This week I'm going to share with you our curriculum choices for the upcoming year. A lot of this is new to us so I can't really recommend it, just share our plans. But this first one we have used and will continue to.
Our favorite privilege in homeschooling is the chance to sit for hours and read aloud to our children. As I type right now my husband is reading to the boys. We LOVE to read together. In this post I share some of the things the kids do while reading- like pattern blocks etc. Often they'll just sprawl out and get lost in the story. So first on our list every year is what are we going to read together and individually. I don't always plan this out down to the book, often just have a loose plan.
This fall we will be using Read for the Heart for most of our reading selections. I love Sally Clarkson and this book is written by her daughter Sarah who grew up being educated through great "living books". What are "living books"? I'll get to that in a minute! First I'll tell you this book is a book of books!! It's alot like Honey For a Child's Heart. It has lists of books with brief explanations or summaries. It has everything from picture books to poetry, history and biographies. I love this book. We will use this book to find fun read alouds and books that will help us dig deeper into our history program.
I'll try to keep this brief, but what is a "living book"? Living book is a term used by Charlotte Mason. It's the difference between a boring text book and a great story! A living book usually has only one author who is passionate about their subject. It is not a book written by a group trying to figure out what's most important to know about, say, a butterfly. It would be a book written by one person who LOVES butterflies! They would draw you into their passion and enthusiasm and while there you would learn and remember more about butterflies then you ever dreamed! While trying to explain this to Paul when we first started homeschooling I picked up some books about George Washington and told him to join me and the boys and just watch. I started off reading some cute kids books about George Washington. A lot of facts and pieces of different stories. The usual. I then would just stop at some odd point and say, "Ok, lets see what this other book tells us." No big deal they just listened while they sat. Then I pulled out George Washington's Breakfast. In this book a little boy who shares not only his name but his birthday with George Washington decides to find out what THE George Washington ate for breakfast. In his quest you dive through all sorts of interesting facts about George Washington but they are not dry facts, they are fun and interesting to this little boy and to the reader. About mid-way through this book I put it down and said, "Ok, lets move on." I suddenly had a lot of protests and looked over to see two little boys on their knees leaning forward with eager faces dying to know what came next. Then I laughed to see my husband joining their protest! He wanted to know the end too! That's a living book! It will appeal to young and old. It can be a biography, a history or even just a fun fictional story but whatever it is it will fill you. Once I discovered the difference between books and living books I became one of those mom's who would be willing to feed her family beans for a week so I could buy more books!! I LOVE books! I was not a huge reader as a kid but as an adult I can't get enough and neither can my kids!
Where do you find living books? Well, the book I mentioned above that we are using is a great resource. Sonlight is known for having great living books which is why we used their curriculum this year. You can check out their recommendations. Simply Charlotte Mason is a great resource as well as things by recommended Karen Andreola and Sally Clarkson. Karen Andreola has a great book of her own called Pocket Full of Pinecones which is a ficitional book about a mom's beginning journey homeschooling trying to implement Charlotte Mason's techniques and style.
So that's our first big choice for the coming school year which for us will start the first week of August. Later this week I'll share our history, language, literature, science and math choices.
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