Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Mystery of History and Sonlight Combined

I'm often asked how I used The Mystery of History and Sonlight together, what additional books I've used and so on, so I thought I'd post a list today.  This post covers MOH 1 and 2 with SL B and C, and also MOH 1 and 2 with SL G and H.  Scroll to the heading you are interested in.  You might also want to see my posts on MOH 3 with Sonlight H, and MOH 2 and 3 for High School.

MOH 1 with Sonlight 1 (B):  I actually did Core 1 (now called B) over 2 years with MOH 1, when my kids were 2nd-K, 3rd-1st grades.  (Note, I didn't have to take 2 years to use MOH with Sonlight 1, I chose to because I was letting my youngest get a bit older to be in the recommended age ranges for Sonlight).  It was a lot of fun to be able to add in extra projects, books, field trips,and nature walks in those early years, plus doing the core over 2 years helped me get to the point where both of my kids were in the age ranges that Sonlight suggests.  I used MOH 1 in place of the scheduled spine, CHOW (Child's History of the World).  We also dropped the Usborne spine as my kids didn't particularly care for it that year.  I used all of the other Sonlight books, plus added in some favorites from childhood, not to "line up, " but just to enjoy.  We sometimes alternated history and science days in order to stretch things out too.

MOH 2 with Sonlight 2 (C):  The next year I used MOH 2 with Sonlight 2 (C).  I planned to do MOH 2 in about 22 weeks, and then finish the year with CHOW.  (At this point in time, MOH 2 was the highest level out; plus I'm not sure I would use MOH 3 with this age group, though 2 worked out ok here).  This turned out to be an overwhelming year for several reasons:
  1. Now that my kids were 2nd and 4th grades, I took this opportunity to do a core in 1 year--faster pace meant everything was more challenging
  2. In this core, Sonlight incorporates an additional topic, Geography, with the Window to the World book.  Beautiful book, but additional reading time.
  3. Instead of doing MOH as scheduled (3 lessons per week), I was trying to squeeze in 5 lessons per week in order to be able to finish out the year with CHOW.  This felt like a break-neck pace because of all the topics that MOH covers.  I decided then that I would only follow the MOH pacing if I chose to use MOH again.
MOH 1 with 1/2 Sonlight 6 (G):  Last year I used this with both of my kids.  It was perfect for my then 6th grader and created an enjoyment of history for her for the first time (she loves Sonlight's readers and read-alouds but history has never been a favorite subject for her).  Unfortunately my 8th grader who LOVES history was bored; he remembered much of MOH 1 from doing it 5 years previously, plus he's well-versed in the Bible and much of MOH 1 is Bible Stories.  For my daughter this created familiarity, confidence, trust, and additional "hooks" for her to organize what she knew. 

Because of my previous experience, I decided we'd follow the "MOH" timeline, and take a full year for each MOH book.  This meant using only half of a core from Sonlight...and needing to fill in with other books.  I used Winter Promise and Illuminations for more book ideas.  Here's what we used  (Note:  The number before each book refers to the approximate week I expected to start reading the book.  I also kept a list of "alternates" on hand in case we got ahead of schedule.  I did not see or copy Sonlight's scheduling in any way--if I happen to use a book the same week they did, it's purely by accident!  One more Note: originally I intended to do a combo of Sonlight cores G, H, 100, and 200 so there are a few higher level books in this lineup. I also included a few lower level books I had on hand for my daughter who might not remember them):

History Resources:
Mystery of History 1
Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (This is a wonderful book, great illustrations, set up in 2-page spreads on a topic rather than lots of little pictures with blurbs.  I've heard there is another book with a similar title--this is the one for older kids, not the younger version).

Cleopatra (Stanley)
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Augustus Caesar’s World
Tut’s Mummy Lost and Found
The Trojan Horse
Famous Men of Greece
The Challenge Cards from Illuminations
Diana Waring Ancient History CD's (liked the info but struggled at times with the presentation).
Truthquest Egypt and Greece--tried mixing these in, but eventually dropped near the end of Greece.

Read Alouds 
1 – Mara, Daughter of the Nile
4 – Golden Goblet
6 – Phantom Tollbooth
9 – Trojan War
12 – Adara
15 – God King
18 – A Christmas Carol
19 – Swiss Family Robinson
22 – Treasure Island
24 – Bronze Bow
27 – Victory on the Walls
29 – Ben Hur
33 – Twice Freed
35 – Beyond the Desert Gate

Best of Father Brown
Bartholomew’s Passage (Advent book)

1 – From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
1 – Rascal (dd only)
3 – The Epic of Gilgamesh
3 – Banner in the Sky (ds only)
6 – Tirzah
9 – Hittite Warrior
12 – Greek Myths
15 – Theras and His Town
17 – Best Christmas Pageant Ever
18 – Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
21 – Detectives in Togas
24 – Mystery of the Roman Ransom
27 – Archimedes and the Door of Science
30 – Ides of April
33 – Dear Mr. Henshaw
35 – Free Reading (oldest read Gammage Cup from Core 200)

Aesop’s Fables (wk 20)
Mary Jones and Her Bible (dd only)
Maniac Magee (ds only)
Kildee House (dd only--love this book!)

Bible:  I like Bible to have some tie-ins with history, and I also like to try to include something from the major categories of history, prophecy, Gospels, letters, and wisdom literature, though I might not do all categories every year.  When there is a history tie-in, I focus on that instead.  Here's the mix we did this year:
1-Genesis (50)
11-Exodus (40)
19-Deuteronomy (34)
27-Joshua (24)
32-Zephaniah (3)
32-Habakkuk (3)
33-Mark (16)

MOH 2 with 1/2 Core 6 (G):  This year I am continuing the MOH/Sonlight combo with dd, while ds has branched off on his own to do Sonlight 100 for his 9th grade year.  Great match for both kids!  Although I miss having us all together on one topic.  Next year we'll have that somewhat as I'll have DS do an overview of world history, AD times, to fill in what he missed before he does Core 300 his junior year.  This year I've read a few Core 100 books as read-alouds, as we read together before bedtime still, and I wanted to tie in to both histories, though mostly I do books to go with MOH 2.  I'll put asterisks by the US history read-alouds that we did.  My daughter is really getting into history, she takes notes as I read (or writes summaries if she reads it on her own--she prefers I read to her though, and we enjoy this time together).  This year we've used:

History Resources:
How the Bible Came to Us
Joan of Arc
World of Columbus and Sons
The Kingdom Strikes Back
Bard of Avon
Cathedral Stained Glass Coloring Book
History of the World DK Encyclopedia (MFW--ok, dd didn't love it)
Famous Men of Rome
Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Bach – His Story & Music CD
Vivaldi/Corelli – Their Story & Music CD

1 – Beyond the Desert Gate AD 70
3 – Masada, The Last Fortress, AD 72
6 – Eagle of the Ninth AD 119
9 – Augustine Came to Kent AD 354-430
11 – Flame over Tara AD 432
13 – Otto of the Silver Hand AD 600-800
15 – Beorn the Proud, 800’s
17 – Son of Charlemagne 800's
19 – Dragon and the Raven, AD 871-899
22 – Tom Sawyer*
25 – A Single Shard AD 1100
27 – They Loved to Laugh*
29 – Amon's Adventure
31 – Crispin, A Cross of Lead, AD 1300’s (after Plague)
33 – Christy*
Shakespeare Stories
Basket of Flowers

1 – Twice Freed, AD 50, 2 ch
3 – Pirates of Pompeii, AD 79,
5 – Black Horses for the King AD 400’s 10-15 pgs
9 – Great and Terrible Quest MA, 1 ch
11 – Adam of the Road, 1200’s, 2 ch
15 – Minstrel in the Tower
16 – Catherine Called Birdy, 1290, 15 pgs.
19 – A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, 1200’s, 15 pgs
22 – Door in the Wall
23 – Beduin’s Gazelle, 1302, 2 ch.
25 – The Apprentice
26 – Joan of Arc (100 Years War)
27 – Leonardo da Vinci, 1452, 1 ch.
30 – The Second Mrs. Giaconda 1480
32 – Free Reading

(note:  The chapter markings after the above titles are my guesses as to how much my daughter might read in a day, so I could gauge if she was working ahead of what I planned or not.  She did read all of the alternates, plus one or two other books, and a few of the read-alouds--enabling me to work in some of the 100 books for my son--her reading really sped up this year!).

Viking Adventure
Castle Diary

1 Gospel
The rest of the New Testament

Hopefully this will be helpful as a starting point for others planning to use a literature approach alongside MOH.  I find it very helpful to have a general idea of the week I might start a book, so this approach is one that helped me plan out my year.  I got the dating of the books from the back covers or first few pages or author's notes of each book--not too difficult to find.  There are numerous other lists out there--check Paula's Archives, yahoo email loops for MOH by level--I used the MOH 1 yahoo loop when I was choosing for MOH 1.  MOH also includes some resources in the back.  Next year we'll do MOH 3 and SL 7 (H), I'll post a list when I figure that out!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Supercharged Science e-science curriculum Review

One of my favorite pieces from Anna's "Cell City"--a City
Hall for the nucleus with a bank of file drawers at the back.
Here the RNA man is copying the DNA stored in one of
the drawers.
Last year my then 6th grade daughter won "Grand Champion" at the Northern Illinois Regional Science Fair, with her Cell City model.  The prize was a year's subscription to Supercharged Science!  Now I'll tell ya, my first reaction (after rejoicing with her!) was one of sheer terror.  I know, funny reaction to your child winning a science curriculum, but you have to understand, science is NOT my thing.  She gets all of her science genes from her father!  But with his illness, he is not often able to help her.

I consider it my personal responsibility to see that she is fully supplied with whatever wingdings, hoodads, gadgets and what have you, to help her pick out good books, resources, and internet links to read (we choose together), and then to basically stay out of her way.  Well, I have one other job, that's to ask questions and let her be the expert--or let her realize what it is that she needs to find out.

 As you might have guessed...I'm not big on experiments, and Supercharged Science is ALL about the experiments!  Hence my terror...and my daughter's delight!  So, once I calmed down and figured out exactly what this thing was that she'd won, I spent about 30 minutes getting familiar with the website, and another 10 or so showing my daughter around, explaining how passwords work, and then letting her know to come get me if she had any trouble.  It's February.  I haven't heard from her since August.

Anna, working on her hovercraft, bananas and all!
Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, and only in relation to science (we work together daily on other subjects!).  I do have her give me a weekly update on her projects, and she keeps a running list of what she needs.  Each day she can:  watch a video of an experiment by the author, Aurora Lipper, replicate the experiment (a few, such as plasma grapes, require adult supervision), read all about how it works, or write or draw in her science journal (I added that part).  Right now it's nigh dinner time and she's downstairs singing in the kitchen, cutting up foam and hooking up a little motor with wires to a battery; she's making a hovercraft.

"What time is it, Mom?"
"Really?  I've been working for an hour and a half!"
Yep, really.
She's made several like Aurora's examples, now she's
branching out and trying her own design.

I thought she'd be overwhelmed by the immense size of the website; I was!  But she wasn't.  She's been able to find the videos and experiments and explanations all by herself.  Sometimes she has questions that didn't get answered; at the bottom of each experiment there is a place to leave comments, and she'll ask there.  Aurora will post an answer.  Sometimes she will continue to look up things in other places (the other day my husband actually found a special on the history of hovercrafts on TV, and the two of them watched it together.  It was midnight!  I bit my tongue...)

On the Supercharged Science site, it says:

The Secret to Giving Your Kids a Really
Great Homeschool Science Education

...even if you don't know much science yourself, or
don't have the time to teach it."

That's certainly been true in my case!  The only con I can think of is that it's more expensive than many curricula out there.  Despite that, I'm strongly considering enrolling again next year, and maybe I'll even use it for both kids (one subscription can be used for multiple children in your family, so in that way the cost does balance out a bit).  I asked my daughter how much of the website she has explored, and she said with starry eyes, "Oh, not even 1/4 of it!"  She likes that there are videos instead of just a book, and feels she learns better this way.  My daughter has learned more...and TRIED more things than I ever would have led her to do.  I'm excited that we had this opportunity to check out a great curriculum.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homeschool Resources

If you've been looking for the Homeschool Resources page that I had on my website, Hope is My Anchor, you can now find them on the page at the top of this blog. Here's a direct link to the Homeschool Resources. You can see what curricula I'm using this year, as well as links to other websites, blogs, curricula and resources.  I hope this helps!  Merry  :-)

Friday, February 17, 2012

When Family Disapprove

by Jill Evely

I come from a family of teachers, in fact I have a teaching degree but chose to stay home and have a large family (5) instead of working. My parents were against homeschooling from the start---and that was in 1990. We treated homeschooling as the proverbial "Elephant in the Room," we didn't talk about it. My dad did teach the boys drafting and woodshop, but my parents felt the kids needed a classroom setting in order to be able to go on to college, etc. At that time we were in a church of about 3000, and we were the only home educators in our church.

I was raised that education is your salvation, it is how my dad pulled himself out of poverty, so it is no wonder they were skeptical. Although Christians, they did not understand any of our convictions for educating our 5 children at home.

After SEVEN years, finally my dad came and sat at the table where I was checking over some math papers and said, "You know we never approved of you homeschooling the kids.(Long Pause) But I see what great kids you have, and the closeness they have, how well they are doing and want to tell you your sacrifice was worth it. You have done a great job and you made the right decision."

Sometimes you just have to live it out---you can't talk it out or prove it with statistics, you have to live it out, just like your faith---day by day. My dad died a few years later, and oh what a sweet memory the above has for me. How glad I am that we stuck to it, that we lived it out, that we were kind and gentle with scoffers. Hopefully you will be able to tell your own stories of acceptance in the years to come.

Jill Evely is a homeschooling mom and a consultant/moderator for Sonlight Curriculum's forums.  Her kids are grown now.  She initially began homeschooling when her oldest son was in middle school, due to safety problems at the school, and her son's asthma.  She writes, "My husband had more faith in me that I had in myself, but within a month Cris was whistling, a sound I hadn't heard for months. His asthma was non-existant. He was growing spiritually. We had made the right choice."

© 2003

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Giveaway - Around the Table

I just heard that there's a giveaway of FIVE (count 'em, FIVE!) of these books over on Home Educating Association Reviews.  There's also a 25% discount if you want to order it, listed on the sidebar to the right.

The book is titled, Around the Table:  Connecting With Your Family at Mealtimes.  I'm waiting for my copy to do a review, but judging from her blog, this book looks like a gem.  It has input whether you are a family that struggles to have any mealtimes together, or one who already has regular mealtimes.  I'm looking forward to reading some of her tried-and-true tips for taking meal-time conversations deeper.

In her "Chapter Before the First," which I read online, she mentions that 4 generations ago, 2 brothers made a decision to go to a revival meeting.  One man and his wife made a decision to follow Christ, the other did not.  Every person in the first man's family for 4 generations has been a believer, while every person in the other family has not.  I think sometimes as homeschoolers it's so easy to get bogged down in the day to day and forget, our decisions and our lives can have eternal consequences, and not just for us.  We are passing on our faith to our children and to theirs.  So, I'm excited to read this and will post more later.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Three Little Pigs-Shakespeare-style

Hearken! John Branyan's rendition is hilarious! Time to increase our working vocabulary!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Should I Go to a Convention?

A friend asked what the benefits are of going to a convention--great question!  I've been to several. I like to go when I want to check out curriculum--to see it and touch it before I decide to buy, or to compare a few different things and get an idea of what might work for us.

The speakers are a benefit--I like to hear the author or representative of a product I use, because it helps me understand the product more--where is the author or company coming from? I also like to hear speakers for encouragement, new ideas, or new perspectives. 

Conventions can be times to rethink and refocus, and to hone our craft. Need a new teaching strategy? Struggling with a certain subject? Conventions can be a way of getting fresh input.

And...I think it's just encouraging to see so many other homeschoolers in one place.

One time I came home from a convention with a worm.  Yes, a worm!  I listened to a science talk, learned that earthworms have multiple hearts...and the speaker had formaldehyde-preserved worms to give us as a parting gift, LOL!  No, we didn't *have* to come home with one.  Yes, my husband thought I was crazy too!  I think the kids did too, but they had fun anyway.

Worms aside, onventions can be overwhelming too (sometimes there is TOO MUCH curriculum to look at, LOL!), so if you go...go with a plan in mind (and a budget!) or it would be easy to go wild & come home without gaining much. 

 When in doubt, I wait and buy online, and I ask myself not just "would I like this," but, "what is my plan for using this?" That plan might just be, "put it on the coffee table and see if it sparks the child's interest." There's nothing wrong with that plan, as long as I understand that's what I'm spending my money on, and if I have room in the budget for something like that. 

 If my plan is, "beats me!" or, "well, I hope I'll use it," then I'm very wary about purchasing that item and almost always choose to wait.

Look at the vendors and the speakers, and see if there are any that you would like to see when weighing out the pros and cons of a specific convention.  

How about you?  What benefits have you gained from going to a convention?  Or would you rather stay home?