Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scripture Memory System

We have been using the Scripture Memory System at Simply Charlotte Mason for quite a while, and it has worked well. However, I have recently made a couple of adjustments that work for us that I'd like to share.

With the original, you have new scriptures (or whatever) that you read daily... once they are known, you read them every other day (Odd/Even) and then as you learn more, they get moved to tabs behind Monday/Tuesday/etc.... then eventually to tabs 1-31.... so as you know the scripture more and more, you practice it less often... each day you are reviewing a few scriptures.

The problem we have, is that we aren't totally consistent. Sometimes we miss doing it a day. And there are some days we are more likely to miss (like Friday, which tends to be our "wild" day.) So then, the same scriptures are being missed in the review. I also found when we finished a new scripture, I couldn't ever remember which Odd/Even to change, and which one to change from the weekday tabs, etc.

So, I've made a simple change, which also means we use a lot less tabs! We have a tab labeled "New" (or Daily), one named "Alternate", one labeled "weekly", and one labeled "monthly".

So, behind New, we have our new scripture, which we read daily together. Behind "Alternate", we have 2 scriptures. We read 1, and rotate it behind the other one. Behind "Weekly" we have 7 scriptures. We read 1, and rotate it behind the others. Behind "Monthly" we would have 30 (we aren't there yet!) - and again, rotate through them. Eventually, I'd just increase the number of scriptures we read each day from behind the "Monthly" tab.

As for knowing which one to move to the next section when we learn a new scripture... I've just added numbers to our scripture cards.... so I just need to move the lowest numbered card to the next section.

Oh, and we do use this system for other things we want to memorize. We have put in things like Scouting Promises etc. While learning these types of things, they are added to the scripture ones... so we are always working on a new scripture, but may also have something else we are reading daily.

Hope this helps someone!

Oh, and just to add in - we are doing something similar with our review songs in violin... I used to have a chart - "practice these songs on this day, etc" - but risked missing the same songs over and over. Now our chart is a 6 day chart.... (6 days of practice, 1 of indiv. lessons). Now if we miss a day of practice, the next day we do the practice "day" we missed. So if on Tuesday we did Day 2 practice, then don't practice on Wednesday... on Thursday we would do Day 3 practice. The next week we just start on whatever day we are on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Free Ebook - Today only

I just found out about an offer to get a free copy of this new ebook, titled "31 days to clean". It addresses the heart issues of doing housework, about which I am looking forward to reading.

If you miss this offer today, the price is only $4.99. Get more information here, and information about the free offer here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Suzuki Violin Resources

Just wanted to pass on these free resources I found for Suzuki Violin here.

There is a free pack of Pre-Twinkle songs (similar to in Step-by-Step). There are fantastic articles as well, including the first 10 things to teach to a new violin student, and another on repetition that has some good practice games.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Year K - Updated!

Year K

Year K is designed for 5 year olds, and is provided as a very gentle introduction to schooling. As some areas require a Kindergarten year, this will provide some ideas. I mainly focus on learning to read, write, simple math concepts, and writing... plus working towards listening to chapter books.

Most of the time should be spent outside exploring.

Learn to Read

I like the looks of the Simply Charlotte Mason's "Delightful Reading" but have not bought it as of yet.

In general I suggest doing a combined method. Phonics by itself gets difficult and boring for the student because of the hard work decoding every word. Some students don't learn that you don't HAVE to decode words that you already know. Yet a straight "sight words / whole words / see and say" approach can leave the child with no clue how to read a word they haven't been "taught".

For the phonics side of things, we have used "Teach your child to read in Just 10 minutes a day" by Sidney Ledson. I like some things about this book, but not others. I have also looked at the free "progressive phonics" website and did a bit of it... I like the way they alternate parents and children reading... but the stories are twaddle and although the kids love it, I couldn't stand it after a bit. For my next children, I suspect I will find something else.

For the other side of things, We used the "Dick and Jane" readers
  • (Dick and Jane) - We Look and See (these 3 are reprinted in a Treasury book)
  • (Dick and Jane) - We Work and Play
  • (Dick and Jane) - We Come and Go
  • (Dick and Jane) - Guess Who (Reprinted in a different Treasury book) - ONLY if more practice needed.

Extra if time left in year and child can read the above (also recommended in Year 1)

  • Fun with Dick and Jane (if you can get an old copy. a couple of the stories have been reprinted in a book of the same name)
  • (Dick and Jane) - Our New Neighbours (only old copies available...)


The McGuffy Readers might be fine at this stage.
Note that we don't want to keep using readers for a long time! We want living books. Using the actual Charlotte Mason method to teach reading, you could skip the readers entirely.

  • practice counting, up to 20
  • matching, sorting. (playing cards, socks, toys, etc)
  • MEP Reception Year

Literature (Read Outloud)
These are just some suggestions, and ones we have used. There are wonderful suggestions out there at various sights like Simply Charlotte Mason, Milestones, etc. Find ones that work for your child!
  • Peter Pan (or Peter Pan and Wendy) - James M. Barrie
  • Peter Rabbit, and other Stories from the Compete Works - Beatrix Potter books (more available if you do a search for Beatrix Potter)
  • A House at Pooh Corner - A. A. Milne
  • Thirty-Three Multicultural Tales to Tell - Pleasant DeSpain
  • The Hockey Sweater - Roch Carrier - hear the author read it!
  • Raggedy Ann Stories, or Raggedy Andy Stories (or both)
Canadian Literature:
See Canadian Literature Plan

Peterson Directed Handwriting. We used the Cursive First option within this program, but that is up to you. They have a free 6 week preparation "preschool" program to work on hand strength, directions, working to a rhythm, etc. Then continue with the program.

  • suzuki violin (or other music instruction - read post)
Phys Ed
  • swimming lessons at the Y (or Red Cross)
  • The Children's Book of Virtues - Bennett (Skip the Aesop fables, and "St. George and the Dragon" as they are used later. Also skip "The Little Red Hen if using the Treadwell/Free Primer)
  • The 7 habits of Happy Kids
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Little Bear at Work and Play


Choose based on availability

  • 1-2-3 Draw books by Freddie Levin - pick 3 or 4, (especially "Wild Animals", "Pets and Farm Animals")


  • Draw Write Now (books 1-4)

Kindergarten children can join with older students for things like Music Study, Scripture Study, Picture Study, etc. Take care that you don't overburden them!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Science Updated

Science Rotation

I have to admit that Science is something that I go back and forth on. There are such good resources out there, and we have access to many of them. As I re-evaluate our homeschool, I'm putting down a couple of options for me to consider, while I decide the approach. I do want to do science together in groups... either years 1 to 3 together and years 4 to 6 together OR years 1-6 together. I haven't looked at science for the upper years, and whether it will make sense to keep those years together or not.

For years 1-6, the first option involves using Apologia, along with some living books. The second option involves using the Childcraft books that we own. All options involve nature study! I have had thoughts of using mainly living books for Years 1 to 3, then moving to the other options, but as I think while I type, I suspect my younger children would end up just wanting to join the older ones. Right now Apologia has 6 titles in their program, but more are being written.

Well, here are my thoughts

Apologia Option

Rotation 1
  • Astronomy
  • Find the Constellations - H. A. Rey AND/OR The Stars - H.A. Rey
H.A. Rey's constellation books draw the constellations differently than most astronomy books - and in a way that makes more sense. If you can find them, they are WELL worth it! Find the Constellations is great for the young student. The Stars is a great reference for mom or dad, works well for older students in the rotation, or is a nice addition if your student wants more after reading "Find the Constellations". I do recommend adding the Latin "true name" of each constellation into the pages of "Find the Constellations" (they are in the index)

  • Botany
Rotation 2
  • Flying Creatures
  • Swimming Creatures
Rotation 4
  • Land Animals
Rotation 5
  • Anatomy
Rotation 6
future books.

Childcraft Option

Rotation 1
  • World and Space (Childcraft)
  • Find the Constellations - H. A. Rey AND/OR The Stars - H.A. Rey
H.A. Rey's constellation books draw the constellations differently than most astronomy books - and in a way that makes more sense. If you can find them, they are WELL worth it! Find the Constellations is great for the young student. The Stars is a great reference for mom or dad, works well for older students in the rotation, or is a nice addition if your student wants more after reading "Find the Constellations". I do recommend adding the Latin "true name" of each constellation into the pages of "Find the Constellations" (they are in the index)

Rotation 2
  • Green Kingdom (Childcraft) OR Botany (Apologia)
Rotation 3
  • About Animals
Rotation 4
  • Feathered Friends
Rotation 5
  • About Me [anatomy]
Rotation 6
  • How Things Work [physics and mechanics]
  • Scientists and Inventors [from an older set]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

History - Family Rotation

We will now be doing history in a 5 year, Family rotation. I think that this will allow some flexibility, while still allowing a fair time for each time period. This means each student will go through the rotation twice, with 2 other years left.

These 2 years can be used in a flexible way...

a) Spend the first couple of years doing light history (ie, 50 famous stories, A Pioneer Story, story picture books) - a good option for the oldest child

b) Do whatever period of the rotation an extra time. - a good option for middle children

c) spend the last couple of years focusing on a period of history the child wants - a good option for youngest child.

d) graduate a couple of years early (if ready on other subjects)

e) Spend the last couple of years focusing on a period of history required in High School by the government

f) don't do history for a couple of years (grades 1 or 2, or grades 11 and 12) to allow time for other subjects/interests

g) combine the above options (ie, 1 year at one end... 1 year at the other...)

This post just has an overview. There will be more detailed posts later.

Pre-rotation (optional)
50 Famous Stories
A Pioneer Story - Greenwood
other favorites

Note - similar time frames from the Synge history books are an option if you don't own A Child's History of the World.


A Child's History of the World (ch 1-41) - Hillyer OR 
no Canadian History... instead do Canadian Geography (spine not chosen)

Middle Ages
(~500 to ~1453)

A Child's History of the World (ch 42-60) 
The Story of Canada (ch 1-2) - Lunn & Moore OR My First History of Canada (ch 1-2) - Dickie

Rotation 3
(1453 to ~1800)

A Child's History of the World (ch 61-77) 
The Story of Canada (ch 3-part of 4) OR My First History of Canada (ch 2-13)

Rotation 4

A Child's History of the World (ch 78-84) 
The Story of Canada (rest of ch 4 to part of ch 9) OR My First History of Canada (14-19)

Rotation 5
(1920 to present)

A Child's History of the World (ch 85-91)
The Story of Canada (rest of book) OR My First History of Canada (20-21)

Older Students, (generally through their 2nd time through the rotation) might also use "The Beacon Lights of History" by John Lord like a spine. As I don't have any students at this stage yet, I'm not working out the readings... but I am noting it here so I don't forget it!

Everything Changing

I had everything all settled on how I was going to proceed for the next couple of years... then something changed, and now my plans are changing.

As I had contemplated the need for change, I realized that this was going to work out, and now I'm almost excited over it, as I can see how this is going to work out well for my family.

We are going to move more towards family topics, similar to Simply Charlotte Mason's style of doing a Charlotte Mason education. Very specifically, History is moving to a family rotation, but also some of the literature will be family reads as well. Some subjects will be done in groupings of students... what Charlotte would call Forms. Students will have individual work based on their Form and also personal ability.

Although I know doing things together as a family can cause some issues at times, I think it can also help the family grow together.

I will be using the book "Planning your CM Education" from the Simply Charlotte Mason website while I develop the plan... some subjects, like literature, will have a lot less planning and definitely less scheduling.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have updated the Year 1 schedules on the Yahoo group to match the new plans. I am almost finished a schedule for Year 2.

This Country of Ours

Today, the Ambleside Online Advisory updated their website to defend the use of This Country of Ours in the curriculum, despite controversy about its use.

Here is what they have said
TCOO's treatment of the history of the Mormon church seems to come up among our members with predictable regularity both on and off list. The Advisory has received more private emails (both collectively and individually) than we care to count, has repeatedly been forced to counter misinformation on several lists, and received at least one petition. All this time and effort is directed toward convincing us to dump 'This Country of Ours' because of one chapter. The book is a singular target, accused of inaccuracies both specified and non-specified, in complaints around the blogosphere and negative reviews anywhere readers can post reviews--all in an attempt to prevent others from reading the book. The Advisory has tried to be tactful and gracious about this, but we cannot continue to devote our time to this topic. Therefore, the AO Advisory has sent the following letter regarding the book.

They went on to defend their position (see their page here) basically saying that the Latter Day Saints are over-reacting to the chapter about the Mormons, and that they do not feel it is substantially inaccurate, was common beliefs about the Mormons at the time it was written, and is still believed by many today... then included several links to Anti-Mormon websites. [they have now removed those links]

I know that this is a Canadian Charlotte Mason homeschool, and as such we don't study American History. However, I also know many Americans do read this blog. Please choose an alternative to This Country of Ours, or at least skip the hateful chapter about Mormons.

I have humbly asked the AO Advisory to have an alternative to TCOO in their schedule, although I have little hope that they will do so, as they have repeatedly defended their choice of TCOO even though they have, in their own words had "this particular book [...] come under fire more than any other book we've used in the curriculum".

Here is a suggested alternative, which would work up to the year it was published, about 1900.
or alternatively, your could buy the "Stories of America" from Simply Charlotte Mason.

Suggestions from another mom: "The Story of the Thirteen Colonies" and "The Story of the Great Republic" by H. A. Guerber

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Help - History Year 1

Hey everyone, I could use some suggestions for Canadian History for Year 1. I took out the potential books I had had listed from the library, and didn't like them at all. Is Canada really THAT devoid of good History Books for young children?

I'd like to find something good about the Native Canadians, and a couple of good biographies. And I really want something historical, not just literary. (I have a few good suggestions in the literature selections)

What I looked at:

Canada's Natives Long Ago by Donna Ward - just TOO textbookish - it just seemed dull, and had vocabulary drills etc in it.

Laura: A Childhood Tale of Laura Secord - I thought this was a biography of Laura Secord writen for children... but it is a fictional story from her childhood. Might have been a nice fictional addition, but not what I have in mind at all!

Christopher Columbus by Schaefer - This is a little biography, but is written at a beginner reader level...

"Sir Alexander Mackenzie" from the Discovering Canada series - Is marginally ok, but is the busy style of boxes and little blurbs all over the page... to distracting.

Is there nothing out there like the AO selections for US and World History??? with Beautiful pictures, factual information, written in an engaging style, at a proper level?

Please send suggestions!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Canadian Literature

Books being looked at for possible Canadian Literature selections. This is not a final list by any means, and will change.

(Note added: Although most selections are set in Canada or are about Canadians, some are not. All have been written by Canadian authors.)

Year K
  • The Hockey Sweater - Carrier - (?) - Hockey in Canada - Picture Book
  • Something from Nothing - Gilman - (2-8) - Reuse, reuse, reuse! - Picture Book
  • Just like New - Manson - (4-7) - WWII - Child gives cherished doll - Picture Book

Year 1
  • Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt - Smucker - (?) - Family leaves States to avoid war Picture Book
  • A Fiddle for Angus - Wilson - (?) - Picture Book
  • Very Last First Time - Andrews - (4-8) - Inuit Story - Picture Book
  • Dragonfly Kites - Highway - (4-8) - Cree Story - Picture Book

Year 2
  • Owls in the Family - Mowatt - (7-12) - Life in Saskatchewan
  • The Fishing Summer - Jam - (6-9) - Atlantic Fishing - Picture Book
  • The Fabulous Song - Gillmor - (4-7) - Child becomes Composer - Picture Book

Year 3
  • Beethoven Lives Upstairs - Nichol - (6-10) - Beethoven - Picture Book
  • The Secret World of Og - Pierre Berton

Year 4
  • Emily - Bedard - (6+) - About Emily Dickinson - Picture Book (although this is a picture book, it is well worth it.
  • Incredible Journey - Burnfield - (9-12) - already on AO schedule
  • Charlotte - Lunn - (7-10) - 1783, American / Loyalists - Picture Book
  • Bully Boys - Walters - (?) - war of 1812
  • Jeremy's War - Ibbitson - (?) - war of 1812

Year 5
  • Underground to Canada - Smucker - (10-12) - Young girl / slavery
  • A Bushel of Light - Harrison - (10-13) - Twins Separated - Barnardo Children
  • The Root Cellar - Lunn - (10+) - Civil War time
  • Emily of New Moon - Montgomery - (10+) - life in 1890's.
  • Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery - (?) - orphan girl - already scheduled in AO
  • Rilla of Ingleside - Montgomery - (?) - - already scheduled in AO
Year 6
  • Hana's Suitcase - Levine - (10+) - Holocaust - non-fiction
  • A Foreign Field - Chan - (11+) - WWII RAF pilot friends a Cdn. Child. note he dies
  • Wish me Luck - Heneghan - (10-14) - WWII - English child shipped to Canada, incl boat ride.
  • The Secret of Gabis Dresser - Kacer - (8-12) - WWII - Hiding from Nazis (noted as good for "younger" children intro to this topic)
  • A Child in Prison Camp - Takashima - (10+) - WWII Japanese Internment - non-fiction
Year 7 or 8?
  • The Dream Carvers - Clark - (10-13) - Viking boy captured by Indians to "replace" their son
  • Lost in the Barrens - Mowatt - (10+) - Inuit life

Friday, April 1, 2011


A Frame from a later animation - a Band playing...
Delta (and Echo and Foxtrot) has (have) been introduced to the concept of stop-motion animation! By using my old digital camera, and Windows Live Movie Maker, using a lot of patience, he has been busy making animated movies. He has even drawn some story-board drawings for some of them ahead of time.

It is great that this method of animation takes a lot less work than animation used to. I helped getting the music to fit. I think it is wonderful work for a 7 year old!

Here is the second movie he made totally on his own.

It has been nice that he has had time during our term break to do things like this.

Echo and Foxtrot would like their movies up here too. Delta did the photography for this movie of Echo's, although she has done her own photography for a couple more. "Dad" did the photography for Foxtrot's movie, and it is a little more "abstract", as it was done by a 2yo.

This one is Echo's

And here is Foxtrot's