"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Sunday, January 31, 2010

F. N. Monjo History Books

I love library books sales and I have been to many since adopting a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy. I am no children's literature expert so I rely on a lot of Internet sources for suggestions. I don't stick to those lists, though, especially for non-fiction. I take risks on those 25 to fifty cent books that, judging by the cover, may be good.

Recently I happen to come across several books by F. N. Monjo. I first picked up Vicksburg Veteran, but I have not read it because we have not covered the Civil War yet (later this year.) Later I picked up Me and Willie and Pa, and The One Bad Thing About Father. They all look really good, but I have yet to read them.

Now we are studying the Industrial Revolution. As I mentioned, Ds#2 researched Slater's Mill, so when I saw the book by Monjo during a library search I borrowed it--and I read it.

What a fabulous historical fiction account of Samuel Slater coming to Pawtucket to rebuild Moses Brown's mill! Into the story Monjo worked in Rhode Island's reluctance to ratify the Constitution, positive descriptions of Quakers, every day life during that time, and, of course, the building of the mill. This author is wonderful for elementary students!

His books are fairly common and several have paperback reprints, so they are easy enough to pick up on the used book market for a reasonable price. You can probably get them through your library, too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

History Fair

This year we are not part of a large co-op, and it has been such a blessing for me given the fluctuations my life is going through right now. We belong to a small, 3-family, 11-child (from 7 months to 11 years) TORCH co-op that we really enjoy. I am leading the older 5 in the Journey North Mystery Class for science.

We are part of what I call a homeschooling enrichment group with many of the families from the former large co-op, and we get together for various activities and classes. The most recent was our History Fair. We reserved the large, beautiful room at the library, set up tables, put up our displays, and invited families and friends to come see what their homeschooled relations were up to.

Ds#1 has been fascinated with the Interstate Highway System so he jumped right into that project. Ds#2 really loved the recent Bales to Bolts program that our enrichment group went on in Lowell mills. He decided to compare Slater's Mill in Pawtucket, RI to the one built by Lowell in Waltham, MA and by his partners later in Lowell, MA.

We had 13 displays in all and a good amount of visitors. In two more months we'll do it again, only this time the theme will be science instead of history.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Invisible Woman

This speaks for itself. Thank you, Lord, for seeing.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bookmarking Learning Sites for the Kids

I bookmark a lot of really great web sites to enhance our homeschooling. The problem is that the kids share a computer while I use my laptop, so when I find a great site on my laptop, I bookmark it in Delicious and then I forget about it. When one has computer time, I am getting another set up for something and teaching the third so I don't have time right then to hunt for sites.

I have come up with a solution using Google Bookmarks. The kids' browser's homepage is set to iGoogle, a customizable page. In iGoogle I've put the Google Bookmarks gadget in the upper left side so the kids can easily see it. I have bookmarks labeled by subject, so they can just change the drop-down list to get a set of links for a specific subject.

You can also set the browser homepage to Google Bookmarks. Sort the list by label to see them grouped by subject.

Now I can say, "For the next 20 minutes pick a Language Arts link to play." The kids are now actually using the many links I have found to help reinforce what they have learned without me having to hunt for them!

BTW, at the bottom of the Google Bookmarks page is a button you can drag to your toolbar that lets you bookmark a website you are viewing. Now that makes it really easy!