Homeschool Posts

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ramblings and a Resource...

A dear friend of mine has commented that we should try the classical approach...this is actually one of the things my son is rebelling against! I'm afraid I may have given the impression that we are chained to textbooks and proper sequencing and all that jazz...Ha...Pardon me for I minute while I ramble a bit about my plight...

One book David is particularly "bored" by is In Search of a Homeland by Penelope Lively, a great retelling of the Aeneid for ages 9-12 with beautiful illustrations. He disliked Olivia Coolidge's Trojan War as well. But hand him a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book and he's set! (Even the original facsimiles from the 20's-30's, not just the dumbed down ones that were published later.)

I think there is a lot of value in Charlotte Mason's approach to using living books, and he's okay with that, until it comes to the narration...it's like pulling teeth. But he does get so much more out of it when he uses what he's heard or read in some way. I even tried having him just draw a scene or something from a book we read aloud together or he reads to himself...you would think I was banishing him to a dark, dank dungeon to hear him carry on! I tried taking a nature walk and looking to see how many different textures we could find and learning about why different things have different textures, simple, no pressure. My little ones loved it, but David moped and complained bitterly the entire time.

My husband has suggested that perhaps David really needs to go back to SCHOOL (he attended our local Catholic school for kindergarten and 1st grade), but he actually cries at the mention of going to school.

I will say that the first half of last year went much more smoothly when I took a much more hands-on approach with him---we created our own lapbooks and board games from scratch and our math was very hands on, but with my younger children wanting to "do school" more and the prep time taking more time than the lesson time, I was becoming burnt out and starting shifting to a more independent learning approach for David. Maybe he just isn't ready for that. To some extent, it's growing pains. After all, it's hard to be the oldest child, you have a lot of responsibilites and your parents have a lot of expectations for you---this is something I know from personal experience.

So I've decided that this year we will go back to a more hands-on approach including the little ones as much as possible, and Mom will just have to find an outlet to stay sane. Like this blog. Okay, end of ramble, read on...

I am always looking for new resources (especially free ones) and a friend of mine mentioned this one on a yahoo group recently: www.ellenjmchenry.com My friend actually sent a link to the free downloads there, but I took a look at the rest of the site and thought it was well worth sharing the whole thing. It's called Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop. Here's a little about Ellen from her "about me" page:

Ellen is the mother of four and has been homeschooling and teaching science to students in grades 2-8 for the past 15 years. She lives in Central Pennsylvania and is a founder and co-director of Solid Foundation Educational Association. Ellen began her inventing career at age 4, pounding nails into pieces of wood. As a teenager, she turned her family's pingpong table into a workshop that produced miniature dollhouse furniture and Star Wars costumes (and Chewbacca is still in a box in the attic)...

During her career as a "starving artist," she did the illustrations of a few of Dover's wonderful coloring books. You can take a look at her "published works". She also has some sophisticated science curricula for sale for grades 4-8. My kids are not quite ready for brain chemistry yet, but if you click on her "free products to download," you'll find a great collection of games and activities she created herself to help her own kids learn concepts about science, geography, latin, etc. One of the things we will be using is her "Digging up Greece" game. The game board is a map of Ancient Greece (the pdf file includes full-color and outline versions) and the object is to collect facts about Ancient Greece. Along the way, you'll also learn about the geography of the area. David looooves games. I also plan to use her "Storm the Castle" game which reviews basic math facts. The idea is that all the players are storming the castle together by solving math problems to get at the "booty" (whatever treat you choose to hide in the castle).

Please leave me a comment if you try out some of these resources and like them (if you don't like them, at least they are free!)

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