Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November Update

Classical Lessons for The Children of the New Forest is available now!

You can see the cover in the side bar to the right and find a preview to it by clicking on the Author Spotlight at Lulu, also in the side bar to the right, and follow the links at Lulu from there.

I am making better progress with Classical Lessons for The Book of the Ancient Romans and hope to finish it over some free time during the upcoming holidays. :)

I'm still working on Year One the Complete Guide and Classical Lessons for A Child's History of the World, but hope to catch up a little with my work on these over the Christmas holidays. I hope...

Future Plans include Classical Lessons for 16th-18th Century History, designed for Year Four, including the following books:

Term 1
Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620
by Betsy and Giulio Maestro
The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689
by Betsy and Giulio Maestro
The Story of the Thirteen Colonies by Clifford L. Alderman (Landmark)
The World of William Penn by G. Foster
Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars:
by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

Terms 2-3
George Washington's World by G. Foster 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October Update

This is just a quick note to share that I'm still working on getting books ready to publish and the new web site, but I've been very busy in my everyday family life. Both of my daughters have a great deal going on in their lives and this is keeping me busy. My older daughter is getting ready to transition into college and my younger daughter has a role in the Nutcracker and we've added rehearsals to her dance schedule. Both girls are playing sonatas in an upcoming piano show, preparing other pieces for the year and beginning to learn their Christmas recital duet too. It's a very active time here, but it's a good active. :) Unfortunately, this leaves little spare time for me to accomplish my goals. I'm trying, but it is coming along more slowly then I had intended.

The web site is coming along well enough. I've still a little way to go before it's ready and I'll be sure to post here a link to the site when I'm finished with it.

I'm working on getting guides for the Dorothy Mills books (The Book of the Ancient Romans and Renaissance and Reformation Times) and Year One. Year One saw some changes in the science and nature study aspect of it, so I'm still working out this along with getting the weeks typed and ready. I'll probably be able to publish Children of the New Forest in the next month or so, as I'm nearly finished with it.

I'm having trouble uploading images here at this blog. This was just one of many reasons that I'd decided to go ahead with a web site.

I hope that you all are having a good year and enjoy the upcoming holidays. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

To What Should I Direct My Attention Next?

I'm trying to decide which book or year I should give my largest amount of attention. I've dabbled with all of those that I've listed specifically in the poll to the right, but I'm not sure which one to give my greatest attention. I will be working on the guide for The Book of the Ancient Romans by Dorothy Mills, because later this year I will need it for my own daughter.

I'm currently working on the following:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat
Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch
Norse Myths by Ingri and Parin D'Aulaire
The World of William Penn by G. Foster
English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall
Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling
The Wonders of Physics by Irving Adler

These are all books either currently being used by my daughters or books they will be needing very soon. I'm further along with some of the books listed above than others, so you may see one or more of these being published somewhere along the way too.

If you would like to answer other in the poll on the right side of this blog, please leave a comment to this post of what you would like to see. I will always give the needs of my own daughters my greatest priority with regard to writing curriculum, but it does help me a lot to know what others would like to see available. This really helps me to prioritize my time better. :)

ETA: Poll Results

So, it looks as if there were two votes for Renaissance and Reformation Times and two votes for Year One Complete, leaving one vote for A Child's History of the World. Thank you so much to those of you who voted. It really helps me a lot! :) I've started working on the former two books mentioned above and will just have to see how it goes. Year One is getting a format/layout overhaul and the science section will see some changes too. Otherwise it is generally the same as before. I have the first two weeks typed out, so far. :) I've started some of the introductory pages for Renaissance and Reformation Times. I'll keep working on them as much as I can along with the books I have listed in the beginning of this post. I'm also working on that web site too.

If anyone would still like an opportunity to share their opinion about the books listed above or would like to add a different suggestion, feel free to leave me a comment here. :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

August Update

This is just a quick note to share my excitement with you!! I've started the long journey towards creating a website of my own. I expect that it will take me some time to set everything up the way that I would like, but I'm excited that I've begun the process. I'm using this opportunity to make changes and overhaul a great deal! The Preparatory Level has been getting some attention recently. :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Classical Lessons from A Mind in the Light

Classical Lessons for The Little White HorseClassical Lessons for The Book of the Ancient WorldClassical Lessons for The Book of the Ancient Greeks

I've published my lessons for The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge from Year Five! As you can see from the images, the two previously published books: The Book of the Ancient World and The Book of the Ancient Greeks now include classical lessons in their titles as well. Only the titles have been changed. I used the word classical in the titles because I felt that Charlotte Mason lessons fit under the title of classical, but that not all would readily see that classical fit under Charlotte Mason. This curriculum incorporates aspects of both Charlotte Mason and classical ideas, although leaning more heavily towards the former.

I'll be continuing my work with Renaissance and Reformation Times. If anyone has a request from what I have on my Curriculum Completed 2015 list, please let me know.

NOTE: I'm not sure why, but I'm having trouble with blogger today. It doesn't seem to want to upload images. Thus, you see this roundabout way I've gone about it. LOL! :) If I can get it to work properly on another day, I'll be able to make the above images larger.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Small Changes and a Little Progress Too

I've finally been able to carve out little sections of time to work on my curriculum. Along with working on it comes the inevitable changes! :) I know that these changes can be frustrating for those of you who have made schedules or purchased books. Please know that, ultimately, if I had the books chosen before the change then they are still very good choices and could still be used.  As I try to create the overall vision, I've found myself making some book substitutions and some shuffles in the schedules. This is part of the reason that I tend to not like to make schedules so far ahead of the full plans. On the other hand, I do understand that it is hard to see how this all fits together without a schedule. This is why I'm trying to put some schedules up as soon as I can and hope that you will be forgiving of any changes it may undergo. :) Hopefully, the very fact that I'm trying to make some progress with it will be seen as a positive as well.

Here is an example of how these changes come around:
In Year Four, I have Seabird and Minn of the Mississippi chosen for part of the geography studies for that year. As I began to write more notes for The World of William Penn, I discovered that there is a section in this book where the tributaries of the Mississippi are discussed. Coincidentally, I had just been looking at Minn of the Mississippi and had planned for the student to spend some time looking at the Mississippi and its tributaries. By moving Minn of the Mississippi to the first term in place of Seabird, I'm able to tie these lessons together. Understanding the Mississippi and its tributaries can be explored through geography, science and history now.

At the same time I was writing these notes for The World of William Penn, I was able to better organize the entire National History schedule for that year. I'll be ready to post the Year Four History Schedule soon.

Year Two is undergoing a change in the Science and Nature Study section. I'm currently going through some new books and hope to make those changes settle down soon.

I'm making good progress with The Little White Horse Book Notes and these will be available for purchase very soon. The lesson plans for Renaissance and Reformation Times are just getting started. I'm working on reading and taking notes for The Middle Ages, but I've only just started this. At the same time, I have much work to do for both of my daughters and will be very busy with their needs too. :)

Let me know if I can help or if you really need anything. I'm always happy to help. I have made some connections with some of the ladies here through Google + and email. If I could find a better method for this, I would love to make that happen. I'm still thinking about a website rather than a blog.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Transitioning from Oral to Written Narrations

Moving a narrator from oral to written narrations should be a gentle crossover, with the skills and needs of the narrator always the priority. A narrator will never leave oral narration completely behind, but as they progress through the years should add to them and replace the number of them with other variations of narration. For example, while my high school student still orally narrates sometimes, more often she writes narrations, essays and other papers as well as participates in deep discussions with me about what she has read.

Here is how I transitioned both of my children from oral to written narrations. My younger daughter, who will be a 7th grader this fall is well into this transition. In fact, she's been writing narrations for many years, but there are still skills she needs to practice and growth still to be made. This demonstrates how long this transition process will really take. In fact, the skills needed to move from a young child orally narrating to a mature young person writing essays is a continual process, with each year bringing new methods and expectations.

Here are what I would consider some important points to consider:

1. Be sure that your oral narrator is fully ready to write. Your young student should be able to write a number of sentences without feeling any strain physically or mentally.

2. Cut whatever was your typical amount of reading material for oral narrations down again. Remember, in the beginning, your very young child could not successfully narrate orally a full chapter. The chapters in the early years are divided into halves and are narrated in sections. Eventually, the child is able to narrate the entire chapter, depending on the length and type of book from which they are narrating. Currently, my younger daughter is reading The Story of the Thirteen Colonies. I have her read much less than one chapter (dividing into halves and sometimes thirds) and narrate it in sections. The particular book is filled with changing people, events and times, so cutting the amount of material to be read and narrated is really essential to me. On the other hand, she easily read full chapters from Bleak House by Charles Dickens and wrote lovely, detailed narrations in her narration notebook summarizing the events of each chapter without any hesitation. Her skills are there, but I place a different priority on some books over others, particularly with regard to fiction vs. nonfiction. If your student has been orally narrating a full chapter, then you may need to cut this back as you begin written narrations. Moving from oral narrations to writing pages and pages for written narration will become overwhelming very quickly.

Here is an excerpt from an article from the Parents' Review on "We Narrate and then We Know":

Do regulate the length of the passage to be read before narration to the age of the children and the nature of the book. If you are reading a fairy story, you will find that the children will be able to remember a page or even two, if a single incident is described. With a more closely packed book, one or two paragraphs will be sufficient. Older children will, of course, be able to tackle longer passages before narrating, but here too, the same principles should be applied, that the length varies with the nature of the book.

3. Be sure that you are always preparing the reading selection ahead of the reading. For example, go over any words which your student may need help in defining or pronouncing. Map work for knowing and understanding any important locations should be done before reading books, especially those being used for history and geography. Ask your student to recall what events and people were important in the last chapter read.

Here is more from "We Narrate and then We Know":

Do always prepare the passage carefully beforehand, thus making sure that all the explanations and use of background material precede the reading and narration. The teacher should never have to stop in the middle of a paragraph to explain the meaning of a word. Make sure, before you start, that the meanings are known, and write all difficult proper names on the blackboard, leaving them there throughout the lesson. Similarly any map work which may be needed should be done before the reading starts.

I wrote a blog post just on this article. These aspects of narration are almost always forgotten in the many conversations about narration. I rarely see these points addressed in what is currently available today for CM and, if they are mentioned, they are seldom part of regular narration discussions from those who use any one or more of these curricula. These points are part of the main backbone to my curriculum. They make part of the difference between narration being a form of writing with no purpose to narration being a form of writing with a very great focused purpose. This is important and should be given due attention.

4. If your child wants to share more than they are prepared to write, consider letting them dictate some of it to you. Perhaps they could write the first few sentences and then let you finish the narration. Let your child give the narration a title and perhaps even a picture sometimes too.

5. Only a couple of narrations each week are expected the first year that you are transitioning. The remaining narrations can be in other forms such as oral, creative (picture, poem, skit) or other forms of written work (lists, letters, etc. ).

6. Don't be overly concerned with the conventions of writing at this point. Once my students have had a chance to get comfortable with keeping a narration notebook, I then begin to make comments into their notebook. I mix positive comments with points of correction. I might point out a capitalization problem and a spelling problem along with a compliment on word choice, for example. I tend to treat narration notebooks similarly to how I treat dictation. There is an eye towards noting that particular child's skill weaknesses and towards incrementally increasing the expectations.