Wednesday, February 23, 2011

homeschooling {planning and resources}

this post is part of a series. see:  post 1 post 2

Some good questions have cropped up from earlier posts!  One question asked is what led us to homeschool.  This is coming- in its own post or series of posts!  I can't seem to consolidate it into a concise answer.  I tend to be "wordy" (in case you haven't noticed).  

Another friend asked about what resources I use and when I plan.  I think I can answer that here, briefly (ahem). 

*The first resource I read when I was searching for our homeschooling style was For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School Susan Schaeffer Macauley (see the sidebar carousel for link).  

This book introduced me to the philosophies of Charlotte Mason, and from that time on I was hooked!  This book is HIGHLY recommended!

(What made me love CM was her emphasis on books and nature study.  And the overall gentle approach she took in learning.)

Since then I've read and looked into many of the companion books written about her teaching style, but the most helpful that I've found has been the website Simply Charlotte Mason.  This site wonderfully breaks down the different components of CM's ideas and has resources linked up to each one.  So easy to use!  There are also Ambleside Online and Charlotte Mason Help that are very informative and helpful.  I've found that different people are drawn to the different styles of each.  I also peruse the Sonlight website, but I've never actually purchased anything from them.  Their book lists are fantastic!

A word about planning.  

When Moonpie was two, I listened to a borrowed tape series (and a borrowed walk-man, haha!!!) from a friend.  I cannot for the life of me remember who this speaker was, but she was wonderful and confirmed many of my heart's desires for what I wanted our homeschooling experience to look like.  I decided early on that I wanted our learning to be based on history.  I say "based on" from a unit study perspective only.  I do not have a great grasp on history and never felt like I understood where Biblical history met world history.  I wanted my children to have a good understanding of both, so I decided to go from this point.  When I have a good grasp of what we are going to cover in history for the year, my planning is much easier.  Now, for the actual day to day, we don't really spend all that much time on history.  I know that sounds strange and contradictory, but it's true!  The concept of a historically based learning simply works well for my brain.  Makes me feel like we have a launching point.

Back to planning.  Once I figure out the over arching themes I want to incorporate for the year, I research materials.  Our library is limited, so I buy most of what we use (used bookstores are wonderful for this, but cost in time rather than dollars).  A dominating philosophy of Charlotte Mason's is that you learn from REAL books.  So our "curriculum" money is mostly spent on books.  And that's always fun!

A few weeks before our school starting date (although we tend to some sort of unit approach during the summer months) I carve out some time to draw out a basic scope of what I want to happen.  Then I plan the first six weeks or so.  Some people plan out the whole year at this point, but because I like to shake things up pretty regularly, planning the whole year at once isn't good for me.  For example, I knew that this year we were going to study the ancients in history, but Christmas fell in the midst of our Egyptian studies...and I was tired of Egypt.  So we spent the whole month of December learning about how the world celebrates Christmas.  It was fun and spontaneous- and needed (for me!).

On Sunday nights I sit down and look over the week and do some planning accordingly.  This isn't necessary all of the time.  Sometimes, I'll sit and plan out the next 6 weeks at once.  But taking time on Sunday nights gives me a good grasp on what our week looks like.

As far as specific resources go- I'll get more into that (like book lists) with each post.

*the very, very first homeschooling book I read was The Big Book of Home Learning by Mary Pride.  I picked it up on the $5 table at a book store.  It was great!  I do recommend this book if you can find it used or at the library.  I'd loan it to you, but the special friend who borrowed it 4 years ago is (apparently) really enjoying it and hasn't returned it yet! 

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Thanks for the great tips on books to start out with. Isaac will be 4 in April and we are going to homeschool. I do learning activities now-some planned, some not-but we will be getting more into a routine of homeschooling in the fall. Now you've given me some great resources to look into that are not curriculum based, which I love! Your history based idea is interesting-looking forward to learning more from you!