I’ve had homeschooling on the brain for the past few weeks, with thoughts about how things are going to go next year and excitement about all our new curricula (which I eagerly purchased in April and will tell you about soon). I’m beginning to feel that urge to get out all the things and get everything organized for fall. But then Baby Boy needs to eat or be changed or rocked, and so I don’t get into all that yet.
I have, however, been looking at resources online and learning lots of new things through various websites and podcasts and books. I found a new book and fun summer activity. And as I’ve been reading about this endeavor, I’ve been led to other great resources, and I’ve found myself falling down the homeschooling rabbit hole. It’s been quite enjoyable and informative, so today I’m linking with Kelly and sharing seven of the (nursing-and-newborn-friendly) things I’ve been exploring to prepare myself for our upcoming homeschool year.
It all started when I saw that Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool has a new book and is hosting an online summer book club to promote it. The book, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, is a collection of recommendations and summaries of children’s books about different people, places, and cultures around the world. The books are grouped by geographical area, and the online book club going on right now focuses on one area of the world, and the corresponding chapter in the book, per week. So far we’ve done a multicultural week, an Africa week, and we are now finishing up our Europe week, with North America coming up next.
Sarah MacKenzie has been kind of a co-sponsor of Jamie’s book club. I have read plenty of Sarah’s blog posts at Amongst Lovely Things, and have read her book Teaching From Rest, but I haven’t been into much of her content in a while. So when I saw she was doing the book club with Jamie, I thought I’d go over and check out some of her stuff. I watched a bunch of her scope videos on how she does homeschool, and then I decided to look into her Read Aloud Revival (RAR). This is a podcast and, for members, a set of online master classes about ways to cultivate a reading culture in your home. Right. Up. My. Alley. So I joined up and have been master-class-watching for weeks, along with watching her videos and listening to podcasts (all nice things to be able to do while nursing a baby!).
When I was watching one of Sarah’s videos, she mentioned a series of podcasts called “Your Morning Basket,” hosted by Pam Barnhill. These podcasts are about ways to implement or improve on morning time in homeschool. I did something in our homeschool last year that could roughly be considered morning time, but I have been wanting to improve this starting point of our day, so I was interested in checking out these podcasts. I have been listening to them from the beginning and I have learned so much from them! I’m a little addicted to them, to be honest.
When I clicked the link to buy Jamie’s book, one of the other books Amazon recommended for me was How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I recently got the Usborne Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare, and my kids were devouring the stories, so I decided I would get the book and be a bit more intentional about teaching them about Shakespeare and his stories this next school year. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m eager to. Sarah MacKenzie also has a podcast and an RAR Master Class about this, and Pam Barnhill has a podcast on it too, so I’ve got lots of resources to help me when I’m ready to implement it into our school.
I got a mass email from Jamie about the book club, and in it she linked to her free ebook, Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom (which you can get by entering your email on her blog in the sidebar). I clicked through to the book and read it real quick. One of the links in the ebook was to a resource for putting together unit studies called Konos. I have always felt drawn toward unit studies in our homeschool. Even though the curricula I purchased last year and this year are not unit-studies-based, I have a love for them and am always looking for ways to incorporate units. I’m really, really dying to buy some of the Konos curricula, especially the Obedience unit, which includes a medieval section and would fit in nicely with our history reading this coming year, but I haven’t done it. Yet.
One of the Your Morning Basket podcasts I recently listened to was about incorporating music appreciation into morning time. Pam talked to Mary Prather, who is the creator of a music appreciation curriculum that is affordable and seems simple and fun. It’s called SQUILT, and it has me quite intrigued. I am really hoping to implement this into our curriculum for this year.
On another YMB podcast about narration, I learned a bit more about the philosophy of Charlotte Mason, and discovered the website Simply Charlotte Mason. I have not been an official follower of the Charlotte Mason method, but our curriculum for this year has some CM-esque elements to it. And as I learn more about the CM style of homeschooling, and get more into the information on this website, I am thinking that I might want to incorporate even more in the future. I love the idea of teaching through using living books, which is why I like using literature-based curricula. I could spend days looking through just the Bookfinder of the Simply Charlotte Mason site. So much good stuff.
And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. Looking through all of these resources has me very eager to get out all of my stuff for next year to get planning and figure out if I’ll be able to add in a Konos unit and/or SQUILT, and how/when I’ll incorporate Shakespeare. Right now my school room is a mess, because I just don’t have enough shelf space. So I’m not going to pull out the materials for next year until I get some new shelves built and can organize everything better, and have a place to put the new stuff. New shelves are being installed on Tuesday, so by Wednesday I should have it all out and be gleefully poring though all of it. I can’t wait.
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