Tag Archives: home education curriculum

Home educating for secondary (high) school

A friend of mine has set up a blog to help Catholic  home educating families navigate the world of exams and other challenges for older children and young adults entering the world of work and/or university.

I think the information on exams will probably be of use to any UK  HE family.

It’s new – take a look here

Other families may be interested in the Seton Highschool Diploma which is accredited (requirements for Diploma here)

I know one family who has done well with the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Diploma and a friend of mine has just signed up her oldest. She is impressed by their flexible approach, allowing British history instead of American and there are other areas where the curricula is flexible.  I do know that the exams can be taken this side of the pond which is good.

Catholic Heritage Curricula has recently set up a Highschool level course that is no accredited. While they make a good case for not needing accreditation, I would say that at least at this time children in the UK will be disadvantaged without an accredited HighSchool Diploma or other tick box qualifications.

I would love a group of veteran home educators to get a solid curriculum together in this country and maybe get it accredited by some genuinely good educational institution (Open Uni maybe).

The Open University has a youth access system now. Iona has done very well with these. They are pro home educated children because they have found they are better at the self discipline and independent thinking required for distance learning.

While officially they take young people from age 16 I do know of a family with a 15 year old who has successfully signed up.

Charlotte Mason Home Education; Grade 2 (yr 3)

I’m setting out the curriculum for Grade 2 or UK yr 3. There is the joint work Roni and Avila will do together.

Then the following:


Math U See alpha finish off and begin Beta.  Mathematical Reasoning level C and Complete the Picture Math book 3. I have some other bits and pieces to help him understand money better.

Critical Thinking: Building Thinking Skills Level 1 which he is already working through.

Language Arts: Language of God level B (he could do with C really) and Language Smarts C (I hope to get hold of level D soon) as well as the online Language Arts books from my resource blog. He has been doing some Scott Foreman worksheets which I think we will continue with.

Reading: He is reading the 26 Fairmount Avenuue books by Tomie de Poala but he has a few other things he has been reading too. He can more or less read fluently now so there is more choice of books for him.

Science Find the Constellations H A Rey; Exploring Creation with Astonomy Fulbright and Nature Detectives. I’ve also got Garden Dectectives on order. Alongside this is his big book of Science (Miles Kelly) and the Usborne Energy Forces and Motion book (internet linked) We’ll also continue with little projects and lapbooks based on the Usborne pocket science series. A kind aunt bought us the whole lot some time ago and they are pretty good.

Read Alouds: Still got to finish Benedict of the Hills and then Augustine Came to Kent and Beowulf. (For both the latter books much thanks to Clare). There’s bound to be more especially from the Baldwin Collection.

We are still working through Our Island Story and 50 Famous Stories Retold; I actually tend to use some of the Librivox versions; some of the readers are quite good. (We heard the story of Grace Darling (ch 19) and then visited her museum and grave last year).

Other stuff includes Dance Mat Typing as well as other BBC schools stuff which can be useful for revision and consolidation at times. We will also probably use some homemade worksheet stuff as well as the  great stuff available from That Resource Site.

This isn’t written in stone; I tend to change things as we go along- but it’s the start.

Charlotte Mason (ish) curriculum for K (yr 1) and grade 2 (yr 3)

I am planning the Autumn term with a view to having the lessons and resources set and ready to roll in the next couple of weeks so it doesn’t keep nagging at me over the summer.

Some curriculum sites from last academic year and review of Autumn term stuff.

For many of the lessons Ronan (beginning grade 2 (UK yr 3)) and Avila (beginning Kindergarten (UK yr 1)) work together.


Linney Latin and the online revision/tests from Ex Sedda

British Sign Language;  Stories in BSL and BSL Haiku

Greek lessons

We should try and do a bit more Spanish if there is somewhere to squeeze it in.


Map Skills B and Rivers and Oceans as well as beginning to use the big Reader’s Digest Atlas we have and an old book of the Holy Land.

I am also going to return to reading Pagoo which didn’t really take off last year.

They can watch the film Paddle to the Sea on You Tube and if click on the bookcase it is on my resource blog. If all that goes well I will buy Sea-bird for them at some point.

Religious Ed

We are using the Faith and Life Series.  Ronan will start Our Life With Jesus which is above grade for him but he had his First Holy Communion a few weeks ago, so he is where he should be. Avila will return to the first book, which although she has already done a lot of it when Ronan did it, I think I can get away with repeating it with her if I change some of the worksheets.

We are also using some of the St Joseph Picture Books; The Catechism and some of the saint stories.

Read Aloud: St Benedict of the Hills and Augustine Came to Kent (with huge thanks to Clare for her kindness and generosity in sending this and Beowulf to us.)

And we can do some saint stories and notebooks


With the group we are using Story of the World Vol 2 (I have to say I was disappointed by the end of Vol1 and the beginning of Vol 2 isn’t much better. I am glad we have Augustine Came to Kent and I will have to put some ‘filler sheets’ in where St’s  Bede and Gildas  are left out. I had to do a bit of correction over Constantine and add in the Council of Nicaea which is surely a very important part of the history of the world.)

Read Alouds: Apart from Augustine Came to Kent we are reading Beowulf (again with thanks to Clare for her kindness)

I have some other hopes and plans for History, but we’ll see how that goes.


Ronan has been learning recorder and I think it’s time I started to teach Avila as well.

They will continue with Kinderbach (even though it’s a bit easy for Ronan; I think it’s just as useful that he helps his sisters in this as learning the piano and music).

Also Classics for Kids and Sphinx kids. I think we might do just a little notebooking on this- looking at a composer each month with Classics for Kids.

Art and Art appreciation.

We’re still using Artistic Pursuits but I note that the price is a bit high these days. I’m glad we already have the books. I think we will have to look elsewhere when we are through the ones we have. I like the Seton stuff but as the group is mixed I need to find a more neutral course- or like the family over at That Resource Site- I need to make my own…umm….I just might.

I think that’s about it for what they all do together. I’ll post the K and Gr 2 separate stuff as two separate posts.

Free resources from That Resource Blog

Early hominids read aloud and worksheet(ish) set.

I am going to spend some of the Summer hols putting together some more sets on this subject.

British bird set most of the pictures come from an out of copyright book online and some from a really old bird book I have here. For those of you following the Burgess Book of Birds for American birds the team has produced this amazing set of cards and workbooks.

There’s also my Montessori type cards for very little ones.

I think the amount of work That Resource Team has put into their blog and website is truly astonishing (and rather humbling).

On putting together a Yr 11/grade 12 curriulum

Iona will be entering what would be sixth form (if she were in school) in September; that is Year 12 or Grade 11.

We have been talking about her learning plans for that year and this is the first lot of ideas:

She has some employment working as a companion for a young teen which may finish around the beginning of term but her work babysitting and helping a young lad with a bit of home education on odd days will continue. This will increase her knowledge not only of children’s learning in general but how to work with someone as they learn.

She will continue with her budgeting especially as she has a somewhat more regular income now.

Writing: she has her plans for future work with her brother and some independent writing plans as well as continuing her blog.

Sept: hopes to start Understanding Human Nutrition level 1: 10 points with the Open University.

Traditional Logic part I

May 2011 : Understanding Cancers level1 15points Open Uni.

(If she completes these courses she will have 35 points at level 1 by the end of yr 12)


Notes from the Underground Dostoevsky

The Great Divorce, Scewtape Letters and Til We Have Faces CS Lewis with lecture on Till we Have Faces by Peter Kreeft.

Man’s Search For Meaning Viktor Frankl I really think this book should be on more upper high school home ed lists. Frankl understood human nature in such a remarkable way and not just because he survived the concentration camps of Hitler.

The Last Freedom (about Frankl) Michael Ryan

A book by Spike Millagan that neither of us can remember the title of but which is in her brother’s bookcase.

He Leadeth Me fr Walter Ciszek and I would like her to read The Shadow of His Wings by Fr Goldman but I must have lent my copy out some time ago as it’s nowhere to be found.

Then possibly The Trail by Kafka

and The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald.

I am sure there will be more but this is the first plan we’ve come up with.

Home Education Curriculum; books and websites

Okay, so having talked about all the computer and curriculum choices out there and how we use computers here’s what we have been up to. It will be half term on Friday so we are half way through this academic year.

My children are half way though UK rec (pre-K) ; yr 2 (grade 1) and yr 11 (gr 10)

Here it all is so far:

Continue reading

Just doing home education and Cabbage as universal indicator recipe.

Despite a lot of “stuff” going on, I am managing to continue to educate my children and fortunately for me they are also continuing to educate themselves. I’m not good at reading out loud at the moment but yippee doo I have found that good ol’ Librivox has some goodish recordings that we can use so the children got to hear the stories of Hengist and Horsa and naughty Vortigern. They looked at some art work to so with the stories and we had a good discussion about the Scotti being their ancestors and the Saxons also being their ancestors.

In the kitchen we did some science experiments to do with acids and alkalines. I bought a pretty good book from Costco with posters, zip pockets and lots of science experiments to do. This combined with a nice little chemistry set means we can do all sorts of things.

We have had a good time making red cabbage into a universal indicator but also using universal indicator paper to test various liquids we had in the kitchen. Ronan decided to find out for himself what he thought he could mix from the acid and alkaline test tubes to make a neutral. (Just in case you want to know lemon juice mixed with washing liquid (ariel) worked really well).

To do this

Cabbage as universal Indicator recipe.

chop half a red cabbage and boil in water for a few minutes. Drain off all that dark purple water and pour it into three jars. Save the rest in another jar with a tight lid.

In jar one pour lemon juice; it should turn red for acid.

In jar two add a spoon of bicarb and stir. It should turn blue or green for neutral. (don’t add half a pot of bicarb as Miss Avila did or you will get a blue volcano in the kitchen sink. Fun I admit, but not exactly what the experiment was all about).

In jar three pour some bleach and give it a stir. It should turn yellow for alkaline.

After this you can use the other cabbage water and test whatever you like.

We are using THIS SET which I managed to get for £20 at the time. It says for age 10+ but I can’t see why the child needs to be that old if you want to get going with some simple stuff. Ronan will be 7 soon. We have used the test tubes a few times but the chemicals will be useful fairly soon I think. There is plenty in this set to keep us experimenting for a while to come.

In history we are learning about Rome and Carthage. Hannibal and his elephants with their painted ears and Scipio and his chickens. The children rather enjoyed the story of the sea sick chickens from Story of the World. In fact that caused more of a stir than the elephants. It was decided after due consideration that E and M would not be studying how their chickens eat to determine the future. LOL.

The activity was to imagine themselves as a Roman soldier and then we drew round them all and they found various parts of the house to roll out the paper and get to work drawing themselves as soldiers. As we had looked at a Sammuri warrior that morning as part of art there were some decorations of a somewhat Eastern flavour on a couple of the soldiers.

BTW I get a schools catalogue and noted that you can buy ready made cut outs of people. HOW BORING! The fun is drawing around the child so they are drawing themselves-all sizes of person. The clone like sameness of the bought ones would be a bit disturbing and frankly in the light of the present educational climate is a bit of a comment I feel.