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Author Topic: Which homeschooling Method are you thinking of or are currently using?  (Read 48924 times)
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« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2012, 05:52:53 AM »


Thank you for the reviews on the writing programs. I spent the last couple of weeks doing some more reading and research, and for now I have settled on using Writing With Ease/Skill to begin with. I will see if she enjoys it and will reassess her progress in a year or so. She will be 5 at that point and my options will be either IEW + progym OR Classical Writing. Do you think IEW and CW-Aesop will be accessible to a 5-year-old or will be too advanced for her?

As for Ella being gifted, it has been brought up a few times by people who have had a chance to work with her, but we don't dwell on it.  smile  My main focus is to meet her at her current level and provide suitably challenging work so as to instill a strong work ethic and maximize her potential at the same time. Thanks to homeschooling, I have been able to keep comments from other people like "You're so smart" and comparisons to her age-peers at a minimum... so far!  smile


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« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2012, 06:20:50 AM »


I think either IEW or CW Aesop will be fine for her and not above her head.

Here are my warnings about CW and this may or may not really be in the curriculum. It may have been the teacher. Since English is a second language for you, it is something to think about:

1. Be careful with taking apart the essentials and non-essentials of a story. You cannot take a story down to five points and it still be the same story.  Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy loses girl. Everyone dies. is not the same as Romeo and Juliet.

2. You cannot just take words look them up in the Thesaurus and pluck them into a sentence at will. This is not how language works. 

3. Copying endless amounts of information, by hand, into a book is not the same as learning to write.

4. The point of the progym is imitation. You don't need to worry about copyright infringement. In the beginning Ella's writing should sound like the original author.

5. If at all possible skip the thesaurus entirely and let Ella find words from the storehouse of words she gathered in her head. This is far more effective than using a tool poorly.

She will be fine with either of these and most of the kids on here will be also. Right now, I;d just be asking her to retell, in her own words, stories that she is reading or that you read to her. You are looking to make sure she catches the main idea of the story, sequence of events, character and how they relate and she should be using words/sentences that the author used.

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« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2012, 08:51:57 PM »

I'm going to recant my statement of "I'm leaning towards a Thomas Jefferson Education".  I generally thought that the idea of studying classics and having mentors sounded great (it is a true principle), and there are a lot of homeschoolers in my local community that do it, so I have been curious about it.  Anyway, I've done more research on it, and after reading the blog I linked to at the end of this post, a lot of dots started connecting, and I realized that TJed is more of an unschooling movement among LDS homeschoolers Utah.  I'm definitely not an unschooler!  Come to think of it, most of the negative comments I've received about early learning from my local homeschool peers have come from the TJed camp.  Now I understand why.  Having said that, I have re-read some of the TJed books this week, and there is some great advice in the books.  Oliver Demille is a very charismatic teacher!  However, I'm going to keep my distance from TJed in the future.  I'm going to do "The Well-Trained Mind" classical approach.

Thank you for this post.  I know this interjecting comment breaks the flow of this thread, but I wanted vocalize this change, and the e-mail update reminded me to do so.

« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 08:53:38 PM by Tamsyn » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2012, 11:44:22 PM »

Thanks for the information about the TJed. I could never really garner much information about it when I was doing research many years ago. And I can see why. It really did strike me as being as vague as unschooling, which I am not a fan of either.


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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2012, 02:32:27 AM »

Thank you all so much for your back and forth. It was really helpful in solidifying some curriculum/writing choices for us, or at least defining a good starting point. I love the idea of the progymnastata and looking at all this information, am realizing, I was taught writing all wrong! Maybe, that is why I don't enjoy it very much.

We are just starting to think about our homeschooling programs and me being the super-planing person I am, I am trying to plan everything to the end of high school (my son is 13months old):-) I have a whole chart written for each subject-area and a combed chart for general curricula. as I said, thank you all for sharing your ideas

@aangeles, you mentioned AAS. At what age did Ella start it?

@sonya_post, you said your son is doing the omnibus series for literature/history/religion. Can you direct me to their website? I seem to be having trouble finding it. You also mentioned that there are some books that you consider a must-read in elemetary. Can you list those, or link me to a good list? Also, I am not all that comfortable teaching history as math/science were my own strong points. Other than omnibus, which you mentioned, are there any history curricula that you would recommend? Also, if it isn't too much trouble, can you write a list/provide  a link to a list of recommended readings/stories/books  to read etc for each stage of the progym if I do end up doing it on my own.

Thank you,

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« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2012, 04:26:27 AM »

History = story of the world smile
My kids love it. And request it often.  It is a great place to start. Plus you can add as much as you want to it. for instance when they get to the first Olympics it is pretty light, you could do an extended Olympic study.
A couple of points. Firstly it has been said it has a biblical slant. I found the bible stories within it to be well linked to the time and history. Bearing in mind that history is a perspective thing, it's pretty easy to find the occasional opposing view of an event to teach your kids that.
Secondly you will get out of it as much as you put in. You could just read the books. I highly recommend you do even if you decide on another curriculum. They are a light read as far as history books go and the stories bring history to life for children. I recommend the audio, it is wonderful! I don't consider history all that important so we just listen to the audio in the car and discuss each section after. If you consider history more important then add in the PDF activity books. ( don't have them yet so can't comment)
Hre is the link But the books are available many places so shop around.
Also there are a number of good bloggs showing ways to make lap books etc from this series so do a little looking around.


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« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2012, 04:48:03 AM »

We love SotW. I was initially concerned because we are a secular family. But I am not at all perturbed by the biblical stories. There are very few. But there are also African Tales like the ones of Anasazi. There are also Greek myths including a whole section about Odysseus.
I am an ancient history/philosophy major and I have to say I am impressed with SotW. Granted I am reading it to my 2 year old. When he is older the books would need heavy supplementing. But that can be achieved by finding relevant articles and library books.


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« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2012, 12:53:22 PM »


You can find the Omnibus here:  NOTE: They are a Christian outfit. Their materials are from a Christian worldview. If that is not suitable for you, then I might use the recommendations at the back of Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book You can also use Modern Scholar's Odyssey of the West as a spine for the great books. I truly enjoyed that series and we've used it with the Omnibus. I am not afraid of my child coming into contact with other worldviews. That is the point of Classical Education/Great Books Education. I want my child to engage the best of what has been said and thought from the beginning of time. And I want him to know what he didn't show up at the latter part of the 21st century with all these brand new ideas of his own. He is standing on thousands of years of thinking, We call this the "Democracy of the Dead",

Obviously, all of the above resources are focused on the West. I don't see that as a problem, but you should add great books from other cultures as well. Sun Tzu's The Art of War comes to mind. 

Whether you are a Christian or not, Veritas Press has wonderful suggestions for books you should read when covering different periods of history.  We've used the catalog for that purpose and they find some of the neatest books. Since they are assuming a child comes into school a non-reader, the books aren't always as challenging as I'd like. Our main source for material is

I will be using many of the recommendations on It is a full online curriculum - free. And lots and lots of help on how to use it and teach.  There are several histories for children: Story of the World was already mentioned, Gombrich's A Little History of the World is a quick read and delightful. I also like the Streams of History series from Yesterday's Classics.History is a series of stories. Children learn best when they hear about stories. In the beginning, give then as much as they can stand and then just a little more to be sure. Historical fiction, real books, and build a catapult or two and you'll be fine. We made a historical timeline or what Charlotte Mason calls a books of centuries. This is very helpful. My sisters both use the historical figures here: and I suspect that we will as well. It saves ton's of time and there are so many uses for them. We also use Usborn's Encyclopedia of World History[/i. This is not story based and more like traditional history. The pictures are fantastic.

I will post a list of books later today by grade. I have two lists, one list is must reads and the other is a list of possible free reading books. the free reading books are not the only books my child could read, but we didn't stray too far from it. My son never read Captain Underpants or many of the other silly books put out for children.

I will have to get back to you on the Progym and how I did it. I must get busy with my day. But I will come back to this and really flesh out how we used it, how we chose the writing etc.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 12:56:43 PM by sonya_post » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2012, 02:19:40 PM »

For History, I have definitely decided to start with Story of the World.  I am excited to add a timeline to our long learning hallway, and I found this great link that pairs with Story of the World for creating a timeline.   I am going to use just clothes line and pins to display the timeline. 

I have also seen a deck of Anki Cards for Story of the World 1.  Too bad the rest haven't been done yet.  Looks like another project.   I think I am going to create Anki cards using the timeline cards provided at the link above.  I am fourth in line for Story of the World at the library.  Its a very popular series.  Of course this is the audio version.  The library oddly enough only has the audio version.  I wonder if the book is better?


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« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2012, 10:15:35 PM »

Wow, thank you so very much for the level of detail and thoughtfulness in your response. I really appreciate it! Thank you so much for all the links. We are looking for a Christian history/writing curriculum. However, like you, I am not afraid with my child coming into contact with other worldviews. I believe it will strengthen his logical thinking skills, his love for and ability to interact with others, his ability to articulate his own beliefs, and build his discernment. I also believe that you can find hints or reminders of the one great story in every story. Therefore, I think we will definitely be looking at the omnibus and possibly classical composition (which you mentioned in a previous post), and then seeing what we can add on from there, such as the Odyssey of the West and some great books of the other cultures.

For history, thank you for that link with the curriculum. It is great! I do like Story of the World as well, as it has been mentioned several times in these posts, and so is on my short list.

As far as the timeline, did you break yours up the way they did on  the link, and how big did you make it? Did you make a list of books that fit into each time period and then studied those books from there? Did you go in order of the timeline in your teaching? You also said it has many uses. Can you enumerate some for me? Again, sorry for sounding like I don't know much here, but I really don't think I studied any history after high school and even then, it was definitely just memorize just enough to get an A, but not really any real depth or understanding with it. Now that I see how other people teach it, such as yourself, I wish that someone would have gotten me excited about it like you seem to be doing with your kids.

Again, thank you so much for your thoroughness and the time you take to write responses. I am looking forward to the lists you mentioned.  I don't know if I have enough posts yet to give karma points, and don't know how to do it yet, but if I find how, I will give some to you!

Thanks for that timeline link. I will absolutely be looking into that!

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« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2012, 02:38:16 AM »


I have attached the list of books that are must reads prek-6th. These are not necessarily all the books we'll read. And I'm going to do some rearranging as my LO gets older as this whole EL thing changes everything. And I'm not going to do history like I did before. I am running two streams of history at the same time. That is a Charlotte Mason thing and I see no reason for it not to work. The European history/American history is an Ambleside Online thing. Charlotte thought you should do your country history along side world history. America is a young country so they went to Western Civ along side World History. I am not sure how I am going to do this yet. Possibly Eurpoean/American or just family/American as our family history would cover much of European history as well. This means many of the books on the list will have to be rearranged as we make changes in our plan of study. This list is not meant to cover history at all. I just think the books are good and want my child to read them. History is a different set of titles and that has morphed a bit over time as I find books I love.

This is how I did history. There was no curriculum per se. I didn't use a spine the first time around other than Usborn's Encyclopedia of World History We just covered it chronologically. I made a list of books that I wanted to read that covered the time period. I try to make literature and history match, but that doesn't always work as some books can be read at an early age but that doesn't mean they should be. So, my son might be reading a book covering late 20th century when in history we are covering Early Middle Ages. That isn't a big deal, but I try to keep it to a minimum. We have taken a couple summers and chosen to do a World History Survey Course and also American History Survey. Usually we'll watch a video series by the Teaching Company and then pick books to read that go along with it. Your local library might carry a bunch of Teaching Company material, you should check it out. We've also used summers to cover things like the Civil War in depth. I usually left those kinds of decisions up to my kiddo. Except the survey courses. We did a World History Survey when my son was 8 and then again before we started the Omnibus. Then before each new term of the Omnibus we'll do a Teaching Company lecture series that covers the same period. That will usually take a month to complete.  I don't start testing or recording grades until 7th grade. As prior to that they are learning and learning to learn. And for all practical purposes it doesn't matter. We do everything to mastery regardless of how long it takes. So, on history I don't do quizzes or tests. We talk about what we are reading. I introduce ideas that we will encounter.later. You will know as a parent whether your child has mastered something if you are paying attention. The goal is to get them to talk about what they know and what they have gleaned. It is good to ask questions concerning the Great Ideas to get them to start thinking.

We used a timeline book. Much like what you see on the link I gave you with the historical figures. Only we drew ours and wrote stuff in. I used a 3 ring binder and cardstock. Pretty basic. My son likes to draw so he did his as he wanted. The historical figures can be used in a lot of ways. Note-booking or narration pages, adding them to a timeline. Bingo cards and other games can be made from them. Never forget flashcards.

Here is the thing about teaching other viewpoints whether you are Christian, Hindu, Athiest, or Shaman: We all swim in this soup together. So, everyone living in the West today has been distinctly shaped by the Reformation whether you like it or not. Whether a Christain likes it or not, much of what we call "Christian Doctrine and Practice" is heavily influenced by Greek philosophers. There is no one alive in the West that can escape Augustine even if they have no idea who he is or read a single word of his writing. The point of the Great Books/Classical education is partly to trace these ideas back and see what kind of effect they have had on our culture.

To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child.


I want a hallway like yours but my oldest son nixed it. I am now waiting for him to move out so I can use the walls of his room.  LOL

As far as books to read other than my list go here:  Look through the Charlotte Mason stuff. In the meantime, I have to find my master list, it is not on this computer and I'm hoping it is in a hard drive somewhere. 

I am still going to get the progym post to you. Not tonight.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 04:56:32 AM by sonya_post » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2012, 04:40:53 AM »

Oooh. I love the Teaching Company's lectures.


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« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2012, 04:43:50 AM »

And thank you for the book list Sonya. 


JJ: 5 years old.
Math:  CLE2, Singapore 2A, HOE, living math books.
Language Arts: CLE2
Reading: CLE2
Independent Reading: Half Magic, Boxcar Children, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Science: BFSU, Peter Weatherall, lots of science books.
Americana: Liberty\'s Kids, Complete Book of American History, Story of Us.
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« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2012, 05:27:29 AM »


Ella started spelling CVC words when she was 2.5 using the Montessori Crosswords app on the Ipad. I then decided to order AAS because I wanted a phonics-based spelling program, but didn't get to start it with her until she was a month shy of 4 (due to a lot of traveling and moving cross-country and then internationally). In hindsight, I could probably have started AAS earlier since she is just really breezing through it now. We are almost halfway through the 7-level program, and she is showing no signs of slowing down even though I have started dictating each spelling word/phrase and having her write them down, instead of using the letter tiles. She really likes this program and loves being able to spell independently when she is writing her stories or even just text messaging her dad.  LOL

For History, we are also using Usborne's Encyclopedia of World History as our spine, supplemented by Gombrich's A Little History of the World (we are using the illustrated edition and the audio CDs), Story of the World (book and CDs), Jim Weiss recordings, Yesterday's Classics ebooks, as well as lots of storybooks and hands-on materials. It is working out great for us!   smile


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« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2012, 05:55:11 AM »

Thank you everyone for all your ideas.

Right now, my son is 13 months, and we just discovered doman when he was about 8 months old, didn’t start using any cards until 9 months old (I read through the books and that’s how long it took me to do that and prep). Even since then, we really havn't been consistent because of travel until about 2 months ago and we just got LR, and little math and muscian (all of which he loves!). We also have lebelled most things in our house (back when he was 8 months old) and now he loves walking through the house pointing to every label.  I love reading to him and he loves his books, which are in baskets all over the house, and so we randomly walk into any room and can pick up a book.

Anywho, all that to say, we are really excited about this whole early learning process and loving the fact that even in the last few months to see his excitement and love for this. It is wonderful to find a forum-full of people that love discussing early learning. With my family and friends, I usually get negative remarks for my excitement and Titus' progression.

So, for homeschooling, based on what I have gleaned from these forums, we are going to do an eclectic approach. I want to keep him challenged, so I want to have ideas of where to go for the most challenge in each discipline, and also not limit him in areas where I do not feel super confident (art, music, history, creative stuff:-) If in any discipline, it doesn't end up being his strongsuit, then it is easier to drop things/go slower than to be scrambling to add things to keep up with him and have no idea how (at least for my hyper-planning brain).

So, here is kinda a rough outline of what we are thinking for each area, in roughly chronological order:

For math, we are planning to continue with little math, reaidng through marshmellow math, then MEP, jones genius, rightstart math, jumpstart math, soroban, possibly singapore math, hands on equations, calculus by and for young people, khan academy, AoPS. The reason for so many is that I feel very confident with math and thus confident that I could pull the best from several areas/curriculums and present in a way my son understands. As I said, I also want to be able to keep up with challenging him. Ooh, and I got zometools geometry set (thanks aangeles for mentioning that homeschoolbuyeers co-op was having a sale on this one).

For learning to read, we will continue with LR and with other flashcards I got at this site: (awesome source of powerpoints for reading/math/encyclopedic knowledge, spanish and russian powerpoint flashcards, as well as links to other sites).  We will continue to point out words where we see them and labelling our home. We will also take nadia0801's suggestion and put flashcards along the wall in the hallways, up and down from him, so he has to bend for some, reach for some, make it a game. If he does not intuit phonics, and just to solidify his learning, we may also go through how to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons. We will continue to read many many books together as well.

For writing, we have started "journaling" where I write what he says (his signs and babbling, and some words), and then he draws. I will also write him little notes on a little whiteboard for him to discover in the morning when he wakes up and then we will read it together, and down the line, he can "answer" me on the whiteboard. We will do montessori-inspired pre-writing activities that fine-tune his small motor movement (knobbed cylinders-how you hold them- he loves doing these and fitting them into their holes, connect4 game-he just loves putting the plastic coins in, cutting, tracing,  etc). We will then follow up with montessori-style writing activities (moveable alphabet, sandpaper letters etc). We may do Handwriting Without Tears. For spelling/vocab, we will check out AAS, worldy wise 3000, and your Child Can Discover.

Once he has learned to write, we will try to follow the progym, possibly using classical compositions as our base curriculum with some logos press stuff, though we are also considering omnibus, IEW, and Writing With Ease/Skill. I may supplement with some grammar-specific things like  First Language Lessons, and Brian McCleary grammar storybooks.

For geography, I will use Beginning Geography as a jumping off point, and then choose books and things based on that (as suggested by aangeles  on another post).

For history, I will buy Usborne's Encyclopedia of World History and Story of the World as both come highly recommended by many people on here that I respect. I may or may not use those as a spine. We will check out the usborne young reading books about various people in history. I will also probably try omnibus (though I am not sure when to start this-on their website it seems like they begin with second grade)/classical conversations music cds/ Oh, and I will make a timeline or timeline book. I may also supplement books from . Thank you sonya_post and others for really sparking my interest in history as I never really have been before. I am actually excited to teach it, because I feel I will be learning it really truly for the first time (not just studying up to pass a test)!

We will possibly do BFSU, mini set from, free activity books etc from  (thanks annisis), zometool stuff, chemistry stuff from (thanks kerileanne99), real science 4 kids, peter wetherhall's dvds, and videos from (thanks TeachingmyToddlers).

We will buy tweedlewink, and wink down the line, as well as memory magic. We will also do many puzzles and other right brain activities as suggested by many on these forums.

Little musician, then soft mozart, then lessons of some sort (I really lack in this area).

Draw write now, art atelier.

Loosely following doman activities. Later, plan to enroll in martial arts and run/playground at home.

Speaking Russian (me, grandparents on my side), ASL (me, deaf friends), and Afrikaans (my husband, grandparents on his side) to him. Will start LR flashcards as well. Awesome that there are some Afrikaans ones on there! That is hard to come by. For Russian, we may add some things from umnitsa later.

We will also continue some montessori inspired sensorial and practical life activities. He loves setting his place, helping me unload his dishes into his little drawer, vaccum, scoop and pour the dog food etc. For sensorial, he loves the knobbed cylinders and pink tower (only 3 blocks of it so far), stacking/nesting by size etc. We will also study the bible, but to me, that is really in and through everyday life as well, so it is not a separate curriculum, but just a regular part of our life.

« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 06:04:32 AM by juliguli » Logged
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