Saturday, December 31, 2016

Setting the Stage - the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair

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WELCOME TO THE PARTY! 
The 2017 VCF Party! 

Susan of Homeschooling Hearts and Minds is, once again, hosting the Virtual Curriculum Fair. Make sure you make it over to her blog, as well as checking out the other 26 participating bloggers, with over 287 combined years of homeschooling experience! We have all homeschooled for various amounts of time with large families and small, in cities and in the country, with small budgets and large. Find out more by checking out my intro to the 2017 VCF post.
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Our family has homeschooled for 25 years- which would make me old, if I weren't in denial. It's been an interesting journey, taking us through 4 states, 5 kids, a few graduate degrees, 3 graduations, on-line classes, co-ops field trips galore and a zillion books.

How to educated one's kids is one of the most important questions a parent will answer- if they take the time to intentionally ask the question. After all these years, I still believe in homeschooling- the freedom it affords, the opportunity for academic excellence, the hope of individualized, customized education for our kids. I am way past the point of idealizing homeschooling- it's not a panacea, it's not gonna save anyone, it does not guarantee outcomes such as brilliant, kind, Godly kids who have a vision or passion or even a job. It's just a tool. But still an excellent one if wielded with a vision and a purpose.
We are classical educators. This is a bit of a switch from the first 10 years of our homeschooling career, when we took more of a Literature based approach. While I love literature of all kinds, the Literature approach is an overview approach and at the end of the day, the kids are often not sure of what they've learned  (and often, neither are the parents). One of the reasons we switched our focus to classical ed is because it is a mastery approach. My kids know what they know. We love the classical pedagogy for many reasons- it emphasizes skills, teaches how to think, how to learn, demands more, delivers more; it is simple (and cheaper!) in the long run and builds on a child's natural development. I love teaching classically, learning classically and sharing about the beauties of classical education!

We are still homeschooling our youngest two, who will soon turn 17 and 14,  and are in grades 8th and 11th, utilizing Classical Conversations Challenge program. It is content and project dense, creates positive peer pressure and teaches the kids how to manage their time and energies in a way that is focused and productive. Each year the kids have 6 Seminars: Logic, Research, Exposition and Composition, Latin, Debate and Rhetoric; covering Math Science, Writing and Literature, Latin, Apologetics, Debate, Rhetoric Skills, Western Civilization and much more.  Is CC all that our kids do? Are they drowning in stiff and boring curriculum? Hardly- they are involved in music, karate, ballroom dancing, art projects, odd jobs, camps, drama and they both read voraciously,

How do we get it all done? Each week, after our CC Community Day, we sit down with our planners (recently switched to Bullet Journals) and map out the 
week- including school, projects, church, work, lessons, etc. I try to do at least Latin and Logic with the kids (we use Jim Nance's excellent Intro and Intermediate Logic DVD's) and we do Morning Symposium together most mornings.
Golden Grasses: What's the Big Deal about the 5 Common Topics?:
How do we organize our stuff? We continue to use our trusty Library Cart that we made with plans from Ana White's site, which holds our current school books. We use lap (white) boards and page protectors regularly, for copy/ .memory work.. We also have a "Morning Basket" - literally a basket full of materials we use for Morning Symposium. It is full of our Bible Curriculum, Memoria Press Latin Charts, and Art History Study from Memoria Press.
In one sections of our living room (which is part of our wide-open first floor) sits my workbench desk, loaded down with my Classical Conversations Directing supplies, a color printer, laminator, BuJu stuff, pens, markers and Work stuff ('cause I have a job, too). We have bookshelves throughout the house, lap-tops and kindles. We use all of them, regularly.

While we use and appreciate CC's lay-out of curriculum, and used much of it before joining CC, I am always on the look-out for new and fun curriculum finds. We frequently add in things, like Veritas Press' Art History program, or Memoria Press' Latin National Exam, and I love sharing resources with others. I've reviewed scores of various curricula over the past 8 years of blogging, many with the TOS Review Crew. You can find them under "Curriculum Review" or "TOS Review" tags on my side-bar, or look for specifics in the search box. If you have any questions, please be sure to leave a comment! I love chatting curriculum and developmental ages and stages!
Golden Grasses: Morning Symposium Teen Edition
What's ahead for the Virtual Curriculum Fair? This year, we have 25 bloggers with over  200 years of collective Homeschooling experience writing about curriculum in the following areas:

January 9th---Playing with Words: the Language Arts
January 16th---Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science
January 30th---Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World
January 23rd---Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science

It's going to be a great month of talking alternative education, the amazing resources currently available and how many of our families utilize these resources.  

I invite you to see how my fellow bloggers learn in their homeschools:

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
It's All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Setting the Stage- the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! by Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses
New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Homeschooling - A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Home Education - 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Schedules, where would I be without them? by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Making a Change - Accountability and Responsibility Through Routine by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
A time to be encouraged is coming.. the Virtual Curriculum Fair by Annette @ A Net in Time
Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Homeschool Goal Setting – Looking Forward, Looking Back by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we don't learn in our homeschool & how I don't plan {2017 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair} by Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Limping Along: Our Semi-Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv'N Lambert Life

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