Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Choose a Catholic Home School Curriculum

I  had a friend ask for input in choosing curriculum when starting out, so with a few updates, (including links to everything I mention!) I thought I would share with you what I shared with her.

As I was home-schooled myself,  I had a lot of first hand experience, plus saw what friends' families did..... so I thought had a pretty good background for choosing and implementing curriculum in our own home.

I thought I would keep the things I treasured growing up, but "improve" on things I didn't like. I had a lot of preconceived notions about what our home-school would be like. Everything would run like a well oiled engine, NO SICK days, my kids would always be obedient and respectful, and several years ahead of their peers in all subjects. And most of all, we would sit around the fire, reading aloud books for hours every day! (Are you laughing at my pre-children ideals yet?)

So far, the main thing I have kept is the Math curriculum Math U See (I LOVE Math U See, couldn't imagine ever using something different!!!!)

Every thing else has been trial and error. My best advice is to be flexible. Commit to something for just a year, but be willing to change it up if it doesn't work, even mid year.

Where to Start:
If you are just starting out, I think it helps if you narrow down what your style is (also keeping in mind your children's inclinations)

Do you like workbooks? The sense of accomplishment of checking off boxes, and an "official" organization telling you "this is how you do it"? Then you might like mail order curriculum. Of which their are many flavors, some more workbook based like Seton, Some more classical literature like Mother of Divine Grace, and some more gentle, like Catholic Heritage Curricula

Do you like to read aloud a lot? If you do, a Charlotte Mason style would suit you better. There are many resources, but not really "all in one packages" that you buy that are Catholic

There is a free online syllabus Mater Amabilis that I get a lot of inspiration from. I found it too complicated to do everything on their list though, especially once I had multiple school age children.... Ambleside Online is another (non- Catholic) resource for this style

Do you like craft projects and open ended study? Then you might like doing Unit studies or similar. That is what we are doing this year, with Catholic Schoolhouse, which is for multiple ages. (4 -10 years) It follows a 3 year cycle of history, where the art, religion, geography is all integrated (we are also using their science) We just add our own spelling and Math to it to make it a complete curriculum.

Do you hate schedules and pressure? Then explore Unschooling. While not the option that I prefer all the way through for my kids, this is what I myself did from 6th grade through high-school. I had one year of almost complete un-schooling my own kids when the twins were born, and it has benefits for sure, but I find I need a bit more structure to our days now.

I actually was interviewed for a friend's podcast, and I talk a lot about unschooling on it if you want to listen My Podcast Also check out John Holt's books (NOT Catholic, but some good insights)

No matter which way you choose, my ALL TIME FAVORITE book about homeschooling is A Little Way of Homeschooling by Suzie Andres  It is more of an un-schooling book, but I recommend it to everyone, because it really gives a glimpse into other families lives, and lets you know it's OK to find your own groove!

Monday, December 28, 2015

No, I didn't fall off the face of the Earth... (I promise!!)

So, after saying that I was going to really stick to doing a blog this time, I fell on my face. Again.....

Time to pick myself up, dust off and move on!

Life went a little crazy on me this fall. Turns out that buying our dream home, (A big old farm house!) fixing up aforementioned house, then moving in, takes every last ounce of emotional and physical energy you have!

Follow that up with the holidays, and kids getting sick between Thanksgiving and Christmas with Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease (for the second time in 6 months!!!) and that is where I have been!

So kicking things back off with a few pictures, and hoping to get posting on CSH 2nd quarter soon! (we squeezed in the first two weeks between the holidays, and will pick up on week 9 next week, So stay tuned!)
Moving Day!

Home on the Farm!

Christmas Morning Mass

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train / That Teenage Life Pt 2 & 3!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's:


And the last part of the kit:
Have fun with some journal cards, word art & decorations!

Find the rest of the Train here: Pixel Scrapper

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train / That Teenage Life Pt 1

I am absolutely thrilled to share with you my freebie for my first time fully participating in a Pixel Scrapper Blog train!!!!

For those of you unfamiliar with Pixel Scrapper: It is an awesome online community for designers, and every month the members put on a themed blog train, where you can hop around to the sites and download whichever pieces you like.

What do you do with the stuff? Glad you asked ;-) I primarily use them to make digital scrapbook pages that I print for our albums. But the possibilities are endless! Cards, school projects, online albums and more!

My first portion is a set of quick pages. When you download them, each page has "holes". You use your program of choice to layer it over your own pictures, Add some journaling and you are done!

Here they are! Since this is my first time, I expect there might be some bugs to work out... please let me know, so I can fix them!!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

CSH Week 1 Science / Botany

This is a little botany project I found on Pinterest that we finally got around to doing! 

 We pushed trains up it while we sang the song from Week 1
"Plants pick up nutrients and water from the earth, 
                                                  they move up the stem through the Xylem and Phloem, 
                                            Then respiration releases water, through the leaves Stomata."

Despite having a tub full of train tracks,
we didn't have enough "Y" pieces to make a big tree.
I still this it's recognizable as one though!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

CSH Week 4 - Science / Botany

4 Types of Seed Dispersal!

The small selection of seeds we were able to find...

We talked about inventions, like Velcro, that were inspired by plants

Departed from the lesson plans a bit here... I didn't have CD cases, or a place to put them while they sprouted. I remembered seeing a plastic baggy experiment on Pinterest, so we did that instead. It was super easy! I mostly followed directions from here: planting-and-growing-beans-in-our-preschool-window  I will update later with a photo of our results. 

Baggies, Cotton balls, Water & Beans

N4 LOVED doing the experiment!

Actually they all loved it!

Update!! Here are our bean sprouts on the 5th day!!

CSH Week 2 / 3 Art - Bull Leaping Fresco

      Hi there! Falling a bit behind on posts, but hope to catch everything up soon. Turns out that homeschooling takes up a big chunk of my day ;-)

     I did want to point out that the post titles refer to what week in the lessons plans our project are from, to make them easier to search. My plan for this year is 2 weeks of CSH, 1 week review. Which has really looked like 2 days one week, 3 days the next, Family vacation, 1 full week.... You get the picture; we just do our best to roll with it!

      For art this week we tackled the Bull Leaping Fresco from Week 2. I changed it up a bit, instead of using muslin, I used some burlap I had laying around. We also used 5 minute drywall plaster we had in the garage, both seemed to work just fine!

Step 1: Sketching our Designs

N4 Mixing Drywall Mud

Gloves on! Ready to Roll. We spread the plaster on our cloths

Time to etch an outline

E2's Bull
      You can see in this picture how deep the outline is. We decided that didn't work well, and ended up smoothing more plaster over everyone's project so we could make the impressions lighter.

     Although we intended to only do the plaster as directed, my oldest, L1, REALLY wanted to paint right away (we read somewhere else that frescoes were painted on WET plaster, so that's how he wanted to do it.) So we dove into the Week 3 part right away!
L1 painting!

N4 LOVED spreading his favorite color yellow ALL over!

E2 decided to use lots of color.

N3 Painting
L1's               E2's
N3's               N4s
I took the liberty of painting a bull over the lovely
background N4 made :-)