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You asked for an update on our homeschooling?  Be careful what you ask for 🙂

This post has been in my drafts for 5 months.  Why the procrastination?  Because even after 5 years, this stuff scares the heebeejeebees out of me.  It brings me to my knees.  It humbles me every.single.day.  I come with fear and trembling.  I don’t pretend to have it figured out.   Not even close.

So, why do I keep at it?  Because I care so much.  Because I’m scared.  Because it keeps bringing us all to our knees.  Because for the life of me, I can’t think of anything else that so regularly pushes me to that raw edge of life—-the edge where war is waged between me and the work I was made to do.  

So, for now, I soldier on.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Let your gentleness be evident to all.

The Lord is near.

 Do not be anxious about anything,

but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Andrew Kern and the Circe Conference have totally changed the tenor and focus of our homeschool.   I’m going to their conference again this year in Maryland.  It’s amazing and so worth the sacrifice of time and money.  I’ve linked to him before but this talk and some of these podcasts were instrumental in ‘renewing my mind’.  In his talks, both online and at the conference, he helped me to see how stressed and frantic and anxiety-ridden our world is.  And even if I try not to be that way, it’s the water in which we all swim.  We don’t live from a place of peace and rest and so neither do we run our homes and schools and lives from a place of peace either.  We  are all a mess.  Chaos reigns.  Or so it is with me.

I really crave this peace and rest.  I want to cultivate a place where time slows down and where getting lost in a book or a project is still possible and encouraged.

I hope to post soon a ‘day in the life’ of how we try to get it all done.  But for now, these are our curriculum plans!

We start our mornings together with prayer, readings for the upcoming Sunday (following series C of the church calendar), a hymn, memory work and overall themes for the day/week/month/year.   It just so happens to be the season of Epiphany in the church year right now so we talk about what that means and how the readings for the Sundays in Epiphany point to Christ and His light-giving life.


We continue our memory work in much the same way we have since year 1.   I talk about why we do memory work here but in summary, kids will memorize whether we give them great passages to memorize or not—so we might as well give them great stuff!    We are studying the Ancients this year in our history cycle, so we memorize poetry and writings about and by the people from this time period.   We have continued to memorize the Sermon on the Mount—which we didn’t finish from last year—and then other Bible passages, some related to our studies.  We also memorize lists of facts related to grammar and science and history, including the history time line.  I add and edit things from our list all year but here’s a sampling of what we’re working on and the Paradise Lost passage by the girls!

Genesis 1

Paradise Lost, first 26 lines

Ozymandias  (poem by Keats about an Egyptian pharaoh)

When the Frost in on the Punkin

List of 12 most important Egyptian pharaohs and their dates/accomplishments

List of major constellations and time of year visible in the Northern sky

Latins prayers including Te Deum Laudamas

Greek and Roman gods

Excerpt of Julius Caesar

Kings of Isreal and Judah

History time line (170 dates/important people spanning from Creation to now)

finish Sermon on the Mount

To the Fountain of Bandusia

The Destruction of Sennacherib

the invocation of the Muse in The Odyssey

selection from Augustine

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

God’s Grandeur by Gerard Hopkins

The Housewife’s Prayer by Blanche Mary Kelly

passage from The Iliad (yet to be determined, we are reading it now)

Ode to a Grecian Urn


Cue the hallelujah chorus.  I’m a day late and dollar short but I have recently discovered THE most awesome grammar program ever known to man.  I’ve been using Rod and Staff, which is stepwise and thorough and has the same chapters year after year and pretty much makes me wanna poke out my eardrums with a  sharp knitting needle.  It’s SO utilitarian.  Where is the grammar program for someone who LOVES grammar with all her heart and soul and will keep homeschooling solely (almost) to teach her children and herself the beauty of it?   Where is that program?

Well, look no more.  I’ve found it.

Micheal Clay Thompson’s Level 4 Grammar Program.

Here’s an excerpt from the back of the book:

“From a utilitarian point of view, I think grammar is an intellectual pocket knife;  it is small, easily purchased, and so useful that one would not dream of being without it.  Grammar is so lovely that even if it were useless, one would irresistibly explore it, as one explores chess, or architecture, or the spiral geometries of shells.  It is a  sort of magic aesthetic lens, through which we can view the delicate structure of ideas.”

Shut up.  Shut the front door.  If the man who said this (and who wrote this curriculum)  was standing in front of me right now, I’d be tempted to hug him and never let him go.  This man sees language like some people see Renoir or Michealangelo.   He is a genius and I only wish I had found this curriculum earlier.  I’m still learning the nuts and bolts of it but basically, he teaches all the parts of speech in one month and then spends the rest of the year exploring beautiful sentences, written by gifted authors, as a way of immersing ourselves in the best that language has to offer.  The girls and I studied adjectives today by reading a passage from Hamlet.  No ‘made up’ sentences about Sally going to the doctor and any other such contrived nonsense.    Real, stylized sentences from the best classic literature.   I’m so an evangelist for this program.  It’s a no brainer.  Micheal Clay Thompson-—I think you’re swell.  And some day, my girls will thank you.  Amen.

Also, we learn so much grammar in Latin that it almost feels like we do this program for fun.


We often get strange looks when we tell people we’re learning Latin.  There are so many reasons why I believe that it may be THE most important part of our curriculum but I won’t reinvent the wheel since Andrew Kern wrote a brilliant four part series (1, 2, 3, 4) on why Latin is crucial for classical education.   Until the 20th century, to be educated meant to learn the classical languages and to study the classic texts.  But we’ve dumbed ourselves down and reduced most of education to what is considered ‘useful’ to get a job.  I’m not educating my girls so that they can get a job, I’m educating them to give them a life.  Learning Latin is humbling, difficult, and wonderful, all at the same time.   All good life lessons!

I’m thrilled to tell you that the girls have been taking online Latin  this year and successfully finished their first semester with A’s.  While at the Circe Conference, I find out about Classical Learning Resource Center, which teaches both Greek and Latin with the intent to be able to translate ancient works.   I am so excited about this class and realize what a privilege it is for the girls to be able to take Latin from a classical languages teacher.   The class has not been easy for them but (or me!) but we’ve learned so much and it pushes us beyond our comfort level, which is always a good thing!  The class meets once a week for two hours and then there’s plenty of homework to keep us busy through the week.  The sessions are recorded so that we can go back and listen to concepts we might have had trouble with.  I HIGHLY recommend it if you want to continue Latin but don’t have the skills to do it properly yourself.  I’m so glad we had done Latin for Children because the girls didn’t feel so intimidated by so many new things at once.   The class uses Oxford Latin for textbooks and it is heavily steeped in Ancient Roman history and literature, which I love.  It reminds me of a college course, in the grading and the expectation level but the teacher is so kind and understanding with the kids, while at the same time, expecting alot from them.  It’s perfection!

Do my girls love Latin?  Not yet.  It’s hard.  It’s very hard.  But there’s starting to see the beautiful satisfaction that comes from doing hard things over time.  It won’t be long until they like it.


We are studying the Ancients  (Isrealites, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans)  using both The Mystery of History Volume I: Creation to the Resurrection  and The Story of the World, Activity Book 1: Ancient Times – From the Earliest Nomad to the Last Roman Emperor.   I’m taking several online classes through The Teaching Company in order to prepare me to teach the Ancients in more detail.  I finished Ancient Egypt and taught the Egyptians by  teaching about the life and times of ten pharaohs.  We did Egyptian Art and read literature about the Egyptians.  It was a fun couple  of months and my girls thoroughly enjoyed Mara, Daughter of the Nile. It’s a book of historical fiction set during the time of Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.   We used topics from the Egyptian time period as prompts for writing assignments and  our memory work included a poem (Ozymandias) written about a pharaoh.  We also incorporated the Isrealite history and how it was often intertwined with the Egyptians.

I took a course on The Odyssey and then read it aloud to my girls.   I’m nearly finished with courses on  Ancient Greece  and Greek Mythology and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to take a college level class for myself and then use that wealth of information to pass good stuff onto the girls.  We read Tales of Troy (junior version of The Iliad) and are now starting The Aeneid together.  We also read Tales of the Greek Heroes, which the girls loved.  I plan to read them some sections from Plato and Aristotle and we will discuss some of the famous Greek tragedies as a way of introducing them to names/stories.

Soon, we will begin our study of the Ancient Romans and all along the way we study the Isrealites and how they fit into chronological history.

We use the topics we are studying in history to guide our literature choices and as topics for our writing, as well.  I love the overlap and the constant reinforcement.

History is probably our favorite subject and we almost always get out our maps and find the places we’re reading about.  We do it after lunch in a more relaxed style than our morning classes.


I’ve heard it many times and I believe it’s true.  You could read good books all day and get all the education you need.  I’m committed to classical learning by reading classical books to my kids.  We do a lot of reading and even at their ages of 10 and 12, they beg me to read aloud to them.  Some of the books we’ll be enjoying this year are:

Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Puffin Story Books)

Tales of the Greek Heroes (Puffin Classics)

Bulfinch’s Mythology – All Three Volumes – The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne


The Aeneid

The Tale of Troy: Retold from the Ancient Authors (Puffin Classics)

Julius Caesar

Confessions (Oxford World’s Classics) by Augustine


These we will read together (or have already read).  They also read on their own and have finished the Lois Lowry books, Suzanne Collins series about Gregor and are working through the Rick Riordan books, a modern day tale of the Greek gods.

Books are everything to us and I saw a study recently that said that the single most important factor in raising well educated kids was how many books they have access to at home.

So, I keep plenty on hand and pray they read and keep reading for the rest of their lives!

(Someone on Pinterest recently wrote about the workroom that she couldn’t decide if she hated it or loved it because she could never get any work done with all that clutter.)

Books?  Clutter?  That’s heresy!


We use The Mystery of History Volume I: Creation to the Resurrection  to study the Old Testament and the girls are taking a two year catechism class with our pastor that meets every other Sunday for 2 hours.  We also are hoping to read through the Old Testament by the end of this school year.  Their catechism class is very comprehensive and has paralleled our study of the Ancients so perfectly.  I LOVE It when a plan comes together!  And I’m so thankful for a pastor that is so committed to teaching the faith to the young ones.  Steve and I sit in on the class and learn so much ourselves.  We are so blessed by his teaching!



We use the content of our history and science as our writing prompts.   We are still using Teaching Writing/Student Writing Intensive Combo Pack – Level B.    I am a little frustrated with writing because neither of my girls are natural writers and I’m not sure I’m the best teacher for them.  I’m looking into some kind of writing workshop for them this spring.  Let me know if you know of anything like that.  I’ve also considered hiring a tutor to help them as well.  We’ll see.  We do one or two writing assignments per week using the keyword outline method.   What I do love about our writing program is that it reinforces what we’re already learning in other subjects.  Writing is hard and the results come slow.  I’m hoping that what we’re doing will pay off eventually.  They do LOVE watching Andrew’s videos.  He’s a funny guy!



We’ve been doing astronomy and physical science this year.  We have used Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorer Series) by Jeannie Fulbright for Astronomy and have studied the stars and constellations and the origin of their Greek names.   For physical/earth science, we’ve been using How the Earth Works Pb (Eyewitness Science Guides).  We haven’t been very hard core/disciplined with science because I firmly believe that elementary science should be much more focused on instilling a love for nature and its beauty.  We like to bird-watch and star gaze and study weather and trees and water systems.  Next year, I suppose I’ll have to get more ‘serious’ about science but for now, it’s part of our laid-back/fun/afternoon stuff.


We have used Saxon Math 7/6: Homeschool Edition Student Text  this year and are a few lessons away from finishing it.  After some thought and research, we plan to move onto Prealgebra – Special Second Edition for Chalk Dust Company  in a few weeks.   I have a good friend who uses it and I like the idea of the video lectures.  At this level of their education, I can’t teach everything well.  So, I farm out Latin and Math.  I’m there to help and explain and monitor but I don’t have to do the bulk of the teaching.  We do math right after memory and Bible so we’re fresh!


We try to schedule plenty of time for cooking and crafting and field trips but as the curriculum gets harder, it seems harder to protect our margins!  The girls are very involved in dance and train 8-10 hours per week.

Let me end the longest post ever known to man by saying this.  Homeschooling is one of many good options available for teaching kids.  It’s not for everybody and it may not always be for us.  We take it one year at a time and try to enjoy our days together.  My goal is to instill a love for truth, beauty and goodness.

But mostly, I just like spending my days with them.  Life is complicated and messy but we’re together, learning to be who we were created to be.

77 comments on “Our Homeschool Curriculum, 2012:: 6th Grade”

  1. Good for you Edie, both for your grand plans and your humility. xoxo
    I am not a homeschooling Mom, but I still glean something wonderful from this… The calm. The value of it, and its contrast against chaos, to which everyone is susceptible, even lone farm tenders like me. LOL. I knw that even the animals feel my mood!
    In Little Women (just read it) Alcott repeats many times that women are the “sunshine makers” of the home, and I see in my own heart how being harried and stressed prevents sunshine from pouring forth. I wish I would rewind some years and do certain things a bit differently, but we are here now and have this fresh new year to improve! xoxo
    Happy new year to you, and happy birthday too!!
    Best wishes in your rich curriculum, one day at a time!

  2. As much as you dread posting this, I look forward to it! It stretches me to do a little more memorization with my son. His dad loves teaching him how to work on cars, fix electrical problems and toilets, etc. 😉 Those basic living skills for guys that I’m no good at teaching.

    Thanks for sharing again. I’m off to look at that grammar program. We use Easy Grammar/Daily Grams which is a good program for us, but I’m always open to something new and incredible!

    • I’ve heard good things about Daily Grams and used to use their worksheets too. The MCT program is a little overwhelming because there are so many options. We just pick and choose what we want to use from it. Mostly, I LOVE seeing the world of grammar through his eyes, so inspiring!
      Bless you, dear!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will be homeschooling 2 of my boys in the fall and your resources are exactly what I have been looking for in my preparation. I am bookmarking this post for sure!!

  4. So many great nuggets of wisdom in this post, Edie! I applaud what you’re doing with your girls — my teenagers’ education has (in the past couple of years esp) been woefully lacking in my opinion. One is getting ready to graduate and the other a freshman in HS and I’ve regretted not seizing them out of the “system” years ago and instilling a love of learning in an engaging and important way. You spoke exactly to that when you said you were educating your girls to “give them a life”. So true!! I was educated very classically (quite by good fortune in West TX public schools!!) and it has served me so well… maybe not in the “job” department, but certainly in the “life” department.
    This year my HS freshman is reading The Odyssey in Lit and I re-read it this fall with your book club so that I can ENGAGE him in this work. I first read it in Latin in HS — we translated it!! Amazes me to think about it now, and I confess I enjoyed it much more this time around. ;-). But thank you, for reviving that knowledge that classics matter!!
    Be blessed, God is with you on your homeschooling journey!
    xo Heidi

    • What a beautiful gift—I so wish I had had a classical education. I guess I’m getting one now, the hard way! I love that you read The Odyssey to be able to discuss it with him. Only a mama!
      Much love,

  5. Edie, THANK YOU for your comprehensive list!! We are committed to Classical education as well and are studying Ancients this year (Creation to Greeks). My one question is about memorization: how do you come up with your list of things to memorize for the year?

    • I have several different poetry books including The Harp and Laurel Wreath and Andrew Pudewa’s poetry book. I’m always searching, trying to find good stuff. Several of our selections this year came from poems that I heard about while at the Circe Conference.
      I try to find things that match the time period, as much as possible but we do some things just for fun too!

  6. Thank you so much, Edie, for this long awaited post. Once again you encourage us to reach a little higher, strive for excellence, and challenge us to do the hard things. In this blessings will be poured out on our families. I only have 2 1/2 short years left before my son graduates and moves onto college. The list of things I would like to accomplish before then is overwhelming but we take it one day at a time, doing our best to preservere. I would love to take some of the courses you mentioned to better prepare myself to teach him. Will have to look into them. Latin is one thing I regret not doing with both of my children. We workonthe same principle of incorporating Bible/history/literature/writing. I do love how it all flows together and reinforces learning.
    I can not wait for the day to day/scheduling post.
    I have subscribed through your new email service.

    • I applaud you for homeschooling into the high school years. We’re still trying to figure out what we’ll do then. On the one hand, I’d love to but I’m sure it’s lots of work, keeping up with the official paper work—-which is not my strong suit!
      Much love,

      • I know you love her, too, so maybe you already saw it – Susan Wise Bauer has a recent video on her blog about homeschooling in to the high school years – 3 points she has learned over the years. It is really good. Thanks for your posts as always! I learn a ton from you! I don’t home school, but I do find ways to incorporate the ideas of classical education at home in to our everyday lives, and both your and Susan’s blogs have inspired me to do this.

  7. Thanks for sharing this. We’re only into our second year homeschooling our boys but it didn’t take long to figure out that homeschoolers really have a fascination with what school looks like in other homeschooling families. I’m no exception. 🙂 I

  8. Edie–
    Thank you for this post. I’m currently not a homeschooling mom, but was a teacher before having our two boys (ages 9 and 10). Classical education is something I’m extremely interested in. Year after year, my husband and I are brought to the same place with public education: “something’s missing”. When I was a teacher, I definitely was more traditional in my style of teaching, and I feel there are so many foundational aspects of learning that are being missed in curriculum today.
    I truly admire your devotion to giving this gift to your children. Ya make me think, Edie…
    you honestly make me think….maybe it’s time for me to get serious and take an honest look at giving the gift of a classical education to our family.

    • So cool, Jen! I think you’d love it but I’m convinced that no matter what the setting, teacher’s kids have an advantage because they have parents who really care. I’d be a much different parent now if I sent my girls to school—probably drive the teachers crazy!
      Bless you,

  9. Oh my, when I read your education posts, I wish I could go back and do it all over again, only much, much better than I did! My girl’s 22, and serving God in a beautiful way, so I must let it go and trust God that she’s well-equipped for the plans He has for her! I just love your passion and get all inspired, no matter what the subject. Thank you!

  10. We first discovered MCT at the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincy. If you get a chance to attend one of his presentations, by all means, do so! They are wonderful! I especially enjoyed the Poetics presentation. After hearing him speak, I was completely sold on his program. We love it.

  11. Thank you so much!!! I’ve been waiting to read about your curriculum. We follow a similar plan.

    I’m impressed with your memory work! Awesome!

    Your MCT grammar inspires me again. I did Island with my 11 and 9 year olds last year, but didn’t have all of the components to the program, so it only was an exposure to grammar (again) for them. I loved what I saw of it.

    I’ve been at the dry well lately, and I want school to be inspiring and enjoyable not something to rush through. It is hard with a busy 2-year-old around who distracts and makes messes. Juggling him and the housework is hard.

    I always tell moms who don’t homeschool that school is fun, but the other work (the stuff all moms do) is the challenge and what makes homeschooling a challenge.

    But yes, homeschooling is a sandpaper that really exposes me to myself and me to my kids. It is hard in that way. I know when I’m struggling. It doesn’t show up in test scores or math worksheets. I decided a few days ago that I need revival in my spirit (and I know that will carry over to homeschool).

    Your long post gets my long comments. Thanks Edie!

  12. Edie, I’m so happy to have found your blog! I think your school room is beautiful. I’d love to know what sorts of art projects you do with your girls, and how you incorporate all of your academics.

  13. Edie,

    I have heard much about the MCT Grammar and it looks so lovely…and yet a bit overwhelming with all the components. Do you use just the Grammar books, or do you do all of it: the Grammar, Writing, Poetry, Vocabulary, and Literature?

    Would so much appreciate a little more insight into how you use the program.

    Every Grace~

    • I second Kates comment. Please tell more about how you use this program. I would love to consider it for my kids next year.

    • Yes, it is overwhelming! We are mostly working through The Magic Lens, which has the core curriculum. We haven’t used Word Within a Word at all just out of lack of time. Since my girls do so much grammar in their Latin class, I just pick and choose topics from the book that we still need to cover and then do practice sentences from the book called ‘Practice’. Time just doesn’t permit us to do the full monty but I love the parts we’ve been able to incorporate!
      Hope that helps:)))

  14. thanks for sharing! My kiddos are all still pretty little (toddler, preschool, first grade and second grade). It is always encouraging to simply read about others who are also homeschooling and getting a glimpse into their days as well. 🙂
    right now, we use My Father’s World. But I am share, as we get into older grades and get more settled into homeschool life, our curriculum will change a bit.

  15. Edie I just love you. You are my hero. “Life is complicated and messy, but we’re together learning to be who we were created to be” is going to be fancied up in some cute font with a little squiggly at the bottom with your name next to it, and it’s going to be printed out, put in a dollar store frame sprayed red, yellow or turquoise, and set somewhere in the great room so we can all be inspired by it. My daughter is also going to come home from school and we’re going to continue working on memorizing the books of the Bible that we kind of stopped doing after Thanksgiving.

    I used to memorize ALL KINDS of stuff when I was in Christian school, catechisms and chapters from the Bible, and in public school they don’t focus on memorization at all. It’s a lost art I’m telling you. =0) I still remember the books of the Bible and it’s so nice in church to know where to turn. So that’s why we’re starting with those. Easy and they will be of use to her throughout her life. I also want her to memorize inspiring passages of scripture. I will look through your blog and see if you have any listed, but would you mind at some point listing some of the treasures in the Bible that would be good for her to memorize? She’s nine. Anyways, I’m sorry for this extremely loooooooooooooooong comment as I know you have your hands full. You have just INSPIRED me like nobody’s business. =0)

  16. This looks like a wonderful curriculum that you’ve put together. My boys are young (1st grade and Kindergarten) so our homeschooling looks different, of course. And my daughter is just a toddler. Still I see so much of what I do and want to do reflected in your plan. I love that you say that homeschooling is just one good option for educating kids. I also love that you say that you are educating your girls, not just so they can get a job, but so they can have a life. So awesome! I may have to look into Latin, you make a very good point about it. Right now we are studying Spanish, which is right for their ages, but when they get older Latin might be a good addition. Good food for thought.

  17. I just taught Mara to an 8th grade co-op class and we all loved it! Their favorite activity was writing a sequel chapter after we studied it. The results were amazing and incorporated reading, writing, and history.

  18. Oh, Edie. I’m a teacher who taught for three years in a Classical/Charlotte Mason school in Texas before moving across the country. It ruined me {in a good way} and just reading your list of sources reminds me of some precious memories… Savor every minute for me. 🙂

  19. I just found your blog again after seeing a link to it in a email from another blogger. I am so happy to have found you again. I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember the name of your blog and I often wondered how you were coming along after the fire.
    I recently found Michael Clay Thompson too and can’t wait to use it. We have been using BJU and it is so boring and repetitive that my K would rather clean the toilet.

  20. Edie, Thank you for your inspiration! I want to attend your home school! My family is grown so now I can revisit all of those subjects that I have loved, that includes Latin. I want to keep reading, learning, praising The Lord for as long as I am able! Looking forward to the newsletter.


    • Oh, Tonia! You could have added some more “evers”. I’m so glad I started on it at the first of the year and kept adding on!
      and you are so welcome!

  21. You are awesome, Edie! Thank you for this post! It gives me some things to think about and different resources to look into. Much appreciated!

  22. i looooooove reading what other mamas are homeschooling with!
    i have four children, and our school looks much different, but it works well for us and there’s no other way i’d have it! 🙂
    thanks for taking the time to share!!!

  23. I’m waiting for cupcakes to come out of the oven (big 12 for my twinsies tomorrow!) but I’d like to yell from the rooftops how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE Teaching Textbooks for math!! I teach ZERO of it and so far ( fingers crossed) no tutor needed either! It truly was made for homeschool students and it rocks! And I soooo agree with you on Rod and Staff, while I think it’s a good program, not for us. I switched after only a month of it, bless you using it for years! We switched to Bob Jones English and Grammar. I use a separate writing program, Writing Strands which again is pretty independent for them with a little prodding from me. Started with book 3 (which apparently doesn’t mean 3rd grade) it says 9-12 yr olds. And we are just finishing it! I’ll be back….. timer is going off 🙂

    • I’ve heard GREAT things about Teaching Textbooks. I need to check into it one more time before I order chalk dust. I definitely need something video that frees me up to do stuff I’m better at teaching!
      And Happy Birthday to those twins!
      Much love, dear:)))

      • Edie, you can sample it right on their website for the grade level they will be using. My boys use it on the computer, they have a small dry erase board to “show the work” for each problem and then enter the answer in the computer. What I LOVE about it is that it’s all taught from the CD Rom and then you as the parent have a seperate password to see what they have done, how many they got right and wrong, see how many times they attempted to do the problem and if they watched the solution to help them and lastly, to delete the problems they got wrong so they can go back in and correct them. They do 1 to 2 lessons a day depending on time. Again, try it, I think you will LOVE IT! 🙂

  24. forgot to mention that I have one math whiz and one who hates math and it’s working for both! Whiz is using 6th and math hater is using 5th, Both LOVE IT! Amen 😉

  25. I used to homeschool, the kids have been in public school the past 2 years and we hate it..they hate it, and I hate it..I am prayerfully considering going back to homeschool and seeing your posts on what you teach and why you choose to use certain things is helping sort it all out, for me. I miss being the one to help them discover the new and discover themselves…..

  26. Hi, homeschooling moms.
    I just want to say…. Keep up the good work! I’m a homeschooled kid (woman, now) who was homeschooled before the classical ed movement started in the U.S. Since I was the oldest of nine homeschooled kids, I did as much helping the younger ones with their lessons as I did doing my own. I’m so glad that my parents made the decision to homeschool us, because it allowed me to focus on important things (like academics and life lessons about rearing children and running a household) instead of boyfriends and designer jeans. I’m a teacher now. I started in the public school system, but was always a bad fit. I wasn’t able to bow to the two great gods of the gov school system: Relativism and Voting Left. Now I teach in a classical school and help homeschooling families with their education (I don’t have any biological children). If my parents hadn’t done the (weird) hard thing of homeschooling, I don’t think I would have grown to value the richness and satisfaction of working hard on good things and enjoying the work and the results the way I have and do. So…. keep on keeping on, modern heroes and preservers of western civilization! And Edie, thank you for inspiring me over and over and over again. This classical ed business is hard uphill work. You’re such an encourager.

  27. This sounds like such a wonderful program! Kudos to you for keeping up with it, and for all the classical education. I don’t have kids yet but am earning my PhD in English, so I dream of one day having children who love to read and teaching them the classics…and Latin! Couldn’t agree more with you that children should be educated to give them a life and not for a specific job. Absolutely!

    I recently came across the book “Teaching Basic Writing Skills” by Judith Hochman and thought I’d mention it to you in case it might be useful. It’s not written specifically for homeschooling but for any teachers in general (and homeschoolers are definitely teachers, of course!). I’ve read about a number of schools that have used Hochman’s methods with wonderful enthusiasm from students.

  28. LOVE this post! Thank you for sharing!!!
    A couple of years ago, we studied the ancients and my girls loved these books:
    A Place in the Sun by Jill Rubalcaba
    The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
    Tezrah (must not be in print anymore because I can’t find it)

    They are easy reads, but they really helped my kids connect with characters living during the time period.
    We used Biblioplan as a reading list to help us find good (wholesome) reads that went along with our history studies. Highly recommend it!

    • Maybe the book you are referring to is “Tirzah” by Lucille Travis? It is about an Israelite family fleeing Egypt. That was a good book to bring that story alive. We use Veritas Press for History and they have a lot of good reading recommendations for historical fiction too. I’m going to check out Biblioplan as I haven’t heard of that one. 🙂

  29. So thankful you are willing to take the time to post the details of your curriculum. I am just starting to research and pull together a plan to homeschool. Starting Kindergarten work now with my 5yo son and planning to begin in the fall with my 9yo son (and thinking way ahead for my 1yo girl).
    I’ve been reading a lot lately about the classical method and feel this is the way I’d like to educate my children. Contemplating now, how to transition to this way of learning and build up to a curriculum of this caliber. It’s a long way from ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ to Shakespeare 😉
    Your post gives me a glimpse of what can be possible for the future. Thanks, Edie <3

  30. I have been waiting to read this particular post as we have been in Disney World and the hum of the crowds would not let my mind focus in on the wonderful words you have written. Now that I am in the “quiet” of my home, I have had the opportunity to thoroughly read every word in this beautiful post. I will first say that I just love your girls. They are so full of creativity and energy as well as genuine sweetness and love for learning. I can only imagine how hard it is to teach your children every day. I am a teacher by profession, yet I do not choose to homeschool my girls beccause I really don’t know if I could do it. I admire you for your convictions and stick-to-it-ness with teaching your girls. I feel my girls are definitely getting a good education in our public schools, however we seem to get caught in a mass of chaos with other activities and in our home life. It is a life I do not want ot continue creating in our home. These words you wrote hit a particular chord, “We don’t live from a place of peace and rest and so neither do we run our homes and schools and lives from a place of peace either. We are all a mess. Chaos reigns. ” All I can say is WOW! How true is that statement. I crave peace in our lives and one of my goals is seeking and finding ways of bring peace to our home. I have not had the opportunity to listen to the podcast you posted but I plan on doing so tonight and I am really looking forward to it! I hope that your birthdya celebration was as fabulous as you are dear friend! xoxo

  31. Question – Are you familiar with Leigh Bortins Essentials of the English Language? If so, would you still recommend the MCT program over hers? Thanks! ~Amy

  32. Edie, If you’re looking for a writing workshop, check out the Landry Academy. It is an online Christian Academy started by a homeschooling dad who was a college science professor. They have great classes, but you can also take their “intensives” where you meet for a weekend and do a semester’s worth of stuff (experiments for science, writing or whatever the subject is).

    I enjoyed reading about what you guys are doing!

  33. I am so glad you take the time to write these posts. I will have a 6th grader next year and I have to admit…these past couple homeschool years HAVE scared the heebeejeebees out of me!! I’m already thinking about what to buy for next year. Thank you for all the ideas…I’m off to Amazon.

    (like Amazon.com…not THE Amazon. that would be just be crazy.)

  34. In the area of writing, I would encourage you to continue with IEW. Be patient, work the process, and watch them grow. Watch the TWSS if you haven’t already and invest yourself in it. It is a beautiful program. I have a degree in curriculum and instruction and really enjoy designing, analyzing, and implementing curriculum. I resisted IEW for a long time, but once I gave in and attended a conference where Andrew spoke, I took a good long look at the program and am a huge fan now. Writing is such a difficult thing to teach and many (MOST) people teach it badly. Natural writers may excel in a lot of the programs out there, but when you have a student for whom it doesn’t come naturally, they need more than what most programs provide. The structure and style taught in the IEW programs is just genius and I am now a firm believer.

    OK, sorry for sounding like a commercial here! LOL But I would encourage you to give it some time. I think you’ll see some good results from it once they get through the SWI and continue on.

    Thanks so much for sharing what you’re using this year. We’re classical homeschoolers soon and I love to see how others are doing it.

  35. Saw your house in BH&G. Thank you for sharing it. But seriously, your description of yourself and your family so resonated with this homeschooling mom of 5, I had to peek at your blog. Then I saw your curriculum list. Again, thank you for sharing! Though we already use many of the same, I was not aware of the Micheal Clay Thompson program. As a wordsmith language lover, this sounds just exciting. Thanks!

  36. My son devoured the Rick Riordan series. He’s reading the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. It’s a detective series with 4 children from different backgrounds working together.

  37. your posts on homeschool always encourage me and inspire me and greatly, deeply, assuredly challenge me as a homeschool mom.

    we sent our oldest to 7th grade this year and we’re sending our middle to 5th grade next year. they are at a wonderful, small, classical school, and it seems to be what our family needed in this next season of family life. sometimes, i feel like a quitter for not continuing but usually, i feel blessed for the time i have had with the boys at home and for the most amazing school to send them to now.

    you have a tenacity to you that is so invigorating to me. 🙂 thanks for putting your homeschool ideas/philosophies out there for us..it’s always such a help.


  38. Hello! I’m new to this blog but already loving it. I was homeschooled myself, majored in English and Classics in college, and now teach Latin to homeschooled students. Your post made me all nostalgic about my own elementary and high school years and wistful for future days of homeschooling (if and when). (And the Clay Thompson grammar program, which I was not familiar with, looks amazing, from the quote you shared!)

    I do have a suggestion to add to the chorus of previous ones for writing instruction. In high school I took English courses through The Potter’s School (www.pottersschool.org), which has a similar setup to what you describe with your Latin classes. The 4 classes I took as a junior and senior were incredibly beneficial for my writing, and they fostered a joy and facility with literature and argumentation that I’ve taken with me to college and graduate school. TPS offers junior high writing classes as well, and I’ve only ever heard very good things about them from students and parents. You may know about this program already, but I thought I’d mention it.

  39. Edie,
    Will you send me the link to the talk/podcasts that got you so interested in the Circe conference? I clicked on your link and it sent me to an error page. I have an almost 4 yr old and am contemplating homeschooling using the classical approach and would love to listen to them. Thanks so much!!

  40. I just found your blog today and thoroughly enjoyed reading your above post about homeschooling. I also homeschool two kiddos and believe in the Classical approach. Both of my kids, 6th and 9th grade, are dyslexic. My 6th grader loves to write and has no problem putting words to paper. My 9th grader is another story and to get him to write a sentence is like pulling teeth. He absolutely hates it. Realizing I needed a more structured writing program to help him find his voice, I used IEW for one year. He did the writing assignments and did them fairly well, but had a difficult time writing across our curriculum and putting writing into practice. This year, we switched to Brave Writer, and I’m very impressed with this program. I found it through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op online. Brave Writer throws away the formulas and teaches how to write from a professional writer’s perspective. It has helped both of my kids find their voice. My son still doesn’t like to write, but it’s becoming less and less of a struggle. Julie at Brave Writer also has a blog at http://www.bravewriter.com. She writes about what a Brave Writer lifestyle is and how to incorporate great literature, poetry, writing, and even movies into your children’s lives. You write alongside your kids so that you learn as well and model the act of writing. It’s a program that throws off the conventional method of teaching writing and allows for more creativity and thought. Hope this helps in your endeavor to make writing more interesting for your kids. Thanks again for your blog and helpful tips. God Bless.

  41. Hi,
    I am so glad to find another mom inspired by Andrew Kern and the classical ideal. I am just starting the homeschool journey but your posts have been so helpful and encouraging. I was wondering if you have looked at Circe’s “Lost Tools of Writing” curriculum. It is intended for older students – but I think the concepts can be taught to a variety of ages. Basically, it is teaching good thinking. If you want to learn more you might want to listen to some of the webinars about writing at http://circeinstitute.org/webinars/. The Five Topics of Invention (12/16/11) is long but it is Mr. Kern basically giving an overview of teaching writing. Anyway, since you already enjoy the way he thinks about these things you might like what he has to say about writing. Blessings – you’ve almost made it through January!

  42. Edie, hopefully you will see this, but I was re-reading this tonight and saw what you wrote about your kids not being natural writers. I have read two books recently that say that you can lay all the ground work for good writing, but kids will learn writing as they read and see it more. That it may not emerge for a long time. Which is so true. And with all the great literature you read they will see it and begin to write like it. I am seeing it with my boys as well.
    Also, you need to give me a preview this summer of the books your reading for next year’s history because I’m copying this years that you posted about, LOL! Thank you for all the great choices! We are also following Story of the World Ancients, and trying to read anything they are interested in that coordinates with these times to get more in depth. Again, thank you for all the info! 🙂

  43. Thank you for the post, my son attends our local public school (5th grade) and he was “delighted” to hear that we were going to focus on Greek mythology and literature soon. Very inspirational post. My husband and I are very committed to public education but we recognized that it is a parternship, your post gave me a lot of ideas on how I can supplement the public education curriculum.

    Thanks again.

  44. Have you heard of the EIW institute by Andrew Pudewa? His writing materials look divine. My kids are just starting 1st grade so we aren’t using the curriculum yet but I plan on it. Also, he has some wonderful and encouraging podcasts on teaching writing. He sometimes writes for the Circe blog.

  45. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts on homeschooling and totally agree about the value of memorization! From memorizing scripture to poetry to historical documents, memorization is a great way for children to retain what they learn. A very helpful (and FREE!) resource to check out is http://www.MemoryTyper.com. This website provides a library of documents for every subject that you can memorize using methods that are visually interesting. This site really accelerates the memorization process. You can also import your own documents to memorize. Memory Typer recently posted a free resource entitled “Why is America Free?” that provides a timeline of America’s liberty and important pieces of history. It outlines the story of America’s freedom in a creative way. Be sure to check it out! http://memorytyper.com/OrgPages/MemoryTyper/WhyIsAmericaFree.aspx

  46. Hey Edie, I just discovered your blog the other day and I am hooked! You are my new best friend even though you don’t know it…lol. I homeschool too and I am in awe of all you do with your kids. I just pray my kids are getting all they need….keep up the good work and God bless.

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