Welcome to my little homeschool world. On the side you will see numerous free or low cost resources to educating your kids. I update the links often. But due to my busy schedule with family and life, I don't get to post little blurbs or reviews as much as I would like. So, if it's been a while, please excuse me. I'm probably busy with our own schooling or part of our lives. But you will find lots of websites and blogs in the links that I'm sure will give you hours of online exploration and reading!
Have a blessed day!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Collette's Top 10 to Keep Homeschooling Simple

As homeschoolers it is so easy to make education complicated. At least I know I can. When I first started planning and outlining everything I wanted my children to learn and the time schedule to learn it in, my list was very long. Which made our schedule complicated. I easily packed the day from waking to after daddy came home, and still didn't get everything done each day.

Then I found the Robinson Curriculum, and the Robinson Users for Christ yahoo egroup.

I've slowly had to let go of my education paradigm and change my thinking in what was really important. It took me a while to finally admit that I only had so many hours in the day, and we could only do so much. My time was limited.

The ladies on the Robinson Users for Christ egroup have been such a blessing, and so instrumental in helping me to become more relaxed in our schooling, and making learning more enjoyable. They have also given lots of advice and opinions that have helped me to understand what true education is.

I don't want to get deep into the thoughts that have shaped my Home Education philosophy tonight. But I wanted to share a list from a wise woman on the group. I have this printed out and in my homeschooling notebook in a page protector, and it is one of the things I reference regularly when I need a reminder of what is important and not so important. (The other item is "Teaching the Trivium" by the Bluedorns, but that will be saved for later)

I really hope it helps some of you as well.

1) Keep everything as simple as you can. Jesus wrote with a stick in the dirt, and He was the greatest teacher that ever lived. He used no curriculum or flannel graphs or lesson plans. Homeschooling can be made far more complicated than it should be. A simpler approach is much more effective.

2) Stick to the 3 R's. They form the foundation of life-long learning in every field because they are the tools of study. There will be no need to formalize any other subject if the children are doing their best in these 3, because people who are well grounded in reading, writing and math will approach other subjects boldly, independently and confidently.

3) Let the children teach themselves as much as they are able to. This teaches them responsibility, intellectual independence, and builds confidence. It's also better for the parent/child relationship because you can focus on parenting instead of playing schoolteacher.

4) Use the most direct method available. For reading, read. For writing, write, for math, do it, and for Bible, read it. Don't fall for catchy curriculums or methods that are really just something else for you and your child to learn.

5) Don't worry about your child's age or grade. Just let him do the best he can each day. Children grow intellectually like they do physically: in spurts. Although we may have an audience of skeptical relatives, homeschooling is not a circus, and we refuse to train our children to do tricks for people.

6) Minimize distractions in the home. Watch for excessiveness in entertainments, snacking, outings, phone conversations and the like. These sorts of things can easily get out of hand and compete with the effectiveness of a homeschool and sap the family of time and energy.

7) Seek quality over quantity. A few tapes of great music, a small case of carefully chosen books, a few special play mates, and an occasional outing is better than a large, but poor quality collection.

8) If you must document your school activities, do it after the fact. This way you will not make promises you cannot keep. If you are required to make lesson plans, be as vague as permissible. Don't let transcripts, diplomas, records and tests determine your academic plans. Focus on learning and the rest will follow.

9) Put the needs of your youngest, most vulnerable children first. If an older child gets a little behind in school, I'm sure you can forgive yourself. But if something happened to the toddler while you were busy homeschooling, I don't think you would be able to say the same.

10) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and don't neglect to seek him early...giving him the first fruits of your day and teach your children to do the same. I know that you are tired and that there aren't enough hours in your day, but we serve a God who can make the sun stand still.

Shared courtesy of and with permission from
Colette Longo
August 2001

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Book of the Week - Tales from Shakespeare

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Tales from Shakepeare - by Charles and Mary Lamb

Shakespeare was a brilliant writer who brought contributed greatly to English culture. His plays, poems, and sonnets are to this day seen as the most brilliant literature works in English History.

When we were forced to read Shakespeare in my Public School days, it was boring to me and I did not understand it. I really believe that I've had no introduction to Shakespeare's works before that time. I had no knowledge of any of the stories, and little knowledge of the background surrounding the plays.

Later, now as a home school mother, I am quickly falling in love with Shakespeare. This past winter I found a copy of Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb at a local used book store and read it myself.

My now 10yo daughter saw I was reading it, picked up the book, and has read several stories herself. During her free reading time this is her current book of choice, and it's been seen in the car quite frequently.

The stories are charming, written in a way that are easy to understand, even for children, yet accurately telling the stories keeping the wit and morals intact.

No, this is not the same as reading Shakespeare's original works. These stories are considered heavily abridged versions of his works. But they make for a great introduction for a younger child to Shakespeare. My thought is if my daughters are introduced to the plays in this way now, reading the original plays later in her school career will be less daunting and more enjoyable for them.

I highly suggest this to any mom who has been dreading reading Shakepeare as a mom time read. This would be an enjoyable family read aloud during a longer evening story time in the winter, with a family size bowl of popcorn and cider.

I have given you the link to the Googlebook version above. A preview of the GoogleBook is below You can download and print out the book, or download the book to an Ereader. This book can also be found used at Amazon.com and Half.com, or maybe as a lucky find at a local used book store.

An audio version is available Librivox.org. You can go to the Tales from Shakespeare internet archive page for the chapter by chapter playlist or MP3 download. Or click play below to hear Tales from Shakespeare from the beginning.

Be blessed and enjoy!