Monday, May 25, 2015

The Book of the Ancient Greeks Lesson Plans!



 
 
Here it is! I've finally created my first book. See the side bar for a link to my Author Spotlight at Lulu.

Here are the lesson plans for The Book of the Ancient Greeks. This has been a bit of a learning experience for me, and I know that I still have a great deal more to learn. I have had a proof copy sent to me and it should be arriving soon. As soon as I see the layout of the pages, I should have a better idea of whether I have formatted the pages correctly or not. I will also test out the printable forms in the appendix to see that they copy well. If they do not, I will then create a smaller, separate and free PDF file that purchasers of the curriculum can simply print out as they need. If anyone here prefers this idea already, please let me know and I'll create the file regardless of how well the forms can be copied. The good news is that I can edit and upload new and improved versions as I need without too much additional trouble.

Naturally, I've been very inspired to keep working on my much larger and much more ambitious goal of creating an entire K-12 curriculum. On a slightly smaller scale, I'm envisioning lesson plans for all of the books by Dorothy Mills, reformatted and edited primary source books, separate printable appendices with forms needed, art packages and more.

I'm currently just beginning to write out the notes for The Middle Ages and I'll continue with my other projects. I'm hoping to start The Book of the Ancient Romans and Year One Complete next for publishing. If you have any particular requests from the list of work that I've already completed, please let me know. I would like to try and publish these in an order that works for those who are using this curriculum or who would like to start using this curriculum.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The History Rotation





How does this curriculum compare to some of the PNEU Curriculum samples of Charlotte Mason? Why is the history rotation set up the way it is? How does this arrangement benefit my student? Isn't this more complicated than a simple four-four-four history rotation or a six-six or even a six-three-three? What is the best history rotation? Is there such thing as the best history rotation? Should we revolve a child's entire education around our history rotation?

These are just some of the many questions that would be good questions to ask yourself before using the scope and sequence of this curriculum. They would be good questions to ask before using any curriculum.

Following is a link to a post that I wrote after studying many samples of Charlotte Mason's scope and sequence:

Charlotte Mason's Curriculum


How does this curriculum compare to some of the PNEU Curriculum samples of Charlotte Mason?

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the history rotations between Charlotte Mason and A Mind in the Light:

Year
Charlotte Mason
 
A Mind in the Light
1
National/English History
 
World History
2
National/English History
 
World History
3
National/English History
 
World History
National/American History
4
National/English History
French History (SC)
 
National/American History
World History
5
National/English History
French History (SC)
Ancient History
 
National/American History
World History
Ancient History
6
National/English History
French or World History (SC)
Ancient History
 
National/American History
World History
Ancient History
7
National/English History
French or World History (SC)
Ancient History
 
World History
Ancient History
8
National/English History
French or World History (SC)
Ancient History
 
World History
Ancient History
9
National/English History
World History
Ancient History
 
World History
Ancient History
10
National/English History
World History
Ancient History
 
World History
Ancient History
11
National/English History
World History
Ancient History
 
National/American History
Ancient History
12
National/English History
World History
Ancient History
 
National/American History
World History
Ancient History

 SC=Studied Contemporaneously
 
Why is the history rotation set up the way it is?
How does this arrangement benefit my student?

Having spent many, many hours arranging and then rearranging the scope and sequence of this curriculum, I have arrived at a history rotation that meets the overwhelming majority of my goals. Being considerate of Charlotte Mason's approach to a history rotation, incorporating specific history books that I wished to include and balancing topics and general divisions of history were just some of the goals that I was trying meet as I wrote the scope and, even more specifically, the sequence.

Charlotte Mason was able to give more attention to National/English history because England was a central part of Western Civilization for a more significant time period than America. I did not feel that it was necessary to cover American history every year. National/American history is given its due attention within the perspective of the history of the world in Year 3. Years 4-6 are the late elementary years which has National/American history as the main focus without losing the overall world perspective. It is covered again with more advanced depth in Years 11-12.

Like Charlotte Mason, I liked the idea of covering smaller, more in-depth sections of ancient history by adding it in in Year 5 as a separate subject and including it every year thereafter. This allows such important literature works such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Divine Comedy and the Greek Tragedies to be better spread out over a number of years rather than all studied in large sections crammed into their corresponding history periods. I also felt that keeping several chains of history going at once allows for a greater variety in literature choices each year as well as keeping the student's interest high. Covering different eras in history gives the student more opportunities to make connections about history on their own. For example, while studying the creation of the American government, ideas about government during the Roman time period are not ideas that were studied three years ago, but are ideas that are fresh because they are also being studied just the year previous. The connections between the Roman style of government and the American style of government can be made more readily.

I find the books by Dorothy Mills to be the perfect style of book for studying history. Her books are written in a narrative style that is engaging yet detailed. Her incorporation of primary sources make them the ideal books for integrating and teaching with primary sources. The target ages for her series of books range between Year 5-Year 10. This is why the history rotation in A Mind in the Light focuses on world history during many of these years.


Isn't this more complicated than a simple four-four-four history rotation or a six-six or even a six-three-three?

Honestly, this is all really a matter of priorities and perspectives. Is the layout of this curriculum more complicated? Perhaps. It really would be simpler if I just set this up to follow the typical four-four-four rotation. But, has that rotation been idealized a bit? Perhaps. It certainly does have its advantages. If those advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then this curriculum may not suit everyone. That's okay. I didn't design this curriculum with the idea that everyone would love it. I designed it because I truly believe that the ideas and motivations behind its arrangement will contribute to educating a child to not only know, but to think, feel, awaken, connect, admire, imitate and create. I've emphasized from the very beginning, and will continue to emphasize, that flexibility is a key part of this curriculum. Move things around if doing that makes the curriculum work better for you. Eventually, I will have a great booklist, with flexible schedules (sold individually or as one whole year) and lesson plans for all of it. You can add or subtract, condense or expand as needed. I recognize that families with more than one child have a great need to combine their children in as many areas as possible. I do intend to create schedules and lesson plans to better allow for this. Already, the guides for the books by Dorothy Mills are being written with two levels in mind. You can then easily use the same book and guide with multiple students as long as they fall within the target year range.

I have the scope and sequence set up to offer the best education that I know how to create. And it is one that I will continue to modify and update as I learn more. Anyone is welcome to adapt that base plan as needed. I would, however, be mindful not to stray too far from the main ideas and goals of the curriculum. Otherwise, too many dramatic alterations will ultimately change for what the curriculum was intended.

What is the best history rotation? Is there such thing as the best history rotation? Should we revolve a child's entire education around our history rotation?
 
 
I don't think that there is such a thing as the best history rotation. Families are made up of individuals, so not every individual is going to find which history time period to study as important as the next. In fact, I think that children aren't going to really care at all about this. If they have learned to love history, or, in some cases, to tolerate history, then they will simply want to know as much as they can but in a way that is meaningful to them. A child's entire education should not be revolved entirely around the history time period being studied. There was an entire epic thread about this very idea on the Well-Trained Mind Forum. Too many curricula available today set up a history rotation and choose books to read to coordinate with that time period. Often the book choices are chosen more because they are of that time period then because they are a good literary choice or because they are at the right time for the child developmentally to read it. This problem can be avoided if the curriculum created has larger, more fundamental goals such as building a reader, a writer and a thinker at the forefront of the book choices and history sequences over a rigid history rotation sequence. 

 
 


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Development of a Narrator







What makes a narrator who follows this curriculum different from other narrators?
This question has far more significance than may first appear.
Aren't all narrators, and therefore all narrations, the same?

This curriculum draws heavily from the ideas of Charlotte Mason, but also integrates ideas from other classical writing approaches. Narration is one of the foundational elements of writing in a Charlotte Mason education, and therefore is foundational in this curriculum. Viewed in this light, clarification is crucial.


Narration Misunderstandings Clarified
 
The following narration misunderstandings are addressed to demonstrate why the misunderstood idea would not develop the narrator, but the clarified idea will.


Narrations Are Retellings Only.

This is not true. Narrations, both oral and written, should not be retellings only. A large component of narrations are of this kind, particularly in the very early years, but the concentration of this style should begin to adjust as early as Year Two and should continue to diminish (but not disappear completely) over each consecutive year. Each successive year should see a greater variety of type and style of writing.

Not only narrations, but also the components of writing such as dictation, copywork, recitations and discussion should vary. There are many components which make up the writer, and each of these components cannot be singled out alone as the whole of writing. It is in the entirety of the components, working together, which make up the whole of writing.

It is far more difficult to write a curriculum in which the narrations include variety yet target and build skills needed to grow writers, speakers and thinkers. Creating a balance between growing all minds, but yet maintaining the flexibility to allow minds to differ is not an easy task. Developing the narrator is a critical part of this curriculum.

Narrations Are Varied and Build Skills.


Narrations Are Writing Assignments Without Purpose.

This idea could not be more wrong, but, unfortunately, it is exactly what I see in many curricula which purports to embrace Charlotte Mason's ideas and methods. Many of these types of curricula are no more than good book lists with a reading schedule and general narration prompts. I've looked at some curricula whose narration prompts can be as vague as "Give an oral narration" after a reading or "Write a narration on ______(event or person)" after a reading. The latter prompt is appropriate sometimes, but should not be the only type available. Over the length of a student's entire education, these types of narration prompts will becoming writing assignments without purpose.

Narrations can vary between creative expression types, exploration of themes, understanding character, identifying literary devices and then applying them, making comparisons, developing all major types of writing and much more. Added to this variety is the increasing complexity of books read and discussed, the increasing levels in the writing components such as grammar and dictation and the increasing expectations to write and speak at a higher level. These narrations with a purpose along with components with a purpose will develop the writer.

Narration is Writing With a Purpose.


Narrations Are Not For My Child.

While it is true that not all children respond well to narrations at first, I'm not sure that it should be said that they will never respond to them. Consider that perhaps the methods did not suit the teacher rather than the methods did not suit the child. This style of educating is very different from typical classroom methods, and I say this as a former classroom teacher. :) It is a big task for homeschoolers to take on the monumental task of not only parenting our children but educating them too. Educating with new methods is frightening, because we are unable to see the results until much later. When a method or idea doesn't seem to produce good results immediately, we tend to change the method rather than change our own approach.

Along with those who did not give the method enough time, there are those families who may have used the narration approach correctly, but did not tie it with the other components. In this curriculum, it is extremely important for the narrations to be used along with the components.

Perhaps, given the time and use of accompanying components and methods, the child would grow to enjoy narrating. Perhaps the child simply needs time to adjust to the new expectations, because narrating is not easy and the skills needed for it require much practice.

Narrations Are Accessible to All Children.


How Do All of the Components Contribute to the Narrator?

You would think that the narration techniques used in conjunction with the components would be all that is needed to develop a writer, but it is just as important to apply the training of habits. The habit of attention and the habit of perfect execution are essential to developing good narrators.

This curriculum becomes a pyramid, in which all of the smaller aspects connect to one another and form a foundation, and each, in turn, complements, supports and/or builds skills for another, adding another level to the pyramid.  Guess how the habit of attention is supported? Nature study, dictation and copywork are all aspects of this curriculum which develop the habit of attention. And the habit of attention supports copywork and dictation, which then supports and develops the narrator. And the narrator becomes a thinker who can speak and write.

Aren't All Narrators, and Therefore All Narrations, the Same?

No, all narrations are not equal and therefore all narrators are not equal. Different expectations lead to different results and different methods either support or undermine those expectations.



 What Makes a Narrator Who Follows This Curriculum Different from Other Narrators?

The development of the narrator in this curriculum is based on a the idea that all children can learn to express themselves in a logical, articulate and beautiful manner based on carefully constructed ideas and methods which continue to increase in expectation as the child grows.



Read here, here and here for more thoughts about narration.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Curriculum Completed At This Time



After Adobe discontinued their free file sharing service, I was obligated to remove all of the work which I had uploaded and then had linked here. I'm currently working on publishing what I've already completed, and, as time permits, complete more and publish these too. I'm still considering a website at this time, but decided to go forward with the storefront at Lulu first. I wanted to share in this post a list of all of the curriculum, schedules and other resources that I've written. This would help those who are interested in this curriculum to know what is coming available soon and what is still needed.

Books by Dorothy Mills
The Book of the Ancient World
The Book of the Ancient Greeks
The Book of the Ancient Romans
Renaissance and Reformation Times

History Books
A Child's History of the World by Hillyer
Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley
Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley
Exploration and Conquest by Betsy Maestro
The New Americans by Betsy Maestro

Geography Books
The Discovery of the Americas by Betsy Maestro
Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling
Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta by James Rumford

Literature Books
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
Tales from Shakespeare by C. and M. Lamb
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Sonnets by Shakespeare
Poetry for Year One
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (selections)
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends by Beatrix Potter

Science and Nature Study
Year One Science (Farm Animals and Botany)
Year Three Science (Tide Pool Life using Pagoo and Life in a Tidal Pool)
Year Six (Classification Study)
Luther Burbank: Nature's Helper by Lillian Bragdon
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Plutarch
Brutus

Complete Years
Year One

Schedules
Year One (Complete)
Year Two (History)
Year Two (Literature)
Year Three (Science and Nature Study)
Year Three (Geography)
Year Three (History)
Year Three (Literature)
Year Four (Literature)
Year Nine (Literature)
Year Nine (Art History)

Artist Study Collections
Mary Cassatt
Edgar Degas
Paul Cezanne
Rembrandt H. van Rijn

Nearly Completed
Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

Partially Completed
English Literature for Boys and Girls by H. E. Marshall
Our Island Story by H. E. Marshall
Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch
Year Three's Ornithology (The First Book of Birds and The Burgess Bird Book)
History of Art for Young People by A. F. Janson

Begun...Needs More Work
George Washington's World by G. Foster
The World of William Penn by G. Foster
Isaac Newton: Mastermind of Modern Science by David C. Knight

Coming Soon
The Middle Ages by Dorothy Mills

Monday, April 13, 2015

Published Books...Coming Soon!


I'm currently working on making my first book/guide available in print form and I'm very excited about it! I have so much to learn, so I hope that my mistakes can be withstood. Please be patient with me. :) I might try and use this post as a reference place for a running list of all that I complete and make available at Lulu.

Here is a link to my Author's Spotlight page. I still have much work to do even with this, but if you keep checking back it should begin to take shape soon.

Author Spotlight at Lulu

Current Books Coming Soon:

The Book of the Ancient Greeks Lesson Plans
spiral/coil
black/white
8.5*11


I do hope to offer it as an eBook which can printed as soon as I can.

ETA: After extending an offer on another site to anyone willing to edit the guide and offer comments in exchange for a free printed/eBook copy, three wonderful ladies agreed to do this. I'm so grateful to them for helping me. I really want to be sure that these are as good as I can make them. As soon as I hear back from them, I'll make the needed changes and make the guide even better. At that time, I'll then submit it. :)



Monday, March 23, 2015

Handcrafts

 


Here is a list of Handcraft suggestions from the PNEU Curriculum:
  • gardening
  • sewing
  • knitting
  • Scouts
  • paper folding
  • charity work
  • woodcarving
  • cooking
  • embroidery
  • weaving
  • woodwork
  • clay modeling
Here are some additional suggestions:
  • flower arranging
  • flower press
  • pottery
  • origami
  • Zentangle
  • scrapbooking
  • photography
  • calligraphy
  • card/notecard/bookmark creations
  • jewelry making
  • quilting
  • model kits
  • knot tying
  • electronics
  • mechanics
  • soap carving
  • herbal creations (soaps, sachets, etc.)


I'll use this section (below) for links to resources for some of these handcraft suggestions. This will be a continual work in progress, so while I will include only a couple of links at this time, I will add to this list as I can.

  • The Mary Frances Garden Book  Archive
  • Origami Instructions  Here
  • Flower Press Here
  • The Art of Zentangle by Bremner, Burnell, Raile and William
  • Easy Carpentry Projects for Children by Leavitt
  • The Morrow Guide to Knots by Bigon and Regazzoni
  • See and Sew: A Sewing Book for Children by Tina Davis
  • Look and Cook: A Cookbook for Children by Tina Davis
  • Sow and Grow: A Gardening Book for Children by Tina Davis
  • Grow It, Cook It (DK Publishing)



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Charlotte Mason's Preparatory Level



I've recently found some PNEU schedules for what Charlotte Mason called the Preparatory Level.

Here is a sample schedule that she included:

Monday: Bible, Reading, Painting, Number, Handwork, Geography, Writing
Tuesday: Tales, Number, Handwork, Reading, Singing Games, Writing, Nature Study
Wednesday: Poetry, Reading, Nature Study, Number, Handwork, History, Writing
Thursday: Bible, Number, Handwork, Reading, Singing Games, Writing, Tales
Friday: Tales, Reading, Picture Study, Number, Handwork, Nature Study, Writing

Notice how she intersperses skill work with content work keeping the child from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. A short period of concentrated work such as Numbers, Writing, etc. should be followed with a different type of work such as Handwork, listening to stories, singing, etc. This schedule should be followed with time allotted for outdoor play, nature study, gardening, etc.

Tales/Literature/Reading Aloud

Some books that might be used for Tales included:
  • English Fairy Tales by J. Jacobs
  • Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A. A Milne
  • Fairy Tales of Long Ago edited by M. C. Carey
  • Anatole by Eve Titus
  • The New Pet by Marjorie Flack
  • The Fairy Caravan by Beatrix Potter

History

Here is a link to one of several books used for history:

A Nursery History of England by Elizabeth O'Neill

Days before History by E. G. Hume and Stories of Great People, Stories of Great Deeds by K. Conyngham Greene were also used.



These books were used for biographies, particularly Alfred the Great and Sir Walter Raleigh.


 Natural History



Here are just a few of the many selections used for natural history. Many of these books are not available for free downloads, but are available for purchase.
  • Tales of the Wild Folk by Cicely M. Rutley
  • In the Wilderness by Derek McCulloch
  • Walnut Tree Meadow by David Severn
  • Zoo Days by H. Golding

Seeing the books that CM used helps me to have a better understanding of which books I can use today as replacements. I often can get a better sense of her fundamental goals by looking at her books over reading her theories.

CM also included poetry, picture study, Bible, geography and singing along with a great emphasis on physical exercise and outdoor time. I'll try to post more about this level sometime in the near future. I'd like to do a couple of posts on Handwork and I'll include this level in one of these posts too.