Friday, September 16, 2016

What I am Reading

After posting last night I  crawled in bed and curled up with two good books.  That's what I do when I have a problem.  First (hopefully) I pray about it.  Then, I find a book about it.  I'm taking the time to share today because while I've only gotten a few responses to yesterday's post so far (keep them coming!  I am lapping up the advice and it is so nice to not feel alone in this.) I am already getting the impression that I am not alone in this boat.

My husband stayed up way too late watching television so I was able to read most of both of them.  I read these really quickly on purpose so I could know right away what was in them.  Consequently I will reread them both this weekend.

The Sarah Mackenzie book is about precisely what I am going through and how to deal with it from a Godly perspective.  I am excited to read it again. I found myself wanting to underline practically everything in that book.

Also from a Godly perspective, the Glady's Hunt book, is about finding and using literature in the child's home.  It also is, oddly, very focused on homeschooling from a state of rest.  Like my perennial favorite, The Read-Aloud Handbook, there are lists of leveled read-alouds or read-alones (I'm still trying to puzzle out if it is one or the other or both).  I will be glad to have both books because while the Trelease has a synopsis for each book, which I love, the Hunt has a lot of books that are not listed in the Trelease and throughout the text a lot of advice about when a certain books might be perfect to use.


  1. This is a great book list, too. :) I've used it since the 90's. lol

  2. Interesting, interesting. I am going to have to read these.

    I've been grumbling about this ill-health I've had pretty much all of my life. (Since my teens really.) And all these years it was just God saying, you need to begin with Me, begin with peace, being with grace and with all that is good, instead of all that is worldly. I finally figure this out when my body just gives out and said, "You!! have GOT to re-focus on what is necessary and supremely important," and that is the One above. Better late than never I guess. :)

    Thank you for putting this topic out there in the Blog-world. I believe it needs to be covered more often.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing how you feel this school year. I've been following your blog for quite a while, being that I started as a Montessori teacher and became a homeschooler. For the past few years, we've started the year with enthusiasm and only petered out late spring. This year, I have no confidence or motivation. I've prayed for patience and endurance. I've spoken to other moms in my co-op and they're ALL experiencing the same thing.

    I spoke to my mom about it today and she said, "Well, of course, Mercury is in retrograde!" What?! I know nothing about astrology, but after looking it up, it made perfect sense. According to my mom, this planetary alignment will be over Sept. 22 on the east coast. So, just hang in there for one more week and supposedly everything will realign! Who knows if it's true, but I'll keep praying in the meantime...

  4. If you have a chance, and the time, I recommend Sarah's YouTube videos on Teaching from Rest. They are videos of Bookclub podcasts that she did. You can find the links on her site. I found them very helpful myself.

    Best wishes

  5. Hi! Thanks for sharing with everyone. Do know that you are not alone. I also read Teaching from Rest, and the book that Sarah Mckenzie recommends Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I am Currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. So far, I highly recommend it. I learned from her that we are only brave when we are vulnerable. You are so brave to speak up about your feelings. Your kids are so lucky to have you!

  6. I want to thank you so much for your sharing here over the last few years. I have read your last few posts with interest, remembering when I was in the same space. The move from primary to elementary is a huge shift. Here are some of the things that have helped me "Teach from Rest" along the way. I pray that there is something there that may help you.
    Five in a Row (FIAR): I have left this curriculum a few times when it did not seem "challenging enough" compared to others and have regretted it each time. I am doing Beyond FIAR now and am so sad its the last time. So much there to support the parent and inspire the child. I find that we need about 3-4 weeks per Beyond FIAR title to have a chance to research, craft, cook, make, and document fully. Take a close look at Volume 3(a book) or Volume 4 which are individual digital units . They take less time but give a great feel. We have a notebook/scrapbook for each title which is just pages in an art drawing book. We like the thicker pages and no lines. It starts with the photo and then includes items chosen from the Digital files from FIAR's website and extras from I don't have to make anything but get to choose and guide. Read the books out loud. There is a difference when you do. Have them narrate sections of the chapters. Its surprising how much goes over their heads. Most of the humanities- like subjects are covered. History, relationships, geography, cultural studies, arts, literary devices, ect. There are charts on the website that show the scope and sequence as well as titles by topic- winter, electricity, Columbus, geology, Monet ect. Very flexible and through. I call it jr. activity analysis as it helps the kids to really squeeze everything out of what an author and illustrator put into a story. The kids hold onto these beautiful stories as they learn life and community lessons as well as solid academics. Builds family culture. Restful.

    Creek Edge Press: This has been a great find! Very very Montessori. Amy-Kate the developer is a Suzuki violin teacher who works in a Montessori school but homeschooled her kidsl. Cant get any better! The Task Cards take advantage of the assumption that you have resources at home (even texts and supplies from other curriculum) and are interested in guiding your children's work but they work independently within a structure. Its not child/delight directed learning. I (with their input) generally choose 3 tasks per card for elementary and more for middle/high. The Task Cards are your curriculum areas broken into small bites with ways to show learning of each "bite". Kids need to research but can write, report, display, draw/label ect. The Task Cards are specific enough that you can use them more than once per child. So once in Elementary and again in Middle for example. You choose the card/s for the week (or however long you want to spend) then do a "presentation" or introduction, read a chapter, show a film ect on the cards topic. You then show them where the materials to complete the Cards can be found= prepared environment. The materials at this age are maps, atlas, dictionaries, texts, living books, charts, online resources, ect. Its your prepared environment. They are classical as they break history into 4 time periods and have high standards. You will need to have access to resources as no specific texts are matched to the Cards though a detailed book list in the back of guide that comes with the cards as well as the website lists resource suggestions broken down by specific card.


  7. Sassafras Science and Quark Chronicles : These are competing products. Science broken in general subject areas like anatomy, botany, geology, ect . Both of these use a "spine" which is essentially a story of children on an adventure. Each chapter leads to learning that the kids need to acquire to solve the puzzles or next step in their adventure. I don't personally care for the stories but love the curricula. I have the audio books for Sassafras and am grateful to not have to read it though I listen. Both have lap booking and experiments. I do the experiments as demonstrations that can be duplicated later, Montessori style. The lap book serves as their documentation of work done. It is very age appropriate and not at all workbook like. Lots of white space and lots of support for parent as to what to put in all that lovely white space. Very flexible. When you have lots of energy you can make companion materials/lessons/presentations and when you don't you have the teachers guide to support you in customizing. I have both sets for my science loving girl. We use the notebooks as place to practice presenting finalized/proofed work in nicest handwriting with neatest drawing/cutting/collating. I also use KTU and find it easy to coordinate.

    English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL)/ Handwriting and Reading Lessons through Literature: ELTL is just wonderful. I LOVE the Well Trained Mind but could not get their literature products to work for me. I love the lectures and books written to the parent but struggled with how to implement that in the real world while having a life. With ELTL we read real books but don't "analyze" them as with Five in a Row. The books form the basis of the grammar and writing lessons. The stories are not dissected but used as interesting examples of lesson being taught. She is Charlotte Mason in orientation so lots of time on narration and diction, sentence diagramming, learning and applying grammar rules. All done using sentences from that days reading of classic literature. Whole books are read rather than excerpts. Totally scripted which you can read verbatim or use as the basis of a presentation in your own words.

    Ok will stop there! All the above curricula are Christian in orientation. They assume that you are available to guide your children who will follow a specific path but leave lots of room to customize, dig deeper, spend longer, while leading to specific learning outcomes. I confess that all of these work for me because I have lots of books and materials that I tried out on my poor children or purchased because they were great resources but never had a specific use for. My kids don't expect to find all their answers in one textbook. They have learned multiple ways of showing understanding or mastery. I am not so TIRED all the time. I am tired and busy keeping up with it all but not worn out tired. I am free to jump in and add more where and when I can. They can keep moving forward even when I can't. There is joy and creativity and lots of leaning happening. It wasn't always this way. The abundance of resources that I have to make up my prepared environments show that. They have holes I am still finding as they go into middle/high. I try not to panic! It wont kill them or make me a bad homeschool parent. They are learning how to lean and be diligent and I am not overtired or resentful. I wish I had found or stuck with some of these earlier. May God grant you guidance and Rest in you homeschool.

    Alicia in New Zealand

  8. This is definitely an incredibly rich resource that you have spent so much valuable time developing, I'll recommend it to parents at our school as well as link to it in our Montessori Resources section so that our teachers can take a look. Thanks! Check us out too at C’e Montessori Preschool in Brooklyn