When choosing resources for our home education journey I consider our overarching aims and goals, the young person/people I am guiding, our budget, and my headspace. My headspace is important because if I am not in a good headspace, then resources which require intensive organisation or parental involvement are not the right resource for that time. When considering the best resources for our family I first research resources written by/for the homeschooling family. These tend to remain flexible in how they can be implemented, are applicable for a wide age range, and encourage a combination of parental involvement and independent study. The post titled Year 11: Making Plans is a list of the resources I plan to use at some point during the year ahead with my 16 year old.
Here I share some new-to-me resources we are trialling this year and some resources that help me, as a home educating Mama, continue to grow in my own understanding and teaching ability and thus continue growing and learning with my teens.
New Resources for 2017
1) Visits To .... Geography course (Simply Charlotte Mason)
2) Physics for the Logic Stage (Elemental Science)
3) Poetics and Progym I (Cottage Press)
4) Introductory Logic by James Nance
We are into week 3 of using these new resources, so I don't have too much to say about them now - except that first impressions are positive. I have a plan to write up reviews on all of these closer to Easter, when we have experienced them all a little longer and I have a better idea of how they fit for us this year.
For now I'll tease you with this simple list. And a question or two -
Have any of you used these resources? How did you like them?
Resources for Me
What we give to our children in this life of learning we need to replenish within ourselves so that our own wonder and wisdom does not shrivel up and die. The well is no good if it's not full of water. The ongoing nourishment of our hearts and minds overflow into the nourishment of our childrens hearts and minds. This is true for the new and the seasoned homeschooling Mama.
1) Podcasts - Close Reads, A Perpetual Feast, and A Delectable Education are three podcasts I keep returning to at the moment. They make me laugh, they make me think, and they keep me enthusiastic in my ongoing learning and teaching.
2) Literature Guides - I began collecting these books a couple of years ago to assist me in my planning and guiding of our literature discussions. These books I generally read myself, occasionally sharing excerpts, and referencing key ideas as I continue to be stretched by our literature selections.
How To Read the Bible As Literature;
Miniatures and Morals - The Christian Novels of Jane Austen;
Brightest Heaven of Invention - A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays;
Heroes of the City of Man - A Christian Guide to Select Ancient Literature;
Invitation To The Classics - A Guide to the Books You've Always Wanted to Read
3) Habit & Memory - A while back I posted some thoughts on Habit and Memory and their relation to life and learning. I am continuing to wade deeper into these ideas, and discovering the pool here is both deep and broad. Delightful.
Once upon a time you might have visited our house and found three little girls scattered about reading, painting, drawing, playing with dolls or lego, creating mini-movies, climbing trees, making Indian camps in the garden, or picking flowers. We might have been laying in the sunshine with a chicken in our lap and a book laid out in front of us. We might have been snuggled on the couch together reading aloud, or watching a movie together. We might have been dancing and singing while we did a spot of housecleaning.
Our days look different now. Our lifestyle of learning has grown and changed with the years. We look more organised for one thing. And we are a little more diligent in sticking to our plans. We make greater use of text books, grading rubrics, and end-of-unit tests and projects, and I spend a great deal of time keeping records, marking tests and projects, and putting together a work portfolio in order to create a home education certificate. These are the years I feel most 'teacherly'.
With a new plan and new resources, which should mostly carry us through the next two years, our 'school' day looks pretty close to a standard school day at the moment. We are spending the hours roughly between 9am and 3pm at the dining table reading, discussing, writing, and drawing together. For this first term I will be working with my 16 year old as she learns to navigate higher level learning and stretching herself academically. By the second term, we will have worked out what she can continue working on independently and what she will need continued guidance for.
Group learning also holds a place of importance in our week. Each Friday we meet with about half a dozen teens for tutoring in History, Science, Maths, and Logic. This gives us opportunity for social interaction, group-dynamic learning, working with tutors, and completing home study assignments in an organised and timely fashion.
However our day-to-day changes, we have kept certain long-term goals in mind, which I put together back in 2003, when I first registered for home education, and have kept as part of my yearly plan for the HEU.
Long Term Goals:
When .............. has completed her 12 years of Home Education, I hope to see the following fruit evident in her life:
It's good to take the time and reflect on these long-term ideas. To note the twists and turns along our way, to contemplate work completed and work left undone. To recognise honestly both success and failure in different areas and to realise that God continues to work faithfully in us and our children through it all. To give thanks for our journey as family learning together.