Shakespeare. This is my write-up from the Shakespeare portion of the recent PDX Charlotte Mason Support Group meeting. I will, eventually, update the website's Shakespeare page to include these resources along with some others but thought you all would appreciate getting the nutshell version now.
We discussed the best way to enhance our children's enjoyment of Shakespeare. I think we all agreed that:
1. Shakespeare is meant to be experienced/seen and not read. Read the actual
unabridged plays only if your child wants to.
2. It was a 50/50 toss up as to whether we need to read a brief version of the
play prior to seeing it. My kids really seem to need to "prepare" before seeing
the plays but not all kids seem to have this need. Some kids have gone to see
the plays cold and enjoyed them immensely.
3. Most definitely take your children to see a live production! This is what
makes Shakespeare fun! Shakespeare in the Park and the Shoebox Theater in
Portland were both mentioned.
4. Someone recommended taking children to see other productions while they are
young (the children's puppet theater was mentioned) so that they will be use to
live performances prior to experiencing Shakespeare.
5. Start with the comedies in the young years slowly working your way up to the
tragedies in high school. The families who have Shakespeare fans seem to have
all started with A Midsummer Nights Dream as their children's first experience
Here are my favorite resources, you will notice that the two books most
recommended on CM lists are not on my list (the version by Charles & Mary Lamb
and the one by E. Nesbit). This is because I think those versions are too skimpy
and don't fully convey the feel of each play. I use them only when my other
resources fail me (which has happened for a couple of plays).
Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield. My kids love this set of two books, even
my child who is not a Shakespeare fan will listen to this version.
King of Shadows by Susan Cooper is historical fiction related to A Midsummer
Night's Dream. Another fictional Shakespeare book is Shakespeare Stealer or
something like that. We have not read that one yet. My kids recommend Terry
Deary's Shakespeare Stories which is similar in format to his Horrible Histories
The National Endowment for the Arts has a free resource for teachers called
Shakespeare in American Communities. I love the timeline that is included. The DVDs will be too dry for some kids. This is worth getting, esp. as it is free. I no longer have the link so you'll have to google it.
There seem to be a plethora of Shakespeare biographies. I happen to use
Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson and Young Shakespeare by
Russell Fraser; mostly because I found them at a decent price. Both seem to be
for young adults.
My son recommends the Folgers Shakespeare Library editions of all the plays. It
is the version his class uses. We've looked at others but he prefers these
because they include explanations of every stanza. He says he'd be lost without
Standard Deviants Shakespeare Tragedies. My son likes the SD goofiness. We use
them for multiple subjects.
Isaac Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare. I use this only as a reference when we want
to clarify something from one of the plays. Of course, it helps that my son
Shakespeare in the Movies by Douglas Brode. My son and I watch a fair amount of
Shakespeare and wanted to expand his horizons beyond the versions that have most
recently been made. This includes references to some obscure versions that my
old movie loving friend assures me are great.
|Posted on May 4, 2010 at 8:51 PM||comments (0)|
Since I often do our poetry as poet studies or within our mini-unit studies I do not use general poetry anthologies but I understand why so many find them to be a valuable resource. Since I do not have any recommendations of my own I am wondering if our site and Facebook members could post their favorite (general topic) poetry anthologies. Just to be clear an anthology is a collection of poems by a variety of poets.
|Posted on April 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM||comments (0)|
I am a big fan of Eva Tappan's books. Even though they are old fashioned and not politically correct I find the conversational tone of her books to be quite appealing and suspect that she will be a better match for my girls than the more scholarly books I used with my son. The girls are not history buffs but I think this author will give them the glimpse into history and culture that I want them to have. I have also discovered that all/most of her books are available online for those times when money is tight. If you prefer hard copy you can find them at Lulu, Amazon and some used book stores. Honestly, I do not understand why we do not see her books on CM reading lists more often as they are a good alternative for kids who do not like the more often recommended Marshall books. I also think that the Tappan books appeal to a wider age range than the Marshall books (I do love Marshall, but my girls surely do not).
Here is a link for the free online versions:
|Posted on March 25, 2010 at 1:34 PM||comments (0)|
Now that the movie is out I have been seeing various versions of Alice in Wonderland in all the bookstores. Some of the ones I have looked at are just awful--either abridged, Disneyfied or have the worst illustrations ever. We did find a gem in the bunch however. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and illustrated by Robert Ingpen. This version is unabridged and the illustrations are wonderful and truly fit in with the story. I just wish it included Through the Looking Glass as well.
I really like the annotated versions of fairy tales that I already own and am considering getting the annotated Alice. I must admit that the annotated versions are more for my own interest than to use with the kids.
Does your family have a favorite version of Alice?
|Posted on March 23, 2010 at 4:21 PM||comments (0)|
We read "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo last week. It's one of the few "new" books we've read. Here is what we thought of it. ~Cori
|Posted on March 22, 2010 at 1:26 PM||comments (0)|
I've been working on this one for several days (here and there). Such a big topic! Some of our favorite books and links are in there too. Now we are going outside because it's a beautiful day! Have a great week! ~ Cori
|Posted on March 2, 2010 at 11:41 AM||comments (0)|
I found a great website for Nature Study! It is organized and informative and they also carry a wide variety of products for nature study.
"For over 20 years, Acorn Naturalists has offered resources that advance science education and promote environmental literacy. On our website and in our print catalog we present a dazzling array of resources and activities that nurture curiosity about the natural world. Our selection provides teachers, outdoor educators, parents, and naturalists materials to enhance classroom and field learning."
I found it while linking books for my blog. I wrote a post about Animal Tracking and included some of our favorite books about animals too.
Check out the Acorn Naturalists website:
And my blog post, Animal Behaviors, Signs and Tracks:
I would love to hear about your favorite resources for animal tracking.
|Posted on January 22, 2010 at 7:18 PM||comments (0)|
I remember finding this book very helpful my first year of homeschooling. It's particularly helpful if you are not sure which homeschooling style suits your family. I used it while we were deschooling (my son needed a ton of deschooling, my daughter needed none).
|Posted on January 22, 2010 at 7:04 PM||comments (0)|
I recently came across this book, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, by
Cathy Duffy. I'd forgotten how helpful it was when I was first starting out and
thought some of you new to homeschooling may find it equally helpful. I found
her grids and charts particularly helpful for determining what direction I
wanted to go with my homeschooling. She does a direct comparison of several
homeschool styles; but does not include Waldorf or Montessori.
Over three-quarters of the book is nothing but book reviews. Personally, I find
the reviews for history, science and unit studies somewhat limited since the
author does not include many secular recommendations.
|Posted on January 9, 2010 at 4:01 PM||comments (0)|
Since we are on the topic of habit training. I just received this in the Simply Charlotte Mason newsletter. It's a link to their new free ebook about habit training titled Smooth and Easy Days with Charlotte Mason. Note that this is *not* a secular company. I have not read it yet so I can not say if there is religious content.
|Posted on December 30, 2009 at 12:57 PM||comments (0)|
I recently watched this biography of Louisa May Alcott. While I find Alcott, herself, fascinating exactly how this bio was put together is just as interesting. It is an combination of a typical biography, a Ken Burns documentary (even though he had nothing to do with it) and an historical re-enactment. I think this type of biographical documentary would appeal to children as well as adults. Due to the mature content I would use this particular documentary only with teens. Many of Alcott's written works were rather risque. Near the end of the documentary there is an interesting comment about whether we should consider Alcott a classic author since many of her adult works are not classics. This would be a *great* topic of discussion with a teen!
One of my absolute favorite books is actually a biography of Louisa May Alcott. Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs. Since this is a Newbury it is, obviously, appropriate for children. In many ways I find Alcott's life and personality even more interesting than her written work and this is the book that turned me on to what she may really have been like. I think she is a wonderful role model for unconventional girls.
It is one of my goals to read what LMA journals may remain; esp. the hospital memoirs that were published. Unfortunately I do not have any links for those at this time. I'm pretty sure Ms. Alcott will be our next author study once we finish Mark Twain in June so I will have more resources to add to the author study page at that point.
If you happen to be studying the transcendentalist movement it might be nice to include a LMA biography since she, and her sisters, are products of the movement and knew most of the people involved in it.