Monday, October 25, 2010

Blog Cruise: Our Literature Based Homeschool

Blog Cruise time again.  This week:  What is your homeschooling style, and how did you choose for your family?

I've called our homeschooling style lots of different things over the years... but really, what it boils down to is that we are literature-rich homeschoolers.

We tend kind of classical, but not exactly, and certainly not all the neo-classical 4 year cycle type of thing.  So we are studying Latin, spending a fair amount of time on ancient history, and taking or planning courses such as logic and rhetoric.

But that doesn't really define us.

What defines us is that in many of the subjects, we are using literature as a basis for our studies.  Or that we tend towards more "book" and less "text" in the subjects where we use textbooks.

What does that look like?  Well, my goal is two hours a day of reading aloud to my kids.  That covers history, that often covers science, and it certainly covers literature and fun reading.  It also may cover geography, Bible/church history, economics, health, P.E., music, art, well pretty much anything.

History:  we usually are using Sonlight, which schedules quite a few quality books mostly covering history.  They schedule some literature studies as well.

Literature: for high school, we are using Excellence in Literature, which definitely covers some great literature.  At younger ages, I pull studies from Bright Ideas Press, or try to use Teaching the Classics.  I make use of some great lists in selecting titles to read (when Sonlight isn't enough) such as The Read Aloud Handbook, Latin Centered Curriculum, or the 1000 Good Books list.

Science: we frequently make use of texts such as the Apologia Elementary level ones that aren't so textbooky.  We also make a point of using scientist biographies or great books that include science.

Music/art/PE, etc.: biographies.  We tend to read a lot of biographies.

Math: we supplement with books from Living Math's excellent website.

Why do we do this?  Well, we all love a good story, we enjoy spending time together with a good story, and we sure seem to remember a lot more why's and how's from this approach.  Stories appeal to multiple ages, so I can much more easily combine kids.  I can borrow a bit from the library, which is always nice.  And when we are learning about similar things, it makes for interesting dinner conversation.

I'd love to say more, but time seriously got away from me this week.  But you can check out what some of my Crew Mates had to say by clicking the graphic above!


Lauren in GA said...

So you are liking the Excellence in Literature? I am thinking of having Josh do the 1st one next year for eighth grade.

LivingforGod said...

Thanks for sharing this. Our homeschool style is Biblically-based, mission-minded, and delight-directed :). I also like to read aloud to my kids (17, 12, and 9).

Dawn said...

Enjoyed learning about your family homeschool. Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Unknown said...

I like reading good stories too! Thanks for the insights!!!

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

We've been using Heart of Dakota this year and love that it is literature based. We love reading together everyday!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great post, Debra! I love the 1000 Great Books site - it's just what I was looking for regarding a resource book list. We enjoy many of the same resources (imagine that!) ... appreciate your wisdom and insight, as always.

Michelle Smith said...

Thanks for sharing, Debra. My weekend got away from me and I never put together a post myself, but literature-based pretty well describes us, too. Somewhat Charlotte Mason, somewhat Classical. Strong literature emphasis.

Debra said...

Lauren -- I am incredibly impressed with Excellence in Literature. I'm hoping to do enough of it to post a decent review sometime fairly soon, but a couple of quick comments...

1) it is written to the student, and makes statements like "you are responsible for your own learning" throughout. Connor is getting hit over the head with statements like that this year... and I AM THRILLED that it is in here too.

2) I love the organization... 9 four-week units. Pretty easy to plan out so that he can wrap one unit up at decent times.

3) I love, love, love the lit choices, and I love the honors option.

4) the background readings/links are excellent. I'm learning a ton.

If you are thinking about this for next year, you might want to look into Teaching the Classics for later this year. She recommends using it too. :)