Category: Homeschooling

My adventures homeschooling my five children using Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy.

Our Immense Universe

Our Immense Universe

 We just doing a unit study on Astronomy.

We completed the first major assignment and made a model of the nine planets. (well eight planets and a dwarf planet, but who’s really counting?!) The planets are actually to scale, according to size. We did not include our 12 1/2 foot sun, although we measured it out in the kitchen.

On a whim, we wondered what the distances between the planets would be if we measured them out to scale. I found just such an activity at Astronomy at Home: Science Experiments for the Entire Family. So Thursday evening found us at local hall, unrolling toilet paper rolls to see just how far away Pluto really is.


The kids had a blast. We all had a blast. I’m so very glad we chose to home school, because I can’t imagine doing anything else!

Wise King Canute

Wise King Canute

This is a narration that Page2 (almost 9 years old) wrote today for a story in Baldwin’s Fifty Famous Stories Retold. For more information on narration visit Simply Charlotte Mason.)

Wise King Canute

O, wise King Canute, great king of the Danes,
told his officers never to praise him again.
He proved his foolish officers wrong,
that he was not so very strong.
He told the water to not touch his feet,
but the water and his feet did meet.


Preschooler Blues

Preschooler Blues

I have four children who have successfully come through “preschool”, but over the years I have struggled with exactly what that should mean.

With my first couple of children, preschool was just a special playtime that Mama participated in – playdough, crafts, games, reading, etc.

As those older ones started more formal school, my role with the younger ones felt like it changed. Playtime became something I participated in less – no loss as my oldest loved to take over that role – and large group activities took over more of my time. These “projects” included the little ones – much to their delight but they were disappointed that they didn’t have “school with Mama”, like their big sisters and brothers.

So I tried to find some curriculum that would please them and me (although, lets be honest, anything I found pleased them!). It needed to have minimal prep time, and it needed to not be twaddle.

I have had a steady stream of programs that failed either one or both these requirements.

I am now working with the free online program at Brightly Beaming Steps to Reading Program: Step 1 Preparatory Curriculum . It does require some prep, but so far I’m enjoying it. My other children are helping out and that gives me both joy and accountability.

I would really like to see this one through to the end. This may be my last time through preschool, and I’d like to find out what comes after the letter J!

Library Elf – No More Overdues

Library Elf – No More Overdues

Growing up I always loved the story of the The Elves and the Shoemaker

Now I do not have piles of leather lying about waiting for little elves to save the day, but I do have piles of library books – sometimes over 100 – checked out on six different cards.

Library day consisted of over an hour of time just logging in to the library and getting everyone’s due dates straightened out. I have tried tracking books on the calendar, using the print off sheets, keeping them all on a separate shelf – everything I could think of, to no avail. We are personally responsible for financing a large proportion of the Library Acquisitions Department with our overdue fees.

It became so bad, that last September, we actually STOPPED going to the library. This was a tragedy with major implications for my children. “I have nothing new to read!” they would wail disconsolately from their beds.

In desperation, I muttered my wish, loaded Google and typed in, “keeping track of library books.” The second hit brought into my home a little elf that has saved my sanity, my budget, and my children’s reading appetites.

Library Elf is a web site that allows you to track multiple library cards with just one account. After creating my main account, I entered in each of my family’s library cards. Now with the click of one button I get a complete listing of all our books, holds, and overdues in the order that they are due!
Best of all, Library Elf emails me daily with a list of what’s due or ready to pick up! Everyday. We haven’t had an overdue book for almost three months!

These people deserve a some sort of Homeschooling Mother’s Appreciation Award.

Wonderful Books

Wonderful Books

In J.M. Adler’s How to Read a Book, he discusses the need to answer four main questions:

What is this book about? (What is the leading theme of the book and how does the author develop the theme?)

What is being said in detail and how? (What are the main ideas, assertions, and arguments that constitute the author’s main message?)

Is the book true in whole or part? (You have to answer the first two questions to answer this one.)

What of it? (What significance will this book have for me?)

I think these are great questions to ask my children when we read our books, even our picture books. I want for my children to be discerning readers.

I’ve been working on our school ‘omnibuses’ (lists of books I want to read-aloud, or I want them to read for themselves) for the upcoming year and I’m excited about the possibility that my oldest might begin putting up her own “book reviews.” Mr Pages and I thought this would be a wonderful way to teach them a myriad of skills – not only discernment but reading, outlining, summarizing, writing, grammar, spelling, etc.

The best part of all: she thinks it will be fun and can’t wait to start!

I love homeschooling!