Thursday, February 25, 2010

The C Word, part one

I've been obsessing over Curriculum lately.

Why, exactly, I have to decide right now which, if any, curriculum I'm going to order in six months, I don't know. Maybe my sinus infection has gone to my brain. Maybe I'm just too tired to do anything but shop online stare blankly at compare and analyze book lists and lesson samples.

But, since the shot the doctor gave me today has cleared my sniffer enough to know that I really need to clean tomorrow, I thought I might as well put my thoughts down for you all (or maybe 2 out of 100?) before I have to get back to real life again. The one that requires me to clean the bathroom, and cook real food, and close the laptop and get off my bed.

So... here's a little peek at the lovely collections of ideas and books and schedules that await the new homeschooler overwhelmed by the idea of putting it all together for herself...

Oak Meadow
was one of the first curriculums that caught my eye way back when my Eldest surprised me with his request to cut back on the unschooling. I liked its thoughtful, Waldorf-styled, slow approach to academics, its emphasis on music, art and nature, and yes, its choice of fonts and illustrations for the Teacher's Guide.

Elizabeth Foss's free online curriculum at Serendipity, while a work-in-progress, took my breath away with its beauty and creativity. Her ideas are perfect for the larger family with story-loving littles, and older children who still enjoy visiting fairyland.

If you're already a Charlotte Masonite, you've probably discovered Ambleside Online -- another free curriculum, without the beautiful visuals, but with a detailed reading list for all grades and an online forum to share ideas with other users. Just grab your library card, and go for it!

I was more drawn to Simply Charlotte than Ambleside, partly because it was so easy to navigate! Sonya Shafer also offers a free curriculum guide with book lists and schedules, a discussion forum, as well as an online planner, lots of how-to articles, inexpensive Bible study and literature guides, and even homeschooling seminars to purchase. Schafer's free e-books are AWESOME.

I began this year thinking SCM was the way I'd go. I downloaded Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education, which was very helpful. Then we jumped right into "Genesis Through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt ." (Unfortunately, when I jump into something too quickly, I usually jump right back out. I'm more likely to stay in the pool if I warm up on the steps for a while...) More about that later.

Trouble was, I was also oggling Tapestry of Grace. Again, the imagery tempted me. I wanted to buy it for the Map of Humanities alone! I love the idea of searching for the threads of Truth woven through history and recorded in literature. I also like that it's multi-level so you can coordinate your different aged kiddos. But it's a little more expensive, and requires a bit of homeschooling experience, in my opinion, and we're not there yet.

With ToG, I was bit by the Classical bug. CMers make it look so easy -- was it too easy?

And... not to leave you hanging, but because I really need some sleep, and I doubt you have time to read this in one sitting anyway, I'm going to call this Part One. And pray I actually manage to write Part Two tomorrow. Or the next day.


MamaTea said...

We don't use a ton of curriculum...or maybe we use a ton of different curriculum. We have a large bag of tricks to dip into, and I think its fun to look online or go to curriculum sales and just see what's out there. It gives you great ideas and keeps things fresh.

I hope you get to write part two!

Daisy said...

LOL. I drool over ToG but it is so pricey!

Regardless of the curriculum I've ever bought, we are at heart a mix of CM and Classical. I just like doing my own thing too much to identify with a particular curriculum.

Daisy said...

Guess, I should clarify we are half way through book one of AAS. Yes, it is pricey but I was so desperate to find something that would work with my son. He's a great reader but tends to sight read. I thought the fact that AAS is phonics review & spelling would benefit him.

Hi... said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and learned a ton, too. THanks for discussing various types of curriculum that you're considering. I'm still new to the h/schooling stuff (having one kindergartener) and am exploring these things myself.

So I'm looking forward to part 2...whenever it arrives!


mandy said...

Wow, it sounds like we are on similar paths! I am loving reading and learning about CM and I'm starting to incorporate some of her ideas into my philosophy! It's exciting to be looking into this stuff. Can't wait to read more about your journey!

Mirjam said...

Thanks for posting :)

Interesting! I'm going to have a look at the websites you mentioned. No signs of wanting to cut back on the unschooling here ;)).

Queen Beth said...

There really is way too much to choose from out there. It makes my head swim! We've decided to go the virtual school way this next year.

Rana said...

The information over at Serendipity sounds interesting. I would like to look at that. We are still going to Unschool into the next year and see how it goes for us. I hope you can figure out what you need.

Christina said...

Hey-it sounds like you need to hang around with us...unschoolers, relaxed, CMers, Classical, unit studies, lapbookers, what are we anyway??? people more so you can have some more options (: Hold off on that curriculum shopping!!! I am determined to have a curriculum yard sale in May. Just waiting for the rain and snow and whatever isn't good for books weather to end! I love the Simply Charlotte Mason website, Serpendity site and the Handbook of Nature Study blog the most I think. Hey, we got the incubator now and should have fertilized eggs on Wednesday. Want to do some science on chickens? We also got the new MTH book so doing Ireland and leprechauns. Oldest continues loving Reading Naturally and Youngest continues loving Zoo Phonics. Oh yea, how about a picnic after our field trip learning about the solar system? A little unschooling or whatever we do works for us (:

Tammy said...

Thanks for all the great info Amanda!! I'm looking for some more structured work. My oldest will be starting high school before long, and I want to get her as prepared as I can. I look forward to reading part two!

Lynette said...

I have been pouring over curriculum websites myeslf the last week as I want to change things up a bit! I love looking at all the ideas and differet ways of doing things out there. I can't wait to read your part two.

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