Tag Archives: curriculum

Language Arts Beginners Lesson Pack download

Birds lang arts

click picture to go to lesson pack

I have set up a 60 page language arts lesson pack for children aged around 6 to 7 or slightly older. It incorporates Arabella Buckley’s Bird’s of the Air as a listening and basic comprehension lesson. Listening is an important skill that children need to learn to be able to learn other things. Charlotte Mason used “living books” such as those written by Buckley to read to children and have them narrate back in their own words. In the lesson pack there is room for doing that but also simple question and answer format for early writing practice.

I’ve included an introduction to Montessori grammar with cut out sentence strips and cut out symbols at the back.

I’ve tested the pack on my youngest and she did well with it. She is very dyslexic so it does seem to suit children who may have


extra challenges in learning. I do have the proper grammar symbols and Heleyna loves using them, but you don’t absolutely need them.

The set only costs $2.75 so it won’t break even the most frugal budget.

It introduces nouns, proper nouns, articles and prepositions – which sounds like a lot for a 6 year old, but the visual and manipulative approach with the symbols seems to work remarkably well.

Click on the picture above to buy and the sig below to see everything.


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.

New Lesson in my shop: The first Christians and the Milgrim experiment

I’ve uploaded two new lessons to my shop.

MilgrimThe Freebie is a short lesson for older children on the famous Milgrim Experiment. I think it is less well known these days, but has a lot to teach us about the proper obedience due to authority and when to say “No!”.

Milgrim did his experiment in 1963 in light of the outcome from the post World War II Nuremberg trials, in which Nazi concentration camp soldiers were tried for war crimes. The men nearly all used “We were just following orders” as their defense.

Milgrim gathered a group of students and put them in a situation where they were to believe they were giving an electric shock to an unseen but heard subject in another room. He wanted to see how far the student would go in inflicting shocks to screaming subjects, no matter how apparently painful and dangerous, if someone in authority (in a white coat) told them to. The results were shocking and in some cases enlightening.

Click on the picture to get this freebie. Read first before you decide for your child.

The second lesson pack is a 53 page study of the Acts of the Apostles based on First ChristiansMarigold Hunt’s The First Christians (kindle) or Paperback here. There are questions and mapwork and added pieces of information from history and Biblical study.

There is some picture study from fine art depicting events from the beginning of the Church.

The set costs $3.73 and apart from the good price you’ll save in shipping. So you know you want to buy it. Click on the picture to go to the shop.


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.

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!

Home Education; curriculum or not curriculum that is the question…

Whether it is better to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous lesson plans, or to take arms against the sea of trouble and buy a curriculum.

One of the first questions I still get asked when people discover that I home educate the children is whether I follow the National Curriculum. I always say no because we are not obliged to, and I try not to say what I actually think of the standard of the NC because most parents have their children in school.

But now I am more or less following a curriculum. What are the pros and cons?

Pro; I don’t have to plan every single lesson for the children and this frees up my time quite a bit and is vital now that I can’t actually think straight sometimes, let alone properly plan lessons. Having it just there helps me enormously when I’m struggling to string a coherent thought together.

The lessons in the workbooks I have are very well laid out and even on a bad day for me, they are easy to follow.

The workbook approach definitely suits my older one.  I think using Seton and some Catholic Heritage works really well for Ronan who is 9 because he can read fluently. This has helped him learn to be a much more independent learner and willing to read and look things up for himself.

Pro: there are some beautifully presented curriculum products out there that offer workbooks and videos and CDs teaching something I never could have such as the Latin, Greek and Math U See

Cons: It costs more to buy other people’s workbooks than to make my own. However the cost isn’t that much more and it’s way cheaper on time and brain cells. I also try and cut costs by having them use notebooks rather than write directly into the workbook, so the books can be passed down.

Con on that though is once I’ve paid for this stuff I am reluctant to buy something different for one of the others as that would be expensive. I just have to hope it will suit all of them. I did cave on Life of Fred, but it was worth the extra cost.

I am not sure if this is a con or not. But my concern over notebooks has been the sense that they lack flexibility and spoon feed the information. However, in fairness to the Seton workbooks, I don’t think this is so. There is an element of making the student learn through his own effort and I like that.

Free curriculums require as much work over all as making your own. But they are a good guide and being free can be a godsend to a very tight budget.

I would never buy a full curriculum. No matter how good they might be over all there will always be aspects that don’t suit my children’s way of learning, or where we have settled on one area and I don’t want to change it. So, for example, Seton uses Saxon Math which is supposed to be very good indeed, but we are happy with Math U See and Life of Fred and will continue with that.

Avila needs a gentler approach than the righteousness of Seton so a couple of CHC books have helped her with the Seton work.

There are some home educators who take it as a great affront if anyone should ask them a question about curriculum because they wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. I have never heard a coherent argument about this, but bizarrely (and this is something I must stop) I have found myself defending or making excuses about buying in curriculum.

The major reason for home educating is to tailor the education to the child’s learning ability and interests. But there is also the reality of needing to tailor it to the needs of the family, and in my case, to the limits of the “teacher”.  There’s nothing shameful in this (so why am I defending myself?…silly me) and there are so many very good curricula choices out there, mainly American, that we can buy them with a clear conscience.