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Friday, October 28, 2011

Heritage History

Some time ago, I read about a site called Heritage History, it must have been a discussion over on the AO list. Interested to see what they had, I visited the site and found it a valuable resource, so I added a link to it from our Charlotte Mason social network (www.charlottemasoneducation.ning.com). Then last month, Teresa Roth, the owner of Heritage History, joined the network and, having noticed the link to her site, contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing their curriculum. I was very interested so she sent me their Young Readers Classical Curriculum and their Ancient Greece Classical Curriculum.



I was expecting a large box with several books to arrive, and was surprised to find two CDs and a packet of text instead. Not quite understanding what they contained, I set it on the counter for a later time.

Yesterday, I finally got around to looking at the materials and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Being an AO user, I tend to be skeptical of any other curriculum, but what I found with Heritage History is that it contains many of the very same books we use on AO, and many more to choose from within that scope of history. While it isn't a full curriculum like AO, it appears to be a comprehensive option for History. The collection there also has many international selections which may be of interest.

Here's how the curriculum works:

Each curriculum collection costs $24.99 and There are the Young Readers, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, British Middle Ages, and British Empire Collections to choose from, or you can buy the complete collection for $99.

According to Heritage, the curriculum is centered on 'living' books, and as a matter of fact, their tag line is "Putting the 'Story' Back into History". And this, coming from a woman who confesses to owning over 2,000 classical children's history-related books! She also apparently worked on many of the Baldwin Project books prior to working on her own website.

But back to the curriculum: Each collection comes with a CD containing all the e-book files in that collection in three formats: Kindle, EPUB and PDF versions, so they can be read on any e-Reader or reproduced on any printer. The User Guide I received included a section with instructions on accessing and transferring the e-text files as well as a section on reducing printing costs and binding options.

I also received a Study Guide with helpful timelines, maps, and other learning resources that are top notch. In fact, you can find many of these available for free on the Heritage History website in their Resources area.

The curriculum is flexible in that it does not map out what books to read for you. Instead, recommendations are made for core knowledge books, and then the student is encouraged to select the books along their lines of interest - all of which are marked as Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. Blank schedules and accountability forms are provided, but not required. It is basically set up so that if you need direction, it's there. If you want to adapt it your way, you can.

Since all of the books contained in the curriculum are in the public domain, you could read them all for free online, and Heritage has them available on their site. But if you want the year's books all on an e-reader for your child, and by the way the images are included in the e-texts, and you want the maps, timelines, etc. printed out for you, you can save yourself the time and hassle and purchase the curriculum instead.

If you have more questions about the curriculum, you can hop on over to CME and contact Theresa through her profile there. And if you have anything to add about the curriculum, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Habit Training Within a Relational Framework

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~James 1:19-20

Do you ever lose sight of the person that your child is in the process of training them? Day in, day out, do this, don't do that... it's challenging to rule your spirit when instructing a child. Yet, it is within the fruit of the spirit that we are to influence our children to righteousness.

Dr. Carroll Smith posted on Habits over at the Childlight blog this week and I couldn't help but wonder if I hadn't fallen prey to legalism in my many attempts to train obedience.
...it seems to me, that habits which are not governed by the Spirit become legalism and are destructive and not life sustaining or life giving. As they are governed by the Fruit of the Spirit, they cause us to grow in a virtuous life.

...Virtue for the sake of virtue or the sake of glory or only for human flourishing does not fit within a framework of what it means to bear the image of God. Human flourishing happens within a relational framework. This framework includes relationships and habits that are built around the warmth of community and relationship not the isolation and coldness of legalism.

Being patient, loving, gentle doesn't mean not giving consequences or not disciplining your child. We must train them absolutely. It's your spirit that's at issue. Is it angry, controlling, legalistic?
...the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
We must tread ever so carefully, we are training and educating *persons*.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. ~Ephesians 4:1-3

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Folk Song - Aiken Drum

Here are #3 and 4 and last month's AO folk song :)





Why do we teach folk songs? What is the purpose? Is it to open up a window into the life of another in a distant time and place? Is it to study the music of the common folk and its impact in their lives? Is it a memorization exercise? Is it to learn History? Nationality? Culture?

Here's a post over at The Common Room that I think speaks to some really good reasons why.

And here are a couple fun folk songs for kicks:

This one is for all of us who struggle with keeping house:



This one is just too much!



And here's one I just love that I've played so many times, my daughter promised me she'd NEVER like it and said he sounds like Fozzie Bear :\



And here's one coming up this year on the AO folksong rotation that is adorable:




What songs come to your mind when you think of Folk Songs? Link

Monday, October 10, 2011

California Affidavit




California private homeschoolers it's time to file your annual affidavit.

The deadline is October 15th. You'll find detailed instructions and a link to the form here: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/affidavit/AffidavitInstructions.asp

Saturday, October 8, 2011

County Fair Handcrafts

We went to the LA County Fair a couple weeks back and they had the greatest little area called Heritage Square or Heritage something-a-ruther and it was full of handcrafts for the kids. We discovered enough handcrafts there to last the kids through the winter!

Here's a little rag doll made from strips of left over fabric.



It is made similar to this Nettie Doll, except on the one we made, we didn't use separate strips for the arms and floss them on, instead, once we tied off the head, we pulled out the arms from the existing strips of fabric and braided them as arms while we left the remaining fabric strips for the body and legs. I think it's simpler that way.

My daughter made several of these that night with different colored fabric we had laying around and has had them laying in her bed since.

This was adorable and so simple to make, yet time consuming enough to be a quality handcraft project and a labor of love; it's a rug made from left over fabric pieces tied in knots on to a rug Canvas. Messy, yes, but it looked so great when it was put together. We got rug canvas at Joanne's and plan on working on one this winter.



This is also a very simple project I knew nothing about. Needle Felting. I'm not sure now what the fiber is that we got, but it's some type of wool or felt and it came in a pack like this:



And you can make things like this:



I helped my son make the unfinished rhino on the left and my daughter made the camel on the right.

Here are some of the adorable creations they had on display:





The way it works is you take some of the fabric and roll it into the kind of shape you want and then you place it on the sponge and poke it with this needle:



If you look closely, you'll see the angled notches in the needle which the fibers snag on every time you poke it and as the felt fibers get pulled through the rest of the felt, it adheres to itself, forming a sturdier shape. So the idea is to poke, poke, poke a lot of times around to create the shape you want, then you can add colored bits here and there depending on what you want to make. It's very open to any kind of creativity really.

Just Googling "needle felting" images brings up a wealth of ideas.

So there you are! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A True Sense of Things

And I add this part here, to hint to whoever shall read it, that whenever they come to a true sense of things, they will find deliverance from sin a much greater blessing than deliverance from affliction. ~Daniel Defoe, The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

This was the last line we read for school today. Robinson Crusoe was delivered from a near death illness and cries out to God, again, as he had so often before in the pit of his despair.

But this time, it felt different. So I asked my daughter if she noticed any difference between this time and all the other times. And she said she thought he was really turning to God this time. When I asked her why, she couldn't quite put it into words.

I bit my tongue.

A few minutes later, after she'd gone up to her room, she came back and said "Why, what do you think was different?"

I was so glad she asked; so thankful for moments like these, and so thankful for these books that give rise to significant discussion with my children.

Crusoe this time, unlike before when he'd completely forgotten the vows he'd made to God in his distress, was instead reading the Bible and thanking God for delivering him from his illness. And he was now feeling the weight of his own sin. He, like Christian, felt the burden on his back.

I chewed on these thoughts throughout the rest of the day. Do I value deliverance from my troubles greater than I do deliverance from my sin? Do my troubles overshadow the goodness of what our Lord has done for me? Do I really have a true sense of things?

The ideas it holds must each make that sudden, delightful impact upon their minds, must cause that intellectual stir, which mark the inception of an idea. ~Vol.3,p.178