Saturday, July 22, 2017

Family Studies Part 1: History, Geography and Science

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that my children can learn many of the same topics together.  Of course they each have their own individual skill based subjects--math, spelling, grammar, the like.  However, there's something special about that one room schoolhouse feel that can be provided with a living education.  Many subjects are less dependent on age and sequential skills and can be enjoyed together, giving us more to discuss and share with each other!  That means, our history, science, geography, literature and more are all done through living resources, and we do them together!

Curriculum Choices - History, Geography and Science
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I think this is our lineup for the year.  I have honestly changed my mind a few times over the last several weeks and bounced back and forth a little on this decision, but I think I've figured out loosely what I want to "do" this year!  These are the subjects that my 5th and 3rd graders will be doing together . . .

A History of Science - Beautiful Feet Books
When I first saw this course, I knew I wanted to try it.  It just looked delectable!  When we started Early American History last year, I found myself on the website looking at it, and Elliott said "I want to do that one!"  The boys love science.  Their favorite book from history last year was the Benjamin Franklin biography.  I'm really excited for this course.  I just had to wait until Emory was old enough for it.  It is written for 3rd-7th grade, with a suggested pace of 3 lessons/week for middle schoolers, but a slower pace for younger students.  We're going to loop it with the geography, so it might take us longer than a year and I'm okay with that.  It's a pretty heavy course and I'd rather go slow and enjoy it, then feel we have to cram it all in by some arbitrary deadline.  We will get a lot of history through the biographical approach, while still studying the scientific principles of many scientists.  It appears to cover a wide variety of topics, giving us a general overview year (or more) for science.  History and science, all rolled into pretty living books?  Yes, please!

A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books

Geography through Literature - Beautiful Feet Books
I've been wanting to try this one for awhile too!  We already own a couple of the Holling C. Holling books and they are great, but I haven't been able to use them to their full potential.  I think the boys will love the mapping, so I ordered them both a set of maps.  This is a robust course if completely fleshed out, and could easily be expanded into a history/science/geography literature study if you wanted.  It very much reminds me of Five in a Row, in that sense.

Geography through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books

Five in a Row - Mixed Volumes 
We will continue to intersperse FIAR as desired.  These books are just lovely for all ages!  I almost want to weep for the parent who thinks their child is too old for picture books (or the child that thinks this of themselves) because surely we are never too old to appreciate a well-written and beautifully illustrated book!  I'll probably also use some of the other books that we aren't specifically rowing for the basis of some of our literature/language arts studies as well, especially Beyond for Elliott.

Five in a Row and Beyond Five in a Row

World History

We are using A History of Science for science, but because it uses the biographical approach and includes so much history, I don't want to overload the kids at this age with another full history curriculum.  I feel like the better option is to start with some "overview" living books and see where that takes us.  I bought this book, A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich, to use as a spine. I found good reviews and felt like it was the best choice for our needs. If we find specific interest in a topic, I have plenty of resources (Great Empires, ARTistic Pursuits, various reference books, etc) to expand, and of course we'll add living books and documentaries.

Elliott will also be keeping a Book of Centuries for all subjects, and this will help with the cohesiveness of study.

Nature Study
Small Adventures Journal: A Little Field guide for Big Discoveries in Nature

I bought both boys one of these journals, because we do a lot of impromptu nature study through our outdoor time, but I struggle with intentional studies.  The journals have some interesting prompts to help us get started, but they can do it fairly independently without much guidance from me, before we move on to more traditional nature journals as we get better at it.  Since some of the activities will need to be recorded in a separate book, they'll use these in conjunction with their regular nature journals.

I have more to share - more literature, fine arts and other enrichment studies, as well as the boys' 3rd and 5th grade curriculum choices, but I have already written about Eleanor's Pre-K Plans.

Pre-K Plans

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Trust Fund {Movie review}

I don't often do movie reviews, but I was intrigued when I learned that the movie Trust Fund has ties to the homeschool community.  The producer and cinematographer, Issac Alongi of Mapelle Films, was a homeschooled student in the early 1980s, before homeschooling was even legal in many states.  Now, as a modern homeschool parent enjoying the benefits of homeschooling pioneers, I was happy to watch this movie by a homeschool graduate and share with my readers!

Trust Fund Movie

Trust Fund is a contemporary Prodigal Daughter story.  Reese is a young, aspiring writer with a free spirit.  She could have a job working for her family's publishing company, which you might think would be the dream opportunity for someone who wants to be a writer.  Yet, that isn't the life she dreams of for herself.  Her older sister Audrey, however, is a Type A personality.  She dutifully works for their father, assumes the role of responsible sibling, and doesn't understand her sister's carefree ways.

When Reese finds out that her father has been keeping a secret, one that is life changing for both herself and even her sister, she impulsively takes things into her own hands in order to live the life she thinks she's missing.  While she is chasing love and dreams in Italy, Audrey is bewildered by her father's behavior and attitude towards Reese's decisions.

It doesn't take long for Reese to return home with heartache and regret.  As the story continues to unfold, we see older sister Audrey struggling with anger towards her sister, Reese struggling to understand and forgive herself, and a father trying to help them understand each other through his own forgiving love.  The Prodigal Son is a Biblical parable often mirrored in literature and media, so the story line is fairly predictable, but there were still a few plot surprises here and there.  In the end though, we see a father's compassion and forgiveness teach his children about unconditional love.  Just like God's love.

The movie is rated PG for mild thematic elements and smoking.  While Reese is off living her life, she witnesses some illegal actions, and it is assumed that she is living with a man, but there are no indecent scenes.  There is no foul language, wardrobes are modest and there aren't any innuendos or other objectionable content.  It's not something that would interest my elementary boys, but I would let them watch it.  It's clean, family-friendly entertainment.  I'd say teens and adults, and likely some pre-teens, are the audience to enjoy the movie the most.

In addition to the movie, crew members had the option to receive the book Love Was Near, written by Sandra Martin, that is intended to be read afterwards.  It is targeted at girls ages 12+ and shows kind of a "behind the scenes" look at Reese and her thoughts about this chapter in her life.  You can also find a downloadable study guide to use in small groups.

About Mapelle Films
Trust Fund is the creative fruits of husband and wife team Issac Alongi and Sandra Martin.  Issac Alongi is a cinematographer and producer.  He has over 20 years of experience in feature films, television, documentaries and more.  He has worked with major networks like National Geographic, ABC, and the History Channel.  His work on a series of historical films won him two Emmys.  Sandra Martin is a writer, director and producer, and has authored three books.  Her experience spans film production, film edition, post-production and marketing.

Mapelle Films

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pre-K Plans 2017

I can't believe my little girl will be in Pre-K (Year 0) this year!  Eleanor is four years old and a bit more precocious than my big kids.  She will still be 4 when the year starts, so my only intention with her is to continue to expose her to good books, encourage a love of learning, and let her develop her skills as her interests and developmental needs dictate.  She is the child that asks, begs, pleads and demands to do school like her big brothers.  We do need some structure, so I'm carving out a spot in the mornings to fill her love tank and her imagination through gentle learning opportunities.

Additionally, I have Eloise, who will turn 3 about halfway through the year.  My hope is that she will want to join in and get her little love tank full first thing too.  If not, that is okay too, and we will adjust as we go, but she is always welcome to participate.  

Before Five in a Row
This will be our primary "curriculum" for the year. It covers quality literature, but also gives us the opportunity to explore early literacy, introductory science, math concepts, art, and more. It's such a gentle and lovely introduction to the world, and although she has done a row here and there, my plan is to (hopefully) row them all this year. If not, I'll just roll some over into her K year. I am fully aware that Before is not meant to be "rowed" in the same sense as FIAR, but we just do what works for us, one book at a time. We actually still have 16 books we haven't done yet, and she probably doesn't remember the earliest rows, so we're basically starting fresh!

I have been slowly collecting the books, and now own all except two out of print books, and I hope to grab those last two by the end of the year.  I am hoping to go through them all, so I'm kind of starting over, but doing the few easiest ones early on--Yellow Ball, My Blue Boat, Goodnight Moon all come to mind--since Eloise will probably want to sit with us, but can still have a short attention span for books sometimes.  Then we'll do others based on seasons and interests.  There are a few that are lengthier, and I'll probably save those for the end of the year to give Eloise time to mature and be able to sit through them.

The Real Mother Goose Coloring Book
Eleanor loves to color, so when I saw this coloring book, I just knew it would be a fun go-along for my favorite nursery rhyme book.  There are 30 coloring pages, so an average of one page a week will last us all year!

(I think we'll do this with the fairy tale coloring book for Kindergarten!)

Art Appreciation
I have had these I Spy . . . Art books for years, and they're great for this age.  One or two pages a week is great for beginning art appreciation and attention to detail.  There are several in this series, and we've picked up some from the library before too.

I know you can see several little workbooks in the first picture, so let me explain.  This child loves them.  I'm not going to lie.  I keep them available because I simply cannot give her all the "school" that she wants some days.  Developmentally appropriate workbooks are not parent-intensive and often satiate her desire for more.  I actually keep a variety of them available, more than what's in the picture, so that she has different "subjects" to allow her to explore different things as she's interested.  I listed these last though, because they're completely unnecessary, but are an easy go-to in a pinch.  

Finally . . . 
We do a lot of family style subjects during meals and snacks, and she's often present for their poetry, art, Bible, literature and more, just absorbing everything like a little sponge.  (I'll be sharing more specifics on these subjects later.)  She will return to Cubbies, continue in her Preschool Sunday School class, go to co-op, and she's interested in taking dance.  So there are lots of opportunities for her to learn and grow outside of the home too.

All of these resources are just that - only resources.  They are meant to be used in an informal, exploratory way.  She has access to these learning aids with my guidance, but first and foremost, we want her to have tons of free time to play, explore, imagine and create on her own terms!  

©2011-2017 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.