Wednesday

Planning Your Morning Meeting

Making Your Books Work for You

Toward the end of last year I had a brilliant idea. Well, I thought it was brilliant. I wanted to start a blog linkup about scholé learning and teaching from rest. These ideas have been such a HUGE influence over our homeschool the past year, and we are in a better place than ever with the flow of our homeschool and the learning we are achieving all without stress or anxiety. Sound too good to be true? It’s really not, and I wanted to share the nuts and bolts of scholé with the world. I contacted some other homeschool bloggers who are also enthusiastic about teaching from rest, and we decided to begin a monthly linkup where we each share what scholé looks like in our unique homes. We don’t want you to emulate us necessarily, but to use our ideas and our homeschools to find your own place of rest. I’m thrilled to introduce the very first linkup of the Everyday Scholé bloggers, myself, Tonia from The Sunny Patch, and Sara from Classically Homeschooling. The three of us hope to show the nuts and bolts of restful learning and teaching in our homeschools to help you bring peace and rest to yours. This month it’s all about how we start our day…..

Planning Your Morning Meeting

If you followed my From Type A to Scholé series last year, then you know I love to plan. I love to schedule. After beginning a consistent Morning Meeting time last year, I have slowly started to utilize that precious time that starts our school day to pull it all together. I’m going to share how and why I do it.

1) Plan Our Memory Work and Our Hymns

Memory work, I quickly discovered, needed to be planned out. I am not a huge memorization person, but I knew that I wanted to kids to do some memory work during our Morning Meeting time. However, flying by the seat of your pants doesn’t work so well for memory work. I knew I wanted the kids to memorize scripture, poetry, a history timeline, and various other things like skip counting, math facts, basic Bible knowledge, etc. When I set out to plan our new school year that started in January, I knew that I wanted to be more prepared for memory work. I wanted a plan. I started with scripture memorization and realized that it would be much easier if I had a theme, so I chose various psalms to memorize and called it A Year with David. I broke down all of our psalms into the chunks or verses so that I knew exactly what we should be working on that week during Morning Meeting for the entire year. I studied poetry lists and chose all of the poetry the girls would memorize this year and planned that out by stanza so I know exactly which stanzas we would learn each week. We continued using the Veritas Press timeline for our history timeline, but I scheduled exactly what events we’d memorize each week so it would take us 40 weeks {the length of our school year} to cover it all. I selected hymns for us to learn and sing for the entire year. It sounds tedious, but it really wasn’t. Also it was so worth it to open to the correct spot in my Morning Meeting binder and all of the things we need for memory work and hymn study are filed right there.

Morning Meeting binder interior

2) Plan Our Books

I’ll be honest. You don’t have to plan what books you will be using during your Morning Meeting time. I know a LOT of homeschoolers who have a morning time of some sort that are very roll with the punches type of folks who just grab whatever looks good that day, something their kids are into, or something that piqued interest in the past. In fact, our Morning Meeting looked a lot like this when we were starting out. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to be intentional about the books we read. And, you guessed it, I wanted a plan. I made it a point when 2015 rolled around to think long and hard about what books I wanted to read with the kids. Books that I felt brought truth, beauty, and goodness into our home. We always read from the Bible first, but I didn’t have to schedule that because we read whatever passage goes with our Bible curriculum for that day. Our history spines that we read through I’ve already chosen for a few years into the future. But what about the other things I wanted to incorporate: poetry, artist and composer study, tales, myths, and legends, Shakespeare, character, Plutarch. I found things I loved for all of those and I scheduled it. I rotate out some things like Shakespeare, character, and Plutarch, but the rest is done every week. I love having my books planned and preselected for the coming year. It gives me a direction and a certainty that I have what I need when I need it. Plus, I can make sure the books are at the right level to be enjoyed by all. I still change things up if something really grabs our attention, but for the most part I know what we will be reading all year long.

Morning Meeting Plan

3) Plan to Enhance Your Studies

Saturation is the name of the game with this part of Morning Meeting. I use it to full advantage. I know what we are studying all year long for our content subjects. For science we will be studying chemistry and the ocean. For history, we’re learning about the ancient world. For geography, we’re focusing on the Middle East. Using this outline for the year, I can incorporate some of our content subjects into Morning Meeting providing an entire school day experience from start to finish in our current study. Let me explain…right now we are studying geography. For the first three weeks, we’ll be learning about Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. I plan and schedule books that coordinate with this study so that we start our day thinking about these countries and Table Time {our content subject time together} adds another dimension later in the day. I really love to use the tales, myths, and legends part of our Morning Meeting to go deeper in geography and history while for science I like to focus on biographies. Taking this approach has really turned Morning Meeting into a feast of truth, beauty, and goodness for our souls and minds, but also adds a little interest to whet our appetite for more study to come later.

What I realized when I had finished my Morning Meeting planning for this year was that I had a huge tool in my toolbox that could be manipulated in 1,000 different ways to make our homeschool focused and productive, but it would require planning and forethought. The time I spent planning and researching has been well worth it. Our Morning Meeting has risen to a new level in 2015. The best part is that the planning has made Morning Meeting even more restful for me because I know exactly the path we’re on for the entire year. Now I have time to stop and smell the roses along the way.

For more awesome resources to start your day check in with my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers. I’m sure you will find some great ideas of things to include in your Morning Meeting:

Sara at Classically Homeschooling lists her Morning Time Resources.

Tonia at The Sunny Patch shares her Morning Meeting Resources.

 

Everyday Schole Final Image

Maximizing good books and resources through planning in the tree house,

Signature

Monday

Atomidoodle: An App That Makes You Use Your Noodle!

A Fun, Educational Game to Learn the Periodic Table

I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. I am being compensated for my time to use and review the product. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. See full legal disclosure here.

I am always on the prowl for educational apps to use in our homeschool. They are perfect for using when you need to squeak out a bit of extra instructional time with one child, but need to keep another child busy. It has become common around here for me to say, “Grab my tablet and play something!” since I only download educational apps on mine. Since we are doing chemistry for the first part of the year, I was thrilled when I heard about Atomidoodle by Hero Factor Games.

Atomidoodle by Hero Factor Games Review

First things first, this game is fun! It’s a combination of math, logic, science, and quick problem-solving skills. I love any product that can do quadruple duty in our homeschool! I downloaded the app expecting Grace (my 5th grader) to use it since the skills in it seemed more along her level. While she enjoyed the game at first, it really frustrated her because her logic and problem-solving skills weren’t fast enough to keep up with the higher levels. Enter Sophia. While only in second grade, she LOVED Atomidoodle and plays it a lot. She is my more math and science oriented one of the two girls. With practically no help from me, she was soon zooming those atoms all over the screen to make the necessary combinations. Even I enjoy it, and find myself clicking on it for some quick, but challenging, game playing.

13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool

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I’m thrilled to be participating again this year in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. A special thanks to Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and Stacie at Super Mommy to the Rescue for hosting this week’s fair where homeschool bloggers are sharing their reviews of various homeschool tips, techniques, and curriculum focused on the social sciences and the natural sciences.

It’s always best when you have an addiction to be honest about it, so consider this my moment of honesty.

“Hello. My name is Chelli, and I am addicted to narrative history book series.”

I rationalize my addiction because 1) I majored in history and used to teach it so I really love it, 2) we have a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool so I’ve got to have living books around, and 3) I will use my addiction to benefit others.

Number three is what this post is all about. I’ve chosen 13 of what I consider the best living book history series to share with all of you. These books make great spines for your history studies {A spine refers to a book or books that you are using as a basic overview of the subject or topic. In this case, history.} or great read alouds. My criteria for this list was two-fold: a series of more than one book and written in an engaging story-like format. I have tried to give suggested grade levels for each series but, of course, use your own judgment based on your own children.

13 Living Book History Series for CM

Drumroll, please……………..…………….