I was tempted to name this post homeschooling-on-the-cheap-2.0, but I didn’t because I realize that because I already had a lot of the resources listed and even though it’s still going to be very cheap for anyone to do this exactly, (it’s next to nothing for us). Plus I wanted to focus on the Charlotte Mason-ness of it all. Firstly, if you do not know who Charlotte Mason is, take a look here: What is CM?. In short though, Charlotte Mason was a Christian British Educator that believed that Education was more than Education but it was a Discipline, a Life, an Atmosphere. So, In essence it’s a lifestyle over a curriculum. I’ve loved Miss Mason for many years know and am learning more through her writings and my Charlotte Mason Peers and Elders. So, there are a few things I adding this year that we didn’t get to in the last and hoping for a really well rounded CM Education this year. We will call last year our Grace Year because there was a lot of Grace given and desired, so we have got to get on it this year with a better plan of action. I am also writing out this blog post not just for anyone who cares about Charlotte Mason-Year 2 but to help me to break it all down in my head for the very soon School Year. *AO means Ambleside Online. We use Ambleside Online as a Charlotte Mason guide and substitute only a few selections. Unless otherwise stated everything is from the Ambleside Year 2 Schedule and not from my own brain, just so you know.
Bible– We are going to stick with Gospel Story Bible and Long Story Short Devotional for this year and I may backtrack a little because we grazed over a few weeks quickly last year. The Bible and the Devotional are a wonderful tool for Parents wanting to paint the stories of the Bible truthfully and make beautiful connections from Old and New Testament. The Long Story Short version is for Old Testament and there is version for the New Testament, but it will be a while until we are there, although it teaches a lot of the New testament along side the Old, and that’s what I like about this study. We do use more of a Charlotte Mason-Narration approach with the reading and I use the questions as more of a guide. We will also be using Sojourn’s North Star Catechism for our Bible Memory Work and because I really wanted to go through a Catechism for Children with Emma so she has very clear answers to questions she may have or encounter.
Character– O.k. so most Charlotte Mason families do one Character per month to Study and move on. We’ve realized that just doesn’t work in the Benson Household, Soooo…We do one Character until Emma gets it, like really gets it and then moves on. Last Year towards the end of the year we we’re doing Obedience (Doing what you are told with a happy, submissive spirit). We talk about First-time Obedience here a lot and that is what is expected of Emma. Meaning that we don’t tell her time and again to do something, if she doesn’t listen that first time there are usually some light consequences that will come of that. TV is the first to go and let me tell that usually is enough. She has the concept down now and can tell me the meaning of Obedience and that is what is important, so we are moving on. Anyways, We will start the Year with “Contentment” (Happy with what I have), because we’ve got a bit of a whining problem in regards to not being happy with things and then move on to “Joyfulness”. The Definitions come the Child’s Book of Character Building.
History– This is where we differ with the AO schedule quite a bit because I needed something to ease into History with the last two years and the Beautiful Feet guides are very nice and just self-explanatory for this Mom-Brain. We bought the Early American guide two year ago and held it until last year to start and we are continuing in Jamestown. I usually borrow the books or find them used. You can purchase the book pack but I save a lot of money this way.
Literature– More Shakespeare this year with about six more plays, I already own the Lamb’s Shakespeare edition and we will just continue with that version because it tells the plays in story form. We are also still going through Parables of Nature but will let her listen to the Audio Books this year so I don’t have to read yet another book aloud. We will also be reading Pilgrim’s Progress, Robin Hood, Understood Betsy, and Wind in the Willows, which I’m excited about all of those selections.
Geography– We will use these free CM and Long’s Geography for the year based on the AO schedule.
Natural Science/ Nature Study-We will read the Burgess Animal Book along with Tree in the Trail and Seabird, both by Holling. We also be Nature journaling weekly together, we do Nature study at our yearly co-op and plan to review at home as well.
Copywork/Phonics/Reading– Emma is a slow-to-read child and that is ok, no guilt here. We do a reading lesson a day and intersperse copywork. Right now we have moved on from only doing the McGuffey’s Primer for Phonics/Reading to doing Explode the Code because she actually needed something a bit more worksheet-y, against all my CM judgement. It’s not as twaddle-y as I suspected and she seems to be really improving. We will still use readers like the Mcuffey’s Readers or Pathway Readers (just the readers, no workbooks) as we go through the year, but they are free or very cheap and I am not to worried at the cost. We will also start copywork in a copywork book, something like this from Simply Charlotte Mason. Math- We will still use MEP Math, which is a free program that is highly recommended, but I also ordered the first Life of Fred book called Apples and am considering rotating between the two for variety because the MEP math can get tiresome for us.
Poetry, Art and Composer: I combine all of these because we will be doing these at co-op and just reviewing at home. Our schedule for these are as follows (from the AO schedule): Poetry-Walter De La Mere, Shel Silverstein (this is a replacement for Witcombe-Riley), and Christina Rossetti, Art-Fra Angelico, Velasquez and Degas, and Composer- Hildegard Von Bingen, Children’s Classics (assorted classics for children), and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Free Reads: We definitely plan on finishing a few Summer reads like Peter Pan and Mr. Popper’s Penguins beside that (from the Ambleside site) I am not sure if we will get to all these but we will try, we also own quite a few of these books already so between those, the local library and the local bookstore I don’t imagine the cost being that high:
Heidi by Joanna Spyri, A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney, Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, Pied Piper of Hamlin by Robert Browning, Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry, Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (currently reading), Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle, Chanticleer and the Fox (various authors), Along Came A Dog by Meindert De Jong, and The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
Handicrafts: I did a lousy attempt at teaching Emma sewing last year because we had a baby most of the year and things like Handicrafts and Piano took a backseat to Reading and Literature. We are going to start over this year with the Mary Frances Sewing Book. It’s online and free and reads like a Story Book that has sewing projects in it. I am going to put together a dedicated Sewing Basket for Emma but that will be the only cost. The file of the book is a scan of an old copy archived digitally and has a signature in it of the author, “For all the girls who love to make pretty things. Jane Eayre Fryer”, that’s just lovely.
Piano: We will continue with My First Piano Adventures, a fun hop through Piano basics and music reading.
Drawing: Kenny has recommended this for the year and since he’s also an atrist and pretty darn good illustrator, we are doing it. How to Draw Amazing Animals
Foreign Language: Spanish is our foreign language because Im Half-Latin and I really wished I was more fluent growing up. We will do a mixture of the Gouin Series we did successfully last year and Mango languages which is free through our local Library.
Well now that I completely overwhelmed you with all of that information I am going to tell you its not as hard as it seems, the AO schedule rotates readings and material and it really is very easy to follow. When it comes to putting my head on straight for the year and planning the order of the day, I go to this very wise post by Nancy Kelly, my favorite Charlotte Mason blogger: Our Schedule, Our Atmosphere. It’s a breath of fresh air and I’ll talk more about ordering the homeschool day as the year progresses. So take a deep breath friends and know if we cover only half of this material I think we are in a wonderful place still. I mean can you say you did half of this stuff in second grade? It really is a lovely education and Emma will be introduced to a lovely feast this year. Posts your thoughts and comments, I’d love to hear what you are doing this year.
You can see a visual catalog of all the resources on my Pinterest Board-Charlotte Mason- Year 2
If you homeschool with the Charlotte Mason Method you may be interested in this INSTAGRAM feed I started a few months ago: @charlottemasonliving. It’s a really lovely community of likeminded families that are homeschooling with Miss Mason’s methods. We share images of our everyday and discuss ideas and wonderful thoughts. Today we will be having a narration chat, or first group chat. Check it out if you love Instagram and Charlotte Mason.
How important is it to learn about Grace at an early Age? It is of the utmost importance, in my opinion, just as it is equally important to learn as an Adult as I am doing now. Grace colors the way we interact with others and even ourselves in all of life. Grace, simply put, the In Faith,Grace that is undeserved comes from God and is the antithesis to working to no avail to pay your for your own debts, for your own righteousness. It just doesn’t work that way. Grace is transforming and refining because it is difficult to extend Grace if you don’t understand Grace and once God’s grace is understood it can change everything that you think you know about Him and what that means for your faith.
Are we teaching our children about Grace? Are we learning about Grace? How do we bring up conversations about Grace in the everyday, ordinary moments of life? Sometimes you need a starting place. That’s what I feel Jessica Thompson’s book is, a tool for conversations about God, Grace, and remarkable Love.
It is no secret that we homeschool (Charlotte Mason style) and as a part of that we do daily bible studies, I love that time where we talk about scripture and what it means to us. We discuss Gospel things and what they mean in our day-to-day. Emma who is six-almost-seven is not always interested to be truthful, but we do get a lot out of it and it is a great way to point to the Gospel then and later when things happen in life and she loves to listen to the stories. We also do something called Character Training, we learn about biblical character that we should embody. Most people do more than one Character in a year and we started the year that way but since we were struggling with Obedience with the mini teenager (that’s what it’s felt like) in our home we decided to stick with Obedience as our character for the entire year. If you ask Emma what Obedience is she will tell you that it is “doing what you are told with a happy, submissive heart”. The expectation in our home is “First-Time Obedience”, meaning that you do the previous the first time you are told. In this we are all learning about obedience al-together because I also tend toward the opposite. The apple does not fall far from the tree. We can see how teaching this way does work on hearts little by little with God’s help.
I say all of the above to say if those things are not learned along side Grace and Love then it completely defeats the purpose in my mind. Bible Stories and learning about how we should live can mean nothing if we aren’t connecting it to the Love Story we’ve been given. Without learning Grace, we will tend toward moralism or legalism. That’s why Grace is important. So, I was very excited to get the happy mail that contained my copy of “Exploring Grace Together” by Jessica Thompson. Thank you, Jessica! I treasure “Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus” written by Jessica and her Mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick. It has truly been a wonderful resource for our family. I was very excited to dive in this devotional with Emma and our family.
We have done a week’s worth of devotions from the book to date and we enjoy them very much so far. I of course have read ahead and am excited to discuss all the things inside with my daughter. My praise is that it brings to light everyday issues children and yes, adults struggle with and shines that Gospel light on them so we can see them with new eyes.
For example in Chapter 1 “The Good One” we discussed how all fall short and following the rules does not win you what is given freely. This is so important for us to discuss because Emma in most cases is a “follow the rules to the letter” and has what I like to call a high sense of justice when it comes to herself and others. She is the first to point out among friends that they aren’t following the rules so it was a really great discussion for us.
In Chapter 4 “Just Not Sure” Emma shared that sometimes she doesn’t understand Faith as well just like Sam in the story but that she still wanted to have Faith and thought it was very important. It was a great way to tell her that she is always welcome to talk with us about her thoughts and doubts and we will examine them together, because she isn’t alone in this. Then prompted from the questions we prayed for the special Gift of Faith.
Bullies are a new thing for us this year, I’m not sure if it’s because of the age of her peers or what but we had never experienced it. Emma is a very sensitive child and is really affected by “name calling” or unkindness but she also is not always aware when she is the one being unkind to others as well. Chapter 6 “I Can’t Be Nice” was a great devotion to discuss what we are to do in these scenarios, when we feel like we can’t be nice to others regardless the circumstance. We were able to bring out some situations that have happened to and by Emma and discuss what we can do about them. It is a great way for Mom as well to talk about how she struggles with this.
I really have enjoyed the devotions so far and we will continue with them with our family in hopes that the Gospel conversations continue. The only thing we have done differently in the devotions is that in our Charlotte Mason tradition Emma will narrate the story back to me before we discuss it. We do this for retention in our home and it seems to work for us. Anyone can do this as well but it isn’t necessary for the material. Here are some thoughts on Narration, if interested.
I completely recommend this book. It will become another invaluable resource for us as we raise young children’s hearts and also examine our own hearts. Do it with your families knowing both you and your children will benefit from it. I can’t wait to see what else Jessica has in store in the future, I am totally fangirling her on Instagram and Twitter and almost referred to her as @thejesslou in most of this post. Anyways, go and give her a follow https://twitter.com/Thejesslou and http://instagram.com/thejesslou.
What are your thoughts on this book? Was this review helpful? I love posts to start a dialog for more conversation.
It seems resolutions are worthless, well for me at least. The promises we make to ourselves are quickly broken because we find it hard to be accountable to ourselves. I – for one – find it hard to be motivate myself in a lot of ways, although a lot of prayer and thoughtfulness has helped with an increase in motivation recently. Resolutions won’t do though, they don’t work, there’s better ways to make commitments to ourselves in the new year.
A few years ago our Pastor suggested ordering plans and priorities in the new year to help with thinking about what is truly important that we dedicate our time to and what not so much. This has helped me a lot. Sometimes what we imagine our priorities to be are just that- imaginations, reality says different. Whether I spent so many hours watching tv last year or goofing on the internet for example, in reality time spent on these things takes time away from the things that I want to be priorities in my life. If I can begin to make my imagined priorities my actual priorities this year then I am succeeding, even if it is a little at a time. This keeps me from feeling like I have failed my resolution. Also, I am able to make plans based on those priorities for the coming year.
When I didn’t buy clothes for over a year it was not necessarily because I didn’t want new clothes, I mean who doesn’t want new clothes, but I set a priority of Less Stuff (of living simple, less materialistically) and was able to spend a significant amount of effort toward that goal and accomplished it in my home and in my wardrobe, although I have a long way to go still-in regards to simplicity. Making a priority and then a plan helped me to see clearly my goals and take step toward them. Every little step counted and helped me on my way to accomplishing it.
Let me share that I am a major procrastinator and ball dropper. I either procrastinate until I have no other choice but to accomplish a task or just drop the ball altogether. I think it must be in my nature because I remember being this way as a child but that isn’t an excuse because I want to be a finisher, a race winner. So number one thing I have to do is pray because only God can change my nature, I am 100% sure of that.
So this year I’ve begun to outline the things that I want to take priority in my life and then make plans based on those priorities. Priorities range from home life to personal and I will share with you what I have so far. It is a process and now that I have set my priorities for the year I have started to contemplate my plans for each. Things that I would like to see happen. So in no particular order, here they are:
1. Faith- This is a primary priority because without Faith I am hopeless. 2013 was a year that God helped me begin to unravel from depression and hopelessness and show me to delight in my circumstances, so 2014 will be even more so a testament to what He is doing. I will continue to study and trust more. I want to be more thankful as well this year.
2.Family- Instead of busy-ness, instead of this activity or that event, instead of every kind of distraction I want my family to be a priority and for us to find peacefulness in our home and with each other. This means we will continue in traditions like Sunday Radio Day, no media except music or talk radio. Also, we will make more intentional time together and less sitting around the tv.
3.Home- This is related to the care and cultivating of the home. I want my home to be simple, beautiful and help my family to thrive, so I am making an effort to make it so through the simplest of measures.
4.Homeschool- The past ten months we’ve had a new baby in the house and now that that new baby is somewhat an old baby we have gotten into better rhythms at home, especially in regards to school for Emma. As long as she’s learning truth, beauty, and goodness through her schooling we are doing something right.
5.Mother Culture (Self Care and Interests ex. staying healthy-eating healthy, gym time and reading for pleasure and knowledge)- It is helping me to think of getting healthy as a thing I am doing to help myself and my children in the context of being a Mother opposed to some arbitrary goal I set for myself. My goal for this is more health, more wisdom.
6.Art- I never completed art school and I am down on myself a lot about it, in 2013 both Kenny started actively pursuing Art making more in our lives and this year I want that to ripen even more. Whether it’s photography or printmaking, I want to see more art making this year. I’ve started making plans based on this and am just praying for the occasional quiet times to work on these.
7.Writing/Blogging-I want to be more consistent with my writing and blogging without being overly ambitious. One plan that I am thinking of is setting a manageable schedule for me to work on this. Something easy-like twice a week, just to write out some of the things I have rolling around in my head.
That is all I have so far and there always room for additions. Plans will be made this year and because they are based on the things nearest and dearest I pray-with God’s help-I can accomplish them. Also a little note about getting healthy, since I started tracking I have lost 7+ lbs. and have lost about 17 lbs. since having Alice. It isn’t a lot but I am encouraged that setting priorities like this will help me make priorities real and not imagined.
There are so many lists out there of what children to should be doing at this age. Some of them are just plain silly, there is no reason a child should be doing algebra or able to read novels on their own at this age. We know through common sense and research that learning comes through play before this time. Here is the research: naeyc.org. This is why I love this list from Charlotte Mason because these are attainable and practical expectations for a child of six, who has just started formal learning. Some of these we have mastered in our house already (like pressing flowers, printing from hand, adding and subtracting etc.), some we are working on organically, with little to no pressure, just through conversations. This is a great guide for those that would like a guide even if you do not follow Charlotte Mason, but do not need or want a list of common core standards to follow. Plus, these are much more fun than most lists I’ve seen. I just love this old style of learning in a gentle art, a way that creates interesting and curious children. I guarantee your six year old can already do a lot of these things and helps us to breathe a sigh of relief that we are not “screwing our kids up” if they don’t compare to all the other opinion noise out there.
A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six (with my notes added)
1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read–what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundaries of their own home
8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach
9. to tell quite accurately 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English (or Early American), and 3 from early Roman history (length is not important)
10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them
12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape
14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
15. to tell three stories about their own “pets” –rabbit, dog or cat
16. to name 20 common objects in French (or Spanish), and say a dozen little sentences
17. to sing one hymn, one French (or Spanish), and one English song 18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations
NOTE: Any mention of Early English History or French Language (substitute ex. Early American and Spanish Language) can be substituted for what you are learning, this list was specific to British Culture and may need to be different for others.
*original source: amblesideonline.org
What do you think of this list of attainments, what would you do differently, what would you add or take away? For me the one thing I am subconsciously adding to this list is for her to know and write her address and our phone numbers, I think that technically would fall under the “boundary of the home” a long time ago but not today. I’d love to hear from you.
The lovely Laura at NotedListed.com has interviewed me about My blog and I for her blog. She asked some awesome questions, I think we may be related. I got to talk about Music, Books, Graphic Novels, Clothes, Organizing, living intentionally and Homeschooling. If that doesn’t intrigue you then I’m not sure what will. 😉 Take a sec and go check it out and give her some comment love. Here is the link to the Interview: Noted Listed interviews Ellie Benson
Also, check out this post of hers for some homeschooling humor. I laughed pretty hard, probably because I’m a nerd though. NotedListed.com : Back to School Shopping for Homeschoolers
If you want a fun way to encourage Storytelling with your children, Story Cubes are an amazing tool. I am in the beginning stages of Narration with Emma (6), where we will read something and she will narrate it back to me. As she gets older this will be more commonplace in our Homeschool routine, so when I saw this game call Story Cubes I thought they could be a really fun way to encourage the telling of Stories. So far the experience has been great. You can play alone (Emma does a lot just because she’s been the only child up until Alice for 5ish years) or with others, there are suggestions for games inside the box.
Story Cubes come in different themes, the one we have at home is Voyages and it is the perfect collection of adventure images; Pirates, Vikings, Kings, Ocean, Snakes, Magic Beans, etc. This would be just as fun for the boy in your life. One of my Instagram friends, when I posted this, said that they use this for Speech Therapy and I can see how this could be very useful for it.
This is a game we love to play with her too, you know how it is some games are just parent torture, this is definitely not. I think all toys and games should a parent enjoyability category in their reviews, so we can judge how much we will love or hate it before purchase.
The other thing I really love about them is that they are very small and easy to carry around in a bag or purse for the “I’m Bored” times. The case is the size of a small book and closes magnetically so they won’t get mixed up in your purse with all the other things you may need one day. Our children experience a constant barrage of stimulation and devices to spend time in front of, whether at home or out in the world, this is a very simplistic tool that doesn’t need digital connection. You can quietly play a imagination capturing game anywhere and tell stories about anything you can think up.
Here is my six-year old’s story from this morning (yes, she’s up really early): Once upon a time there was a snake and his friend the crab. The snake was hurting Humans that went to his house, so, one night a Sheriff came and took the snake. The Sheriff climbed up a hill with a ladder and then went through the sea and then back to the Mountains and then through the desert to get back home. He was very tired and swallowed a magic pill to help him sleep and ate a bowl of oatmeal. When he fell asleep the Snake was able to get away.
I’m curious to hear more about the Snake and his adventures with the Sheriff and the crab. It is a great way to start a narrative and expound on using only creativity and imagination. I am probably going to invest in a few of the other themes for Emma so we can mix them all up and have a great time. She has been telling Baby Alice stories while she plays and that has been sweet. I definitely recommend this simple game.
Does anyone have these, have you thought up new and fun games to play with them? Please share in the comments if you have, we’d love to know what you are doing with your Story Cubes.
Image from http://www.thecreativityhub.com/shop, where you can buy them online or at your local Barnes and Nobles.
Amendment to original post: We have switched to MEP for math because we like it better for a well rounded Math education. Math Mammoth is a great program still but you learn your families needs as you go. With that being said you can subtract the 16.50 from the final total.
You can homeschool on a budget, there isn’t a need to spend hundreds of dollars if you do a little research and find the best frugal options. (edit- the original curriculum post is here: Charlotte Mason First Grade) Charlotte Mason has helped with this because the resources I use are classics, we can find a lot of the books in the public domain or rather cheaply at used book stores. My number one piece of advice, is to do your research. Also, you can find free curriculum guides online at Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason. The other is an e reader or an iPad will help to condense books that are in the public domain. We invested in one last year with our tax money and it has definitely been worth the cost. Also, check your libraries, I have found most things in the Library if you plan ahead.
Earlier I posted on our homeschool curriculum for the year (1st Grade), here’s where I break down what it cost this year. I was surprised.
Bible: Free for us because we already owned it (Guide $19.99 new and Bible $29.99 new) or you can just follow a Bible plan with whatever resources you have at home, or just buy the Long Story Short Devotional, which I actually recommend not using both for simplicity but Emma likes both the devotional and the Bible so Happy with it. – Long Story Short/Gospel Story Bible.
Memory Verses: Free- Simply Charlotte Mason Memory Verses
Character: Free- Parables of Nature. We are just reading through the Parables of Nature which you can find for free in iBooks.
Literature: Free Mostly (5.00)- We are doing the Ambleside Online Literature selections, these include; the Blue Fairy Book, Aesop’s Fables, Shakespeare for young children and many others. We already owned Aesop’s Fables but there is also a free app by the Library of Congress that you can download that has all the stories as well. I found a free copy of Just So Stories for the year on iBooks but will definitely be investing in a hardcopy from our local bookstore when I can. Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers was my first real cost, it is 5.00 for the e-book.
Free Reads: Free- I am using the suggested reading lists from both Ambleside and Simply Charlotte Mason and the books so far are ones we already own, we purchased a really lovely copy last year because of daughter Alice being born. I started this year with Alice in Wonderland and we have since moved to Alice through the looking Glass. Next up will be Winnie the Pooh. Do not forget how valuable the Library is for these Classics.
Poetry: Free- A Children’s Garden of Verses. We own a hard copy of this book which we bought in set when Emma was a baby. You can find all the book and all the poems in the public domain with having to buy a hard copy. I would suggest it as a Library staple though for those that read it and love it. You can also find this in any Library.
Math: $34.00 for the entire year- Math Mammoth. I have only spent 16.50 so far because you can purchase the part A e-version from their site. We use an abacus I bought during Emma’s pre-K years, but you do not need one you can use anything on hand you can count with; beans, buttons, blocks, etc. So far I have no complaints about Math Mammoth and it really was the most affordable option for us that met our educational needs.
Phonics/Reading: Free-McGuffey’s Primer. We started the McGuffey’s Primer last year and we had found a free version to print and put into a notebook. We are continuing thisyear with McGuffey’s and so far so good.
Copywork: Free or $1.00- Worksheet Works or McGuffey’s Copywork Set. You can make up your own free copywork sheets to correspond with the Primer or you can use anything else you choose, a verse, sentences about the child, poetry, etc. If you don’t want to do that work there is a Copywork set that corresponds to McGuffey that costs just $1.00.
History: $15.95 but I already owned it – Beautiful Feet Books- Early American. I bought this last year with the intention of starting it in K and settled that she would get more benefit by waiting a year. So far that has been true. We check out the books from the Library so is no extra cost for us and the books are rich Living Books that fit our Charlotte Mason style nicely.
Spanish: We are using a sequence of the Gouin Series, this happens to be completely free if you can find a native speaker to translate. I translated myself and had my Mother, who is a native speaker double check the Spanish. I talk about here: http://ellieeugenia.com/2013/07/22/homeschool-this-year-first-grade/
Art, Composer, Nature, Folksong and Poetry Co-op: Free- Augusta Charlotte Mason Co-op. We started a Co-op starting in September that will use our pooled resources and knowledge to teach these subjects to our children. I am very, very excited, so is Emma.
Piano: Free because we already own it, $8.46 new– My First Piano Adventures. If you do not know how to play Piano or teach it and want your children to learn without affording a Piano tutor this is a great option. My husband plays piano but he plays from ear and that is almost impossible to teach, this way she gets real lessons in a fun way.
Handicrafts- Free- Sewing and Baking. We will just be using the things I already have here at home. She is learning hand stitching first and moving from there. Baking wise, She just helps in the kitchen, measuring and doing anything that needs doing.
Total Cost for Homeschool for us this year: $41.00
If you used this plan and had to buy a few things listed new: $64.41 or $114.39 if using the Bible sources above.
I can’t imagine doing homeschool any cheaper than this unless you just digested Living Books from the Library, which is a great option actually. Anyways, I hope this is helpful for those that are homeschooling on a budget like we are.
Please let me know if this have been helpful to you or how you have utilized this in your own home schools.
I like to share what we are doing for homeschool each year because I think it helps to dialogue with others. As many of you may know we follow a homeschool method call Charlotte Mason which is a more a way of doing life/school than it is a curriculum. It is more about atmoshpere, discipline and living examples of literature and resources (twaddle free) than it is about textbooks and dry facts. Outdoors and Nature are also a big part of the Charlotte Mason method, which can be so lovely, learning about birds and species and the natural world around us. I fell in love with Charlotte Mason’s ideas of how to instill a love a learning in children that never dies and I can already see it in work in my little six year old as she embraces things I was scared of as a child, like Math.
This year our curriculum is a hodge podge of different things, mostly Charlotte Mason friendly, some that I can make more Charlotte Mason friendly. Also, I will recommend something that we are using for scheduling and to keep track of attendance and our daily/weekly schedule. It is an ipad app called Homeschool Helper. It helps me when I am pulling from many resources for school, to keep it all organized and us on track.
We started school two weeks ago and it has already been a lot of fun for Emma who was itching to start back all summer. So far this year these are the things that we have been doing:
Bible: We are continuing forward with Long Story Short which is a 10 minute devotionals that cover all of the old testament, with a following volume that covers the new testament. The lessons are very short, they are meant to do in 10 minutes or less which fits in well with Charlotte Mason’s concept of short lessons no longer than 15 minutes. The lessons give you the corresponding verses to read in whatever version of the bible you choose. We use the ESV for the verses and read from a Children’s Bible as well to tell the story more plainly. There is an accompanying Story Bible, that you can choose to use or not, the Gospel Story Bible, that has all the stories that you will do in Long Story Short. It is an excellent text with wonderful language and beautiful pictures that helps Emma and I really get it sometimes. I highly recommend as it is a beautiful living text that blends well with Charlotte Mason and any style really. This Bible and the Jesus Storybook Bible are two of the best illustrated Children’s Bibles I have seen.
Scripture Memory: We are using the SCM Bible memory guide at a slow pace. As soon as she has one verse down, we move to the next. They have a memory system that you can read about on this page, we are not moving fast enough right now that we have actually utilized much of it yet, but that’s what is great about CM, is that you can move at the pace of a child on purpose.
Character: Last year we did a habits training book but this year I wanted to do something more literature based to discuss with her since she is getting older and starting to grasp these concepts better. We are just reading through Parables of Nature, it uses animals to espouse certain lessons in a story formed way. For example the first story is called Lessons of Faith and it shows us a Caterpillar that learns to have Faith that they will one day become a butterfly, even though it doubts the wise Skylark that brings Her this news. Emma seems to enjoy it so far and it opens a natural dialogue for us.
Literature: We are doing the Literature portion that is lined up for Year 1 from Ambleside Online. The selections are solid classics and you really can’t go wrong with things like Aesop’s Fables, Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and Shakespeare.
Free Reads: These are books that we read aloud daily through out the year at our own pace. Right now we are reading Alice in Wonderland and it has been a true pleasure. I am actually surprised how much my daughter will sit for considering the language isn’t common 21st century language. Ambleside Online (AO), has great recommendations for free reads as well as Simply Charlotte Mason (SCM). I am incorporating most of their suggestions and adding a few modern twaddle free contemporary selections of my own.
Poetry: Reading selections from A Children’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. We just read poetry daily and talk about it if we are up to it.
Math: Math Mammoth is cost effective and easy and encourages the use of an abacus for a tactile learning experience. Emma has exclaimed that she loves Math now and makes up her problems in her free time, so that sounds like a win for me since Math was always a struggle for me in school.
Reading/Phonics: McGuffey’s Primer, McGuffey’s Primer, McGuffey’s Primer! McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer is the only text that you need initially to teach reading. My daughter calls it the cat book because of the picture of a cat on the front of the lesson notebook. You can spend a lot of money buying reading curriculum or you can spend a little time teaching basics, phonics and occasional sight words one sentence and paragraph at a time. You can find this online for free, it is a tried and true resource for teaching children to read. Modern Day Public Schools have lost the beauty that is Primers and it would really serve them well to move back to Phonics based teaching so that children can build skills that will help them with reading their whole life. Emma gets so incredibly excited when she can read a new lesson all the way through. Here is an example of the text from lesson 2:
The cat has a rat.
The rat ran at Ann.
Ann has a cat.
The cat ran at the rat.
There happens to also be a Mcguffey’s app in the Apple app store that has the same lessons. We are going to use fridays as a slow day for reading lessons and I’ll let her do a lesson in the app for review at the end of the week for a change of pace.
Copywork: We are doing very simple copywork sheets from Classical Copywork based on our Mcguffey’s lessons. Check them out, it’s only a dollar for the set.
History: Beautiful Feet Books has one of the nicest History curriculums out there, I’ve talked about it here before when decided to push it back from K to First Grade because I thought she would get more out of it a tiny bit older than she was last year. We started back at the beginning with Vikings and Leif the Lucky and she is in love with it. The books are living books that you can find in your local library, so you can purchase the Study guide from Beautiful Feet and check out the books or if you have the finances to, you can get the guide and the books in a bundle for purchase on their site. We needed a cost effective method for our non-existent budget so we are doing the first option. I am so grateful that it is even an option and that we are able to still use this quality curriculum. This is a Charlotte Mason approach to History that I have fallen for, I expect to stay with Beautiful Feet as a resource for Emma as long as I can, which is all the way through High School if things go as expected.
Spanish: We are doing a very simple method that I read about in Charlotte Mason texts called the Gouin Series, originally used to teach French, the concept can be used for any language. You simply use dialogue and translate it into the language you are learn each phrase at a time. So far Emma has learned “My Dad is Kenny” (Mi Papi es Kenny) and is learning “He is a librarian” (El es un Bibliotecario). With the help of a native speaker, if you don’t already speak the language, you can choose any simple paragraph that would interest your child such as paragraphs about their favorite shows like Transformers or Avengers, what a great way to hold their attention and learn a language.
Read more here: Fisher Academy
Handicrafts: The plan this year is to use fridays for handicrafts and piano lessons, we have yet to start handicraft lessons but will doing sewing as our main handicraft and cooking as a secondary. We will just be going through simple stitches starting with chain stitch by hand until we are ready to move to a real sewing machine (hopefully we can get her her own for Christmas). Cooking lessons are helping in the kitchen and learning to bake simple desserts.
Piano: We are continuing with the resource, My First Piano Adventures which uses a fun illustrated workbook and audio cd with catchy songs to teach the basics of the Piano. They learn posture and technique from a host of multicultural characters that sing their instructions for the Piano. This one was a no brainer and we will continue with it as long as she doesn’t get bored with it in the higher grades. A great alternative to hiring a piano teacher.
Art, Composer, and Nature Study: This is the thing I am most excited about this year. We are starting a local Charlotte Mason co-op with local moms to do Art, Composer, and Nature Studies. We will pool resources and knowledge to teach these things in a CM friendly way and also have plenty of Masterly Inactivity and Socialization in the process. Emma and I both cannot wait for co-op to start in September.
This has already started to be a great homeschool year and we are enjoying each and every day, I hope this post can be a good resource and makes a lot of sense for those interested. Leave me feedback or let me know what you guys are doing, I’d love to know. I’ll continue to post about the year as it progresses.