Well, it’s that time of year again! We are so excited to begin another adventurous year in homeschooling. What you are about to read is not a perfect plan. Changes will be made, curriculum won’t be completely finished, and days will go awry. But, I come to this year with an entirely new perspective, purpose, and philosophy. To put it shortly, I have a new and deeper “why”. Alas, that will all be fleshed out in another post, so stay tuned! Let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
The word “curriculum” has its origin in Latin and actually means “the course of a race.” I like to think of it as the path we take as we journey through the year. In her book Teaching from Rest, Sarah MacKenzie reminds us that “curriculum is not something we buy” but instead is “something we teach.” This alone has transformed my way of thinking when it comes to implementing a course of study in our home.
I have come to the realization that my children are not the only ones who need a curriculum. I also need a course to run. If I don’t have that for myself, how can I pour into my children? How can I be the teacher they need me to be?
With that in mind, here are the books, DVDs, podcasts, and lectures that will be the foundation of my “course” for the year:
Not to be cliché, but the Bible is my primary source.
- I prefer the ESV Study Bible, and I will definitely be using various devotionals and Bible studies through the course of the year.
- Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah MacKenzie
This will be my go-to book when I need a reminder of what my outlook should be each day.
- The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education by Leigh Bortins
This will be my Classical Education reference guide, as will…
- The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Clark and Jain
- Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
This book reminds me of my raison d’être for homeschooling. If Christ isn’t at the center of it all, then I am missing the whole point. This is also an EXCELLENT reference guide for methodology.
- Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper
This is my “stretch your brain” book, as it is deeply philosophical. I may have to read sentences and ideas 4 or 5 times before they really sink in.
DVDs & Training
- Teaching the Classics from the Literacy Institute (Adam Andrews)
This DVD and workbook course for teachers is so simple, yet so powerful. It teaches the socratic method of analyzing literature with a simple chart entitled “The Five Elements of Fiction.” I have already implemented this method with the girls this summer. We finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and began analyzing it socraticly. Is that a word? (By the way the Potter books are excellent for discussing plot, conflict, setting, characters, and themes. It brings understanding to the process and an excitement for discovering new ideas). Teaching the Classics is simple enough for a seven year old to grasp, yet deep enough to challenge the experienced scholar.
- Teaching Writing with Structure and Style from The Institute for Excellence in Writing (Andrew Peduwa)
I watched the ENTIRE nine disc seminar this summer and plan to watch again as we progress through the companion Medieval History Based Writing Lessons for Rosebud and Bible Heroes for Sunshine. I have learned so much while viewing these lectures and practicum lessons. It is the kind of practical information you want to absorb time and time again.
- Restful Teaching with Andrew Kern and Matt Bianco
This is a series of hour-long lectures/master classes given at a conference of the Circe Institute. I love Andrew Kern’s insights. I’m sure I will watch this a few times this year.
BLOGS AND PODCASTS
There are very few blogs that I actually take the time to read and digest, so these are important to me in my growth as a mom and teacher.
- Ed Snapshots with Pam Barnhill
Her site includes two resources that are the core of my day and planning. When you purchase the “Plan Your Year” package, you receive an ebook that is well worth the read. This book helped me to formulate a focused vision for my homeschool. It also helped me to set the right kinds of goals and pick the curriculum that will help achieve those goals.
The “Your Morning Basket” has made such a profound impact, and I will share about it in my next blog post.
Pam also hosts several podcasts, all of which are very helpful! I listen when I can.
Subscribe and become a member of Read Aloud Revival. There are so many wonderful resources here for making books and the love of reading a joyful part of your family life. Sarah has not only a Read Aloud Revival podcast, but also a series of Master Classes that only members can view.
- The Institute for Excellence in Writing also produces a podcast. Andrew Peduwa is the featured speaker for The Arts of Language Podcast. It is a useful resource for those who are using IEW products.
A wonderful resource for Classical educators
- Classical Insights Blog from Classical Academic Press
Christopher Perrin is my Classical Education hero. Enough said.
I also LOVE his series of free You Tube videos on the Eight Essential Principles of Classical Pedagogy. These are truly formative for the homeschool teacher who is striving to create an atmosphere if Scholé (restful learning) in their homes.
Just go ahead and subscribe to all of them on your You Tube page. Go on.
I think of Jamie’s posts as the homeschool devotional equivalent of Jesus Calling. Her posts are simple, yet just the inspiration I need before beginning a homeschool day.
I also plan to explore the resources at The Society for Classical Learning this year. I’ve just discovered this site and am intrigued by its content.
And there you have it! The “teacher’s curriculum” if you will. I pray that I will run the course with diligence, humility, and a heart set on things above.
What curriculum are you following this year? You don’t have to be a homeschooling mom to respond! Comment below and I’ll be glad to reply!
Next time: The course that Rosebud and Sunshine will run! I can’t wait to share what they will be learning!