Brown paper packages tied up with string these are a few of my favorite things…
Come on and sing with me! When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling…ok ok I’ll quit. That catchy little tune will probably be stuck in your head all day! Doesn’t it make you smile though? I want to share with you some of my favorite things, some favorite things that pertain to our homeschool. They’re in no particular order. Well, the first one listed is my actual #1 favorite thing, but the rest of the list is not in order of favorites.
#1 From the rooftops I could shout the praises of A Delectable Education. Aside from reading Charlotte’s words for yourself, they are, in my humble little opinion, the hands down most accessible, easy to understand, and comprehensive resource for learning about the implementation of the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. You will not find a better place to aide you in your learning journey! They take bite size pieces of Charlotte Mason’s books and put them into short podcast episodes that are manageable for a regular ol’ homeschooling momma like me. I’m able to come away from their episodes on Friday with a better understanding of CM’s “why”, the philosophy, and with practical ways of CM’s “how”, the methodology, to do it on Monday morning. I like to describe their episodes as CEU’s for the homeschooling mother! My favorite mode of listening is the Podcast app on my iPhone, but you can also listen on their website or on Google Play. And that’s not all they provide. They do personal consulting! But that’s a whole nuther ball of wax that is deserving of its own blog post. Maybe I can start working on that next.
#2 Living books are the main dish at our feast and many of the best books with the highest quality of literature are “old”, so it can sometimes be like a fun treasure hunt to find them. My favorite source is used.addall.com. This website searches and compares prices for you from over 40 bookstores and 20,000 dealers. So gone are the days of having a hundred tabs open on my computer while searching prices for used books on Thrift Books, Abe Books, Amazon, Half.com, Ebay, etc etc etc!
#3 Composer study has been a joy in our morning lessons this year. In order to have fewer things to fumble around with such as CDs and a bulky CD player, I was looking for an easy and cheap way to access beautiful music from our term’s composer. I recently discovered that since we have Amazon Prime I could listen to music for free on Amazon Prime Music. If you recall, I’m not very tech savvy so this new discovery was exciting news to me! Then I downloaded the Amazon Prime Music app onto my phone and tablet and searched for albums with music from our composer to add to my library. When composer study lesson comes around during the week, I connect our portable bluetooth speaker to my phone and play the selection I had chosen beforehand for us to enjoy. Easy peasy! And FREE!
#4 Our space for morning lessons is warm and inviting. It took some effort on my part to redo this room, but the end result was totally worth it. We had an extra dining room that served the purpose of a catch-all room. So we decided that instead of it continuing along its miserable existence we would turn it into a school room. And I can already hear some of you saying “But, Bridgett, I don’t have space for a separate school room”. So before you completely dismiss the idea, hear me out! ANY space in your house can serve as a warm and inviting atmosphere for your morning lessons! Your sofa can be turned into a reading space by flanking it with decorative baskets to hold your books. Add some pretty throw pillows to the sofa. Do you know how easy and cheap pillows are to make? Run down to the thrift store and buy a few ugly pillows that you will recover with some pretty fabric bought with your 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon. Can we say Handicraft?! And then toss a cozy blanket over the back of the sofa to round out your reading space. Your dining room table can be a place for lessons that require pen and paper or handicraft paraphernalia and then the table can be cleared away quickly for lunch by putting all the supplies in a rolling cart such as this one from Sam’s. Other pieces of furniture nearby your work areas can be re-purposed to contain more books and supplies. You would be surprised at how even a tiny space can transform into an enchanting learning environment with just a little bit of thought and effort put into it. If you don’t believe me, email me and I’ll give you some more unique and frugal ideas! Here are some pictures of our space.
#5 The Picture Study Portfolios available at Simply Charlotte Mason are what we use for picture study. The quality of the prints is great, and I enjoy the booklet that Emily Kiser wrote which gives a short description of the pictures included in the pack as well as some tips and pointers for teaching a picture study lesson the Charlotte Mason way.
#6 After listening to the recent podcast episodes from ADE on math (there are four math episodes I believe), I was intrigued to learn about teaching math in a more “pure” Charlotte Mason way. Many say that you can take almost any math curriculum and make it CM-like, but since I had gone whole hog Charlotte Mason with everything else in our school, I thought I may as well trust Charlotte’s way of teaching math just as I had trusted her in all the other areas. Truth be told though I was a bit scared to branch out and do this without a written out day-by-day hold momma’s hand curriculum to tell me exactly what to do and exactly what to say. I bought Richele Baburina’s book Mathematics: An Instrument for Living Teaching and DVD bundle and hunkered down while nursing a cold and studied it. I could quickly see that she had done her research. I’m still in learning mode, but I feel confident that although I’m no math scholar, I can teach my children as long as I’m willing to continue learning as I teach and give them 20 minutes/day of my time for math lessons.
That’s all for this post, but I am quite certain that there will be a deuxième partie later on as we find more things that become our favorites. What are your favorite school things? Tell me about it by leaving a comment below!