A Scholé Power Hour: Resources

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Now that we’re a good three months into our school year, I wanted to do a short series on our Morning Meeting time for this year. It usually takes me a couple of months to iron the kinks out of everything we’re using, get the scheduling down just right, and replace resources that didn’t work for ones that will. Hopefully that’s encouraging to some of you that despite seven years of homeschooling I still need a few months to get things clicking on all cylinders!

The first major change for the year was that Morning Meeting had a name change. Grace would always tease me that Morning Meeting would usually occur in the afternoon and sometimes even at night: “It’s not really Morning Meeting, Mom, if we don’t do it in the morning.” Point taken. So I began to think about new names for that time of our school day when I came across the term Power Hour from Jen’s blog, Forever, For Always…No Matter What. I loved the name and it addressed something else that had been bothering me about our Morning Meeting time: length.

So the next change I made was being determined to pare down our Morning Meeting time to fit within an hour time constraint. While our normal time of an hour and a half to two hours wasn’t necessarily bad, it just took a large part of our day, and I felt like I needed a nap after all that reading to the kids and keeping Levi from running amok. After some trial and error, I’ve been able to trim everything down to fit within an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. I even set a timer for the first few weeks to make sure that I was keeping true to my vision for our new and improved Power Hour part of the day!

So now for the fun part: book list! Listed below are the resources that I'm using with my kids this year during our Power Hour time. These resources are for the ENTIRE year so don't look at the list and panic. In the next post about our Power Hour time, I'll show how all of these are scheduled over the week and over the year. Believe it or not this is the list that's been culled to keep restful learning happening around here.

Bible Study

Bible Study Guide for All Ages: We have used and loved this Bible program since we started homeschooling. You can see my review here.

Sweet Speak by Elizabeth Jimenez: While this book is geared toward teenage girls, the content is fabulous for anyone to learn how to let their words be words that build instead of destroy. I chose this for us to read through and discuss together because we ALL need this study around here!


Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson and Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear: The Poetry for Young People series is one of my most favorite finds since we started homeschooling. These books make studying and reading poetry painless since they have notes about the poems, bio about the poet, and definitions of words included in the text.

Sing Song by Christina Rossetti: This collection of poems should be a staple in your home if you have younger children. 

Rhymes and Verses: Collected Poems for Young People by Walter de la Mare

All of the above poetry books are meant to be read for enjoyment over the course of the year, but to actually study poetry I'm using the following book from Memoria Press. 

Poetry for the Grammar Stage: We'll only be covering the third grade poems this year, one each term.


Visits to the Middle East by Sonya Shafer: I've been so impressed with how easy these books make learning geography. This year we are focusing on the Middle East, but I plan to continue the series with my kids because it's so effective.

The Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton: I grabbed this book about two years ago and immediately fell in love with this amazing living geography book. Copies are sometimes difficult to find and can be pricey, but it's well worth it if you can find a copy within your budget.

The Glorious Adventure by Richard Halliburton: In this book, Halliburton, an adventurer from the early 20th century, follows the path of Odysseus' journey from Troy back to his home in Greece. I thought this would be the perfect way to finish up our study of geography for the year.


Builders of the Old World by Gertrude Hartman: I mentioned this series of books when I talked about my favorite living history books and I still love The History on the March series just as much. We're finishing the last 1/3 of this book before moving on to the next one.....

Makers of the Americas by Marion Lansing: This is the American history overview book from the History on the March series. This series is out of print, but you can usually find copies of the books for pretty cheap on the internet. 


The Burgess Seashore Book for Children by Thornton Burgess: Since our main science focus this year is on the ocean, adding this book to Power Hour was a no-brainer. It's a classic!

Lives of the Scientists by Kathleen Krull: I discovered this book at our library and fell in love. It's fun, informative, and has great pictures.


Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin: A classic book that covers famous myths and tales.

The World's Best Fairy Tales (Reader's Digest Anthology): I know, I know. A Reader's Digest book? Honestly, though, this collection is fabulous and you can find the book for cheap! It is actually a two volume collection, but I only have the second volume which is awesome by itself. 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: An amazing book that weaves Chinese folktales into a great adventure story.

Art and Music Appreciation

Artists we are covering: 20th Century Artists (Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jasper Johns), Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keefe, and Claude Monet. I use Mike Venezia books to give background on the artist and choose five paintings for us to study from each artist, except the 20th Century Artist study where we only study two painting from each artist.

21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music by Gena at I Choose Joy: This is probably one of the things I'm most excited about this year! While I want my kids to know about the greats of classical music, American music did some amazing world changing things during the 20th century and this curriculum makes it easy to teach and learn about the different genres, composers, and artists that lived during this time. A fun, modern way to do music appreciation!


Getting Started with Latin by William E. Linney: We are having so much fun using this book. It's easy to teach even for someone with no previous Latin exposure (me!) and presents Latin in small bite size pieces. 

Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder About Everything! by David White: We're only doing one question each week, but this book has brought some great discussion about right, wrong, truth, ethics, etc. to our Power Hour time. Highly recommend!

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig: I think this book has become a staple of homeschool families. It's wonderful for introducing children to the Bard and helping them memorize passages from his most famous plays.

It looks like a lot to get through, huh? I promise that it's not with a little bit of scheduling, so stay tuned for part two where I show how I take all of this and turn it into a workable plan that doesn't feel rushed or strained.

What’s your favorite Morning Meeting/Power Hour resource?

Let me know in the comments below because I’m always looking for new resources!


The Truth About Dealing with Attitude in Your Homeschool

Sometimes when I’m writing blog posts as part of a group, topics come up that I feel wholly inadequate to write about. This is one of those posts! Our Everyday Scholé group is writing about how to maintain a restful homeschool when you are dealing with negative attitudes from your children. While I could write a post that sounds good about how to do this, it would be a work of fiction. In all honesty, I haven’t yet figured out a good way to keep my children’s whining, complaining, grumpiness, and hormonal mood swings from affecting my attitude and our homeschool.  So instead of telling you how to fix the problem, I’m going to lay it all out there and talk about how it really works around here.

When it comes to losing my mind, a few whiny, negative comments from my kids can cause teaching from rest to fly out the window. Usually this is for a couple of reasons: 1) We just did this exact scenario yesterday about the exact same issue and I’m over it. Or 2) I’m trying to give the kids plenty of free time, make things fun, spend hours researching curriculum, and a thousand other things to keep our homeschool fun and interesting, but I only get negative feedback. I wish I could tell you that I handle my composure and my attitude well during these moments, but I don’t. I do great at teaching from rest as much as it depends on me, but when I start adding my actual students into the mix things get difficult. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that we’re doing this homeschool gig via leisurely learning and restful teaching now so the bad attitudes are no longer welcome.

However, despite my short-comings in this area there are some things that are helpful to remember when trying to stay in teaching from rest mode when bad attitudes show up.

I can’t force them to change their attitude. This seems to be my default method for dealing with my kids’ when they’ve gone off the rails. If I find the right thing to take away or the right punishment, then they will magically turn into compliant angels. It doesn’t work that way. In fact it usually has the opposite effect. The more I try to force the more their attitude worsens.

I need to be a thermostat not a thermometer. Thermometers reflect heat. In other words they don’t change the temperature, they just show the same. Thermostats, on the other hand, actually control temperature by not letting things get too warm. While I might not be able to force my children to have good attitudes, I can control the situation by not letting my attitude reflect theirs.

We all need to take a break. When you homeschool you are around family all day long. While this is good, in some ways it can be bad as well. Sometimes poor attitude is the result of needing some space from each other or getting out of the house. If our day is really going south and everyone seems to be in a bad mood, I might try to do a fifteen minute walk around the neighborhood with the kids or let everyone have an hour of alone time to regroup.

Be a detective. Bad attitudes almost always have a root cause and it helps me to remember to search for what it is. Are they not getting enough sleep? Are they hungry? Are they ill? Are they frustrated with the work I’m asking them to do because it’s too easy or too difficult? If you can cure the cause, the bad attitudes should soon go away as well.

When I’m able to remember these four things, I am much more able to keep our homeschool time in the sweet spot of restful teaching and learning.

For more helpful tips on how to keep restful learning in your homeschool while dealing with attitude problems check out what my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers have to say:


 What’s your go to solution when attitude problems arise?


Home-Scholé Transformation

5 Benefits Teaching from Rest Brought to Our Homeschool

Whenever you start a new venture in life it’s always helpful to do a cost-benefit analysis. What will be my cost compared to the benefit I gain? When I started going down the scholé path and learning about the concept of teaching from rest, I definitely had to decide if the cost of my time and energy to learn and implement a new teaching philosophy with my children and in our homeschool was worth it. I can definitively say, after about 18 months of schooling this way, it absolutely is! 

Peace of Mind

I’ve written before about how a homeschool crisis a couple of years ago started me looking for a better way to run our homeschool. I came from a place of doubt and worry to one of having peace of mind about what my children are learning and the direction that I want to take with their future education. Teaching from rest helped me to realize that some of my wishes for their education were unattainable (teaching them everything they’d ever need to know) and unrealistic (make them love and enjoy every subject). Now I can have peace of mind about our homeschool because I know I want them to have feasted on truth, beauty, and goodness when our time of home education ends. I don’t feel the burden to cover every base, but to make sure the bases I do cover are done well.

 Joy in the Process
Before scholé the learning environment in our home was a pretty tense one, lots of reminders to hurry, exasperation on my part, and frustration from the children. Now that we have started to reap the benefits of teaching from rest, the learning process has taken on an entirely different tone. Most days we can all sit back and enjoy the ride of learning. We can wallow in the process of discovery and discussion. My children and I are relearning how to learn together in a way that feels natural and organic while still having structure. It doesn’t mean that I still don’t fall into bad patterns at times or that we all sit around and hold hands while reviewing Latin vocabulary, but the tenure of our days has changed for the better.

Confidence in My Ability
The most often heard comment I hear when people find out that I used to be a public school teacher is, “Homeschooling must be so easy for you!” Yeah, right. Give me a room of eighth grade students, hand me a history textbook, and I’m your girl. Place my own child in front of me who’s struggling with math or learning to read, and I’m just as terrified as any other homeschool parent. Teaching from rest has helped me to become more confident in my ability to teach my own child. Not because I have a super human teaching power now, but because it helped me focus on the spiritual Power that I have to fill in the gaps where my own confidence falls short. Too many times I forgot that this is not a solitary endeavor, it is a joint work between myself and God. I bring all I have to the altar where He takes it and turns my meager ability into something great within my children.

Customization in Education
Once I let go of my doubts and fears, found my confidence, and began enjoying the process of learning again, scholé really opened my eyes to the possibility of stepping outside the box and teaching my children as individuals, or in Charlotte Mason’s words, teaching my children as “the born persons” that they are. The process of customizing our children’s education is where homeschooling really shines above and beyond what public and private schools can offer. Many times we let doubts and lack of confidence tie us to standards and keeping up with the Homeschool Jones’ instead of teaching the children we have. An education of rest and leisure doesn’t mean less rigorous, but it definitely means more connected to the child.

Understanding My Role
I once felt all of the pressures on my shoulders to make sure my children were successes. I mean, if they never learn about George Washington or how to balance a chemical equation there is no one to blame for an educational oversight except you. This pressure manifested itself in how I taught. It was very much a system of “listen to me because I am your teacher” instead of learning alongside my children and listening to what they had to say as well. As teaching from rest became more entrenched in my thoughts I slowly found myself taking time to follow rabbit trails with the kids, to listen to what they thought Emily Dickinson was trying to convey in her poem, or just to enjoy a good book together. I dropped the authoritative draconian model and adopted a more mentor and fellow learner model which definitely made our days more restful and leisurely.

I feel like I need to add a caveat at the end of this post to keep things real. It is a very rare day {like maybe once} that I find all of these things in our homeschool at one time. Let’s face it, life happens, kids have attitudes, mom has hormones and most days I fall so far short that I would be disqualified from a long jump competition. The freeing aspect of restful teaching is that it no longer burdens me as much as it did. I keep working at it. I keep reaching for that goal. My encouragement comes in seeing the fruit of my pursuit in our homeschool. So please don’t think that I have it all together and our homeschool runs like a well oiled scholé machine. These are the benefits I have found from a poor implementation of the ideal. I can’t even imagine what a homeschool looks like that does it really well!

Curious what my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers have discovered to be the biggest benefits to them from restful teaching? Just click the links below to find out.


What changes in your homeschool philosophy have brought about the biggest rewards?
Let me know in the comments.