Homeschool Hodgepodge

(I’m also guest posting at Mary’s today about how to balance Teacher and Mom.)

This post is long but worth it!  Great resources and a giveaway at the end!

Homeschool planning (History)

As I mentioned yesterday (in my other giveaway post– be sure to enter!) I am deep in the throes of planning for next year.  I’m surrounded by tons of piles of this and that, at least a dozen lists that I have to consolidate, and a few new items that I am so excited to use!

We’ve always been an eclectic homeschool family, starting out with more of a classical bent but quickly moving to an overall living books philosophy that I can easily taylor to the needs of each child.  Since I’m not married to any one method, I have felt the freedom to experiment and explore different things, and as I mentioned in my post about our homeschool year’s personality, each summer I assess and figure out what will work best for the stage we’re in.

US Geography Notebook

Last year we started notebooking with a simple US geography project.  The kids loved it, and I absolutely adored having them all at the table working on their age-appropriate pages all together, instead of having to go from child to child individually.  It made things so simple, and I couldn’t wait to incorporate more notebooking in the coming year.

Enter Notebooking Pages: a fabulous site full of thousands of pages, with more being added each month, and now a new web application for children and teens to use to create fully digital notebooking pages.  I have become an affiliate for this company, and this means that I can pass on awesome discounts and specials to all of you!  Win-win!

Notebooking Pages is right now, starting today, having a huge back-to-school sale that you do not want to miss!  We’re planning on notebooking through science, history, poetry, and any other subject that would benefit from this method, and I can’t recommend the selection enough.  There are sets to purchase, but the best deal by far is the membership.  Click the image to get more information:

Notebooking Pages Sale!

The second resource I’m super excited to use is our new CD library from Heritage History. I have a middle schooler who is a voracious reader.  When I had the opportunity to become an affiliate for this company, and received the Christian Europe library of books to use in our own homeschool, I could not wait to begin.  Each affordable library includes dozens of books that can be downloaded onto an iPad or e-reader, and curriculums have maps, timelines, and other resources in addition to the books!

Heritage History- use code CHRISglo

Now that I’m actually planning and choosing which books to include from Heritage History’s CD library (we are going through year two of the Story of the World for our history which covers the Middle Ages), I am even more convinced about this resource.  So much so, that I’ve chosen to purchase at least one more CD curriculum for use this year.

My connection with this company also means that I can pass on savings and deals to you and I am whole-heartedly thrilled to do so.

One lucky reader will win a CD library or curriculum of her choice!

To enter, visit Heritage History and look at the selection of CD libraries ad curricula, and leave a comment with your first choice.  For extra entries you can:

*oops!  Forgot to mention to leave a comment for each entry so I can fully enter you!*

Giveaway open until 11:59pm August 8th.

Even if you don’t win the giveaway, Heritage History is offering a free Spanish Empire Library ($19.99 value) when you purchase any curriculum CD for $24.99.  Simply enter code CHRISglo at checkout.

And, by the way, any purchase you make from now until August 31 enters you to win a Kindle Fire.  Awesome!

Please know that I am only passing on these amazing resources because we are using them ourselves going forward.  I do not choose to be an affiliate for any company that we don’t fully endorse through use in our own homeschool.  Being an affiliate earns me a small percentage of purchases made with my code.  For more information, see my Disclosure page.

 

Shakespeare {for the first time}

Peter Paul Rubens- Julius Caesar

Shakespeare with my twelve-year-old

I admit it.  I was a bit apprehensive about choosing and reading our first Shakespeare play.

I knew my son was ready this year.  His love for books and language is well-established and his reading level is excellent.  This past year has seen him read many more classics than years past, and retain and enjoy them all.  He read (and we discussed) Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, and the Tripod Trilogy, just to name a few.  We’ve been studying ancient history, and when we came upon the wonder, power, and subsequent demise of ancient Rome, I knew we had to read Julius Caesar.

So we jumped in with both feet.

I wasn’t sure how it would work, but I planned on having him notebook through it a bit, read it aloud with me, study the characters and history.  Mostly, however, my goal was for him to enjoy it.  And now that we’re well into the third act, I am thrilled to say that our experience has been wonderful and that the drama has captured us both.

How I introduced Shakespeare to my middle schooler

  • We reviewed the history– we’d already been going through the Story of the World, complete with my son writing outlines and filling in his timeline, so we discussed what he’d learned so far.
  • We researched Shakespeare’s life- I used this flip book as an easy introduction, and looked up a bit more online.
  • We read a brief synopsis– We used Pink Monkey Notes (free online notes similar to Cliff’s) and read about the characters as well.  I learned about this website from Susan Wise Bauer this year at our homeschool convention and it has been an awesome resource!
  • I assigned a notebooking page on vocabulary, and also a compare/contrast paper- The vocabulary assignment was with words such as plot, protagonist, antagonist, climax, and theme, basics about a play’s structure.  The compare/contrast paper was between two characters of my son’s choice.  He settled on Brutus and Cassius and came up with some great thoughts, including quotes that supported his ideas.
  • We started reading– We each had a character or two per scene and read as dramatically as we could.  I often would stop and ask what Colin thought of the passage, or a specific line, to see how he was responding.  I think we did a good job in the drama department.  At one point my 5-year-old looked up with a frightened look on his face and said we should be reading something about people who are nice to each other.
  • We supplemented with notes about each scene- Pink Monkey Notes again.  There is a detailed synopsis with cultural and literary notes on every scene.
  • I kept it simple- What I did not want to do is overwhelm.  I wanted us to experience the text, the rich language, and the story together without weighing ourselves down with lots of busy work.

Shakespeare resources for children

  • I gained a lot of confidence and suggestions from this lens on Squidoo by Jimmie; it is chock full of great ideas and links.
  • I also have loved using my Notebooking Pages membership to supplement the play itself.  This site has thousands of pages available to meet any need you may have.  It would be a fabulous addition to any type of curriculum this year!
    Basic lined notebooking pages
  • This post from Lauren has some printables about Julius Caesar for younger children, in case you want to include them in your reading.
  • Before we ever read a real Shakespeare play, we had read aloud a couple of the stories from Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb.  It is very well-written and retains a lot of the integrity of the language while making sure it’s accessible for children.
  • This Shakespeare Can Be Fun series is also a great way to introduce the stories of Shakespeare’s plays with fun drawings by children.

 When do you plan on introducing the Bard to your children?  Or have you already?  Do tell!  I’d love to hear your experience!

 

This post contains affiliate links.  See my Disclosure Page for more information.