This week I'll be posting some of my "home schooling essentials", a couple of the items that I can't live without when teaching the kids at home, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's winter blog hop: 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials. The items in my posts this week may seem very simple and silly and, yes, they are simple items. Home schooling, like life, is as simple or complicated as we choose to make it and I prefer to keep it simple. I know no magic secrets or products that make home schooling successful, but after many years of teaching at home I have found a few things that make my world flow well and I'm excited to share them to you.
In my bucket are two books, The Well Trained Mind, a Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer (1999), and If You're Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You've Gotta Have This Book! by Marjorie Frank (1979).
These books are two of my most trusted resources and most well-worn "go to" books.
The Well-Trained Mind teaches using a classical approach, which I agree wholeheartedly with. The book lays out, in pretty good detail, how and what to teach each year. I've found the approach the Bauer's use to work very well with my family.
The book is divided into three stages based on the age/grade of the children - grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Each fall I open the book to the section(s) we're in and re-read each chapter, coming up with my overall plan for the year. I deviate from the books suggestions often, but it acts as a excellent starting point and their recommendations, if followed, aid in developing a well-educated college-ready child.
The second book, If You're Trying To Teach Kids How To Write ... is my absolute favorite writing book. It takes the boring monotony out of writing and makes it fun. The book was written in 1979 and it shows - in the language, illustrations, and free thinking ideas. The book is just chock full of fun and creativity. I've written more elaborately about this book here - and I have to say my opinion hasn't changed in the three years since I wrote that original post.
When I'm lacking for a creative writing prompt (we do creative writing every day) I open the book to a random page and grab an idea. We've written ransom notes, designed soup cans, laid on our back in the yard and written poetry, and created "wanted" posters for ourselves. No dry dull writing here!
Because of the frequency with which I turn to these books and the knowledge gained from them these two are a must on my "essentials" list.
*I linked to Amazon for these books. If you do decide to purchase one please consider doing so through someone who is an Amazon affiliate (I am not) so they can earn a little something from the sale.
Please visit these other Home School Review Crew members' post this week as they share their homeschooling essentials:
Shalynne @ Wonderfully Chaotic
Melanie @ A Year of Jubilee Reviews
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Nikki @ Angels of Heart
Sara @ Embracing Destiny
Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
Jennifer @ Simblissity Cottage
Kathy @ Kathys Cluttered Mind
Annette @ A Net in Time
For even more terrific blog posts in the 5 Days of Home Schooling Essentials series click the image in the top left corner.