Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The C Word, part two

Please forgive me for spending the last three days in bed instead of fulfilling my promise to educate you on all things curriculum. For the record, I will NEVER, EVER take antibiotics again, no matter how bad my head hurts. At least I was semi-functional with a sinus infection.

Lest you presume that I have abandoned my faith in natural learning principles... I assure you that I do not believe one needs the "right" curriculum, or any specific curriculum at all, to homeschool.

For me, this is about "spreading a feast" -- or intentional strewing, if you like. There are some awesome resources out there -- and if you're like me, you need all the help you can get.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, I was being tempted by the complex beauty of Tapestry of Grace -- and wondering how I was going to get through ancient history without a map.

Forget that, how was I going to get through history curriculum without a map?!

First, I got lost in an old Veritas Press catalogue, and spent hours poring through the wonderful book selections for each grade.

Then I got stuck at the crossroads of The Story of the World and The Mystery of History. The boys enjoyed listening to SotW on CD from the library, but MoH integrates Biblical history with the rest of ancient history more thoroughly. And the activity suggestions all come in the same book, not separate like SotW.

I bought both, continued our SCM Bible readings, and mixed in a little Usborne Encyclopedia of World History and Victor Journey Through the Bible. I finally felt like we were getting somewhere -- if a bit awkwardly. If only I'd known about Biblioplan! For another $25, I would have had a fully coordinated schedule for all those resources!

I also found myself reading Susan Wise Bauer's classical education bible, The Well-Trained Mind, a book I'd successfully avoided for seven years. And, I actually liked it.

I appreciated her points about the importance of learning history, the benefits of Latin, the reason for grammar, and the stages of the Trivium. I couldn't imagine sitting my wiggly, talkative boys down every day and having them do every workbook on that list. That just seemed crazy.

But they do want to learn Latin, and they actually enjoy study questions. I still appreciate the concept of narration, and the reasons behind it, but sometimes my little fact-gatherers like a little prompting.

Fast forward... We finished reading through Genesis, Exodus, et al -- thanks to the discovery of The Golden Children's Bible, which illustrates and simplifies the rest of the Pentateuch into story form. We're going to try out Memoria Press's Christian Studies II for the rest of the Old Testament.

I've mostly dropped the "spines" in order to dive more deeply into a few living books. Most of which I found via other bloggers. We're happily engrossed in the stories and history of Ancient Greece. We visit the library so frequently, the librarian actually let me check out one book over the limit last week!

So, what's next? I've looked hard at the Charlotte Mason-style Living Books Curriculum. I've considered the simplicity of TruthQuest History.

And, I've been surprised at how similar our recent studies have been to My Father's World's Creation to the Greeks year. Only MFW's is less haphazard, more organized, and padded with lots of hands-on activities that I don't have to plan!

At this point, I'm planning to order MFW's Rome to the Reformation for the fall. I'll probably add Lively Latin or Song School Latin, and Muzzy for Spanish. I would say that's a lot of foreign language, but the boys also want to learn French, German and Gaelic, so we'd better get started!

In the meantime, I made up this very general, bound-to-change lesson plan for the rest of the term.


Mirjam said...

Still sounds like unschooling to me ;))), as you say "the boys want to learn this and that" :)).

Eclectic unschooling :)), sounds great!

Daisy said...

LOL. I love when our brains fall out on paper. :-) This time of year lends itself to oft conflicted plans. We are doing Truthquest and SOTW which reminds me I need to get cracking on a post about it.

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

I am a huge fan of The Well-Trained Mind, but I think if the authors spent a week in my "home school", they'd ask me to please never say that in public. It's really mostly the ideas they present that I like so much. The rigors of that much book work would stifle us to the point of insanity.

Rana said...

Lots of decisions to make at least nothing has to be settled tomorrow. We love Muzzy for Spanish. My daughter would like to learn French too. I don't know one language at a time or is it easier to to two or three like you are doing?

Jocelyn said...

Thank you!! it is very helpful for me to see all the stuff you've put the time into researching so I don't have to. LOL. I just finished The Way They Learn and I had you partly pegged but I can't remember now and I lent it out to a friend. :)

Penny said...

We loved Song School Latin!!

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