04 September 2012

Read Alouds

I Love Read Alouds!

When I was in school, my favourite time of the day was when the teacher read aloud to us.  When I was in college, preparing to be an elementary school teacher, I looked forward to reading aloud to my students.  When I became a mother, I began reading aloud to my baby.  When I began to homeschool, I continued to read aloud to my children.  When I went to work full-time for a year, I didn't have the energy for daily reading aloud, and I missed it!  When I was able to cut back to part-time, I reclaimed read alouds.

Although they overlap somewhat; I differentiate our Morning Time Reading from our Read Alouds this way:
  • MT Readings are chosen by me to be read and discussed.  I read them in small bits and bites, occasionally even using only portions of a book.  They are more often non-fiction, but not always.
  • Read Alouds are simply me reading out loud while the children listen.  They are usually fictional chapter books which we read through, a chapter a day, with little or no discussion.  Some of them are assigned books from History Quest; some are chosen by me, and some of them are chosen by the kids.
I use picture books for both MT and RA; I firmly believe that there is no age limit for a good picture book!

Here is our current Read Aloud list:

03 September 2012

Our Homeschool Studies

Today I was working on my plans for Morning Time and preparing a post about it.  Well, that post was getting so cluttered up with my explanations that I have decided to do a small series of posts in an attempt to give you a picture of what homeschool looks like for our family.

We have seven children, five still living at home, and three still homeschooling: a 14yo son, a 12yo son, and a 10yo daughter.  My brother-in-law also lives with us.  My husband works from home, and I work part-time outside of home.  We also participate in a homeschool enrichment program, History Quest, where I teach 3rd & 4th graders.  My 18yo daughter, 16yo daughter, and brother-in-law all have jobs but not driver's licenses, so I am in and out a lot, giving them rides.  This means that our routine must be fairly flexible.

Here, then, is the basic structure of my week:
  • Monday~ The younger 3 and I are at History Quest all day.
  • Tuesday~ I am home in the morning, and I work in the afternoons.
  • Wednesday~ I am home in the morning, and I work in the afternoons. 
  • Thursday~ I work in the morning, and I get home a little after 2.
  • Friday~ I am home.

And here are the components that make up our days:
Morning Time & Read Alouds: These are the pillars of our studies, built up of good books; beautiful art, music, and poetry; and thoughtful discussion.  They are what I have always done and will always do.  They are the reasons I homeschool and the reasons I love it. 
Independent Work assigned by me: I try to keep this fairly minimal: copywork, spelling, and grammar for the younger ones; logic and rhetoric for the older ones; and math.
History Quest Assignments: These cover history and geography, literature and writing, science, and cultural arts.
Personal Pursuits:  I try to create time and space for these, and I want to encourage my children in them.

I hope to do a post about each of these, beginning with Morning Time.

Morning Time ~ Autumn 2012

Here are my plans for Morning Time, which we will begin tomorrow. (oops, that should be next Tuesday!) 
We do MT on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.
When the weather cools, I want to include a Morning Walk!
  • Prayer 
  • Hymns:
    • All Things Bright and Beautiful
    • This Is My Father's World
    •  For the Beauty of the Earth
  • 10yo daughter reads from Rod & Staff Bible Reader: Job, Psalms, and Proverbs
  • Scripture Memory: 
    • Genesis 1
    • Psalm 19
    • Books of the Old Testament
  • The Ten Commandments in Verse by Elton Trueblood :
Above all else love God alone;
Bow down to neither wood or stone.
God's name refuse to take in vain;
The Sabbath rest with care maintain.
Respect your parents all your days;
Hold sacred human life always.
Be loyal to your chosen mate;
Steal nothing neither small nor great.
Report, with truth, your neighbor's deed;
And rid your mind of selfish greed.

  • Ambleside Online Poetry selections for September, October, November, and December
  • Watch Latin video (we are using First Form by Memoria Press)
  • Latin recitation & flashcard drill
  • Review math facts & phonograms

Friday Fine Arts Extended Morning Time:
  • Art History: We will be watching & discussing a series of youtube videos beginning with this one:
  • Classical Music:
There are a few things that have been a part of MT in the past or that I want to include in the future, but for now they are on hold.  I do plan to add these at some later point:

01 September 2012


The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

-   John Updike


Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.

-  William Wordsworth

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes

Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,

In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning

The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

 By all these lovely tokens
 September days are here,
 With summer's best of weather,
 And autumn's best of cheer.

 But none of all this beauty
 Which floods the earth and air
 Is unto me the secret
 Which makes September fair.

T'is a thing which I remember;

To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

-  Helen Hunt Jackson