Sunday, December 13, 2009

When things don't go as planned.

A lot has been happening here at Maple Hill Academy. Of course, they were all unexpected, and included things such as sickness. Besides not having time to Blog (which I'm sure you all noticed) - it has put us behind our homeschool plan.

It would be easy to panic at this point - especially as I expect to be very busy around the end of June, meaning that further delay may stop us from completing the entire year.

So - what do you do when things don't go as planned?

As "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" would say "DON'T PANIC!"

Especially in Year 1, there are really only a few things that I feel need to be completed to keep us over-all on track. Those are the good old-fashioned 3R's.... Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic. Is your student learning their math? Is he learning to read? Is he learning to write? Even if you don't finish the whole program, if those are well on track by the end of the year, you have succeeded. And the chances are, your student will have learned a LOT more then that. "Gaps" won't be a huge deal -- remember that even at public school, if a student is sick - he just misses anything learned that day. At least in subjects like math that are sequential, we can make sure our student doesn't miss some important concept!

Even in the later years, if you end up having to skip a reading book, or miss a chapter or two of the history book, I think your student will still be far ahead.

So, what is my revised plan? We will just keep working with the schedule - who cares that we are not on the week that I wanted to be? At the end of the year, I can see where we are at. For stuff like Math, I have the choice of starting Year 2 wherever we have stopped in Year 1 - or we could spend a little bit of summer time finishing it up. For other subjects, that are not so sequential, I can decide to either skip some items - or for some of the reading books we could always read them together during the summer. Again, our choice.

I think the main thing is not to panic - not to get frustrated - not to let the student know that he is behind - and not to throw out the program!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Year 0 Music

On a message board I frequent, there was a question on what a mom can do about music instruction with their Year 0 (and Year K) children when they can't afford lessons and don't feel confident enough to teach them themselves. This mom did intend their children to do Piano when they were older. Here is my response.

What you can do at home on your own may depend a lot on what music skills you (or other family members) already have. Listening to good classical music is a HUGE part of music education, even if you can't do anything else. That can make a huge difference when the child later learns an instrument. Find quality recordings by good artists. (I'd buy the Suzuki CD's for the Piano, or whichever instrument you are thinking of for the future - even if you don't plan to do Suzuki.)

And as hard as it can be for an adult - for year 0 kids, I would say that repetition can be more important than a huge selection. (My 18 month old "sings" the notes to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Allegro" because she hears them so often. (My older kids do Suzuki violin, and the oldest is doing home-taught piano based on Suzuki Piano. So we listen to the CDs for Violin 1 and 2, and the CDs for Piano 1 and 2 every day) (As violin has 6 different rhythm variations of Twinkle on the CD, and Piano has 8 Twinkle variations on the CD - my 18 month old hears a variation of Twinkle 14 times a day at least from the CD's - and then hears it at least a couple of times from daily practice of the older kids.))

I know that not everyone can afford lessons..... but look into bursaries. A lot of programs out there do have bursaries or scholarships for people that need it. Sometimes deals can be worked on a barter system, if you have a skill that the instructor could use.

For older kids, some Orchestra's have programs to help teach kids musical instruments that aren't as "popular" - ones where there tends to be a shortage of players for the orchestra... (Things like Bassoon, or Oboe, or Tuba - I'm not sure which ones but there are ones out there...)

Back to what you can do now - besides the listening a lot - I would say that rhythm is a major thing. (If you do get the Suzuki CD's, you will here the Twinkle Variations that are different IMPORTANT rhythms in classical (and other styles) of playing. They were selected for a reason. I don't know the reasons for all of them, but as we go further in music, I see the rhythms over and over. Clap these, or other rhythms. Get some cheap rhythm instruments. We have used plastic coffee cans from Mike's for drums... we have real maracas, as well as some toy ones. Cheap tamborines from the $ store. Shakers. Some of this can be homemade - but I think that if you can get quality real ones, the sound is noticable. Practice "marching" to the beat. rhythm is SO important in music.

If you have a piano at home - start singing some of the notes. (make sure the piano is tuned!) Play a C key, and sing "Seaaaaa (C)" do the A key and sing "Aaaaaaa" (try to match the key). If you start doing this young enough, your child is very likely to develop "Perfect Pitch" which is loved by choir directors and music teachers of any instrument. If they don't develop "Perfect Pitch", they will probably still have a very strong "Relative Pitch", which is also very helpful. Note that you are not trying to teach the child where those keys are on the piano - you are teaching them that that tone or sound has a name, and this is the name.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Additions to Year 1

see here

In looking for more Canadian Content, I have found a couple of books that I am adding to Year 1.

They are both a picture book, but with a fair bit of story. These are free reads that shouldn't be missed!

  • "A Fiddle for Angus" - Budge Wilson. Based in the Maritimes, is about a boy that chooses to learn the fiddle so that he can play music with his family. (Note that one of the illustrations includes Natalie MacMaster - a famous Canadian fiddler)
  • "Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt" - Barbara Smucker Although mostly based in the States, a family moves to Upper Canada to avoid the Civil War. Generations of the family are tied together via a quilt.
Also for Year K, I have added "The Hockey Sweater" by Roch Carrier. You can hear the author read the story at the CBC archives!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yahoo Group for Files

I have created a Yahoo Group for important files. These will include Schedules, and copies of the out-of-copyright books being used in the curriculum.

Please join, and use the help!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book of Years

An important part of keeping Historical events straight for a student is a Book of Centuries. This is generally started in year 3 or 4 - before that either things are done with a family Book of Centuries, or else a Timeline or Timechart is used for the earlier years. (I think the timeline helps more with the continuity concept for the younger student.)

This is, of course, not a new concept. It is easily done with a page for every 50 years, causing a 100-year spread across the pages of a book. Many people will make the pages hold more years in the BC and earlier times, and hold less years in the later years - although I do wonder if that can cause confusion in the younger student.

I have also recently heard it suggested that for US (or Canadian) history, that a "Book of Decades" might be useful - because of the large number of things that occur in the last couple of centuries. I think this is a great idea.

Well, I had what I think is a great idea. I was thinking that we should make a "Book of Years" - actually a few of them. A 100 page book will give a beautiful space to put major events of each year of a person's life on a page. (even a 2 page spread). What a great way to learn about mom and dad during that portion of family history. And what a lovely way to keep track of each child's life - letting them pick out a few events to put in their book. I think this could create a treasured keepsake without a lot of work for "mom" as each child starts to take care of each of thier own "Book of Years".

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Computer Programming Resources

An "extra" subject that we have always planned to teach at Maple Hill Academy is Computer Programming. It has benefits similar to a new language, as well as logic and math concepts - as well as being potentially useful as a career. Mike asked recently about what we were going to do for it - and I suggested that we look into "logo".

Logo is a computer language that was developed years ago, in 1967, for educational purposes. It is designed to be easy for children to learn the basic concepts of programming, math, and logic. Although some implementations of Logo involve a turtle robot (from 1969 on), most places use a turtle "cursor" (often just a triangle shape) on the screen that draws a line as it moves. The student learns how to make the turle draw things. Although I have never used Logo myself, I am aware of it, and I do know that it is more powerful than just drawing pictures.

So, Here are some resources I have found. Logo can be learned (with help) from children that are even Kindergarten age.

Free Logo programming environment
(note there are other options out there if you do not like this one.)
(basically lesson plans for you!)

Another Logo resource - including links to download books.

A School's site on using Logo
- has some nice ideas / lessons. Possibly more friendly than the workshop.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nature Challenge 3

Well it was nice outside this morning, so we grabbed the chance to do the 3rd Challenge. Note that when I say it was nice out - it was sunny - but it was also only about 3C outside. I decided to draw our sunflowers, which are leaning way over, and some have lost most of the petals. Delta drew a leaf - and I'm not sure what Echo drew - she drew the leaf too, I think, but added a lot of scribbles.

I was going to post the drawings, but from the scanner it was pretty light and hard to see - and when I tried to put it on the blog I saw that you would never be able to see it at all. Not sure why the drawings came so faint.

btw - I am glad we went out this morning - the temperature dropped in the afternoon, and it was snowing on and off. It is snowing now, and I suspect that it might stay. Usually we get a few snowfalls that come lightly, and then melt the next day or so - but there is a fair bit of snow out there, so our first snowfall this year may also be the first to stay.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Narration Example

Well, we are in week 5 of Year 1 with Delta - and I thought I would share his latest narration. Keep in mind that he was my reluctant narrator that would always say "I can't remember". I had him draw a picture first - mainly because I had to check on Foxtrot right then. He then narrated while I wrote (I had to tell him to pause now and then because I couldn't keep up!) - and he more than filled the page...

How the Camel got his hump.

At the beginning of the world there was a camel named Bubbles. He didn't do any work and the dog came by and said "Will you fetch" and he said "Humph" and the horse came by and said "Will you carry stuff" then he said "Humph" again. Then an ox came by and he said "can you plow" and he said "Humph" and all of them said "the camel won't do anything and just says humph". and he said he has to work again. And the man came by and said "Bubbles, you have to work" then he magically made his hump there. When Bubbles saw his back he saw his hump.

(Delta noted afterwards that he got it backwards - the horse came first, then the dog, then the ox.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Great Weekend

Just wanted to say that we have had a great weekend.

First, Delta, along with other suzuki classmates, was asked to play before the Symphony this weekend. Basically, they played violin music in the lobby area as people came in. They had quite the audience - and they all did very well. We got 2 tickets for the symphony, and Delta loved it. He now wants to be a conductor when he is an adult.

I also got a package from Book Samaritan! They didn't send a lot (I don't think they get a lot of living books), but I did get a couple of books that will be great as they are on the Year 2 list (that I haven't finalized yet) - and I did get one of the Exploring Creation books too.

Oh, and Delta learned "May Song" on the violin in about 3 days. He learned a couple of parts of it from his teacher on Friday (with permission to finish it if he wanted) - and today he played it all the way through. (not at speed yet - but with no errors at a practice speed.) I'm impressed!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nature Challenge 2

Well, I had to adjust which day we are doing our Nature Study - but we have done Nature Challenge #2 now

We heard the wind: rustle; birds: cheep cheep

We saw: Huge Sunflowers

We felt: smooth, crunchy pinecone

The kids had a hard time of it - coming up with words that is...

I've looked ahead and I'm wondering a bit about Challenge 10, which is a picnic.... I think it will be a good Mid-November when we get to that one..... It'll probably be 40 below with my luck! I've camped (yes, tent camped) in winter so I know it is doable.... but will really have to think on it!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Suzuki Primer

I don't know if I will be able to write this as smoothly as what I had thought of the other day, but I'm going to do my best.

Sometimes being a Suzuki parent can be kind of confusing at first. Delta has been in the Suzuki violin program for 2 years now (starting his 3rd year), and Echo has started officially now too. It isn't the most experience out there, but on the other hand, I still remember the "fun" of being new... so here goes.

Rent or Buy
First thing first - your child will need a violin. You may need one too (depending on the implementation of the program.) When you look at the fact that your child is going to outgrow their violin, rental at first seems like a good choice. There may be times when that is still the best choice - but do some thinking first. How long are you likely to need a size of violin? Are there more children coming along that will need a violin too?

Where we are, you can get an excellent used child violin for around $250-$300. This is not necessarily a "concert grade" violin - but we have gotten used Suzuki brand violins for that price with a very good tone. Used violins can be gotten from a registry from your Suzuki group, or from music stores that rent or sell violins.

To rent a violin, on the other hand spreads the cost across the time, but you don't end up with anything for it. Where I am, the suzuki program has a limited number of rental violins for $10 a month.... and most of the stores rent violins for about $15 a month.

Delta was in the 1/16th violin for 2 years.... if we had rented for that time, even at the $10 a month, we would have paid out $240 in rental fees, and still not owned a violin. As you can usually "trade up" or resell the used violin for around 50 to 75% of what you paid for it if still in good condition (or even more) - it just doesn't make sense. Especially when you look at the fact that Echo is now using the violin, and probably Foxtrot will too.

For your adult violin, however, it is not as easy of a question. It depends on if you want to play on the long term or not. Assuming that the program where you are requires the parent to learn for a while, you will probably need a violin for at least the first year, possibly a couple. It might be worth buying an inexpensive violin, or you may just want to rent it.

Buying the Violin
One thing to keep in mind, is that the completion of sale should be based "On approval of the teacher." We have bought 2 violins - and we have taken 2 back for a different one. (1 was too big even though it was supposed to be the correct size - violin sizes are not totally standard. The other was ok, but the teacher said to see if there was a different one with better tone.) The store we have dealt with has been excellent at letting us get one that worked best for us.

I know that some of the other parents have bought violins through a mail-order place that the one teacher has recommended as having ok, inexpensive, violins. These violins were even less expensive than the ones I mentioned above, but are not as nice. One mom has bought very inexpensively off of ebay. There is a risk doing either of these, as you need to look at the shipping costs, especially if there is a problem with the violin and it needs to be returned. However, it is something to consider.

I have to learn too!
A lot of the suzuki programs require the parent (or "home teacher" - as you are called during practice time, etc) to learn the violin too, at least at the beginning. These seems to vary a bit from place to place - Some don't require it; some do until the child has earned their violin; some do until you have learned "Twinkle"; and some do further, until Perpetual Motion, or even the end of book 1. I've even heard of some that do until the child is passing the parent.

I personally looked forward to learning the violin, and I think I learned fairly quickly. I'm still working on it on my own (with the occasional check-in with the teacher.) I have to admit that it very quickly gave me an appreciation for how difficult it was to hold the violin correctly, how trying to move my bow straight didn't look the way I thought it would, and over-all just how difficult it is to keep track of everything. It made it a lot easier to work with Delta, and to sympathize when he said that his arm hurt, or that his fingers hurt.

Of course, the sympathy and the knowledge of how things are done is only part of why you are learning too - the main reason is that your child looks up to you and wants to do everything you do. By playing the violin, they want to emulate you and play it too. Also, if you practice daily, they see that as normal.

My child was given a BOX
Many suzuki programs start the child off with a Box violin (or a Boxilin) to work with. Especially the 3 to 5 year olds. It seems a bit weird to the parent at first - but it does make sense. It is a lot easier to see a child trying to hold the boxilin properly (with no hands) - and see it fall to the ground, than it is to watch a violin fall. (Although don't worry - you will for sure see the violin fall once or twice anyway!) The boxilin stage might last a couple of weeks - or it might last a few months - depending on the teacher and the child.

How long do we twinkle
Ok - this is hard to take at times - but you are probably going to listen to "Twinkle" every day from now on. (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) Oh - and there are 6 variations. These are different rhythm patterns. Each rhythm pattern teachers your child a rhythm they will need later on. Also, the teacher will probably use Twinkle to learn new techniques, or new rhythms. Delta has done a couple of extra patterns to Twinkle to prepare for a new song.

It will take some time for your child to learn how to Twinkle. How long will depend on a LOT of things, including their age. We really took almost 2 years.... partly because we had a few problems with Delta. (Feel free to read about it on my other blog - see the side for the link.)

It does occasionally get tiring - but on the other hand, that is something I like about Suzuki. That each song is learned and kept, instead of "thrown away". Each song gets to a point where it could be performed - and kept there.

Practicing can be a fun time - or it can become a battle. Don't make it a battle. We did ok the first year, but it wasn't every day, and some days it was a real challenge. I used a few games the teacher had given me - but the problem was that Delta would through a tantrum when an activity came up in the game that he didn't want to play.

With some observations from Mike, I made a few changes in the 2nd year, that helped. I would be VERY careful about making corrections (something I had tried to do) and always tried to find something valid to praise. I would play with him when I could (which wasn't easy at the pre-twinkle stage). I would call a concert and round up stuffies to be the audience. They would all clammer for their favourite songs...

Eventually I bought the "Step-by-Step" book and CD for book 1. It has accompaniment for each song at 2 to 3 different speeds, and Delta enjoyed playing with them. Also, surprisingly enough, I found for Delta, that the best practice plan was a chart with everything he was to practice listed. If he did an item happily, I would draw a smilie face in the box. If he complained, or had a tantrum - he still had to do the item/song - but would only get a checkmark. At the end of the practice I always had a "Happy Song" where he could play anything he wanted, with no corrections or anything. I would then count up all the smilie faces, and write the number under the day. If he got all smilie faces, he would get a star.

The first practice like that he got 3 smilie faces - and we challenged him to think of it like a race - could he beat his record the next time. The numbers got higher, and now we almost always get a star. He now wants checkmarks, so the odd time that he complains about practice, he gets a sad face in the box - but that happens so rarely. He is now to a point that most of the time, I can practice with him (unless there is a new technique or something that I am monitoring.) So he gets the choice of playing alone, playing with me, or playing with the CD.

In January, we did our program's 100 practices in 100 days - so we started practicing every day... and we haven't stopped. We are at about day 270...

CD Listening
There is no getting around it - you need to listen to the CD everyday. This doesn't have to be a hard thing - and your child doesn't need to sit still for it. I made a copy of the CD so that I wouldn't have to worry about it getting scratched (I have the master somewhere safe.) My kids have a CD player in the bedroom with the CD in it.... they often decide to play it while playing in their room. I often set it to play when they go to sleep (although I have heard that some children can get conditioned to get sleepy when they hear the music if you do that.... so watch for that if you use it for bed music). Some days I'll play it in the car, or while eating. Make sure that no adults in the house make comments about being bored with it - your kids love repetition, and are not likely to complain until they hear an adult complain.

(That said - my kids have their own taste in music, and have their favourites on the Cd, as well as a few they don't like so much.... I'm sure it will be "fun" to learn the songs they don't like...)

Anything else?
I've tried to think of the main points.... but if you have more questions, please ask!

And on a final note - sometimes the best teacher isn't the best teacher for your child. Our first teacher was wonderful, and is very sought after in the program... but Delta started refusing to do anything in classes with her. I know this was very difficult for her (and for us) and she worked hard to find out how to teach him. Eventually we switched teachers, and he has just taken right off. Switching teachers was a very difficult decision, and I know it was not easy on his first teacher - although she did agree and recommended his new teacher. If things are really not working, discuss it with your teacher and work together. If it is decided that it is best to change teachers, do it up-front with your original teacher, and try to keep things friendly. Ideally it is something that is worked out together.

I remembered something I wanted to say. Sometimes a small lay-out of money can save you money. For instance, buying the "Step-by-step" books made a big difference for us - well worth the cost because it has "saved" us money in music lessons. Of course it depends on how you look at it - we haven't taken any fewer lessons, so really the savings here is academic.... but Delta and Echo are much further along than they would have been without those books.... so you could say that we have saved on the cost of lessons between where they would have been and where they are in their skills.

Another thing that has been worth buying for us was a "Chin Chum". It is a little soft caseing with some cushioning that goes on the chinrest and around the bottom of the violin and is held on by an elastic. It makes the chinrest softer - but it also protects the child's neck from the metal parts of the chinrest that hold it on. (Echo kept getting a red area on her chin until we bought one.) It provides this protection without sticking anything to the chinrest or violin, so it will not damage them. I made one for my violin that has worked well... I made one for Delta's new violin however, and it fell off 3 or 4 times during the play-in. I'm sure I could adjust it and make one that wouldn't - but as he has a major concert coming up (more info coming!) - I didn't want to risk it falling off! So I bought another one.

Another thing that is interesting - but not sure I would buy one (well, I guess I wouldn't because I didn't....) - is the Twinklemat. It is a rollable foot-chart that isn't slippery. Our 1st teacher made a footchart on cardboard that was a bit of a pain to transport. I eventually (After a year) made a couple by sewing felt footprints onto the non-slip shelf coverings.... can't think of the name. I can roll them up to make for easy transport. I've seen a good foot chart made with feet traced on a plastic table placemat.... I don't know if it would roll for transport. But if you don't want to make something, and want something more durable than most of the "filefolder" or cardboard footcharts you see - it is worth looking into.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Narration with the not-natural narrator

Charlotte Mason emphasized the importance of Narration in the learning process. Narration is the process of telling back in your own words, in detail, a story, event, or other information. Narration is important because it causes the person to truly process the information in their head, and kind of sets it into the memory.

However, narration is a learned skill. Many children are natural narrators, although when first introduced to it in a "Schooling" setting, they may freeze with a type of "test anxiety". There are a few children out there that normal oral narration does not come naturally.

Delta is one of these children. He was a late talker, and then stammered for years. Even now, he has a hard time expressing his thoughts in everyday life. He has improved a lot. (His speach has been evaluated a few times along the years, and he is in the "normal" range - so it isn't a "problem" - but it is a bit of a challenge.

So for years, when Mike would ask Delta "What did you do today" - the answer was (and is) almost always "Nothing" or "I don't know". At times I think we could see a huge crash, watch the fire fighters put out the fire - and when asked what happened today, Delta would answer "I don't know". So I knew that narration would be a challenge.

We have completed week 2 of year 1 with Delta so far. I have gotten a couple of good narrations from him, and a few with almost nothing. I am so far just having him narrate 50 Famous Stories, and Aesop as I feel those are the easier readings. (Next week I will be including the Blue Fairy book).

For Aesop - if he can't narrate directly, I have found that asking him to draw a picture, then tell me has helped. For 50 Famous Stories, I am trying having him act it out with finger puppets. Asking questions like "What was the best part of the story" seems to work better for Delta than asking "What happened". I have also narrated some stories for him, to demonstrate what I want.

It can be frustrating working with the children that don't naturally narrate. It can be easy to feel that they aren't retaining anything. Keep doing the readings. Keep working on the narrations, knowing that this is an area that is a weakness. Trust in the process - it will happen. Trust that some of the information is going to stay in the brain, even if not obvious immediately. Some of it will start coming out while they are playing.

Finally, I try to keep in mind that what we are doing is better than what I think he would be doing in school.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nature Challenge 1

So the other day, we officially started doing the Outdoor Hour Nature Challenges.

It ended up being a really busy day that I had set aside for this, but decided not to put it off anymore anyway. So, we took a little stroll down our road to check out what we could find. There are other nature areas we could go to (and have in the past) but this worked for the time we had.) It is amazing what you can find in
the city right in your yard
and neighbourhood.

Delta decided he wanted to find out more about a little plant growing along the side of the road. I don't know what it is yet - but it is very short, looks a little prickly but isn't, and has a little "ball" on the top that is yellow. I suspect it is some type of wildflower weed. He also wanted to find out more about some rocks (gravel on the driveways....)

Echo wants to find out more about pinecones and ladybugs.

I picked a tall green plant growing out of one of the neighbours storm-ditch... and a very tall weed-flower I saw nearby that I think might be goldenrod or something like that.

Foxtrot just went in the stroller for the ride - keeping us busy by taking off her hat and throwing it on the ground without us noticing.

It was a hot day, so when we got home we had ice water and freezies!

The challenge can be found at

Oh, and just wanted to mention, we saw a rabbit today outside a house. It watched us for quite a while, just sitting still. It was there even after we got in the car, and started it up to drive away!

Well, I have looked up Pineapple Weed (thanks to a suggestion) for the little weed with the yellow balls on top - and I'm not totally sure. It looks very similar - except Pineapple weed is a composite flow
er, and I'm sure all that we looked at only had one flower per plant.... and one of the descriptions I read on pineapple weed said it grows from 10-40cm - and ours was a LOT smaller.

Also Here is the tall green weed in the ditch - it is hard to see, but there it is...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Workbox Wednesday

Well, for what it is worth, here is what we did today in our workboxes. (Sorry, I didn't take pictures) - I'm not sure I've got the order the same as we did it....

Delta (Year 1)
  1. Math Lesson
  2. Scriptures reading
  3. A Pioneer Story reading
  4. Plastic Canvas [this ended up not working, as the plastic needle I bought didn't fit through the holes! OOPS!] - changed it to cutting practice on the fly
  5. Burgess Bird Book reading
  6. Cursive First
  7. Polite Moments reading
  8. Treadwell Primer (Reading instruction)
  9. Stamp Collection
  10. On the Shores of the Great Sea reading
  11. Leap Pad
  12. Practice Skipping (outside) - for Otter badge
  1. Mosaic (pegs in peg board)
  2. Colouring worksheet
  3. Maze
  4. Reading Instruction
  5. Literature - Winnie the Pooh book
  6. Make Lunch with mom
There was a bit of waiting by both kids for me - some days it works out better than others. Today there was a LOT of reading that needed to get done. Over-all though, it still went very well.

I wish I had more items setup for Echo however. She gets done very quickly - and nothing I have entertains her very long. So far she has been pretty content to play near us - and sometimes watches what we are doing. (She loves to watch the math, for instance.)

I do think that the workboxes work out very well, as I haven't yet heard "Are we done after this?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Found Book Samaritan!

I am not sure if you have heard about Book Samaritan - it is a non-profit group that help provide free books to homeschoolers.

Unfortunately, it seems that every year, their website would go down in the summer time.

If you do a search in Google for "Book Samaritan" - you are sure to find a lot of sites praising them - as well as a lot of messages saying "Where did they go?" and "Do they still exist?" and "I can't get on." There are messages like that in 2007, 2008, and this year... 2009. There are also messages in 2007 and 2008 along the lines of "It is working now".

Last year, we got books from them. I managed to get on the site long enough to get the address and request books - and sure enough, we got a nice selection of books. Not all fit what we were trying to do, but enough did that it was worthwhile - and I passed on the books that didn't.

This year, I have been trying to get on the site for months. I did send a request in August, having found the information from last year - but I haven't gotten a response yet. It is their busy time. The website address I had was down - and has been for a while. I found a post in July on a blog (in comments about the site being down) - that they were having problems and were going to make a new website.

Well - I found it! They have opened a blog instead of using their domain.

So - for those of you that either need assistance getting homeschooling books - or for those who have homeschool books that they are not using and would like to donate... Here is their location.

They are located in the United States - but as I mentioned, they did send books to Canada for me last year. Keep in mind that shipping to Canada is more expensive to them - so if you are in the position to donate books - please do it. I don't know if they ship out of North America.

And - A big THANK YOU to these volunteers that make it easier to homeschool.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Homeschool Tracker and Workboxes

I have decided to use Homeschool Tracker (the basic version is free) to keep track of what we are doing each day. Fortunately where I live requires very little tracking - but we want to keep track more anyway. This seems like a simple way to plan, and track, very inexpensively. Sure, we end up ignoring the grades section - but so far it seems to be working quite well.

While I was figuring out next weeks workboxes, I had a great idea. I've put in all the assignments for each day into Homeschool Tracher.... but I've been having a fun time trying to keep track of what fun stuff to do.

So - here is the idea. Add a "Fun Stuff" subject into H.T. - and for the various ideas, make a resource! So I have resources like "Maze", "Jigsaw Puzzle", "Play Dough". etc. Then if I want to be specific, when I assign it, I use the page/chapter/etc to specify. The cool thing is the resources only show up when I say I want a fun resource. (And when printing reports later, I can choose to exclude the fun stuff subject too)

Basically, I look at the schedule for the day - count how many box activities there are, and then figure out how many fun boxes I need - then pick out that many assignments from the fun stuff subject.

I can later print out the planner sheet for a week - and add in the box numbers. Then each night - fill the boxes as usual.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Great Canadian Search

See History Plan

I have been having a lot of "fun" trying to figure out our Canadian History and Geography resources. Honestly, almost anytime I start reading a book about Canadian History - I'm about ready to fall asleep. It isn't that Canadian History is boring - because really it isn't. However - the way it was taught in school was horrible - and I really didn't retain much. Most of the bits of Canadian History that I know I learned later.

I haven't figured out if there just aren't any good living books about Canadian History - or if my school reflexes kick in. I'm starting to suspect the first. What I'd really like to find is a great "spine" book that has a lot of the basics of Canadian history in it - and then some good biographies and other books (historical fiction perhaps) to add to it. And I'm having problems finding them.

And I don't think I'm alone. It seems that on the cmcanada yahoo group, the question comes up regularily. And although there are usually some answers along the lines of "I'm using this" - I really don't remember anyone saying "we use this and it is totally fantastic!" or anything even close to it. Yes, there are some good recommendations of individual books - like the Barbara Greenwood books like we are using for Year 1.

I'm even having fun trying to figure out good Canadian Literature - especially for the early years. I do know some Canadian authors - mostly from school. But again - I ended up hating them in school.

So - there is my rant. I am checking out some Canadian history books from the library, to try to plan the Year 2 - 6 for Canadian History. I am open to suggestions!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day & Workboxes

The Workboxes

Well, we had our first day of Grade 1 (and I guess preschool) - and we did do workboxes. And I have to say, the workboxes worked well for us. The only upset was that I only filled 9 boxes instead of all 12!

Delta had 9 boxes - I think they were...

  1. Scriptures
  2. Math (MEP)
  3. Puzzle (a fun box - he loves puzzles!)
  4. Read Along - Canadian History
  5. Handwriting
  6. Read Along - World History
  7. Picture Study
  8. Read Along - Geography
  9. Stencils (a fun box)

Filled Workboxes

Echo only had 4 boxes (partly because that was the space I had....) She had
  1. blank paper and crayons (brand new ones!)
  2. Magnext
  3. Reading Cards (phonics)
  4. A worksheet (I bought a few worksheet books for stuff for her to do) - basically colouring
She zoomed through them pretty fast though - I guess there was nothing that different from what she usually does. I need to put in some items she isn't used to, and some more. She played fairly quietly with us.

Echo's Workspace

Delta's Desk

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Robert Bateman Pictures picked!

I know this took a while, but I have finally picked the pictures to be studied that were painted by Robert Bateman. This took a while, as Robert Bateman has created MANY beautiful and important pictures.

I have tried to select pictures that are available for viewing online (although still copy-protected) - that show various types of subjects, and ones that are often thought of if you talked about Robert Bateman.

Please check out the pictures at (note that you will need to look around on the site to find each picture.

I couldn't decrease it from 8 pictures.... you will have to make the final 2 cuts....

I selected...
  1. Giant Panda
  2. The Return - Bald Eagle
  3. Power Play - Rhinoceros
  4. Watching Siberian Tiger
  5. Wolf Pair in Winter
  6. The Challenge - Bull Moose
  7. Ice Berg and Hump Back Whale (the style on this is a bit different)
  8. Polar Bear Profile.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Still Here

Just wanted to say that we haven't totally dropped off the face of the Earth.... we are just rearranging a big area of our house, so I'm spending all my free time there. I'll be posting more soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crunch Time

Time is ticking away!

If you've wondered why you haven't heard from me too much recently, it is that I have so much to get done before school starts!

I had planned to start school on Aug 31st... but now I'm thinking September 7th will be the start date - (hm - or be wierd and start on the 2nd or something?) - or the 8th because the 7th is a holiday here?

Why the change? Well, I still don't have the "schoolroom" setup! We have a big loft upstairs, that right now is storage. (very, very unorganized storage) - that I have figured out will be a great schoolroom. Ok - I know.... Mike suggested it a long time ago. But I hadn't figured out how to make the stairway safe for Foxtrot, so it was a no-way. Well, I had the sudden realization that there is a little room up there - that I could set up as a safe playroom for her and put a baby-gate on the doorway. We could school right nearby!

Yes, I could start school in the main room and move upstairs once I had it organized.... but I figure I will be WAY too busy for that!

(Oh, and I do think I like the look of the Workboxes - which someone else calls in her school "Discovery Boxes") - and there is no room on the main floor for any system like that at all...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Drawing Instruction

In an earlier post, I had recommended doing drawing instruction without any formal curriculum, but by practicing observing and drawing what you see.

I have to admit that I am getting nervous about doing that myself however, so I am looking at some more resources.

I have not yet made a selection, but I am looking into the following resources....

Drawing With Children - Mona Brookes
Teaching Children to Draw - Barbara Ward
Draw Write Now - ?

Illustrating Nature - Irene Brady (for about year 4+?)

I would really appreciate any opinions on these resources, or other resources that are suitable to teach drawing - especially of nature. I would prefer resources that use observation as its main focus. Thanks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tomato Staking

Ok, I have recently been doing some reading on a parenting practice called Tomato Staking. I have to admit, that I have mostly been reading from a website called Raising Godly Tomatos. This particular website seems very controversial, and I'm still trying to decide what I think about it. A lot of the ideas seem to fit in with ideas from Charlotte Mason - but I am thinking that the way this site does it just doesn't feel right. I do need to look at other information about the general idea.

Tomato Staking seems to be mainly keeping your children with you almost all the time, so that they aren't getting into trouble. The website I mentioned uses it to train their children in total obedience - and done with a good attitude. They do use spanking.

So, here are my thoughts so far. I think that Tomato Staking, as far as keeping your children near you while training makes a lot of sense. I see this as doing the family chores together, having all the children in the same room while doing schooling, etc. I do think that children need to have time on their own while playing - but if there are problems, bring them back.

I do like the practice on obedience - figuring out what you want the child to do when you call, and have them do it over and over until they do it right - for example. I guess I just worry about anything that demands total obedience without thought. Yes, children generally should be obeying their parents without question.... assuming the parents aren't asking anything wrong of them. But obeying other adults takes more thought for the children. I don't want a child so obedient that they are in danger - or adults that are so obedient that they will do things morally wrong on an order. (I'm thinking here of soldiers obeying a command that is from a superior - but is just plain wrong.) Obedience takes thought - because a part of being human is knowing when not to obey.

Anyway - Tomato Staking is something I'm going to be doing more research on - and a LOT of praying.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kids Need Stamps

A Year or two ago, I found a fantastic resource for a hobby I had had as a child and wanted to share with my kids.

Stamp Collecting is a fantastic hobby, and is very educational as well. I feel it makes a fantastic hobby for the homeschooling family. It is fairly inexpensive, can be worked on individually or as a family, and can be done by the very young right up to senior citizenship age.

I have sat around the table with Delta and Echo when they were 4 and 2, with them carefully sorting through stamps. They love looking for ones they don't yet have. At this point, they just store them in a stock-book - but at some point they will start making stamp pages, and probably even decide on specialties.

But do you want to know the great thing? The resource I found gives away free starter kits, including free stamps! I know I found a couple of other great resources too - but I think they are all available on the blog that I am going to give you. The blog also has information on how to actually do the stamp collecting. (I think they also have free starter kits for stamp clubs too, or for groups like scouting or guiding to work on collectors badges.)

Another great source of stamps can be families with missionaries servingin in other countries, or people with family in other countries that still mail letters.

Kids Need Stamps is this fantastic resource. I think it is great that people provide this type of service. Here is their article about the free starter kits.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

That Time of Year

Well, it is August. Where I live, school starts in about a month.... and the nerves have started. Am I doing the right thing? It isn't too late to enroll my son, who is starting 1st Grade, at the nearby school.... and this would be the latest time to get him into French Immersion.

I seem to go through this a couple of times each year.... in early spring when the nearby schools all put up their signs for Kindergarten Orientation and enrollment meetings - and in August as it moves towards the first day of school.

I spend a lot of time reassuring myself that I am doing the best thing for my family. I also spend a lot of time praying about it. I also know that this feeling will go away soon - until the next nervous season.

I'm hoping that these feelings will fade to memory in the next few years as I see the results from our homeschooling.

In the meantime - it may be time to go on our local homeschooling message list and see if there will be another Annual "Not-Back-To-School picnic" this fall. That always helps.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Resources I want to use

Here are just a few notes on resources I want to use, but have not yet placed into the program.

  • The Wealthy Paper Carrier
  • The Wealthy Barber
Ground School
  • From the Ground Up
  • Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends - Mally
  • Preparing Sons to provide for a Single Income Family - Steve Maxwell
  • The Mystery of the Periodic Table - Benjamin D. Wiker

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Update on Polite Moments

Just to let everyone know that I had no problems ordering Polite Moments in Canada. I phoned them, and they had to figure out the shipping.

[update - we received the book very quickly.]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Winter Fun

This probably seems like a wierd subject to bring up in the middle of the summertime - but it does seem to be a question that comes up about now with new homeschoolers in Canada who have discovered Charlotte Mason, and realize the amount of outside time suggested.

How do you get outside enough in Canadian Winters, where it might be -40 (C or F) or even colder for days or weeks at a time? (Some of these ideas may be adapted by people who can not get outside in their summer because of the extreme hot temperatures...)

First off - I say that sometimes it is tempting to stay inside, when the weather is still fine for going outside. I figure if it is in the guidelines here for the Public Schools to go outside for recess (for 15 minutes), that we should definately be able to go outside for at least as long.

From people who HAVE to go outside, I can say that proper clothing is vital. "Long Johns", good pants (wool if possible), shirts, sweaters, snow suits, a baclava with neck warmer (Better than a scarf and hat) 2 sets of mitts, and good boots make a huge difference. (I have heard from a homeschooling mother who is on a farm with animals. When the weather is super cold, they are probably outside LONGER because of the work that needs to be done. They bundle up, and the children learn to keep moving.)

Things to do outside:
  • if snowing, catch some snowflakes on black material and look at them.
  • go skiing, sleding, skating, walking.
  • make a snowman or have snowball fights. make snow angels

If you really feel that you can't go outside, there are things you can do inside for Nature Study...
  • mount flowers/leaves that were collected in the summer/fall and have been drying that long
  • make an indoor conservatory in an old fish tank
  • grow carrot tops / apple seeds / other things from food....
  • look through old nature journal entries and remember
  • read good nature books - maybe watch outdoor shows on TV (animal planet (watch content), zaboomafoo, etc)
  • visit a conservatory if there is one nearby - they are warm happy places in dreary wintertime with plants all around
  • visit a planetarium and enjoy a star-show
  • in our museum, there are some full-sized nature diorama's that can be fun to explore
  • study and draw your pets or houseplants for the nature journal
  • study parts of the human body.... really look at that foot or hand... look at a hair under a magnifying glass or microscope. do fingerprints. (we are nature!)
And - to get the wiggles out...
  • put on some music and dance!
  • If you move the furniture back, or go in the basement, could you have room to jump rope?
  • if you can get hold of an exercise-mini-trampoline - let the kids enjoy jumping on it
  • setup a little obstical golf course (soft balls)
  • setup a little treasure hunt
  • or - go to the Y and swim, play in the gym or playstructure

As a final note - don't ever "throw the baby out with the bathwater". That is - don't decide not to do Charlotte Mason schooling just because you feel that you could never get the kids outside enough. Do the best you can, and your kids will benefit, even if you don't hit the "ideal". (Also note that the amount of outside time often quoted as being needed for CM misses the part that CM suggested that time from April to October)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Year 1 Supply List

Well, School Supply lists are starting to appear in the stores - so I think I will work out our supply list. These are the things I think will be needed as well as the actual books we will be reading.

This is a rough guide - I make no claims to this being all inclusive...
  • 1 Lined Notebook (divide into 3) for drawing/dictated, narrations, etc for "Polite Moments", Literature, drawing practice
  • 1 Lined Notebook (divide into 3) for History. (Canadian/Family/World) and Geography
  • 1 Lined Notebook for Science
  • 1 (or 2) blank notebook/sketchpad for Drawing and Naturestudy
  • 1 4x6 photo album with space beside each picture for writing - for picture study
  • 1 small binder to put in handwriting/copywork pages.
  • 1 small binder or other for the MEP Math Workbook pages (I keep the pages not being worked on in my main MEP math binder - but will put out a few weeks worth in the small binder)
  • 1 large binder and a set of dividers for mom's MEP Math book. (Lesson plans, workbook pages, overheads, "posters", etc)
  • Large Scale "graph" paper for math (squares big enough to write in for your child) - OR regular lined paper
  • (more binders/ duo-tangs/ portfolio book binders, or whatever binding supplies for binding any books printed instead of bought)
  • Printer Paper (probably lots!) for printing
  • Pencils, Pens, Pencil Crayons, glue, scissors, drawing pencils, watercolours, post-it's, and/or other misc supplies as needed.
  • Adhesive dividers to divide the journals

Note that generally, I recommend good quality, hard bound journals for the notebooks - to encourage using careful good techniques. These books may still have room in them for Year 2, as most of the child's work in the early years is oral. However, narration might be done with drawing at times, and the mother might write a sentence or two of the child's narration.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Just a few more thoughts on Geography...

For most of geography, we use a black-line outline map of the country or other area. This should be an outline map that includes the borders of state/provinces. Add in major features, and important cities. Let the student examine the map for a few days. Then you can give them a map with features missing, or the names gone (just a few at first), and let them add them back in. Continue this until they can do the whole thing.

Some of the rotations have living books that feature the country. This would include books like "Paddle to the Sea". We follow the journey or story on the map of the country. Also, if real places are featured in other books, we would find and label these on the appropriate maps - even if we are on a different geography area.

On a Canadian Note - we play "Stompin' Tom Conners" song about the provinces all the time for our kids. It goes through the provinces and capitals. "Does anyone know the capital of.... Alberta? - Edmonton!" Even our 3 year old yells out the answers!

Hope this helps.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Been Busy

Sorry, things have been pretty busy here, so I haven't posted as much as I would like....

I will have Year 1 Term 3 schedule done soon.

I could use suggestions on questions I could answer.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009/10 Family Rotation Schedule

Get Rotation Schedules

Picture Study

Term 1
  • Robert Bateman (pick your favourite 6, or do the extra during a break)
  1. Giant Panda
  2. The Return - Bald Eagle
  3. Power Play - Rhinoceros
  4. Watching Siberian Tiger
  5. Wolf Pair in Winter
  6. The Challenge - Bull Moose
  7. Ice Berg and Hump Back Whale (the style on this is a bit different)
  8. Polar Bear Profile.
  • Raphael Sanzio (pick your favourite 6, or do the extra during a break)
  1. The Knight's Dream
  2. St. George and the Dragon
  3. Galatea
  4. Young Woman with a unicorn
  5. Sistine Madonna
  6. The Miraculous Draft of Fishes
  7. Ezekiel's Vision
Term 2
  • John Singer Sargent
  1. Oyster Gatherers of Cancale
  2. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit
  3. The Breakfast Table
  4. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
  5. An Artist in his Studio
  6. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw
  • Norman Rockwell (pictures TBD)
Term 3
  • Claude Monet
  1. Terrace at St. Adresse
  2. Women in the Garden
  3. Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse
  4. Woman with a Parasol: Madame Monet and Her Son
  5. Tulip Fields in Holland
  6. The Waterlily Pond
  • (TBD) - I intend this to be a religious artist.
UPDATED: 3 Nov 09

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thoughts on Reading Instruction

I have found it very difficult to explain Reading Instruction and adding it to schedules - for the simple reason that learning to read happens very differently for each child. A few children seem to almost magically learn to read on their own, or "take off" on reading after only a couple of lessons. Other children are given lessons for years, and still don't seem to get it - or find it is so much work. And both are normal.

I was one of those children that took off on reading. My older sister played school with me one day, and I was off and reading. This occurred at such an early age, that I have never had any memories of not being able to read. This made it very difficult for me to figure out how to teach my own children.

I originally figured that pure phonics was best - and read a couple of books on that. I started my oldest 2 children, Delta and Echo (then 4 and 2) on "How to Teach your child to read in 10 minutes a day" by Sidney Ledson. It uses very short lessons, and games to teach. My children did very well to start, and would ask to play the games - but I did find that they started to not like the main game very much. I modified it to just reading little cards. I went a lot slower with the Echo, and we have had a lot of breaks in the reading. Delta got to the point that he could read with a lot of effort, but didn't want to put in the effort. So I paused on the instruction to consider. At their ages, I didn't want to do anything they didn't enjoy.

I got very cheaply a book called "Teach your Baby to Read" - which used Flashcards. This method sounded interesting, as it used extremely short lessons several times a day. (reading 5 words and that was it.) Of course it is using sight reading - but this seemed like a good way to break into fluency. I talked to a couple of relatives who were teachers about reading instruction, and gathered that a combination of phonics and sight reading seems to work better. So I started using computer generated flash cards - picking words that Delta and Echo would be most interested in. I also started some with Foxtrot, using the suggested order for babies. All 3 children loved the computer flash cards - with the older 2 loving the computer generated voice. (For Foxtrot, I said the words.... I don't want a computer accent.) I also created a couple of very personal books for Delta and Echo with the words they learned. They loved this.

Not long after, Delta started reading some words spontaneously. For instance, I would look on our TV's program guide, and Delta would say "There is Caillou" (which we do NOT watch - and darned if I know how he figured out that that was the name of that show with the weird spelling...)

Then I discovered CM and AO - and read on CM's reading instruction suggestions. And they make sense. I found the Treadwell and Free readers, and printed the Primer off. They are good literature stories, with a lot of repetition. Although we haven't read them regularly, Delta has read the first 3 stories, with just some assistance on "harder" words like "thresh".

In all, I think the combination of all 3 things I have done has worked out fairly well, although the process took longer than I originally thought it would.

Delta is on the brink of fluency, and should do well with continuing the Treadwell Readers.

Echo is at the point on "10 minutes a day" that she is learning by reading sentences, but has to really work at each word. Delta was at this point for quite a while. I haven't done as much work on the reading instruction with her after having found out about CM - but expect to have her asking to do more once the "school" year starts with Delta

Foxtrot is of course just learning to talk. She seems to recognize that print is something interesting - and anytime she has a board book, she spends a long time looking at the pictures (and maybe reading it?) and never tries to eat them, or tear them.

As for the age of reading instruction. Apparently CM didn't give an exact age for reading instruction, although the couple of examples she gave, the children were age 5, and 6. It does seem a very controversial matter in CM circles (and other circles too.) My opinion, as long as the lessons are short, the students enjoy them, and important play and outside time is not missed out on, I see early reading as beneficial. Many others disagree. I leave it for you to decide for yourself.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More About Shakespeare

I have been asked to tell more about how we do Shakespeare.

Charlotte Mason has said that it is important not to get in between the student and the book. So we don't use any commentaries or translations.

For our study, students in years 1 to 3 are in one study rotation, and older students are in another. They younger students just read short summaries of the play, as they are not yet ready to handle the readings of the play themselves. We use "Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare" by E. Nesbit.

Students in years 4 and up do read from the plays themselves. We do the following:

Students that need it - especially in years 4 to about 6, depending on the child, read the story in a summary first. We use "Tales from Shakespeare" by Charles and Mary Lamb if it has the story. This could either be done with all the students working on the play together, or if needed by only 1 or 2 of the students, it can be done individually before the family starts on the play.

Next, we read the play itself. We often assign different roles to the students to read outloud, with Mom reading the rest of the roles. The older students can be assigned the main roles, and younger students can be assigned smaller roles. Of course, this may be more from the reading ability rather than age - or in any other manner you desire. Children that are experienced might have a couple of roles.

Then we listen to a play in original language by professionals, or watch the play on a video (again in original language.) If we are lucky, we will watch a live performance. (In fact, we will change the family rotation if we know there will be an opportunity for a live performance.)

Optionally, we will occasionally pick out a scene or two to memorize and/or act out. If you are involved in a homeschooling co-op doing shakespeare, you could even be ambitious enough to do a whole play. If you do that, however, you may want to scale back a bit on some of the other subjects, or move some of the work from other subjects to another term.

In the high-school years, we add another play for the students to read on their own.

In the earlier years, I don't expect the students to understand everything they read in shakespeare - but they will get a lot, and their understanding will grow.

I hope this has helped!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shakespeare Rotation

Shakespeare provides students with good classical tales. The language can be challenging, but the works are entertaining and well worth the effort. A lot of cultural information is contained in the plays as well. Who doesn't understand the reference to Juliet on the balcony? Doesn't it mean even more having read the play?

Shakespeare can be done as a family, with different students reading different roles. Some scenes can even be memorized. If you are very motivated, you can form a co-op with other homeschooling families and do a full production of a play.

Students in the very years are not ready for the complex literature of Shakespeare directly, so we use "Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare" by Edith Nesbit. After Year 4, Shakespeare is read directly.

Years 1-3 (Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare)

2 stories are read per term

Rotation 1:
  • Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Tempest
  • As You Like It
  • The Winter's Tale
  • King Lear
  • Twelfth Night
Rotation 2:
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • All's Well that Ends Well
  • Cymberline
  • MacBeth
  • The Comedy of Errors
Rotation 3:
  • The Merchent of Venice
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Measure for Measure
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Years 4-12

Ambleside Online does 3 Shakespeare plays a year (1 per term). However, because of some of the other items used at Maple Hill Academy that are not used in AO, we will be doing 1 play a year. As I graduated from high school having done a total of 3 shakespeare plays in school (plus 2 that I read on my own) - I do not feel bad having my children *only* study 9.

I am not going to provide a list of plays to study here. Select plays that interest you... I do recommend seeing if any will be performed in your area and selecting one of those.