Thursday, August 17, 2017

5 Resources to Add Beauty to your Homeschool Curriculum this Year

Five Resources to Add Beauty to your Homeschool Curriculum this Year
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This post is sponsored by Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.  I have been compensated for my time and have not been required to write a positive review.

You've researched your options, written your lesson plans, and your books are lined up neatly on the shelves.  You've got it, mama!  You are ready to start this new school year!

Can I ask you a quick question before you begin?

Have you included any resources in your homeschool curriculum this year that will nourish your child's soul?  Are you purposely choosing books, pictures, and other materials that will help guide your child into appreciating beauty?

If you think you may have neglected this aspect of your curriculum, or if you just want to add more beauty to your day, never fear because I have some great options to share with you!

Music for your Homeschool


Add beauty to your homeschool curriculum with Home School Piano.
Let's start with a FREEBIE!  You can try out HomeSchoolPiano for free until the end of the month (August 31, 2017).  Developing the skills of listening to, mimicking, and creating music are essential to guiding your child toward the appreciation of beauty.  If your child is not already taking piano lessons, definitely check HomeSchoolPiano out while it's free!

A FREE Membership to HomeSchoolPiano includes:

Access to ALL lessons, unlimited viewing of the lessons on any device, up to 5 students per household can use the site, sheet music, mp3s and other lesson files, jam tracks to play along with, and bonus material

Maestro Classics

Add beauty to your homeschool curriculum with Maestro Classics.

Maestro Classics...This is one I've had my eye on for a long time.  A mix of story, beautiful music, and learning.  Sounds perfect to me!

"Stories in Music™  is a classical music series for children & families written for narrator and orchestra. Filled with fun stories and musical explanations, they are designed to help your  family cultivate a love of music through education and  joyful performances, expand and develop  listening skills, and encourage families to listen together."

Each CD Set Includes
  • An enchanting story set to great music
  • Superb recordings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Educational tracks describing the creation of the music, composers' lives, musical composition, and more
  • A 24 page activity booklet

Art for your Homeschool

Mark Kistler's Online Art Lessons

Help your child become an artist with Mark Kistler's Online Drawing Lessons.
I am always amazed at what my children can draw when they are following step by step instructions.  These lessons are just that, and will help your child think critically and view the world through a different perspective.

300+ Drawing Lessons: Video drawing lessons, Step by Step animated lessons, games and more. Plus, Mark's team is adding new courses and content all the time.

Home Art Studio

Add beauty to your home and school curriculum with the Home Art Studio.
Home Art Studio is great because it goes beyond just drawing skills to teach many different types of art techniques.  You child will be able to add beauty to your home with their creations!

Watch this great little video that shows lots of examples of what your children will learn.

Art Appreciation for Middle and High Schoolers

Circle of Scholars by Professor Carol

Appreciate art with the Circle of Scholars by Professor Carol.
I heard Professor Carol once at a homeschool conference, and her love for the arts was infectious!

Current curriculum focuses so much on math, science, language arts, etc., but we are missing out nourishing an entire portion of our being when we neglect to appreciate and engage in the arts.

Professor Carol argues that we also miss out on understanding much of the other subjects when we neglect the arts.  That is why she made this course.

  • Discovering Music: 300 Years of Western Music, Arts, History, and Culture. Our flagship course covering the history of music from approximately 1600 to 1914.
  • Early Sacred Music: History from the Jerusalem Temple to 1400 featuring performances of ancient music, Gregorian chant, and Medieval polyphony.
  • America's Artistic Legacy: American History finds expression in the incredible richness of America’s music, art, drama, and literature.
  • Imperial Russia: From ancient bells and chant to the Romanticism of Tchaikovsky, a course on Russia’s distinctive history and culture.

If you are still looking for even more curriculum ideas for your homeschool, I encourage you to browse the rest of the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op site!

The Homeschool Buyers Co-op has an award-winning selection of electives, including typing programs, health curriculum, driver’s education, foreign language learning, arts and music programs, critical thinking programs, and more.

Electives (Electives, Art & Music, Foreign Languages, Thinking & Other Skills, etc.) – Savings up to 89%

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Summer Scholé - Taking Learning Outside

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I'm a big believer in learning in year round learning.  Of course the type of learning and even the setting can look different, but we shouldn't just turn our brains off during the summer!

In the spring and summer months, I love to take learning outside as much as possible.  If you are looking for ideas for how to have a restful, soul enriching time of learning as the weather warms up,  read on!

Gather Your Group and Find Your Setting

We had a great group last year that was comprised of 4 families.  There were 8 actively participating children, ranging in ages 8 down to 3.

I made a flyer to share with others what our group was about.  I printed these out (1 sheet, front and back) and handed them out to a few families that I thought might be interested in joining us.  In case it might be helpful for you, here is what I came up with:

We picked a very large park to meet at.  It was a place where we could always find a place that wasn't being occupied by others so they wouldn't distract us and we wouldn't bother them =)

The year before, I had families over to my backyard for our summer learning, so don't feel limited by your choices of local parks, just be creative and pick any outside setting that will work for you!

Choose Your Subjects

We settled on covering three subjects each week.  You can choose anything that would be conducive to learning in a group and being outside.  We did poetry, nature study (birds), and art.


I led the poetry portion, which I absolutely loved!  Each week I planned a new poem to memorize, a fun way to learn about poetry, and made copywork to send the kids home with so they could practice during the week.  

For instance, the first week, I read a poem called Alphabet Stew.  As I was reading it, I had the children reach into a bag of alphabet tiles and 'mix' them (like a pot of stew) while I read the poem.  Then I read a poem called The Ant and pulled letters out of our alphabet stew to make the rhyming words at the end of each line.  

5 Poetry Activities for Young HomeschoolersAnother week, we read a poem called Talents Differ.  It is a story about a little girl looking out her window and seeing a bird making a nest and getting ready to lay her eggs.  The poem is a conversation going back and forth between the girl and the bird, so I had the children pair up, one being the bird and one being the girl.  They got to act the poem out while saying their lines.

If you are interested, I could write a separate post outlining exactly what I taught each week.  If you want to read more about general ideas for teaching young children poetry, I wrote a post on the iHomeschool Network blog about that, so check it out!


Another one of the moms led the art section.  She picked out a different artist for each week and brought examples of their work for the children to look at.  She would read a picture book about the artist or share information about their life and style.  Then she had an art project that corresponded to the artist for the week.  The project would mimic the artist's style in some way.  

The children used swirls to make a starry night like Van Gogh, they used wild flowers to create blurry nature paintings like Rembrandt, they used chalk on the ground to make BIG, up close flower paintings like O'Keefe, dipped their hands in paint to mimic Worhol's style, and more!

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Nature Study

For the last subject of the day, we got to move around and really observe nature.  Another one of the moms led us in our study of birds.  Each week she would come with information to share about a different type of bird.  She would read the children a story about birds, have the children color a picture of the bird of the week, show them what the bird sounds like, etc.

The first week, she had the children make pretend binoculars using two toilet paper tubes and set them each up with a little notebook, pencil, and a simple one page bird guide.  Then each week after she shared about the particular bird of the week, she would send them to different spots to watch for birds and draw what they saw in their notebooks.  The children loved it and it was such a nice way to encourage a love of nature.

So what are your plans for this summer?  Do you take a full summer break or do you find ways to keep the learning alive?  I would love to hear what you have in mind!  We are getting ready to have another Summer Scholé time like we did last year and I can't wait!

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Monday, February 27, 2017

8 Beautiful Books About Making Maple Syrup

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8 Books About Making Maple SyrupPin It
It's tree tapping time!  I never cease to be amazed when I see sap dripping out of a tree, knowing that it possesses life giving nutrients and can be enjoyed as a tasty treat.  Our culture prides itself in complex technical invention, but my heart turns to praise God for the genius, yet simple, ways he provides for his creation.

Whether you are tapping your own trees, or just want to expose your children to the beauty of turning sap into delicious syrup, these are the books for you!  (I know I said 8 books, but I couldn't resist and threw in a 9th!)

Sugarbush Spring by Martha Wilson Chall

Sugaring by Jessie Haas

Grandpa's Sugar Bush by Margaret Carney

The Maple Syrup Book by Marilyn Linton

Maple Syrup Seasons by Ann Purmell

Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter

Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky

If you are looking for a chapter book to read aloud or for an older child, don't miss:

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

If you would like to learn more about how to tap your own maple trees, I show step-by-step how in my posts: 

Maple Sugaring at Home

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