Jul 302012


Today is the kick-off for the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today’s topic is Homeschool Methods.

This is our 10th year of “officially” homeschooling. By that, I mean my oldest started kindergarten 9 years ago. But we had made a decision to homeschool well before that. Always wanting to be prepared, I started researching homeschool methods when my oldest was about 2. And when I research things, I tend to get a little, um, obsessed.

So I had lots of ideas about how to homeschool and what curriculum to use well before I could actually use it. Unfortunately I have learned that it often isn’t beneficial to plan that far ahead. When you’ve never homeschooled, you can’t really know what you’re going to like until you’ve tried it. And you don’t know how your children are going to learn best either.

In those early years, I was leaning heavy towards a popular curriculum that focused on reading real books. Then I discovered classical education, and my husband and I were very drawn to the ideas and precepts behind that educational model.

Looking back on our early years and reflecting on where we are now, I can’t say that our school is really classical. Yes, we’ve taught Latin to our oldest children, but we didn’t do all the memorizing of facts in the early years that is important in the grammar stage*.

*It is important to recognize that the definition of classical education is different depending on whom you ask. I wrote this description of the different views of classical education several years ago.

With 5 children from 19 months to 14 years old, I have learned that I have to be flexible. I was privileged to interview Dr. Mary Hood on Relaxed Homeschooling, and I discovered that I was unknowingly incorporating many of the ideas of relaxed homeschooling into our home. We are definitely not completely relaxed because there are some subjects that I require and are scheduled. However, especially with the younger children, I’ve let some of the official teaching go and let learning occur more naturally.

So I call our homeschool relaxed classical. It’s not the classical part that’s relaxed (you can’t really learn Latin without dedicated study), but I do try to allow plenty of time for the children to explore their own interests. David, my oldest, has taught himself how to edit videos and create computer games. Anna, my oldest daughter, spends a lot of time on crafts. But she also reads a lot of historical fiction on her own time. William, my middle son, reads the Apologia Elementary Science books on his own. He also memorized the Presidents of the U.S. on his own.

Sometimes I start to feel guilty about all the things that I haven’t done. Then I’m reminded that the kids are learning all the time. Some of it is formal. Some is not. I’ve always wanted to go on intentional nature walks and keep journals. (I do have some Charlotte Mason tendencies). However this is not something I’ve successfully implemented. But we do study nature.

I was able to use all my acquired knowledge on homeschool methods a few years ago when I was asked to write several homeschool articles. This article gives a good overview of all the different types of homeschool methods.

So what about you? How do you describe your homeschool?

Thanks for visiting Sunrise to Sunset. While you’re here, please follow my blog. (I lost a lot of followers when Google Friend Connect was limited to Blogger blogs!) After that, please visit some of these other great blogs who are participating in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop.

Oct 012010

I have a little confession. I know next to nothing about studying art and music. Pathetically little. I’d like to remedy that, and it’s something I hope my children never say. Charlotte Mason suggests very simple ways for adding in picture study and classical music to your days. They are simple, but to someone with no knowledge at all, it’s hard to know where to start. What artist do you study? What did he paint anyway? With research, I could probably put something together. But that research just never seems to happen. And consequently neither does art and music study.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to review Harmony Fine Arts Autumn 2010 Art and Music Appreciation Plans. I should mention that even though Autumn is in the title, these plans are not seasonal and can be used at any time of the year. This e-book features plans for studying the art of Edgar Degas and the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Included are suggested paintings and musical pieces to study. Copies of the paintings themselves are included to print or view on the computer. In addition there are links to listen to the music on-line and suggested downloads.

But this e-book doesn’t just tell you what to study, it provides plans of how to study it and in what order, along with optional additional activities. There are original notebook pages for both the composer and artist studies, as well as coloring pages for several of the studied paintings. The e-book is nicely organized and is easy to navigate with internal links.

Now is where I’m tempted to sound like a cheesy infomercial. How much would you expect to pay for all of this? I’ll try to resist the urge to continue. Seriously, this book is available for $3.25! I know we all have different ideas of what we consider “expensive”, but $3.25 is a real bargain. Even if you know enough to put this all together yourself, it’s worth $3.25 to save your time. And if you’re like me and don’t want to spend a lot of money on something you’re not sure you’ll find the time to do, then this is a very small risk.

You can purchase this e-book here on the Harmony Art Mom blog. You can also view a sample of the book at the same link. If you’re interested in studying art and music appreciation with your children, I urge you to visit Harmony Art Mom and look at this and her other resources.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this e-book in order to write this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Apr 242008

I was so excited Monday morning when I heard a flapping outside my boy’s window.  I opened the shade to see…

Here is the male bring more nesting material.


Home sweet home.


Then Monday night.


Here is Mama Tuesday. 

On Wednesday evening, I got a peek in the nest and there are now two eggs.