Recap and Review of Kindergarten Homeschool Plans, 2019-2020

For the third time around, I got to enjoy spending meaningful time with my 5-year-old as I created a space for a quiet growing time before starting formal schooling. 

Although I didn't faithfully follow all of my plans, we read a lot of new-to-her books that she loved, learned MANY new songs and poems, and also completed more crafts than I would have done without planning it out ahead of time. On to the review . . . .  

Recap and Review of 2nd Grade Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plans, 2019-2020

Here is where I will recap and review our homeschool year. This was my third year of planning a full Charlotte Mason style curriculum with short, morning lessons on a wide variety of subjects according to a strict timetable designed to fit our family, but it was only my second year planning for 7/8-year-old John. I love to consult Ambleside Online, a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum, as well as Wildwood Curriculum for ideas, but I put it together in my own way. You can see my original plans here.

This was a year with a lot of growth for John. Most of what we did worked well, especially because I gave him a little more space, but there was 1 subject that I completely let go of for John this year. On to the review . . . 

Recap and Review of 4th Grade Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plans, 2019-2020

Here is where I will recap and review our homeschool year. This was our third year of doing a full Charlotte Mason style curriculum with short, morning lessons on a wide variety of subjects according to a strict timetable designed to fit our family. I love to consult Ambleside Online, a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum, as well as Wildwood Curriculum for ideas, but I put it together in my own way. You can see my original plans here.

Overall, this year went really well. I've become a better planner--meaning I'm more realistic about what I will be able to oversee with consistency. But as always, some of my plans didn't work as well as I'd hoped. Some things I changed midstream and others, maybe I should have changed. On to the review . . . 

25+ Best Free Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Tales from History and Literature (Free Online in the Public Domain)

In my estimation, there is no better "curriculum" to help children cope with real-world fears and anxieties than the myths and stories that have been told to generations of children and adults around the world.

Throughout these tales, regular people undertake impossible quests; heroes and monsters battle to the death; the clever and kind outsmart the wicked and selfish. Sometimes the ending isn't fair in a particular story, but overall we see the powers of good triumph over evil.

Some tales from history simplify historical events to distill powerful lessons, which if not entirely true, inspire us to be our best selves. And literature tales can make the most exciting stories of our literary past enjoyable and accessible without dumbing down the language or the complex characters for younger listeners.

I can't think of a better time than now, with so much uncertainty in the air, and so much time at home, to choose any one of these collections and read just one story a day. They appeal to all ages and can provide a rich seasoning to imaginative play. And they are all free in the public domain!

7 Things I'm Thankful for This Week

It has been a crazy few weeks with a lot of mixed feelings for everyone in the family and not a few sibling conflicts. But we are still finding a lot of things to enjoy and be thankful for amidst all the strangeness.

Here are a few of the things in our own home that I've been thankful for this week:

100+ Movies based on Great Books and Where to Watch and Read Online for Free!

My family loves to read great books. And then we love to watch the movies that are based on them. Sometimes we even watch the movie first and read the book later. Yes, that is all right too ;-)

Suddenly and unexpectantly, we find ourselves at home with extra time on our hands . . . . And we are choosing to spend some of that time enjoying family movie nights, or let's be honest, movie afternoons or movie mornings!

What better way to spend our screen time than escaping into our favorite books? So, I have spent hours and hours finding many, many movies based on really great books. And since our library is closed right now, I have focused on how to stream those movies and read or listen to those books online . . . for free, when possible.

30+ Poems for Spring with Nature Study Links

When spring is finally in the air I cannot wait to get outside and experience nature on a regular basis again. While we do make an effort to enjoy the outdoors in every season, winter has us inside much more than any other time of the year.

Choosing great poems (and read alouds!) that evoke the pleasures, sounds, smells and wonders of the springtime woods and fields is a great way to prepare and get even more out of our springtime excursions.

I hope you and your family can enjoy some of these poems this spring. May they inspire you (as they do me) to notice the daffodils, skunk cabbage, nesting birds and other joys of the season!

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Day with ages 9, 8, 5, and 1-year old

There are so many ways to homeschool! It is freeing (and just a tiny bit terrifying) to me that there are so many "right" ways to do this job for our unique situations. That is why I love reading homeschool day-in-the-life posts.

Every year, Simple Homeschool's linkup leaves me inspired and encouraged (and usually with a few more books on my want-to-read list). I hope you enjoy our  2020 day in our homeschooling life! Past years are here: 2019 and 2018.

Best Library Hacks for Homeschoolers (from a Librarian!)

Homeschoolers and homeschooling families love public libraries. And why shouldn't we? Most of us have chosen to foot the bill for our children's education with little or no outside support from our state or local governments. So we really appreciate the access to books and materials that we couldn't enjoy otherwise.

As I've talked with other homeschooling parents, I have been impressed with how knowledgeble we are as a group and how much collective wisdom we have to share about how to do our incredibly important job as educators on whatever budget we have available to us.

I've also seen that not everyone is aware of how to best find and most easily use ALL that our libraries have to offer. Here are my top ten library hacks, tips, and tricks for easily getting the most value from our free public libraries.

Reading Goals for 2020

For the first time ever, I decided to list out some reading goals for myself! I do this with full permission to change titles and even completely walk away from my goals if I'm not enjoying myself. Just being honest :-)

I've chosen books for two challenges: Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge and the Schole Sisters 5x5 challenge, but I'm double counting, so the same book can appear on both lists.  I'm purposefully only listing a very few difficult titles, with many books being ones that I was hoping to pre-read ahead of our next homeschool year. Yes, that means many of the books were written for a juvenile audience. So hopefully this will make completing the challenges more manageable.

Thus far, I'm off to a very strong start to my reading year, so I have high hopes of completing both challenges. But with a new baby due in July, anything can happen!