Tales of Narnia and homeschool woes.

I’m a bad blogger – I freely admit it. I started out, blogging frequently. Then the consistency stopped – we were moving and life grew even more chaotic than usual. Packing and planning. Then a few-day car trip with me and my children in one vehicle and the husband in the moving van. Unpacking, trying to turn new space homey. Organizing. Refilling my pantry, and picking up absolute must-haves. Holidays. Presents. Also homeschooling this year hasn’t been going as well as I had hoped – we love our Math and History, but everything else is just ‘meh’. Bland and uninspired.


I’ve been toying with ideas of new curriculum. I’m thinking about Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind approach of classical education, as well as tweaking AmblesideOnline for a secular education, and also wondering about Oak Meadow. I want to raise readers; I grew up reading  – I read voraciously and this was a pleasure that I indulged in freely, reading age-appropriate as well as books far beyond my maturity level. I remember vividly the day that the Scholastic book form came into my fourth grade classroom. I looked through the books and set my eyes on the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. I was intrigued and wanted that box set. I went home, clutching the book form and showed it to my parents in the hopes that they would bite, and allow me to order it. They did, and I waited for the arrival of those books like a child awaits the beginning of vacation, or their birthday.

They finally arrived, and I tucked them away carefully in my desk, not opening them. When school let out for the day and I was finally home, I removed the plastic wrapping and began reading. I fell in love with those books, and as much as I wanted to find out what happened, I never wanted them to end either. When the last book was finished, I put it with the other back into the box, and set it on my bookshelf.



I re-read those books every year. However, you only have one opportunity to read the Chronicles for the first time, and this past year, I read them to my children, thrilling at their interest and delight over their first time of experiencing the stories. (By the way, one of my daughters has the name of Aravis, taken from The Horse and His Boy).

These books (pictured  below) are 31 years old now. I got them when I was 9 and I recently turned 40. I can’t read them again, they’re far too delicate for that, but I can’t get rid of them either. I plan on getting another box set with full color illustrations, and I will put these away, in the same place my favorite childhood stuffed animals are.



I truly hope to pass the love-reading trait along to my children.



What methods/curriculum work well for your family? Are you raising children who love to read? Do you incorporate living books into your homeschool? Do you piece together curriculum to tailor your family’s specific requirements, or do you find that boxed curriculum works?  I’d love to read to your feedback!


Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum

I have wanted to try Oak Meadow’s homeschool curriculum for the past two years. Through the end of May (2013) Secular Homeschool.com is holding a giveaway on Oak Meadow’s curriculum.

The community is a great one, hope to see some of you there!


As much as I love my Kindle (and I really, really do adore it) there is one instance when only a book will suffice.

Let me start this off by conveying to you my immense loathing of shopping. Picture it if you will – when it’s time for new clothes, I hold off as long as possible and then head to the thrift store. It’s also the thrift shop or Land’s End overstock for the children (my husband is 6’5, so all his clothing we generally buy new, it’s not often I’m able to locate his sizes).

I used to have a soft spot for purses – Coach. At One point I had seven different Coach bags, but this was when I was single and far more flush. I love living frugally. I actually have fun researching where the best price for something is, but there is one aspect of life where I want to buy just everything appealing (and so, sooooo much of it is) – homeschool supplies. Programs, a box full of books delivered to my door. When my children were younger, it was the boxes of fluffy mail I waited for with bated breath, now, I know what true happiness is when I place some homeschool orders. Piecing together a curriculum, using the best items for my types of little learners at the best prices I can find is certainly a satisfying endeavor. But, oh, how I occasionally long to spend like I used to, on homeschool needs.

Example in point – my children are currently seven and eight – I’ve read fantastic things about All About Spelling, but I’ve also heard quite a few negatives. Being as frugal as I am, I don’t want to spend $60. on a relatively new product to find out whether or not this is a program that works for us. My children spell quite well, orally – writing or typing out the words correctly is the issue. I’m currently looking at the The Writing Road to Reading, which teaches the Spalding Method. I’ve read that AAS is basically a simplified teaching of these rules – I don’t know how accurate that is, as I have no experience with either. The only negative I’ve read about utilizing the Spalding Method is that it can be difficult to ‘get‘, and difficult to implement if you prefer a scripted method.

I’m intrigued by AAS though, and think we’ll wind up with it eventually.

What do you use for spelling? How many programs did you try before finding one that worked for your child(ren)?