Friday, July 11, 2014

First Grade at the Reintjes House (and Favorite Homeschooling Reads)

With the baby and move on the way (which looks like it will be occurring in and around the November/December time frame--the move, not the baby) I decided it would be prudent to get a head start on David's schoolwork.  Since I've successfully completed one and half weeks of first grade with him I'm going to go ahead and assume that that pretty much qualifies me as an expert and therefore makes me competent enough to share my homeschool plans for this year and some of my favorite homeschooling resources with the internet......mostly for Aunt Elizabeth's benefit because she's been asking.

And also, who doesn't love a good homeschool planning post? :)

Well, after much reading and research and back-and-forthing I settled on a Charlotte Mason approach to education mostly because my main goal with all of this school-at-home stuff is to be able to provide the boys children (!) with more of a liberal arts/classical education than I received and *hopefully* inspire in them a love and appreciation of all that is true, good and beautiful in this world of ours--which I'm pretty sure is not the overarching goal of most of our current public schools.

I decided to use Ambleside Online Year 1 for my basic structure (which is a free Charlotte Mason curriculum) but I'm supplementing with some other purchased curriculum since I don't have the mental energy right now to just teach phonics and math without something a little more, shall we say......prepared.

For math I choose Abeka Arithmetic 1--with the intention of switching over to Saxon for the older years.  Right now it's super easy for David but I'm sure it will pick up and it's forcing him to practice writing his numbers so I don't want to skip ahead :)

For phonics and spelling I bought All About Reading Level 2 and All About Spelling Level 1 since it worked so well for us last year.

I also bought some Writing Can Help Penmanship books for David's handwriting practice which we are plugging through very very slowly.  I cannot begin to describe David's hatred for anything involving writing practice.  Well, really anything involving him doing something that he can't immediately do perfectly without any effort on his part.  It's such a struggle to be five :)

I love the book selections from Ableside for Literature, History, Geography and Science but I did substitute Our Island Saints for Trial and Triumph as per the suggestions here since the AO curriculum does come from a Protestant perspective and apparently when that particular book hits the reformation we don't exactly see eye to eye any longer.  Also, in addition to the Bible reading schedule on AO, we're using the Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism  and extra saint stories to round out our Religion studies--along with just attempting to live the liturgical year as a family of course!

Now that we are settling into a school routine I'm planning to add scripture and prayer memory work into our morning basket plans along with poetry recitation, and artist and composer studies--which I haven't attempted yet since I thought I'd ease into things.  Next week though, next week there will be memorizing of lots of lovely and important things!

Overall our schoolwork only takes up about two hours in the morning, four days a week.  We've been keeping lessons short, stories interesting, and motivation to finish up in a timely matter high so as to get on to even more exciting things--like the pool.  It's not a bribe so much as a natural consequence--I mean after all, if we don't do our work promptly there simply isn't time to swim, am I right?  I was really nervous to begin this year, but things have been going well so far so I am optimistic that this whole learning at home thing won't be a complete disaster  :)

And as promised:

Some Favorite Books on Education


I've just realized my favorite books on education are really random, but I can't help it--I checked my bookshelves and these are definitely my all-time favorites and are the ones that have had the most impact on my thoughts on educating children.  Note the complete lack of anything I read while actually training to be a teacher having made the list.

Some Favorite Articles 

Some Favorite Websites

Some Favorite Audio (Not Compiled By Me) 
~For Those Who Don't Have Time to Read~

If you don't have time to read, there is a great collection of audio lectures and podcasts on classical homeschooling and motherhood from Amongst Lovely Things (also home to the Read Aloud Revival podcasts which are wonderful too!) that you can just listen to when you have a chance instead :)


And (if you've managed to actually read this far down the post) my most essential homeschooling supply--besides a library card of course :)  My laminator.  I like this one--it works great and isn't pricey:

PS I'm still plugging through the Charlotte Mason's kind of a lot.  Really good, but kind of a lot :)

PPS If you read the Well Trained Mind for the first time don't freak out.  It has a lot of good information in it but seriously, does anyone actually do everything she suggests?

PPS These Amazon links are affiliate links, I make cents on the dollar for anything you buy when you click through them and I've almost made $10 so clearly this blog is not a waste of my time and talents :)  
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