Homeschool Ethos

Our homeschooling philosophy and practice are eclectic.  In the past we’ve followed a typical Classical education format as outlined in The Well Trained Mind.  Having completed the first four year rotation (thus covering history from prehistoric to modern times and all major branches of science), we are now doing something a little different.  I’ve always been a fan of Waldorf and am putting it more into practice.  Last year we loosely followed the topic guides listed at Oak Meadow but also let the Peeps choose their own topics this year based on their interests.   This year we’ll be using the Christopherus guides for 6th, 7th and 8th grades as a base, as well as covering some of the things we didn’t get to last year.  We used the Christopherus Botany program last year and absolutely LOVED it.  So this year I’m adding the Roman and Medieval History to our blocks.

Main Lesson Blocks for 2011-2012:

History: Ancient Rome, the Renaissance, The Age of Revolution and possibly some American History if we have time (or we’ll revisit next year).

Science: Physics, Astronomy, and perhaps some Geology.

Math: Business Math & Geometry

Geography:  in addition to the geography work we’ll do for other main lesson blocks, we’ll do a stand-alone MLB on European Geography.  I also plan to coordinate cooking lesson into our geography studies this year.  Instead of a main lesson BOOK, for this block I plan to have them create a portfolio.

Literature/Drama:  Focus on Shakespeare.  Additionally, Peep #2 would like to participate in another play (a few years back she had a small role in our local high school’s performance of The Music Man) so we’ll be looking into that.

At this point the breakdown looks like this:

September- Rome

October- Middle Ages

November- Renaissance

December- Literature

January- Astronomy

February- Geography

March- Age of Exploration, Business Math

April- Physics

May- Geometry

June- Geology

This is a LOOSE plan, and subject to change!

Daily Skill Practice:

Language Arts:  Vocabulary from Classical Roots A (Peep #2) and B (Peep #1);  Spelling workbook (haven’t decided which yet); oral and written reports, grammar (using Home Learning Year by Year as a guide).  Peep #1 will also complete an eight grade project, as outlined in the above mentioned guide.

Math: Peep #1 will continue working from Saxon 8/7 as well as Mathematics around us.  I plan to purchase or print out daily skill practice worksheets or workbooks for Peep #2.  Peep #1 has been playing around with Scratch, and I’d like him to explore more computer programming this year.

Logic:  The Art of Argument


French:  I want to do more with this this year!  We always let it slide.  I’ve scheduled 3 half hour blocks for french weekly.


Peep #2 wants to continue knitting.  I want her to pick something that we can work on together to finish since her weakness with handwork is actually completing projects!  It worked well us doing the unicorns together.  So we’ll choose something else to work on jointly this year.  She would also like to complete a sewing project, but that is still to be decided.  I’d also like her to play around with a small woodworking project.  I’m thinking about a wooden spoon…

Peep #1 is not a fan of knitting.  I may encourage him to do a very small project (a Harry Potter bookmark?) but won’t push it if he’s adamant.  He would like to do a couple of woodworking projects this year, and specifically mentioned making a belt rack for his karate belts, and I think that’s a terrific idea.  We’ll tackle that one first.  I want to also work on some basic sewing skills with both Peeps.  Sewing on a button and hemming a pair of pants are two things I’d like to see them be able to do by the end of the year.

Art:  I’m scheduling free time in the afternoons for unstructured Art (we’ll do more formal art in our MLBs)

In addition, they will be continuing with their regular activities:  field trips, karate, piano, life skills, science and history classes at local museums, and tennis (while the weather holds!).

Books & Activities from “Life School”

Grammar/Language Arts: Unjournaling, The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, Word Circus, Poem Crazy, Anguished English, Madlibs, Magnetic Poetry, Upwords, Scrabble, Bananagrams, creative writing (poems, stories, plays), journaling, book reports/biographies

Math: What’s Your Angle, Pythagorus?, Mathematicians Are People Too, Family Math, How Math Works, Cool Math, Real World Math, Math on Call, Yahtzee, S’math, Tangoes, Chess, Math Missions CD-ROM, banking, investing, making change, budgeting, recording and analyzing data

History: Roman History and Medieval History from Christopherus, The Age of Discovery and The Age of Revolution (Charles Kovacs) will be our primary texts.  We’ll be supplementing with the Horrible Histories Series, various biographies and history texts and videos

Geography: The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Book, Geography Coloring Book, map reading, Scrambled States, Borderline, Carmen Sandiego, post card project

Science: Astronomy and Geology by Charles Kovacs, Janice Vancleave’s Physics for Every Kid, The Manga Guide to Physics, The Reason for the Seasons, ADventures with Atoms and Molecules (v. 1&2), as well as various science encyclopedias, kits, and videos

Art:  Lives of the Artists and other biographies, picture study, Art Memo, Dover coloring books, Drawing with Children

Music: Lives of the Musicians and various biographies, listening to different kinds of music

Languages: Latin- Minimus, Secundus, Learning Latin Through Mythology; French (curriculum to be determined);  Peep #2 would like to continue playing around with Gaelic- BBC site

Life Skills: cooking, gardening, cleaning, shopping, animal husbandry, sewing, knitting, preserving, computer, email, typing, library skills

Supplemental Resources:

Daring Book for Boys/Girls

Girls/Boys Handibook

Magikal Crafts

Celebrating the Great Mother

Circle Round