3 of My Favorite Homeschool Things

I’m having so much fun reading about other homeschooling mom’s favorite things this month! I love our curricula so I feel no need to change anything (except maybe the reading – the program Lisa is using for her emerging reader looks really neat!), but it is fun to get a little virtual peek into a few homeschool classrooms.

This mom shares her favorite planner, history, and reading programs, including a completely FREE curriculum!

Here are a few of my own favorite homeschool things:

The Well-Planned Day Student Planner


The Well Planned Day Student Planner is very thorough, compact, and so easy to use. Plus it’s really pretty, which is a huge bonus for my artsy fourth grader! My daughter absolutely loves writing in this planner and she has it double as a regular calendar as well. I will occasionally write her lessons in this planner for her and I have no need for a teacher planner because this one is enough for us.

(On a side note, even though I’m not using a teacher planner this year, I do use The Well Planned Day’s new blog planner and I absolutely love it! Planners are 15% off through Sept. 30.)

The Mystery of History


I cannot recommend The Mystery of History highly enough. My kids LOVE this history program and they LOVE the audio lessons that are read by the author, Linda Hobar. This is a four-year chronological history program that starts at creation and goes to present day.

I love how Mrs. Hobar connects Biblical History with World History, especially in Volume I – (something that I didn’t even know was possible until I began homeschooling)! For example, did you know the first Olympic games happened just 16 years before Jonah was swallowed by the big fish? I learned that just from reading the table of contents from Volume I!

Depending on our schedules, some years we do several of the suggested activities and other years we just listen to the audio lessons and move on.

All in One Homeschool


The All in One website is such a blessing to my family! We don’t use it for every subject (although we could!) but I do use it with my kindergartener to help her work on her reading skills, and we’ve recently started using it for music class as well (I plan to start All in One gym soon too!).

The site doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but once we got the hang of it, we found that it’s really easy to use. It’s also very well thought-out and thorough, and the price (FREE) can’t be beat!

Well, those are three of my favorite homeschool things – what are some of your favorite homeschool things?

Davonne (7 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at DavonneParks.com. Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

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Our Experience: Charlotte Mason Institute 2014 Education Conference Part 3 (cont)

CMI graphic III


Are you still there? You can read the other parts of this long drawn out series. I do apologize the stretch between postings.

One of the aspects of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is to take your time with your reading. Read a section or a chapter, then narrate on that. Some of the books used are spaced out over an entire year. Not very many but some. The reason? To get to know the information and the individuals of the story.

While this isn’t a story, perhaps that’s what I’m hoping has happened with these posts. They do seem to have been spaced apart more than I’d initially anticipated. My apologies for that, but I hope you are still with me. This is the last one and it will wrap up the plenaries of the conference.

Remembering Eden: Why Literature Is Essential in the Development of a Child’s Heart, Mind and Imagination

This plenary was given by Jerram Barrs, author of Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature and Arts. This was actually focused on that book, with many references to it. Having never read the book, his plenary has given me a desire to do so. (I have since purchased the book and have begun my reading.) His talk was long but good, and he had to cut it short. Fortunately, we received the powerpoint attachment in an email after the conference.

What kind of education do we strive to give our children? One that

  • Feeds and inspires the mind
  • Engages the heart
  • Fires the imagination
  • Gives direction for the will
  • Strengthens the body
  • Engages the soul

Literature helps us attain these endeavors. Essentially, literature should address four things: Remembering who we are, where we came from, what went wrong, and the way forward. All great literature contains truth, goodness, and beauty. If it does not have these components, it’s not great literature, simply put. Literature that does not have these does exist but they “are purely sentimental” (or they’re just twaddle!).

This is the breakdown of what great literature has and why it is beneficial for educating our children:

  • Joy in our creative powers.
  • The longing for brokenness to be set right.
  • The hope for a redeemer.
  • The presence of sacrifice as a means of redemption.
  • Glimpses of ultimate restoration.

Barrs quoted many great authors such as Tolkien, Sayers, Robert Browning, Shelley, Shakespeare, Hopkins, and Charlotte Mason.

Growing Up with Technology- Helping Children Resist the Seduction of Mediated Experience

One of the first things that Lowell Monke shared with us in this plenary was the advertisement for children in a classroom in the USA going on a field trip to …China. You can watch the short ad here (if you have safety set to “ON” you will not be able to view it for some reason). What is the point? The experiences that these children are having are artificial; they are ‘mediated’. And this is fast becoming the norm.

What is the purpose of technology? “Tools amplify and extend our own power.” The tool is technology. But this works differently for children than for adults. Children are still in the process of building up those capacities of power. Technology can actually stunt this growth. This is something that many who push for more technology either don’t know or are disregarding.

Experiences used to be through first hand contact. Education’s role was to get access to the symbolic which were not accessible in the home. Education is now majorly symbolic. Digital media has replaced the experience almost exclusively with the symbolic. He used the illustration of a nightcrawler. If you’ve held one, you know what it feels like; the scrape of it as it squirms in your hand. You might even be able to recall the smell of dirt.

What happens when a child is given symbolic references for what they have no first hand experience with which to relate? They have a distorted or inappropriate reaction. There are mistakes and incomprehension. They miss the quality of the experience; the living engagement. Learning about cannot substitute for learning from; it requires engagement.

Monke went on to talk about the popular restaurant chain, Rainforest Cafe, where it is touted that the whole family can have a ‘first hand experience’ of being in a real rainforest. The video that was shared, an ad for the restaurant, showed a little girl bopping a crocodile on the head (or was that an alligator?). The real in this case is completely artificial. That is what comes with digital technology in education today.

This allows, or rather forces, a disconnect from reality. Monke related this to the many cases of narcism that are rampant today in many of the young adults, teens, and younger children. There are many who feel a disconnect from their peers, even when they are never alone. They have internal struggles but look for an external solution (often via digital technology).

Monke doesn’t suggest however that we remove all of the technology that is overtaking so much of life. To do so will leave them with a gaping hole because it is such a huge aspect of our cultures. Rather he suggests:

  • Model the behavior that is expected of the children (many times the parents are too “into” their tech to pay attention to their kids).
  • Show & tell and expect & teach children to rely on inner resources by building this up in them- requires patience, judgment, humor, faith.
  • Finally, children need to be seen by businesses, people, politicians, school leaders, etc., as more than products to be rolled of an assembly line.

The bottom line of just about every single plenary, session, and group was that a Charlotte Mason education is about relations. It is the science of relations. We must be engaged. This is for everyone.

More information about CMI is on their website. About Charlotte Mason,  Ambleside Online.

North Laurel (10 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.

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What’s New at The Homeschool Post?




What's New at The Homeschool Post? @hsbapost #homeschool

Are you enjoying the excitement of starting a new homeschool year?  Do you have renewed energy and big plans for the months to come after taking some time off this summer?  Fall always inspires me to start with a clean slate even though we really homeschool year-round.

The Homeschool Post has some big things in store this fall, too.  We’re getting a redesign, just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the annual Homeschool Blog Awards!  How exciting is that?  We’ll be going offline over the weekend to make some changes behind the scenes, but we’ll be back next week with a whole new look.

Speaking of the Homeschool Blog Awards . . . start thinking about nominations!  {Tweet This} They are coming soon and we want this Awards season to be bigger and better than ever in celebration of the 10th anniversary!  I’m looking forward to seeing the nominations and rewarding fellow homeschool bloggers with recognition and prizes.

We are also adding new writers to our team, including a homeschool dad.  We have plans to add more writers to the team and are opening up guest post opportunities, so get in touch if you’re interested in more information.  If you are a homeschool vendor interested in advertising opportunities or Awards sponsorships, please contact us as well.

Since taking over here at The Post this spring, things have been a whirlwind.  I have been a reader of this blog since 2008 and a writer on the team since 2013.  I have the utmost respect for the homeschool community here, our team of writers, our founder Sprittibee, her successor Lisa (who has been a good friend and mentor to me through this process), and all that goes into maintaining a valuable resource that aims to encourage, inform, and connect homeschoolers.

I pray you are all blessed by reading and interacting with The Homeschool Post!

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Blessings on your homeschool journey,


Sara (27 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th http://www.seethelightshine.com***