It’s time for the 9th Back to Homeschool Blog Hop! Are you ready for the new homeschool year? We are, almost. The mere idea of teaching multiple subjects to four different grades is exhausting. So a few years ago, I opted to combine subjects and curriculum when possible. We adjust the workload and expectations depending on the girl’s ability and interest, and not on their grade level. Right from the start, the girls are involved in the curriculum choice process. This helps take a little of the pressure off me, and helps them become more accountable for their own education. Before overwhelming you with our middle & high school curriculum choices, you should know that our homeschool style is a combination between the Classical Education Method and the Charlotte Mason Philosophy. Therefore our curriculum choices will reflect a bit of both. We call it Classical Charlotte Mason. You can read more about it here. Something else you ought to know, is that we’re huge fans of history, science and the arts. Therefore you’ll see a larger selection of resources in those areas. Here is some of the middle and high school curriculum we’re using this year: Artist, Composer, Nature andREAD MORE

Classical Charlotte Mason Homeschooling & Resources

There are many arguments for and against teaching Shakespeare, I chose to share one of each. First up, is an article published in the Washington Post, quoting a high school teacher who does not feel a need to teach it to her students. You can read it here. Next, is an article written by a homeschool mother, who was leery at first, but eventually incorporated teaching the Bard in her home. You can read that article here. I introduced Shakespeare sort of by accident during our first homeschool year, and it’s become our favorite subject since. I sometimes threaten to cancel Shakespeare for a week when chore and other lessons are incomplete, and the mere though of not being able to read their favorite thing is enough to get everyone back on track. Classical Charlotte Mason Shakespeare Resources Many of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are also available in modern English. I’d recommend sticking with the original language, as long as it makes sense to you and your family, and switch to the modern version when/if necessary. One last thing to remember is that Shakespeare occasionally used lewd language, and included some themes that may be inappropriate for younger children. PleaseREAD MORE

Classical Charlotte Mason

Music and art are important components of both a Classical and a Charlotte Mason education. In classical education they are a part of embodied learning –  where children learn to cultivate the love for truth, goodness and beauty. In the Charlotte Mason education is the science of relations – so we the child upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art. With that said, it’s crucial we expose children not only to science, technology and math, but also to the art of beauty. Classical Charlotte Mason Art & Music Resources There’s a great deal of art and music resources on the web. Here’s a list of what we’ve used, loved and are looking forward to this year. Ambleside Online – We typically follow the art & composer terms as listed on their website. Ambleside Online, also provides links to resources for each piece of art listed on their website. SQUILT – For music appreciation. It stands for Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time. We’ve been using the SQUILT idea from day one. You can learn more here. Gentle Guitar – For music theory and guitar lessons. We’re starting this fall. You can even sign up for a free lesson to try it out. ClassicREAD MORE

Classical Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason believed children should spend many hours exploring and learning outdoors. However, this is not very realistic in our time. Specially for those of us who live in the city or in the suburbs. What we have done instead, is allowed ourselves time for a nature outings on Fridays. We’ve had the chance to explore farms, gardens, hiking trails and beaches. We study science more traditionally (books, experiments, directions, etc.) the rest of the week. Here’s a list of our favorite nature study, elementary and upper level science resources. Favorite Nature Study Science Resources Nature Study Books – There’s lots of great books you can use to guide you. Our favorite, because of it’s simplicity and illustrations is Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for a chance at winning one for yourself. Field Guides – In a constant effort to constantly cut the weight and amount of luggage we tend to take on nature hikes, I’ve stopped packing up traditional field guides. Instead we use apps to help us identify plants, tracks and birds along the way. The apps we are using are Audubon California Bird Guide, Wildflowers Along the Way, Track Lite, Plant-O-MaticREAD MORE

Classical Charlotte Mason

We’ve developed a great love for history these past four years. History has come alive, and we’ve discovered so much about our ancestors, culture and our country. We spend an average of 3 hours a day on history alone, and it very often feels like just a few minutes. History is no longer a list of dates to be memorized, and dry facts we constantly forget. Our view of history has changed thanks to great curriculum and wonderful books, some of which we hope help you develop a longing to learn more about the past. Favorite Classical Charlotte Mason History Resources History Revealed Diana Waring’s the History Revealed series has been a game changer in our homeschool. I can honestly say that at one point, we’d rather see the dentist, than to think about history. Thanks to History Revealed, we’ve grown to LOVE history. We spend a great deal of our time in it. Please check it out. Notgrass History We will be using the Exploring America, and America the Beautiful curriculum this year. This is Christ-centered history, written by passionate authors. Both of this series, include a great list of living books to go along each lesson. Ambleside OnlineREAD MORE

Classical Charlotte Mason

Dictionary-dot-com, defines language arts as the skills, including reading, composition, speech, spelling, and dramatics, taught in elementary and secondary schools to give students a thorough proficiency in using the language. In conventional schools, this results in an abnormal detachment of these arts (composition, speech, spelling, grammar, etc.). However both the Classical and Charlotte Mason methods rely heavily on the influence of literature, as a basis for mastering these arts. Most experienced writers will suggest reading more, in order to become a better writer. In the words of Jeff Goins: Nothing inspires a writer like reading someone else’s words. Great Literature and Living Books Great literature evokes emotion, it pulls the reader in, making it almost impossible to put the book down. Great literature makes the reader an active participant in the story. On day two of our series, we briefly discussed living books, as Charlotte Mason saw them, and today I came across a blog post that in my opinion gave the best explanation of what a living book is and how to spot one. Have you ever seen The Never Ending story? It’s the story of Bastian who goes on the journey of a lifetime as he reads the story of another boy, very different fromREAD MORE

How I Teach Apologetics In Our Homeschool

It’s no secret apologetics are a crucial part of our homeschool. I’ve shared on previous occasions the reasons why having a biblical foundation is critical to prevent losing our kids to the world. Teaching Apologetics Is A Priority in Our Homeschool I picked up Already Gone by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer after a conference a few years ago. In this book, Ken and Britt uncover the reasons why young people are loosing their faith, even while attending Sunday school. I’ve read it a few times over the years and the statistics are eye-opening. In the last three years, I’ve seen a rapid increase in the number of kids we once knew as good church kids, walk away from the church and from Christ. This realization, prompted me to be more intentional about preparing my girls to defend their faith in the event it would ever be questioned. I formally introduced apologetics in our homeschool this spring. How I Teach Apologetics and How You Can Too We spend a dedicated 30 to 45 minutes twice a week discussing topics like the reliability of the Bible, a literal 6 day creation, the existence of God, absolute truth, etc. We start our time with prayer, followed by a quickREAD MORE

Homeschooling From A Biblical Worldview

I often get asked why we chose homeschooling from a biblical worldview, and though the reasons were many, one of them always stands out. Whatever You Do A few years ago; when all six of our kids attended public school; one of my girls had an exceptional love for God, and a desire to make Him known. Her teacher had declared the first 20 minutes back from recess as quiet reading time and each child chose anything they wanted. Comic books, magazines, picture books, etc. She chose her Bible. Her teacher never discouraged her, and many of the other kids were curious. One day she brought an extra Bible from home, and gifted it to a classmate. Her classmate’s father took offense and my daughter’s Bible was immediately banned from reading time. How do you explain to my eight-year-old, that her favorite book was so threatening? Years later when homeschooling went from maybe someday, to a current reality my husband and I decided God would be the center, and the Bible that was once banned from my daughter’s classroom would be the basis of our learning. We would homeschool from a Biblical worldview. A few months ago I shared how I use the Bible asREAD MORE

Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale!

As we near the end of the school year, and make plans for next year’s curriculum it’s time to make a little space of the bookshelves. As much as I’d like to keep expanding the collection, I don’t have much room for another book case. Here’s some stuff we loved, but no longer use. How it Works If you are interested in any of the curriculum you see here, send an email with your name, books you’re interested in, PayPal email, and your zip code to info@themusingsofmum.com. Please note that shipping costs are not included in the prices listed below. All curriculum will be sent via USPS Media Mail, and I will provide a shipping cost estimate via email prior to invoicing. All sales are final, books are sold as-is, please research before you buy. ** Payments accepted via PayPal only. ** There’s a lot more than just this on my shelves. Bookmark this page and check back in the next few weeks. I’ll be adding to this collection periodically. This list was updated on July 27th Exploring Creation with Astronomy $7.00 Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics $7.00 Easy Grammar Grade 11 $4.00 Easy Grammar Grade 12 $4.00 Walch Science HealthREAD MORE

This week I had the opportunity to preview the “Is Genesis History?” documentary. Is Genesis History? is a compelling documentary that makes a case for the reliability of scripture. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know I’m a huge advocate of teaching children apologetics and defending a Biblical worldview. (I received a digital copy of this film for review purposes, all opinions are my own.) More importantly my goal is to encourage you to teach your children to take the Bible literally. Every. Single. Word. The Bible tells us that: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17  Go back and read that one more time, but this time read it out loud and focus on these three words: all, complete, every. These words speak of absolutes, therefore we must take them as such. The passage does not say “some scripture is given by inspiration of God….that the man of God may be unfinished, thoroughly equipped for a little bit of work”.  If it did not many of usREAD MORE

How Mr. D Math Eliminated Our Homeschool Math Fears

** I was compensated for my time reviewing this product and writing this review All opinions are my own. You can see my full disclosure here. After a very long and frustrated venting session on a Facebook group a few months ago, a homeschool mom suggested Mr. D Math. I finally got the opportunity to try the Mr. D Math curriculum hands on. I failed Algebra I my freshman and sophomore years of high school; then somehow passed the following year. I’m convinced my math teacher awarded me that glorious D minus out of pure pity. I’d love to say that my struggle with math ended in high school, but unfortunately the lack of ability to comprehend math concepts, was passed on to my kids. All six of them. The day we decided to homeschool, the struggle became fear. The thought of having to teach the kids math terrified me. It was almost a deal breaker. I could barely help my 4th grader with public school homework, I didn’t want to imagine having to teach my high schoolers Algebra. By the time Mr. D math was suggested, we had tried several different methods and curriculum. Though some methods were working wellREAD MORE

These 10 free must have apps would allow our homeschool to run un-interrupted even if we had to get rid of all the printed curriculum we currently own.  1. Livribox We had been using the subscription based Kindle Unlimited and Audible until we heard about this free app. Livribox features free public domain audiobooks, in multiple languages and versions read by volunteers. We’re not just enjoying listening, but a couple of my girls are actually interested in becoming volunteers. 2 .Evernote Evernote is a virtual notebook that keeps your notes, files, bookmarks, and reminders neatly organized. I admit it took a little bit of time to get used to, and I didn’t like it at all at one point, but now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, it is the number one tool in my homeschool. I organize lesson plans, put courses together, create sharable files and tests for my girls, etc. The paid version allows you to access files offline, this paid feature came in handy when homeschooling during a move and while traveling last year. 3. Google Docs & Google Drive Google Docs gives you the ability to create, share and edit spreadsheets and word files in real-time.READ MORE

100 Books For Your Middle Schooler

    My dad encouraged me to read great books at a very young age. I didn’t always understand what was going on, but I did develop a deep love for books. I remember him urging me to read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne when I was just seven! It was well beyond my years, however I re-read it at age 12 and I was surprised at how much I remembered it and enjoyed it. The following, is a list of great books my kids and I have read and loved. I asked all six of them for their input, so I assure you this is not a list of complete randomness. We actually own, have read and recommend these. I’ll also be giving away 3 of our favorites, look for details at the end of this post. On To The Middle School Book List A word of caution before you purchase any of these, I’ve had middle schoolers for 10 years now, some more mature than others, so please be mindful of some adult themes on some of these books. Shakespeare for example may not be appropriate for everyone. God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew Jack and Jill by Louisa May AlcottREAD MORE

(This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.)   After trying various homeschool curriculum and philosophies (traditional, classical, Charlotte Mason, un-schooling, etc.), we realized that like many other families our style didn’t really fit into any one single box. Our learning style has evolved over time, and we’ve finally come up with our own “philosophy”. We consider ourselves interest-led-classical-charlotte-mason-homeschoolers. Maybe we should come up with an acronym for that one. What this means to us, is that the girls are very involved in choosing curriculum, field-trips, and any other learning activities. We borrow ideas from different styles, and come up with customized educational plans. Our curriculum choices for this year, are very similar to last year. For the most part, we stuck to publishers we know and love. Also we enjoy learning as a family, so we use the one-room-schoolhouse-approach on some subjects.  Here are our choices for our 2016-2017 school year: 5th Grade Curriculum Math After nearly 3 years of Teaching Textbooks, the we decided to give Life of Fred a try as a supplement. We fell in love with the stories immediately, and before we knew it Fred was a regular topic of conversation at the dinnerREAD MORE

10 Days of Back to School Planning

Months before we started our first year of homeschooling I was completely overwhelmed by the incredible amount of choices in homeschool curriculum. It wasn’t just that were was tons to choose from, but also that there were so many different styles and philosophies. I was drowning in catalogs, and I doubted if I had heard the call to homeschool at this point. Today we’ll discuss how to choose the right homeschool curriculum for your family.READ MORE