Category Archives: curriculum

Archimedes lessons

P1000147Having done some of the basic experiments as part of the lesson pack following Archimedes and the door of science (book here) the children have also made the water clock, which is pretty simple to do. You need to make sure the pin holes in the paper cups are big enough for the water to drip though or time will stand still!

From there they have been learning about Archimedes experiments with number patterns. So we have been making triangle and square numbers and then cube and pyramid numbers. It was a good excuse to get out the bead material and the thousand cube box. P1000165

It’s a lovely way to see and present some mathematical concepts.

The children seem to get more out of the lessons when they can stop writing for a bit and make something.

Heleyna tends to join in with those bits as well, so she’s getting a bit of an introduction via the work her older siblings are doing.

Much fun was had.


Thinking Love, Little Lessons; Alfred the Great

AlfredI’ve put a new lesson pack up. It’s a 24 page pack following Alfred of Wessex by Frank Morris. I’ve added extra historical information and there’s mapwork and artwork to be done.

There’s a genogram to complete – a simple one as an introduction to this process.

I’ve added a timeline and a couple of journal pages at the back. You can click on the picture or HERE TO GO TO THE LESSON

Don’t forget to look at the other lessons including the FREE STUFF

The Alfred pack is  only $2.00 so it won’t break the Home Ed budget.

Meanwhile I’ve just learned that the Govt of the Netherlands are out to trample the intrinsic human rights of families by banning home education. Governments are supposed to protect the rights of the people, not remove them.

You can sign the petition HERE and remember evil prevails when good men do nothing. Although I have to say I disagree with that little saying as doing nothing is not good.


Home education; Simple Archimedes experiments

The children are reading Archimedes and the Door of Science and then following along with this lesson pack on Archimedes. Along with some questions and mapwork and a little Greek there are some basic experiments looking at some of the rules Archimedes discovered.

P1000133Even though the book and lesson pack are aimed at children Ronan and Avila’s age the experiments can be done by younger children too so Heleyna joined in with them. The first one looks at buoyancy and viscosity.  They filled a bowl with clear water and salt water, oil and syrup and then observed how the liquids separated. The they gathered some objects; marble, grape, cork and so on and dropped them into the bowl to see if they floated or sank and if they sank how far they sank. They were to write their observations. As a short extension we looked at emulsions. Mix the oil and water quite hard. Left to settle the oil and water separate again.

P1000136Then we make a hydrometer. A beaker is filled with “layers” again of water, sugar water, salt water, and cheap vodka (we have a bottle of cheap vodka for science of various kinds and for colour mixing for cake painting)  Then take a test tube and fill it with P1000137beads, beans etc – cork the top and place it in the beaker and see how it behaves.

After that we filled the beaker to the top with water and looked at the curve the water makes at rest.

Finally we did the displacement experiment. We filled a beaker with water and put it inside another container. Then the children added marbles to the beaker and measured the water that spilled into the  other container which told us the volume of the marbles we’d placed in the beaker.

My Lesson Packs and a curriculum list websites.

selz shopI am announcing the launch of my lesson pack shop. There are plenty of freebies that many of you may have seen before on That Resource Site. Please have a look if there’s stuff you missed last time or something you’d like to recommend on.

I am also going to sell some lesson packs. Some will be study packs associated with books we use on our curriculum. Click on the picture above to go and peruse. Please do pass on the link

My Amazon Shop

 to anyone you think might be interested.

My Amazon shop continues as usual. Please feel free to give into any temptation to buy stuff from it.

Click on the picture to visit it.

Finally I have set up a blog called LEADING THEM OUT in which I am building an eclectic curriculum based on what we use or want to use. It is not prescriptive, as that is hardly home eddish is it? But I hope it will be useful.  If you have ideas for the curricula just add them in the comments box on the appropriate page and they’ll be there.

I do like looking over other curricula for ideas and so I hope this site with offer ideas in the same way. I am hoping to provide links to good free and downloadable resources to bypass postage and import tax.

I don’t know how well this will all go but I hope I can off set some costs while offering some good value to other families at the same time.

The signature at the foot of posts in the future will always link to the shop. So you can easily access it. So wish me luck and pass it on. Say a prayer and wish me luck.


home education: Curriculum planning for grade 1 (year 2)(age 6 to 7)

P1010150I use the Summer term to step the children up towards the next grade of work. I’m planning what I hope to do with Heleyna over the next year and will be planning and prepping through the hols. This is an overview of what I hope to be using – not everything and subject to change; but a general overview.

I haven’t added into this list all the Montessori lessons I hope to do with her. I will blog them as we go along. I do have a friend who has planned her entire homeschooling year for both her children!! As I am not as awesome I just haven’t.


We are still working through Reading Eggs and I will be using the Grade 1 reading and maths from more.starfall. (need to pay)

She is back on the Oxford Reading Tree books we have on long term loan from a friend and I’m adding in some Oxford Owl (free)books now and then.

Language Arts

She’s working through Draw Write Now Vol 1 and will move onto Vol 2 and so on, as we have the box set as well as the Starfall downloads (free) and the occasional worksheet I make for her. I hope to step her up to the Seton English 1, but she is still struggling with reading so I don’t want to overwhelm her or put her off. She is making progress; pushing her to work at “grade” might hold her back, rather than help her.


For maths she’s working with Montessori bead material and number placement while we have adapted some of the Math U See Primer work to the Montessori approach. She’s also working through MCP Math level B. Now don’t have a dicky fit about that – she just happens to be very good at maths so she’s on a book that is stretching her a little. It’s well designed to move slowly through the concepts so she is getting them well.  She loves Complete the Picture Math Grade 1. I might buy her the ebook Half and Half Animals as well, as I think it will help with the dyslexic tendencies.


We are reading a good children’s Bible together and working through Our Heavenly Father from Faith and Life series. and Religion 1 Seton. I’ll also continue her Bible stories.

I’ve got some lovely Amy Steedman books on my Kindle from Yesterday’s Classics 

Our Island Saints


She’s starting Song School Latin which she loves and I do a little from Getting Started With Latin with her too. It’s also good revision for Roni and Avila.

She is joining in with Song School Spanish  and I am using a little Getting Started in Spanish with her too. With the other two she’s enjoying SALSA Spanish (free) and of course the freebies on Headventureland.(free)


We are using Behold and See Science 1 as a base for science but with lots of Montessori stuff alongside it. I think we’ll go down the lapbooking and notebooking route more often as the year goes on. Some free LAPBOOKS HERE

Read alouds: (These are still a bit of an issue for me as I just don’t have a voice very often these days) I do want to read Pagoo with her; or get Ronan to read it to her and we’ll do some lapbook/notebook work.

I also have some other nature books to read with her.


Children’s Music Adventure keyboard lessons and introduction to composers.

artist lapbooks

Greatest Artists

History and Geography

Montessori resources for Geography.

History Pockets Ancient Civilisations

Our Lady’s Dowry and Our Island Story (which I am not that fussed about) and/or Cambridge Historical Reader.

Rivers and Oceans by Barbara Taylor (I don’t know how easy it is to get)

General list if resources:

Study Jams for science and maths

Possibly Tigtag but certainly not for nearly £100. I’ll see if they do a home ed deal.

free lapbook resources

Starfall downloads and More.starfall(1st Grade curriculum)

Oxford owl and ORT reading books

Draw Write Now

MCP Maths B, Mathematical Reasoning B and Draw maths 1

Seton: religion 1 and (possibly) English 1

Behold and See with Montessori printables etc. for science. Nature study. This, make your own constellations activity looks worth doing. And THIS ONE

Listening time.(free)

The Velveteen Rabbit


Aesop’s Fables  to go with Aesop Lit Pockets from Evan Moor

Story Nory

Classics for Kids– greatradio/podcast of music from classical composers with a story about their life and times.

Classical Academic Press; review

UnbenanntI’ve bought curriculum from a few places over the years, but I think my favourite resources have come from Classical Academic Press. The children love the stuff and they are genuinely learning from it.  I think the prices are pretty reasonable. They have become shockingly expensive for us recently thanks to the obvious drive of our lovely Govt who want to rake in money so have started slapping huge VAT and handling fees on parcels from abroad. I wasn’t very impressed as it has doubled the price of the resources for us. I’ve recently learned that educational items are supposed to be exempt, but tax collectors are the same now as they have always been.

In light of this I emailed CAP asking if there was any hope that in future there could be downloadable pdf or some other  way of circumventing the tax man. They emailed me back straight away and were really helpful showing great willingness to do something along these lines.

They have started Thinker’s Cap Academy which is embryonic at the moment but if they are planning to add lots more courses then this is definitely going to be of great use to us.

They offer a lot of good free resources as well which means you are getting even better value for money. I’ve listened to some of the audio seminars which have been useful to get an insight into the philosophical underpinning of their approach to Classical Education. There are a couple of things Dr Perrin says that make me trust I am getting a good product; first of all he quotes dear ol’ G.K. Chesterton so that puts him in my good books and secondly he stocks a CD of Dorothy Sayers The Lost Tools of Learning

UnbenanntThere’s also HEADVENTURE LAND which the children love. This is a great free resource with videos and games to help revise or are simply a break from the usual course books.

They have also launched Plum Tree Books with a plan to make them bilingual English-Spanish and English-Latin. Hopefully they plan some English-Greek as well.

So far I have bought Latin, Spanish and Greek resources. They were well written with DVD lessons aimed at the children so we can watch them together and learn together. There are games and just a generally fun approach that doesn’t talk down at the children, but isn’t all stiff and dry or “beige”. I have to say that having children who are enjoying what they are learning makes a home ed mother’s life much, much easier.

In Latin there is the choice of Classical or Ecclesiastical pronunciation. We’ve chosen to go with the Ecclesiastical because it fits with Church stuff.

This Classical Educator site has more resources to help remind us why we are doing this.

I haven’t bought the God Great Covenant books (yet). We have enough resources for Scripture, Catechism, Sacraments and Saints study. Avila is having a go with the free pdf first chapters and then I might consider it again.

One other note, while I’m considering God’s Great Cov. The illustrations are pretty good. There’s not a whole lot of them, which I personally prefer and they aren’t all sugary-sloppy. I just can’t stand cutsie-wootsie pictures in religious ed. When I worked with autistic children they always went for the realistic illustrations or the Eastern Rite iconographical approach over the cutsie-cartoon and I think those kind of pictures are much better especially for visual learners. (Seton homeschool materials are very good for this sticking to fine art and well done stained glass windows). If you have children on the spectrum or who are visual learners this might be worth knowing about the CAP resources.

I’d really like a good child friendly early Church Fathers resource…but I digress.

One other thing to note for anyone out there who is a chronically ill parent home educating. As all these resources come with DVD and CD support you can sit there in crash, voiceless, breathless and blue and it won’t matter a bit because Dr. Perrin and his team will teach them. Just get yourself a cuppa and wheeze quietly in the corner. All will be well.

I have written this review simply because I think Classical Academic Press are very good at what they do and because my children (aged 10, 8 and 6) enjoy learning with their stuff.

To Math U See or not to Math U See… and my mathphobia (cue scary music)

We’ve been using the Math U See curriculum for some time now. Even in the beginning I thought it was a bit pricey but as it comes with DVD instruction I was pretty taken with it. The curriculum is very thorough, It layers the skills carefully and logically so the skill base is built up. I do like that about it.

The children are doing well with it, on the whole. The one downside, it seems to me, is the amount of memory stuff which doesn’t work well with any of my lot. But the skip counting songs and adding in some Montessori math method seems to help with that.

Ronan and Avila are both on Gamma and sharing the workbook, using a notepad for the work. I think they will both do ok with this although I know Ronan finds it a right slog. But he loves Life of Fred so he isn’t completely put off maths. I really don’t want him to be put off the way I was. He’s struggling quite a bit. Do I take him off MUS and leave Avila on it while it works for her…or just get him past the bumps in the road?

I am wondering if I need to get a grip of my own mathphobia and use the Khan Academy videos and perhaps leave MUS for a while. Ronan wants to learn more geometry. Heleyna’s curriculum is much richer in this area than his and Avila’s has been. Heleyna’s curriculum is for ages 6 to 9 so although Ronan will be 10 soon he would get a lot out of it. I might just cut back on MUS and get both him and Avila doing more geometry with Heleyna.P1010624

Heleyna is just over half way through Primer which she is doing alongside the Montessori math album and geometry.

I already have Delta set aside for them, so we’re set up for the time being. But I was shocked at the price hike to £18 for the student book and £29+ for the teacher set. That’s nearly £50 plus P&P of over £11. It’s cheaper for me to buy the Latin set (workbook DVD and answerbook with flashcards) from America!

So. I think I will not be buying Alpha for Heleyna. We will stick with the Montessori maths, which she is doing very well with. I will slow down the MUS gamma work and add in geometry so that MUS Delta starts a little later.  We’ll keep using Life of Fred and possibly consider an ebook from The Critical Thinking Company.

I am hoping not to need to buy much curriculum over the next few months or more. If I can make what we have work even as Ronan enters Grade 5 I’ll be well pleased.

Of course I had to admit to my abiding shame when Ronan brought me a question from Life of Fred Jelly Beans, that I just couldn’t help him with, I had to ask Iona to help him. And no;  brain fog or crash time wasn’t my excuse. I just couldn’t do it! He’s 9!! Ouch!

Of course, I could comfort myself with what an excellent model of home education we are as a family as the older sibling comes to the rescue…but really…it’s embarressing!

Then, just as I declare I will not be buying any more curriculum, the good Dr. Schimdt produces an Intermediate set of books! Get thee behind me Fred!